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Department of Art

BFA in Art (Advertising and Graphic Design) | BFA in Art (Photography) | BFA in Computer Animation | BFA in Art (Studio Art 2D) | BFA in Art (Studio Art 3D)BA in Art | Art Minors | Course Descriptions

Chair: Michael Henderson   (936) 294-1314    

Faculty: Martin Amorous, Jack Barnosky, Kate Borcherding, Chuck Drumm, Rebecca Finley, Taehee Kim, Melissa MednicovPat Lawler, Edward Morin, Valerie Powell, Tom Seifert, Tony Shipp, Annie Strader, Melissa WarakAnthony Watkins, Willie Williams

Website: www.shsu.edu/art

Throughout human history, artists have found ways to express beauty, emotion, and vision using a variety of media. The Department of Art offers opportunities for creative students to explore and develop proficiencies in many traditional art forms, such as drawing, painting, sculpture, printmaking, ceramics, and photography. New and innovative art forms are also promoted in the Department of Art. Digital media courses are offered in Graphic Design, Computer Animation, and Photography. Traditional and new media programs are supported by the Art History program that provides concepts in aesthetics and art theory from diverse cultures and time periods.


The mission of the Sam Houston State University Department of Art is to teach skills, techniques, aesthetic principles and concepts that develop students personally and help to prepare them for professional careers in art and design as well as post-graduate study. We foster a vibrant environment for creative research and collaboration between faculty, students, and the community; we celebrate the unique role that art and design play in the construction of culture; and we embrace our duty to advance and share the knowledge gained through our creative research.

Academic Programs


The Department has over 30,000 square feet of space devoted to studios, laboratories, lecture halls and galleries. Studios in Painting, Sculpture, Ceramics, Printmaking and Photography are equipped with the best tools available for students to develop skills and express ideas. Digital labs maintain state of the art computer equipment for students in Graphics, Photography and Computer Animation.

Visiting artists from around the U.S. exhibit their work in the Gaddis Geeslin Gallery, and give public lectures, workshops, and critiques for students. Individual studio space is available for advanced students in the Studio Art and Photography Programs. The Department operates the Satellite Gallery devoted to exhibitions of student work in downtown Huntsville. Students in the Department of Art have the opportunity to take the New York Art Trip every fall and study abroad opportunities every summer.

Student Organizations

The Student Art Association (SAA) is a student-motivated organization that provides students with opportunities to create a community environment and form a strong network among their peers. The SAA is dedicated to student development, member exhibitions, technical/creative workshops, field trips, and promotion of student work. 

SHSU SIGGRAPH is an organization of students interested in Computer Animation, Computer Generated Imagery, and Interactive Techniques. SIGGRAPH members work together on independent animated projects and games, support one another by sharing techniques and knowledge, travel to visit professional game and animation studios, and have the opportunity to attend the national SIGGRAPH conference in the summer.

Creative Minds in Design at Sam, [CMD-S] is a graphic design organization whose goal is to enhance classroom learning and develop professional relationships to assist students now and in their future careers. CMD-S intends to help better prepare students for real world applications and work environments, as well as promote interest and appreciation of graphic design, through events, hands-on workshops, and community involvement.

Drawing Club is an organization for students interested in the art and practice of drawing. Meets regularly to discuss drawing used in many applications including comic books, scientific illustrations, and fine art. Organizes Saturday sessions drawing from the model. Open to all university students.

Internships, Research, and Community Engagement

The Department of Art is committed to providing opportunities for students to work as interns in professional environments in the fields of Graphic Design and Computer Animation. Photography and Studio Art majors have opportunities to intern or volunteer at art centers, and community organizations. Students actively engage the community through ACE (Academic Community Engagement) courses and public exhibitions and screening of their work both on and off campus. For more information about community engagement and internships, contact the Department Chair.


Scholarships are available from both the Department of Art and the University to support a student’s study. 

The Department of Art Scholarships include:

  • Art Endowment
  • Charles Pebworth
  • Clem Otis
  • Edward Geeslin
  • Elkins Lake Kuntz-Nelson
  • Emmette Jackson
  • Hal Fulgham Scholarship
  • James B. and Marilyn C. Shepard
  • Kenneth Zonker 
  • Madison Wolfe
  • Marion St. John Baker
  • Majorie Leverton Boehme
  • Polley Art
  • Ruth Wynne Thomason Hollinshead
  • Stanley E. Lea
  • Weldon Hall Jr. 

Departmental scholarships are available to full time Art Students. The Weldon Hall Jr. Scholarship is available to incoming freshmen. Information about Department of Art scholarships may be obtained by visiting http://www.shsu.edu/academics/art/resources/scholarships.html or calling (936) 294-1315.  Information on University scholarships may be obtained at Office of Academic Scholarships or telephone (936) 294-1672.

Program Specific Requirements

Studio classes in Computer Animation, Graphic Design, Photography and Studio Art meet 6 clock hours per week each semester for 3 credit hours. Art History lecture classes meet for three clock hours per week.

All art students, including transfer students must take W.A.S.H. (ARTS 1313, 1314, 1315) as a prerequisite for other ARTS courses.

After completing the BFA Foundation courses, students must pass the BFA Portfolio Review to continue in a BFA program. The BA in Art does not require the BFA Portfolio Review. For more details regarding the BFA Portfolio Review, see below.

Students must have at least 3.0 GPA in ARTS courses to graduate with a BFA degree.

Seniors are required to publicly exhibit their work in exhibitions as part of the capstone class in each BFA program.

The Art Department requires a grade of C or better for each listed prerequisite.

Laptop Initiative

Art students are required to own a Mac laptop as specified by their chosen program of study.
Mac laptops are a required material for WASH students. Financial Aid can adjust funding for qualified Art students for the purchase of required hardware and software. Students must complete the financial aid application and qualify for financial aid. Contact the Financial Aid office for details. For current laptop and software requirements go to http://www.shsu.edu/academics/art/resources/laptop-initiative.html .

Teacher Certification in Art

To become certified to teach art in a public school in the State of Texas, students will pursue an All-Level Certification in Art by following the degree plan for one of the BFA programs in Art and minoring in Secondary Education. The required education courses (including 6 hours of student teaching) are: CISE 4374, CISE 4364, CISE 4377, CISE 4375, CISE 4396, CISE 4392, and CISE 4394. To complete the requirements for certification, students must pass two (2) TExES certification exams. Before receiving permission to take the exams, students must pass the BFA Portfolio Review and have at least a 3.0 GPA in ARTS courses. 


BFA Degrees: The BFA is the professional degree in art. All of the BFA degrees in the Department require a foundation of courses that emphasize the principles of design, basic techniques, mark making, spatial organization, gestalt theories and principles, and color theories. These principles, ideas and skills are put into practice in projects that require creative problem solving, individual solutions and personal expression.  After completing the BFA Foundation courses and the BFA Portfolio Review students take a common core of art classes that include courses in 2D, 3D, and time-based mediums. The BFA Core provides opportunities to practice and develop the skills and ideas acquired in the foundation courses. Expertise in specific disciplines is developed in the upper level classes in each BFA program.

Required Foundation Courses for BFA Majors: ARTS 1313, ARTS 1314, ARTS 1315W, ARTS 1316, ARTS 1317, ARTS 2313, (18 hours)

Required Art Core Courses for BFA Majors: ARTS 1303*, ARTS 3385, ARTS 2318 or ARTS 3320, ARTS 2375, ARTS 3305, ARTS 3307 or ARTS 3310 (18 hours)

* ARTS 1303 satisfies the Creative Arts requirement of the University Core.

To complete the BFA, students will select one of the following degrees and programs:

BFA, Program in Graphic Design:

BFA, Program in Photography:

BFA, Program in Computer Animation:

BFA, Program in Studio Art 2D:

BFA, Program in Studio Art 3D:

BA Degree: The BA is a liberal arts degree that requires a minor and 14 hours of Foreign Language. Students in the BA program do not have to complete the BFA Portfolio Review.

BA, Program in Art

Bachelor of Fine Arts, Major in Graphic Design

3 Digit to 4 Digit Crosswalk

Bachelor of Fine Arts, Major in Photography

3 Digit to 4 Digit Crosswalk

Bachelor of Fine Arts, Major in Computer Animiation

3 Digit to 4 Digit Crosswalk

Bachelor of Fine Arts, Major in Studio Art 2D Track

3 Digit to 4 Digit Crosswalk

Bachelor of Fine Arts, Major in Studio Art 3D Track

3 Digit to 4 Digit Crosswalk

At least one Science course should be completed in first semester of second year prior to taking 3000- and 4000-level courses.

The BFA review is the Department of Art’s process of review and evaluation before admitting students into any of the Department’s Bachelor of Fine Arts programs.

Upon completion of the 6 foundation art classes [WASH (or ARTS 1313, ARTS 1314ARTS 1315), ARTS 1316, ARTS 1317, and ARTS 2313], students apply to participate in the review by signing up in the Art Department office. Typically, taking ARTS 1317 triggers the preparation semester for the review.

Currently, students are notified in class or during advisement that they are eligible for review participation during the semester before their first review. However, the criteria for student eligibility is noted in the catalog and students are responsible for knowing the semester they are to participate for the first time. In either case, students sign-up in the Art Office early the semester of the review. Non-participation either after signing up or after being advised to sign-up will result in a negative vote for that semester’s review. Students receiving a negative vote will have a second opportunity to participate the following semester. If a second negative vote is received, the student will only be allowed to declare a BA degree in Art.

Art electives in the BFA curriculum may be chosen from all 4000-level studio art courses. Most 4000-level art studio courses may be repeated for credit (see course listing).

A student considering graduate school after completing the Bachelor of Fine Arts in Studio Art degree should take 15 to 18 semester credit hours in the area of specialization: Painting, Drawing, Printmaking, Sculpture, or Ceramics. BFA Studio Art students are encouraged to minor in Art History by taking two additional advanced Art History courses.

Not all art courses are offered each semester. Consult the Schedule of Classes and your advisor before registration.

Bachelor of Arts, Major in Studio Art

3 Digit to 4 Digit Crosswalk

Art Minors

Two-Dimensional Studio Art Minor
ARTS 1313, ARTS 1314, ARTS 1315W, ARTS 1316, ARTS (9 hrs.2-D. Advanced Art)

Three-Dimensional Studio Art Minor
ARTS 1313, ARTS 1314, ARTS 1315W, ARTS 1316, ARTS (9 hrs. 3-D. Advanced Art)

Art History Minor
ARTS 1303, ARTS 3385, 12 hours from ARTS 3381, ARTS 3382, ARTS 3383, ARTS 4386, ARTS 4387, ARTS 4388, ARTS 4389

Photography Minor
ARTS 2365, ARTS 2370, ARTS 2375, 9 hours from ARTS 3364, ARTS 3368, ARTS 3370, ARTS 3381. Other advanced photo courses may be taken, but require additional pre-requisites.   

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