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Why earn a liberal arts degree in Art at Metropolitan State University of Denver?

At MSU Denver you will make art, study it and acquire creative problem-solving and critical thinking skills useful in a variety of careers in a National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD) accredited program. Plus, you will collaborate with other creative students in state-of-the art studios and forge relationships that will last a lifetime.

MSU Denver’s incredibly flexible B.A. in Art program offers you the opportunity to get a broad liberal arts education, develop your artistic talents and acquire the communication and intellectual skills to describe and analyze art aesthetically and in a cultural and historical context. In addition, your Art program gives you 21 electives in your major — and requires a minor — so you can customize your degree to your interests. 

Through internships, study abroad and experiences you can acquire through MSU Denver’s Center for Visual Art, the Art program will prepare you for graduate study as well as potential careers in fine art, business, museum work, gallery management and other fields.

Program Options

B.A. in Art

Choose this degree if you want a well-rounded education in creative problem-solving through visual art, complemented by a minor in another field. 

B.F.A. in Art

Select this degree if you want to develop a creative practice and prepare for a career as an artist, which may include preparation for graduate school. A portfolio review is required for admission into the B.F.A. program after you complete your Art foundation courses. A portfolio review is required for admittance.

B.A. in Art History, Theory and Criticism

Opt for this degree if you want to immerse yourself in the intellectual study of Art. This degree gives you a strong background in diverse traditions as well as contemporary theory and art criticism, and prepares you for a variety of careers in the arts as well as potential graduate study.

B.F.A. in Art Education

Choose this degree to prepare to teach art in a K-12 classroom. Combining the extensive artistic training of the B.F.A. with educational theory, methods and field experiences required for teaching certification, this degree gives you the foundation to teach in elementary and secondary classrooms. A portfolio review is required for admittance.

B.F.A. in Communication Design

Select this degree if you are interested in the communication design profession, whether working freelance or as part of a design team. If you are interested in graphic design, you would select this degree. A portfolio review will be required for admittance into the B.F.A. after you complete your initial courses.

Minor in Art History, Theory and Criticism

Minor in Digital Media

Minor in Studio Art

Benefits of Earning Your Degree at MSU Denver

As an MSU Denver Art student you will have the chance to:

  • Participate in the most affordable Art program in Colorado, and among the most affordable in the nation.
  • Attend exhibitions and lectures at MSU Denver’s off-campus Center for Visual Art (CVA).
    • Located in the Santa Fe Art District, the CVA offers significant contemporary art and extensive educational programming and serves as an interactive art laboratory for our students and the larger community.
  • Study abroad in programs that combine art history and studio art and design in locations such as Paris, Rome and Barcelona.
  • Gain service-learning experience through MSU Denver’s Community Painting: The Mural class.
  • Study with noted artists through MSU Denver’s Visiting Artist, Scholar and Designer Program.
  • Get involved in art-related student clubs and organizations that include the Art Education Club, the Art Guild, The Elements (for Ceramics), Future Leaders of Design, Metalmorphosis, Vicious Ink and Metrosphere — MSU Denver’s art and literary journal.

Career Opportunities for Our Graduates

four images, a student drawing, a dance student in the studio, students painting, and a gallery display

No matter your ultimate career goals, earning your B.A. in Art at MSU Denver offers you the flexibility of diverse options as you train to become an innovative and creative professional.

Many careers make use of the creative problem-solving and visual-spatial thinking skills students acquire in the B.A. in Art program. By pairing your Art degree with a carefully chosen minor, you can tailor your education to your interests, preparing for careers as arts entrepreneurs, artisans, jewelers, craftspeople, photographers, digital designers, arts retailers, arts advocates, critics, art promoters, gallery managers, art restorers, curators or art installer/handlers.

Some popular minors for the bachelor of arts degree in Art include digital media, foreign languages, industrial design, entrepreneurship, marketing, advertising and promotion and art history, theory and criticism. Students may pair Art and biology for medical illustration, Art and writing for graphic novel work or Art and psychology to prepare for art therapy graduate study. There are also many openings for individuals who have a liberal arts degree that needn’t be in a specific field, examples include creative director, manager, client service specialist, researcher, project manager, sales manager, administrative professional or agent.

Students seeking professional careers in communication design, art education and studio art should start in the B.A. in Art program and submit a portfolio for entry into the B.F.A. in Art, B.F.A. in Art Education or the B.F.A. in Communication Design program. There is also a degree program for a B.A. in Art History, Theory and Criticism. Some careers may require further education, apprenticeship training or certification.


Carlos Fresquez_ArtCarlos Fresquez

Associate Professor Carlos Fresquez (MSU Denver ’80) is a Denver native and coordinator of MSU Denver’s painting area. He is an active artist and Chicano art expert whose work has been exhibited in 30 states and 10 different countries. His work resides in many museum collections including the Albuquerque Museum of Art and History, the Millicent Rogers Museum, The Nelson Museum of Fine Art, the Fort Wayne Museum of Art, the Museo del Barrio and the National Museum of Mexican Art.



Matt Jenkins_ArtMatt Jenkins

Assistant Professor Matt Jenkins teaches integrated media classes with research interests in socially engaged art, performance art, internet art and land and environmental art. His work has been exhibited nationally and internationally throughout the United States and in India, Argentina and Canada.




Marin Abell_ArtMarin Abell

Assistant Professor Marin Abell coordinates the sculpture area and teaches all levels of sculpture from beginning to advanced. He earned his M.F.A. in sculpture and expanded practice from Ohio University and has installed public sculptures in such venues as The ArtLot, Brooklyn, The I-Park Foundation and Stone Quarry Hill Art Park. His work has been widely exhibited and reviewed, and he has served as an editor for the online journal continent.



Learn more about MSU Denver Art faculty.

Featured Alumni

“A B.A. in Art from MSU Denver creates a strong combination of studio art, liberal arts and freedom to tailor your degree to your interests through elective choices and inclusion of your choice of minor. The flexibility the B.A. allowed me while in school was great as well as the diversity of career options after graduating.”

Devon Clay (MSU Denver ’15)

Art teacher in Colorado’s Cheyenne County School District.

Alumni at Work

MSU Denver Art Department graduates have been hired by IBM Design and ArtHaus. Other graduates have started successful business ventures such as Big Kitchen Papers or gone on to prestigious graduate programs including those at Cornell University, Tufts University, the University of Colorado, the University of Denver and many more.

Sample Classes

students taking notes in class

MSU Denver’s Department of Art offers a comprehensive Art education with classes in art history, theory and criticism, ceramics, communication design, drawing, jewelry design and metalsmithing, painting, printmaking, photography and spatial media. You may also choose coursework from the Art Department’s interdisciplinary integrated media offerings that include classes such as:

  • The Visual Journal
  • Video Art
  • The Artist’s Book
  • Electronics and Experimental Systems
  • Digital Fabrication
  • Pattern Networks
  • Socially Engaged Art
  • Performance Art
  • Drawing in Space

Facilities and Resources

As an MSU Denver Art student you will have the chance to work in our outstanding facilities that include the following:

  • Ceramics Studio is equipped with 18 pottery wheels, six electric Skutt kilns, three glass kilns and one raku kiln.
  • Communication Design Studio features state-of-the-art digital technology, printing and production facilities, design library copy stand for photographing artwork as well as digital equipment available for check-out including video cameras, digital cameras, microphones, tripods and headphones. The program also has a small letterpress printing facility.
  • Drawing Studio has professional-quality drafting tables, mat cutter, computer and printer.
  • Jewelry Design/Metalsmithing Studio provides 18 individual work stations and equipment such as torches, fume exhaust hoods, sandblaster, vulcanizer, lathe and more.
  • Painting Studio is equipped with professional grade Klopfenstein easels, individual lockable taborets (for advanced students) and two computer stations.
  • Photography Studio has traditional wet process labs, individual color darkrooms, alternative process labs and digital photography lab.
  • Printmaking Studio with presses and equipment for intaglio, lithography, screenprinting, relief and the various photo-mechanical processes.
  • Sculpture Studio is a 5,000-square-foot facility with fully equipped wood and metal studios, a state of the art ceramic shell investment room, separate sanding and metal finishing studios and a fully equipped tool room with hand, power and pneumatic tools and assorted supplies. 
  • Coming Soon: Digital Fabrication Lab with equipment for use by students in classes across the curriculum. This digifab lab will have multiple 3-D printers, 3-D scanners, laser engraver and large format printers.
  • Creative Technology Commons at the Auraria Library serves as a creative hub for teaching and learning with digitation capabilities for image, video and audio content, large-format printing and more.

Learn more about MSU Denver Art program facilities.

Program Accreditation

MSU Denver’s Art programs are accredited by the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). MSU Denver is one of only four schools in Colorado to have this accreditation.

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