UC Berkeley Art Practice
Department of Art Practice at UC Berkeley

BA Degree Purpose and Requirements

Bachelor of Arts

The Bachelor of Arts is a 4-year exploration of your creative voice as a visual artist. This exploration provides a firm grounding in fundamental techniques and principles of art practice while encouraging exhaustive experimentation. Our curriculum is designed to teach students to think visually and to help students develop a creative intelligence through the disciplined practice of a visual art. We provide technical and conceptual training in most traditional and new media: painting, drawing, printmaking, sculpture (wood, metal, ceramic, and mixed media), photography, installation, performance art, video, animation, sound, and in the emerging fields of programming, interactivity, and game design. Art Majors are expected to round out the required studio courses with Art History and Theory classes.

Art Practice seeks to graduate students who demonstrate an original vision in their approach to practice, form, and content and who have the potential for significant artistic and cultural impact. Successful Art Practice graduates understand the professional art world and are articulate about their work. They are deeply engaged with their art forms, rigorously committed to their crafts, and capable of transcending boundaries of mind, media or method through creative research. Students graduating with a major in art pursue careers as professional artists and teachers or in arts-related activities with museums, galleries, arts management, publishing, and artists’ organizations. At the end of their explorations, students will have acquired:

Could it also be used to create art?

Could it also be used to create art?

  • Art practice skills in several disciplines

  • Solid vocabulary for understanding, sharing, and discussing global arts and visual cultures

  • Creative language including unique and personal methods and aesthetics

  • Capacity to work collaboratively in creative projects

  • Ability to share your work professionally

Curriculum

The UC Berkeley Department of Art Practice offers an undergraduate program in studio art which provides a firm grounding in basic techniques and principles while encouraging guided experimentation. All the courses we offer in a given semester are listed at guide.berkeley.edu.

Our curriculum is designed to teach students to think visually and to help students develop a creative intelligence through the disciplined practice of a visual art. We provide technical and conceptual training in most traditional and new media: painting, drawing, printmaking, sculpture (wood, metal, ceramic, and mixed media), photography, installation, performance art, social practice, video, animation, sound, and in the emerging fields of programming, interactivity, and game design. Art Majors are expected to round out the required studio courses with Art History and Theory classes.

Art Practice seeks to graduate students who demonstrate an original vision in their approach to practice, form, and content and who have the potential for significant artistic and cultural impact. Successful Art Practice graduates understand the professional art world and are articulate about their work. They are deeply engaged with their art forms, rigorously committed to their crafts, and capable of transcending boundaries of mind, media or method through creative research. Students graduating with a major in art pursue careers as professional artists and teachers or in arts-related activities with museums, galleries, arts management, publishing, and artists’ organizations.

Art Practice Classes

While the undergraduate major is made up largely of studio courses, it also requires at least three courses in art history. Our students are required to be broadly familiar with the aesthetic strategies that artists have devised to understand and invent their worlds, not just in the 20th and 21st centuries, but throughout the millennia of human culture. Field trips to area museums, galleries, and artists’ studios provide an important on-site learning tool, one which emphasizes the pedagogical primacy of direct contact with works of art.

Small studio classes with frequent critiques are designed to foster a supportive community, productive debate, and collaborative thinking. Students are encouraged to be both open-minded and tough-minded, to look closely, think critically, and challenge assumptions. Most upper-division studio courses involve an exhibition requirement when students are asked to consider questions of audience, context, site, and timing. Several gallery spaces, among them the Worth Ryder Art Gallery, offer exhibition venues. The department also maintains web space for on-line exhibitions and video streaming.


Declaring the Art Practice Major

Students must apply to declare an Art Major. They must meet the following requirements:

  1. Maintain an overall GPA of 3.3 in all courses

  2. Complete the UC Berkeley Reading and Composition requirements

  3. Complete 1 lower-division Art History course of your choice

  4. Complete or enrolled in 2 required studio classes: 

    • ART 8 or 8A (Must be completed at UC Berkeley)

    • Art 12 Drawing Foundations (or equivalent course taken at another college).

Students must then submit their application to the Major online with a form. The complete application includes:

  1. The UCB Transcript (Unofficial is fine)

  2. A portfolio of 12 digital images for review. These images must be uploaded

  3. One letter of recommendation from an art faculty member, visiting or continuing art lecturer, or art GSI. The form for this letter of recommendation is linked here

  4. A statement of Intent (500 word minimum).

Faculty will review all materials including the portfolio once per semester. The next application deadline is October 11, 2019 at midnight PST. The online application form is linked here.


Graduation Requirements for the Major

In order to graduate Declared Art Practice Major students must:

Complete ART 8 and ART12

Additionally, complete two lower-division studio classes of your choice (Equivalent courses at community college are accepted):

  • ART 13 – Painting: Foundations

  • ART 14 – Sculpture: Foundations

  • ART 15 – Ceramics: Foundations

  • ART 16 – Printmaking: Relief & Intaglio Foundations

  • ART 17 – Printmaking: Litho & Screen Foundations

  • ART 21 – Digital Photography: Foundations

  • ART 23AC – Digital Media: Foundations

  • ART 26 – Moving Image: Foundations 

Complete both of the following required courses:

  • ART 119 – Global Perspectives in Contemporary Art

  • ART 185 – Senior Projects

Complete one Art History from the list below or by approval:

  • HA 100 – Theories and Methods of Art History

  • HA 101 – Theories and Methods of Global Art History

  • HA 183 – Art and Colonialism

  • HA 186A – Art in the Early 20th Century

  • HA 186C – Contemporary Art in the Americas

  • HA 188 – Latin American Art

  • HA 186AC – Race and Representation in the 20C in the U.S.

Complete five Studio courses from the following list:

  • ART 100 – Big Ideas: Collaborative Innovation

  • ART 102 – Approaches to Painting

  • ART 103 – Advanced Painting

  • ART 116 – Ancient Pigments & Contemporary Drawing Practices

  • ART 117 – Research, Methods, Materials of Drawing

  • ART 118 – Contemporary Perspectives of Figure Drawing

  • ART 120, 122, 123 – Approaches to Printmaking: (Intaglio, Lithography, Screenprinting)

  • ART 124 – Advanced Projects in Printmaking

  • ART 130, 132, 133 – Approaches to Sculpture: (Concept & Construction, Ceramics, Meaning and Materials)

  • ART 137 – Advanced Projects: Ceramic Sculpture

  • ART 138 – Approaches to Sculpture: Installation

  • ART 141 – Temporal Structures: Video & Performance

  • ART 142 – New Genres

  • ART 160 – Special Topics in Visual Studies

  • ART 163 – Social Practice: Critical Site and Context

  • ART 171 – Digital Video: The Architecture of Time

  • ART 173 – Electro-Crafting

  • ART 174 – Advanced Digital Video

  • ART 178 – Game Design Methods

  • ART 180 – Advanced Digital Photography

  • ART 184 – Junior Seminar: Meaning and Making

  • ART 195 – Honors Independent Study

**YOU MAY, IF DESIRED, SUBSTITUTE 2 STUDIO CLASSES IN THESE DEPARTMENTS:

  • FILM – 180, 181, 185, or 186

  • Theater, Dance, and Performance Studies – 173, 174, or 175

  • Center for New Media – 190

  • Visual Studies (College of Environmental Design) VS – 185X, 186B


BA Resources for Transfer Students

Transfer students from Community Colleges form a core part of the BA program.

Transfer students from Community Colleges form a core part of the BA program.

Transfer students form a core part of our BA program. We welcome about 20 transfer students per year from Community Colleges and Junior Colleges. Graduation requirements for transfer students are the same as for all other students.

Many of the lower-division art courses transfer students have already completed can be counted towards the BA degree. The student advisor helps transfer students get transfer credit for their coursework.

Declaring the Major is a requirement for enrolling in upper Division courses. Transfer students are eligible to apply to declare the major in their first semester. Deadlines for declarations are in October and in February. The next application deadline is October 11, 2019. The application includes a portfolio review. Transfer student portfolios often include work completed prior to arrival at UC Berkeley. Typically transfer students complete their BA degrees in four semesters.


BA Resources for Veterans

UC Berkeley welcomes and supports Veterans. CalVeterans is a support organization that helps Veterans access their benefits as they pursue higher education. It is staffed by people who are both Veterans and Cal Alumni, so they have plenty of experience concerning what it takes to complete a degree at Cal. Our own Ehren Tool is a veteran, MFA alum, and key member of Art Practice.