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Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Fine Arts

Row of students sketch in charcoal

To meet individual needs, we offer two undergraduate degrees, the Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) in Visual Arts and the Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) in Art. 

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.

Bachelor of Arts (B.A.)

The Bachelor of Arts degree in Art is an undergraduate, liberal arts degree offering a balanced curriculum of academic coursework, studio art and art history courses. Students can choose between emphasis areas in Studio Art, Art History and Digital Art & Design Media. Students also select a minor or double major, which allows them to tailor their studies to career interests and take advantage of Clemson's unique strengths as a large research university.

First-year B.A. students participate in a four-studio foundations program, which introduces them to 2D, 3D and 4D studio practices. Students explore traditional and new media, and create a strong foundation of design understanding. Sophomore students select studio courses in four disciplines, which exposes them to a broad range of practice. In their junior year, students continue with two intermediate-level studios to narrow their focus and hone skills learned in the first two years. In their senior year, students select a course in an advanced-level emphasis area and refine their personal art projects and concepts. Students also pursue a professional preparation course selected from art and art history internships, professional practice seminars, or one of the department's signature Creative Inquiry projects.

See the B.A. check off sheet

Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA)

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.

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.

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.

Ceramics

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.

Drawing

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

Painting

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

Photography

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

Printmaking

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.

Sculpture

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.

Careers

What are students doing after graduation?

Selected Employers
Anthropologie, SC & HI
Barton Creek Elementary, TX
Blue Ridge Designer, Greenville, SC
BMW of North America, Greer, SC
Brenau University, GA
Burnaway, Atlanta, GA
C. Taylors Interiors, Greenville, SC
Chil Creative, Atlanta, GA
GDC Home, Mt Pleasant, SC
Georgia State University, Ernest Welch School of Art & Design, GA
Green Stone, Inc, Austin, TX
Greenville County Museum of Art, Greenville, SC
Haynsworth Private School
Kaleidoscope Framing, Ltd, Tallahassee, FL
LEAD Academy, SC
Lexington Glassworks, TN
McMillan Pazdan Smith, Greenville, SC
MIT Applied Research Lab, HI
Museum of the Cherokee, Walhalla, SC
National Geographic Fine Art Galleries, NV
PerkinElmer Inc (Biotechnology), Greenville, SC
ReMax, Greenville, SC
SAIL Academy, GA
Sapar Contemporary, NYC
Sign-A-Rama, Anderson, SC
Signature Homes at Keller Williams, Greenville, SC
Swoozie’s, Greenville, SC
The Community Tap, Greenville, SC
The Creative Group, Dallas Fort Worth, TX
The Governor’s School for the Arts & Humanities, Greenville, SC
The Martin Agency, Richmond, VA
USA TODAY Sports Images, National
WeWork Atlanta, GA
Selected Occupational Titles 
Admissions Liason
Application Engineer & Additive Manufacturing
Architect
Art Critic & Editor
Assistant Curator
Creative Director
Development Designer
Digital Art Designer
Display Coordination
Education Coordinator
Front End Developer
Gallery Assistant / Associate
Gallery Manager
Graphic Designer
Illustrator
Interior Design Consultant
Lead Photographer
Marketing Coordinator
Medical Illustrator
Photography Editor
Photography Faculty
Professional Animator
Professional Potter / Independent Business Owner
Public Relations Coordinator
Quality Assurance
Real Estate Photographer
Senior Digital Producer
Senior Graphic Designer
Senior Market Research Product Manager
Senior Museum Preparator
Senior Product Support Engineer
Social Media Management / Strategist
Sports Photographer
VP Associate Director, Engagement (Product Development and Strategy)
Recent Graduate Schools 
Christie’s - MA in Arts Administration
College of Charleston - MBA in Marketing
Johns Hopkins - MS in Medical Illustration
Northwestern - MS in Orthotics & Prosthetics
School of the Art Institute of Chicago - M.Ed
Sotheby’s - MA in Arts Management
Tufts University - M.Ed
and multiple MFA programs in animation and other related fine arts concentrations


Student Handbook

Click here to read the full Undergraduate Student Handbook.