University of Rochester

Undergraduate Program in Studio Arts

The Studio Arts Program of the Department of Art and Art History focuses on the production aspects of visual studies. Sage Art Center is a place where art is produced, analyzed and exhibited; it provides access to all the materials, supportive resources, faculty and staff necessary for a rich studio experience. Our program is focused on contemporary approaches to art production; it strives to produce technically adept students with an understanding of art's place in culture.

The program at Sage Art Center recognizes the extensive range of experience and interests that liberal arts students maintain; our program of study invites, accommodates, and engages individuals with little or no previous art experience. At the same time that our program administers to those with marginal interests, it also provides a rich environment for thoroughly intensive study. Studio Art majors are expected to be vital participants in the activities of the Department and the art community in general. Majors are expected to establish a presence at Sage Art Center that promotes an environment conducive to rich, creative art production. By the senior year majors should be seen as valuable resources for the students in all introductory level courses.

The camera, the canvas, and the computer supply only a few means of studio production. At Sage, any material or approach is possible. While our introductory level courses provide a foundation built on more prevalent art media such as photography, painting, sculpture, video, collage, and drawing, the advanced level courses make available the experimental and interdisciplinary approaches often utilized in contemporary art production. Classes focusing on interdisciplinarity and courses such as Video and Sound Art; Markings, Methods and Materials; and Performance and Installation present artistic exploration with an expanded field of engagement.

Off-campus study is strongly encouraged for majors and non-majors alike. The Art New York program provides students with the opportunity to live and learn in New York City. A semester of internships and course work in this culturally rich environment is structured for any individual who wishes to enhance his/her knowledge of the world of contemporary art and culture with firsthand experience.

Study abroad during a fall or spring semester in the University's European Arts Internship program is also encouraged for majors and non-majors alike. In Europe, there are opportunities to work in institutions, such as the Victoria and Albert Museum and the Museum of London, and internships can be arranged in Paris, Brussels, Bonn, and Madrid.

Major in Studio Arts

A major in studio arts is typically declared prior to the junior year and requires a total of twelve courses including three from a related area:

  • Four 100-level studio courses (prior to the junior year). No more than two transferred studio courses will be accepted toward a major.
  • Three 200/300-level studios, in any discipline.
  • Writing on Art taken prior to the junior year (offered once a year-fulfills one-half of the writing requirement).
  • Two semesters of Senior Studio and Seminar (taken in the final two semesters, the second of which should not be taken concurrently with any other 200/300-level studio).
  • Two other courses from related areas. Although these two courses are typically in art history/visual culture, one being from offerings in critical theory, relevant courses in film and media studies will also be accepted.

Students are encouraged to meet with a faculty advisor to design a coherent program of study early in their degree process. Majors should consider courses alternative to the regular 200/300 level offerings; internships, both local and through the Art New York program, as well courses such as supervised teaching and study abroad are encouraged and available.

Majors must present an exhibition of works in their senior year and a thoughtful, cohesive defense of it; documentation of the works is to be submitted and retained by the Department. In the near future this work may be viewed on the Virtual Alumni Gallery website, currently under development.

Requirements of Honors in Studio Arts

A student wishing to be considered a candidate for honors in studio art must meet the following requirements before applying:

  • A grade-point average of 3.5 within the major.
  • A program of study that fully integrates the Honors requirements into the regular requirements of Studio majors beginning in the junior year.

To apply, a student must submit to the Department an honors project proposal, the subject of which has been mutually agreed upon (signed) by the student and his/her chosen faculty advisor early in the junior year.

  • Following the acceptance of the proposal by the Department, the candidate must fulfill the following requirements:
  • A minimum of twelve credit hours beyond major requirements, with the following distribution:
    • Four credit hours in a 300-level course.
    • Four credit hours in a 200-level or higher art history course/visual culture, preferably in critial theory or an offering relevant to the student's artistic concerns, and agreed upon in consultation with a studio advisor.
    • Four credit hours in Senior Project (SA 393). The work involved in SA 393 should include both studio work and a distinguished essay of eight to fifteen pages soundly substantiating the student's art with historical and/or theoretical principles. SA 393 should be completed during the senior year and must be evaluated by the chosen faculty advisor and a second reader selected by a mutual agreement.
  • Submission of two complete copies of the essay and photographic documentation, one of which will be preserved by the University.
  • Maintenance of a 3.5 grade-point average within the major.

Requirements for Graduation with Distinction

Grade point average is calculated only from the required major courses. Transfer grades and study abroad grades (unless given by the University of Rochester) are not computed.

  • Levels of distinction are rated by a minimum GPA as follows:
  • With Distinction: 3.5
  • With High Distinction: 3.7
  • With Highest Distinction: 3.9

Minor in Studio Arts

  • A minor in studio arts requires five production-based courses and one art history course:
  • Two or three 100-level studios. No more than two transferred studio courses will be accepted toward a minor.
  • Two or three 200-level studios.

Students are encouraged to meet with faculty advisors to design a coherent program of study early in their degree process.

Independent Study in Studio Arts

Because the Studio program furnishes a broad curriculum with an intimate approach, topics of particular interest can typically find a home in any number of upper level studio courses. Independent Studies should be undertaken when a student has exhausted all the options within the regular curriculum. Students wishing to be considered for an Independent Study must submit a proposal essay of no more than 300 words to the Faculty they hope to work with before the 14th day of classes each semester. The essay should address the requirements below and make note of previous Studio courses completed. It will be forwarded to the Department Chair for approval and the student will be notified before the Independent Study deadline.

Requirements for independent study include:

  • Topic for exploration must not be available within the regular offerings of the Department (schedule conflicts are not a rationale for Independent Study).
  • Faculty director must have relevant expertise in topic area and be willing to supervise the student and to sign a contract stipulating agreed upon requirements.
  • Students must be in their junior and senior year and they must have previously completed at least one advanced level studio course.
  • The semester must result in a body of individual studio work or equivalent project at an advanced level of achievement.

More Information

Associate Professor of Art
Undergraduate Advisor for Studio Art
Allen.Topolski (585) 273-5994

Stephanie Ashenfelder (585) 273-5955

Frequently Asked Questions

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