1. Why choose the University of Massachusetts Amherst to study Art?
The UMass Amherst Department of Art gives undergraduates and graduate students the opportunity to receive a world-class art education while taking advantage of all that a large research university has to offer.
Highly motivated art students who choose UMass enter the University with both creative dreams and focused career goals. Fostering both practical and intellectual skills, we nurture the creative process while offering professional guidance in order to prepare graduates for 21st century careers.
UMass Amherst gives students the chance to explore a variety of art media, from drawing and painting, to ceramics, animation, photography, sculpture, video production, and printmaking. Students learn from the working artists who are our faculty, and create art in specialized studios.
The Studio Arts Building, constructed in 2008, is a state-of-the-art facility housing, in addition to studio classrooms, shops for wood and metal work, glaze and kiln rooms, darkrooms, computer labs and a digital print center. Graduate and undergraduate majors (through an application process) are allotted individual studio space in the facility, a highly unusual benefit, not found in many of today’s universities. Graduate students receive either private or two-person studios, depending upon their practice and need, and advanced undergraduates are eligible to work in one of 30 private undergraduate studios.
Artists who study at UMass Amherst emerge with cutting edge skills and the critical thinking abilities they will need to thrive in contemporary work and society.
Even those art majors who do not go on to pursue professional art careers find themselves successful in a variety of fields, many with an emphasis on the nonprofit sector.
To learn more about the benefits of a degree in art, go to http://snaap.indiana.edu/ . (This website is maintained by Indiana University, but pertains to art students from any institution.)
2. What type of degrees does UMass Department of Art award?
Undergraduates majoring in Art may enroll in our Bachelor of Fine Arts Program, tailored to students who plan to become 21st century professional artists. Art majors who are looking for the broadest available liberal arts education may choose our Bachelor of Arts in Art degree. Future primary and secondary school art teachers are comprehensively prepared in our Bachelor of Fine Arts in Art Education program.
3. What is the difference between a BA and BFA?
A Bachelor of Fine Arts in Studio Arts is considered a professional degree, and those awarded a BFA may enter the workforce as professional artists or go on to advanced degree programs. BFA students take at least 65% of their classes within the Department of Art, while also completing the University’s general education requirements.
A Bachelor of Arts is a liberal arts degree awarded to graduating students who have completed the requirements for a major in Art. BA students, while immersed in art study, take a full complement of courses distributed among the University’s offerings in the humanities, sciences, and social sciences, as well as completing foreign language courses required by the College of Humanities and Fine Arts. BA students may also enter the workforce as professional artists or go on to advanced degree programs. By completing the UMass language requirements they are prepared not only for advanced study in art but for a variety of post-graduate and professional degree programs.
4. Can I choose more than one major and will that extend my graduation date?
Yes you may choose to double major at UMass Amherst. Careful course selection and planning under the watchful eye of your department advisors make it possible to graduate with two majors in four years.
5. What should I expect from my first year in the Department of Art?
All first-year students majoring in Art take a set of four studio courses called Foundations.
The Foundations Program consists of courses designed to introduce students to the materials, techniques, language, concepts, and processes of making, using and thinking about art. The courses aim to keep a healthy tension and balance between formal concepts, hands-on skills, imagination, and critical thinking.
In addition to these Foundations classes within the Department of Art, first-year students are required to take a year-long class in Art History, covering the Ancient through Modern periods.
6. How many students are in the Department of Art?
We have approximately 125 undergraduate art majors and minors, and 17 graduate students.
7. What is the average size of a class in the Department of Art?
8. Does Amherst’s proximity to the art world of New York City offer special career advantages?
Yes. Each semester, the New York Professional Outreach Program (NYPOP) offers a class with alternating weekend trips to New York City. Every other Friday, students meet with artists and arts professionals and have the chance to learn all about the benefits and challenges of living and working in a big city art scene. On Saturdays, students visit the city’s world-class museums and galleries and attend art events.
9. Does the Department of Art offer Study abroad programs and internships?
Countless opportunities for study abroad exist through UMass and other peer institutions.
Art faculty help connect students to on- and off-campus arts professionals who assist students in identifying internships, and the University’s Career Services Department offers extensive assistance with student internships as well. The Fall and Spring Arts and Humanities Internship Fair is held each semester, and features local internship opportunities in the arts, arts management, and cultural non-profit fields.
10. May I visit the department? Is an interview a required?
Prospective applicants can meet our students and faculty and learn more about the Department of Art by calling (413) 545-6937 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org to schedule a visit.
An interview is not required, but submission of an application portfolio is a requirement. Please see submission instructions at our admissions page.
11. What financial aid is available to art students? Are there any talent based scholarships?
UMass Amherst offers partial tuition credit to admitted freshmen who present especially strong art portfolios. No special application process is necessary, since it is an automatic nomination by our reviewers.
Learn more about the Chancellor’s Talent Award for entering art students here.
To learn more about financial aid, please consult the UMass Amherst Department of Financial Aid Services.
12. What is the town of Amherst like? Where exactly is it?
Located in Western Massachusetts, the college town of Amherst and the region as a whole combine a thriving arts scene with the comfort and safety of traditional New England living.
Boston is less than two hours away, and New York is just three hours by car, train or bus.
13. Does UMass Amherst have art galleries on campus?
Yes. The campus offers a wealth of art galleries, where students may exhibit their art and view exhibitions mounted by professional artists. For more information see our list of current exhibitions.
The Studio Arts Building, located at 110 Thatcher Road, is open from 8 AM – 5 PM, Monday through Friday. The building is closed to visitors on weekends, holidays, and school vacations.
There is limited metered parking adjacent to the building, as seen in the interactive parking map.
For more parking options and general parking information, go to: http://parking.umass.edu/index.php/generalinfo/visitorparking.