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Department of Art

Bachelor of Fine Arts in Art

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Bachelor of Fine Arts in Art

The Bachelor of Fine Arts is the recognized professional undergraduate degree in the visual arts. The program offers students a curriculum of academic coursework, studio art and art history courses in preparation for careers in studio-related areas of the visual arts. The department offers coursework in a number of disciplines, including ceramics, drawing, painting, printmaking, photography, sculpture and the new media arts.

Course Catalog Student Handbook
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  • What you'll study

    First-year BFA students participate in a foundations program comprised of four studio classes. These classes expose the art students to 2D, 3D and 4D studio practices; while exploring traditional and new media. A special emphasis is placed on drawing. Near the end of the year, students exhibit their work in a mandatory Foundations Review.

    In the sophomore year, students take studio courses in six disciplines, which provides an overview of the studio arts and exposes students to a broad range of experiences. Upon completion of this core of courses, students identify one studio discipline as their emphasis area in the Bachelor of Fine Arts program.

    In the junior year, students fulfill requirements in their emphasis area in preparation for the Senior Studio experience. Requirements include intermediate and advanced courses in their chosen studio discipline.

    The Senior Studio experience is comprised of three courses and provides students an opportunity to focus and refine their personal art concepts and skills, produce a cohesive body of artwork for their BFA exhibition, and develop their portfolio for graduate study or a career in studio-related art professions.

  • What is the difference between a B.A. and a BFA Degree?

    The B.A. distinguishes itself from the BFA by the nature of its interdisciplinary practice, representing our broad range of art and art history offerings and expertise. The B.A. is based on a core value of combining ideas, techniques and creative problem-solving. This program, first offered in the 2020-21 academic year, allows Clemson students to create a unique educational experience in combination with outside minors and second majors.

    The BFA, by comparison, is a deep and focused professional study of visual arts and art history that prepares students for graduate study or a career in studio art.

    Both degree programs are accredited through the National Association of Schools of Art and Design.

  • Areas of study

    Students can choose an emphasis in ceramics, drawing, painting, photography, printmaking or sculpture. Regardless of studio concentration, they have full access to the department’s clay, drawing, painting and printmaking studios, plus computer, photo and sculpture labs. Art historians, with a deep knowledge of modern and contemporary art, offer a rich understanding of past and current developments and will help provide context for other studies.

    Rigorous studio activity and strong conceptual development are vital for success in this program. Students investigate the materials, processes and contexts that best suit their personal expressions. All students will produce a cohesive body of artwork and a portfolio for graduate study or professional applications.


    Deepen your understanding of the diverse range of materials, concepts and processes related to clay, and develop a dynamic, individual practice in a supportive studio environment.


    Develop skills of observation, perception and interpretation through the immediate and immersive act of drawing and through experimenting with various drawing mediums and processes.


    Cultivate your talent formally and conceptually to become a versatile, vital contributor to the contemporary art-making dialogue.


    Master the tools, techniques and methods, including traditional black and white film and contemporary digital formats.


    Explore the myriad possibilities offered — traditional and nontraditional materials, formats and production techniques — as ways to challenge the conventions of image and presentation to facilitate a transformative artistic experience.


    Create dimensional work in a host of contexts, including traditional gallery, site-specific, temporal/relational and installation modes.

  • Beyond the classroom

    Whether students plan to embark on careers in making, teaching or managing art, Clemson offers numerous opportunities to explore different abilities and show creativity.

    Study Abroad

    During a five-week summer school study abroad program in Italy, students draw and journal their way through the country. See sites in Rome, Orvieto, Florence and Venice. Visit historically significant artworks and take classes in Italian and Etruscan ceramics.

    Lee Gallery and Acorn Gallery

    Providing access to regional, national and international artists, Clemson's art galleries hold a variety of exhibitions and special events during the year. In addition, students have a chance to showcase work in the galleries.

    Clemson Visual Arts

    The CVA is a place where students, visitors and scholars explore contemporary perspectives in art and culture through research and studio practice. Its mission is to engage and render visible the creative process.

    The Fine Arts Student Association

    FASA is a student-run organization that strives to increase awareness and appreciation of art on campus. Past events include parties, trips, fundraising events and art sales. FASA organizes field trips and at least one annual trip to a major urban art center such as New York City.

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“Being in an environment which encourages the exploration of subjects in art history and other disciplines has shaped and strengthened my role as an artist and has cultivated an intuitive practice of learning.”

Leah Brazell
'18 BFA Art
Department of Art
Valerie Zimany portrait

Valerie Zimany

Chair, Department of Art

Office: 2-120 Lee Hall, Email:

About Valerie Zimany
Department of Art
Department of Art | 2-121 Lee Hall, Clemson, SC 29634