Bachelor of Arts in Studio Art

The Bachelor of Arts in Studio Art provides students with experience and skills in studio art practice, including the areas of: Ceramics, Digital Media & Emerging Technology, Painting and Drawing, Printmaking, Photography, Sculpture, and Textiles, as well as interdisciplinary investigations that cross over these areas. Students are encouraged to explore different areas of studio art production in order to acquire a broad background in various mediums and techniques. Classes in Art History help students develop skills in writing, research, and knowledge of the histories and institutions of art in a global context. As they progress in the degree students move from Introductory (200-level) course to Foundation (300-level) course to Intermediate (400-level) and Advanced (500-level) courses. All majors must take at least one 300-level Foundation course, and it is recommended that students a 300-level class before they progress to 400- and 500-level coursework. During their final year, students take an Interdisciplinary studio capstone course (either ART 600: Studio Process and Professional Practices or ART 619 Exhibition Design), which combines research, writing, seminar, and critique to reflect upon work made in previous studio courses and contextualize it within professional and institutional practices of the field. The program takes advantage of the Bay Area's rich cultural resources, galleries, museums, and art community through field trips and visiting artists. Students are also encouraged to gain hands-on experience and practical knowledge of the field through an internship. All students must also take ART 509 a 1-unit Art Professional Service Practicum in which they gain experience in studio and gallery/museum fields, including research assistants, gallery attendants, studio art production assistants.

Program Learning Outcomes

The B.A. in Studio Art Program Learning Outcomes are guided by six core values that inform studio art practice (Form, Content, Communication, Context, Innovation, and Ethics). Upon graduation, students will be able to:  

  1. FORM:  Utilize appropriate techniques, media, and processes to skillfully create artistic form.    
  2. CONTENT: Apply research practice to generate ideas and to understand and strengthen the relationship between form, medium, content, and artistic intention.
  3. COMMUNICATION: Discern meaning, quality, and value in works of art and communicate about this effectively in critiques and in writing.
  4. CONTEXT: Understand the historical, cultural, and institutional contexts in which art is experienced and use this knowledge to inform creating, archiving, documenting, and presenting works of art.
  5. INNOVATION: Apply processes of experimentation (revision, refinement, critical reflection on successes and failures) to develop curiosity and imagination and use self-directed research to create a portfolio of work.
  6. ETHICS:  Develop studio art best practices (including a work ethic, concentration, and time-management skills; proper equipment and tool use; health & safety protocol; sense of community/cooperation and respect for others and for the space) and understand the larger ethical dimensions of art as a social, cultural, and political practice within a global context.

Steps to Change Major

At the time of admission to the University, no special permission, application, or portfolio review is required to declare the art major. Juniors or seniors who have declared another major, but wish to change their major to Studio Art must attend a major group advising session.  Email sch_art@sfsu for information and advising session dates.

  • For students transferring from other institutions, a minimum of 12 units in residence is required.

Students should be aware that art practice is time-consuming and expensive. Instructional Materials Fees are required for most studio courses, and students may find themselves spending additional sums of money on their projects.

Studio practice courses require hands-on practice and experience; this limits the number of students who can enroll in such courses.


Students are strongly encouraged to consult with a major advisor on a regular basis as they advance through the program. A list of departmental advisors and contact information can be found on the school’s website:

Students are also advised to consult with the University’s Advising Center for information about General Education and other University requirements, as well as the Advising Resource Center in the College of Liberal & Creative Arts:

Bachelor of Arts in Studio Art — 43 Units

General Education Requirements Met in the Major:

The requirement below is deemed “met in the major” upon completion of the courses listed (even though the courses are not approved for GE). This is true whether or not the student completes the major.

Lower-Division Courses (15 Units)

Art History6
Select Two:
ARTH 201Western Art History I3
ARTH 202Western Art History II3
ARTH/HUM 205Asian Art History3
Studio Art9
Select Three:
ART 210Introduction to Digital Media Arts3
ART 222Introduction to Textile Art3
ART 231Introduction to Drawing3
ART 235Introduction to Printmaking3
ART 240Introduction to Contemporary Sculpture3
ART 245Introduction to Ceramics3
ART 260Introduction to the Darkroom3

Before advancing to the 300-level or higher courses or declaring a concentration, all majors must have completed the University’s lower-division requirements and the lower-division courses for the major, or equivalent. Change of major students must also have proof of art advisor consultation.

Upper-Division Art History (6 Units)

Select two courses from the following list:

ARTH/LTNS 301Latin American and Latino/a/x Art, 1492 to the Present3
ARTH 306Modern and Contemporary Art in a North American and European Context, 1945-present3
ARTH 401/CLAR 420Art and Archaeology of Ancient Greece3
ARTH 402/CLAR 425Art and Archaeology of Ancient Rome3
ARTH 403/SXS 405Queer Art History3
ARTH 404/CLAR 550Art and Archaeology of the Mediterranean Bronze Age3
ARTH 406Global Renaissance and Baroque Art3
ARTH 407/CLAR 500Art and Archaeology of Ancient Egypt3
ARTH 409/CLAR 530Greek Vase Painting3
ARTH 410/CLAR 531Greek Sculpture3
ARTH 411South Asian Art I: Neolithic to Medieval Periods3
ARTH 412South Asian Art II: Early Modern to Contemporary Periods3
ARTH 421Special Topics in Art History3
ARTH/HUM 496Art, Architecture, and Space in the Islamic World3

300-level Foundation Studio Art (3 Units)

Select one course from the following list:

ART 310Foundations in Digital Media Art3
ART 330Foundations in Painting3
ART 335Foundations in Printmaking Processes: Drawing the Multiple3
ART 340Foundations in Contemporary Sculpture: Materials & Concepts3
ART 345Foundations in Ceramics3
ART 360Foundations in Photography3

Upper-Division Studio Art (12 Units)

Choose four upper-division studio art (ART) courses from the following list. An upper-division Art History (ARTH) course may be substituted for one upper-division ART course under advisement.

ART 310Foundations in Digital Media Art3
ART 330Foundations in Painting3
ART 335Foundations in Printmaking Processes: Drawing the Multiple3
ART 340Foundations in Contemporary Sculpture: Materials & Concepts3
ART 345Foundations in Ceramics3
ART 360Foundations in Photography3
ART 410Conceptual Art After Conceptual Art3
ART 411Interactive Arts3
ART 413Video Art3
ART 422Weaving I: Beginning3
ART 423Constructed Surfaces3
ART 424Surface Design Studio3
ART 431Intermediate Painting3
ART 432Further Explorations in Drawing3
ART 433Figure Drawing3
ART 434Color Workshop3
ART 435Intermediate Printmaking Workshop3
ART 439Screen Printing3
ART 440Sculpture and Expanded Practice3
ART 445Ceramics on the Wheel3
ART 460Intermediate Photography3
ART 511Digital Media and Emerging Technologies: Special Areas3
ART 514Experimental and Expanded Practices in Video Art3
ART 525Textiles Studio Process3
ART 527Repeat Pattern for Fine Art3
ART 530Advanced Topics in Painting: The Expanded Field3
ART 534Mixed Media Painting3
ART 535Artist's Books3
ART 536Advanced Topics in Printmaking3
ART 541Installation Art3
ART 543Hydrarchy: Nautical Art, Watercraft, and the Art of Resistance3
ART 545Ceramic Sculpture3
ART 546Glaze Surfaces3
ART 548Glaze Calculation3
ART 549Special Topics in Ceramics3
ART 555The Multiple and Distributed Art3
ART 556Art and Social Function3
ART 563Advanced Topics in Photography3

Art Professional Service Practicum (1 Unit)

ART 509Art Professional Service Practicum1

Graduate Writing Assessment Requirement (3 Units)

ARTH 400GWWriting About Art - GWAR3

Capstone Course

Interdisciplinary studio capstone course which combines research, writing, art making, seminar, and critique to reflect upon work made in previous studio courses and contextualize it within professional and institutional practices of the field.

Select One:3
Studio Process and Professional Practices
Exhibition Design

Complementary Studies

All candidates for the Bachelor of Arts degree in Art must complete 12 units of Complementary Studies from courses bearing a prefix other than ART, and not cross-listed with ART.

Students may satisfy this requirement in a variety of ways designed to facilitate timely graduation. Under advisement, students may complete 12 units of coursework in a single foreign language, an approved study abroad program, partial completion of a second major, minor, or certificate program in a related area of study. Related areas include Art History, Museum Studies, Design and Industry, Cinema, Humanities, Music and Dance, Theatre, and Business, among many others. Please note: Art majors with a concentration in Studio Art may count Art History courses (ARTH prefix) for Complementary Studies, but may not double-count coursework already counted for the major.

Students who have earned AA-T or AS-T degrees and are pursuing a similar B.A. degree at SF State are required to fulfill the Complementary Studies requirement as defined by the major department. Students should consult with a major advisor about how transfer units and/or SF State units can best be applied to this requirement in order to ensure degree completion within 60 units.

Note: Students who complete two majors, or a major and a minor, automatically complete the Complementary Studies requirement.

First-Time Student Roadmap (4 Year)

The roadmaps presented in this Bulletin are intended as suggested plans of study and do not replace meeting with an advisor. For a more personalized roadmap, please use the Degree Planner tool found in your Student Center.

First-Time Student Roadmap

Transfer Student Roadmap (2 Year)

For students with an AA-T in Art History.

ARTH ADT Roadmap

For students with an AA-T in Studio Arts.

ARTS ADT Roadmap

This degree program is an approved pathway (“similar” major) for students earning the ADT in Art History or  Studio Arts

California legislation SB 1440 (2009) mandated the creation of the Associate Degree for Transfer (ADT) to be awarded by the California Community Colleges. Two types of ADTs are awarded: Associate in Arts for Transfer (AA-T) and Associate in Science for Transfer (AS-T). 

Note: no specific degree is required for admission as an upper-division student. However, the ADT includes specific guarantees related to admission and graduation and is designed to clarify the transfer process and strengthen lower-division preparation for the major.

An ADT totals 60 units and in most cases includes completion of all lower-division General Education requirements and at least 18 units in a specific major. (The Biology, Chemistry, and Environmental Science AS-T degrees defer 3 units in lower-division GE area C and 3 units in lower-division GE area D until after transfer.) Students pursuing an ADT are guaranteed admission to the CSU if minimum eligibility requirements are met, though not necessarily to the CSU campus of primary choice.

Upon verification that the ADT has been awarded prior to matriculation at SF State, students are guaranteed B.A. or B.S. completion in 60 units if pursuing a “similar” major after transfer. Determinations about “similar” majors at SF State are made by faculty in the discipline.

Degree completion in 60 units cannot be guaranteed when a student simultaneously pursues an additional major, a minor, certificate, or credential.

A sample advising roadmap for students who have earned an ADT and continue in a "similar" major at SF State is available on the Roadmaps tab on the degree requirements page for the major. The roadmap displays:

  • How many lower-division units required for the major have been completed upon entry based on the award of a specific ADT;
  • Which lower-division requirements are considered complete upon entry based on the award of a specific ADT;
  • How to complete the remaining 60 units for the degree in four semesters.

Students who have earned an ADT should seek advising in the major department during the first semester of attendance.

General Advising Information for Transfer Students

  1. Before transfer, complete as many lower-division requirements or electives for this major as possible.
  2. The following courses are not required for admission but are required for graduation. Students are strongly encouraged to complete these units before transfer; doing so will provide more flexibility in course selection after transfer.
    • a course in U.S. History
    • a course in U.S. & California Government

For information about satisfying the requirements described in (1) and (2) above at a California Community College (CCC), please visit Check any geographically accessible CCCs; sometimes options include more than one college. Use ASSIST to determine:

  • Which courses at a CCC satisfy any lower-division major requirements for this major;
  • Which courses at a CCC satisfy CSU GE, US History, and US & CA Government requirements.

Remedial courses are not transferable and do not apply to the minimum 60 semester units/90 quarter units required for admission.

Additional units for courses that are repeated do not apply to the minimum 60 units required for upper-division transfer (for example, if a course was not passed on the first attempt or was taken to earn a better grade).

Before leaving the last California Community College of attendance, obtain a summary of completion of lower-division General Education units (IGETC or CSU GE Breadth). This is often referred to as a GE certification worksheet. SF State does not require delivery of this certification to Admissions, but students should retain this document for verifying degree progress after transfer.

Credit for Advanced Placement, International Baccalaureate, or College-Level Examination Program courses: AP/IB/CLEP credit is not automatically transferred from the previous institution. Units are transferred only when an official score report is delivered to SF State. Credit is based on the academic year during which exams were taken. Refer to the University Bulletin in effect during the year of AP/IB/CLEP examination(s) for details regarding the award of credit for AP/IB/CLEP.

Students pursuing majors in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) disciplines often defer 6-9 units of lower-division General Education in Areas C and D until after transfer to focus on preparation courses for the major. This advice does not apply to students pursuing associate degree completion before transfer.

Transferring From Institutions Other Than CCCs or CSUs

Review SF State's lower-division General Education requirements. Note that, as described below, the four basic skills courses required for admission meet A1, A2, A3, and B4 in the SF State GE pattern. Courses that fulfill the remaining areas of SF State’s lower-division GE pattern are available at most two-year and four-year colleges and universities.

Of the four required basic skills courses, a course in critical thinking (A3) may not be widely offered outside the CCC and CSU systems. Students should attempt to identify and take an appropriate course no later than the term of application to the CSU. To review more information about the A3 requirement, please visit

Waiting until after transfer to take a single course at SF State that meets both US and CA/local government requirements may be an appropriate option, particularly if transferring from outside of California.