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If you are a curious and creative individual who wants to engage the wide spectrum of contemporary ideas and processes in visual art, consider the bachelor of fine arts degree in Art at Metropolitan State University of Denver. 

Why MSU Denver? MSU Denver vibrates with diversity, creative energy and the hum of people who are transforming their lives through education. This exciting environment serves as the backdrop to the dynamic, hands-on education you’ll receive in this National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD) accredited program. 

As an Art major in MSU Denver’s B.F.A. program, you will obtain a foundational studio art and art history education as well as take classes in how to build an art career. You will also create and study art across disciplines by choosing a studio emphasis and complementary area in ceramics, drawing, jewelry, painting, photography, printmaking or sculpture, and delve into integrated media in classes such as performance art, installation art and user interface design. Finally, your B.F.A. program will culminate with a senior exhibition and thesis.

MSU Denver’s B.F.A. in Art program prepares you to become a creative thinker and maker, who exhibits and sells work here and abroad, and for further graduate studies.

Program Options

MSU Denver’s Art Department offers a rich array of Art degrees for undergraduates:

B.F.A. in Art

Select this degree if you want to 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.

B.A. in Art
Make this your degree program if you want a well-rounded education in creative problem-solving through visual art, complemented by a minor in another field.

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 the 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 admission.

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. 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 B.F.A. student you will have the chance to:

  • Attend exhibitions and acquire professional experience at MSU Center for Visual Art (CVA). Located near campus in Denver’s Santa Fe Art District, the CVA offers outstanding contemporary art shows and educational programming and serves as an interactive art laboratory for MSU Denver students and the community.
  • Study internationally in legendary art locales such as Paris, Rome and Barcelona.
  • Acquire community-service experience through MSU Denver’s Community Painting: The Mural class.
  • Learn from well-known 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 two female students painting a mural, a student molding clay on a pottery wheel, a dance major in at the barre, art students working in a studio.

Careers for graduates with bachelor of fine art degree can include the following (some careers may require additional education or training): 

  • Fine artist, studio artist, gallery artist, community artist, public artist, performance artist, installation artist, fine art photographer, ceramics artist, fiber artist, jewelry designer, wearable-art designer, sculptor, mural painter, illustrator, graphic novelist, cartoonist
  • Arts activist, arts advocate, arts promoter, critic, blogger
  • Book artist, concept artist, medical illustrator
  • Art restorer, photo restorer, art appraiser, studio manager, art installer/handler
  • Artisan, entrepreneur, arts retailer, gallery manager/director.

Hear from our students:

“I got so much out of my B.F.A. program. Every day, I worked with talented faculty who were fully engaged in their own artistic practices and aware of the contemporary art scene, locally and nationally. Every day, I was exposed to cutting edge ideas about art and techniques that made it possible for me to shape and realize my vision. Every day, my vision grew, not just for what I could create but for who I could be as an artist. MSU Denver strives to make its education relevant, and the Art Department realizes that vision well, producing artists who can step from their academic practice right into a professional one.”

—Heather Doyle-Maier (MSU Denver '07), is a visual and textual artist, whose award-winning work has been exhibited locally and nationally.


Michael Bernhardt_ArtMichael Bernhardt

Assistant Professor Michael Bernhardt teaches foundational art courses and sculpture. He holds an M.F.A. in drawing and painting from the University of Colorado Boulder and his work has been shown nationally in New York, Ohio, New Mexico and Texas, and internationally in Columbia, France, Australia and China. His work was published in the October 2009 edition of New American Paintings and in Propeller Magazine. 



Tsehai Johnson_ArtTsehai Johnson

Associate Professor Tsehai Johnson holds an M.F.A. from the University of Colorado in ceramics and her work has been exhibited everywhere from Colorado to Korea. Her work also resides in collections at the Museum of Ceramics in New York, the Museum of Outdoor Arts, Colorado and the Reyzjanesbaer Art Museum in Iceland. She completed an Art in Architecture Commission for the Rogers Federal Building in Denver in 2013. 



Sandy Lane_ArtSandy Lane

Associate Professor Sandy Lane is the studio art drawing coordinator in MSU Denver’s Department of Art. She was a long-time member of Edge Gallery in Denver and is currently a member of Ice Cube gallery, also in Denver, where she serves as the new membership coordinator.




Learn more about MSU Denver Art faculty.



Alumni at Work

MSU Denver Art alumni have exhibited work locally, regionally, nationally and internationally. MSU Denver alumni work appears in major museums and in corporate and private collections. Several MSU Denver alumni also have curated exhibitions. Other graduates have started successful business ventures of their own or gone on to prestigious graduate programs including those at Cornell University, Tufts University, Columbia University, Goldsmith’s University of London, the University of Colorado and many more.

Sample Classes

an art student drawing

MSU Denver’s Department of Art offers a robust Art curriculum with classes in art history and criticism and different media including ceramics, drawing, jewelry and metalsmithing, painting, printmaking, photography and sculpture. You will also have the opportunity to choose courses from the Art Department’s interdisciplinary integrated media offerings. Here are some courses you will take as a B.F.A. student:

  • World Art I: Art Prior to 1400 and World Art II: Art 1400-1900
  • Studio Foundations: 2D, Studio Foundations: 3D and Studio Foundations: 4D
  • Professional Practices I and Professional Practices II
  • Advanced Interdisciplinary Studio
  • Studio Art Senior Experience: Exhibition and Thesis

Learn more about your Art program curriculum.


Facilities and Resources

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

Ceramics Studio is outfitted with 18 potters wheels, six electric Skutt kilns, three glass kilns and one raku kiln.

Communication Design Studio offers cutting-edge digital technology, printing and production facilities. 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 has 18 individual work stations as well as torches, fume exhaust hoods, sandblaster, vulcanizer, lathe and more.

Painting Studio offers 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 is equipped with presses and equipment for intaglio, lithography, screenprinting, relief and 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 various supplies. 

Creative Technology Commons at the Auraria Library on campus serves as a creative hub for teaching and learning with digitation capabilities for image, video and audio content, large-format printing and more.

Coming Soon: Digital Fabrication Lab will have multiple 3-D printers, 3-D scanners, laser engraver and large format printers. 

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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