Female student painting on canvas

Fine Arts, Bachelor of Fine Arts

Art and Design

Overview

Art galleries, design studios, and communications firms are in constant need of creative and professionally trained visual artists. With an overall rise in consumer preference for sophisticated images, opportunities for artists continue to grow. 

A Bachelor of Fine Arts (B.F.A.) from St. John's University prepares you for these opportunities. St. John’s is accredited by the prestigious National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD), which sets the highest standards in the arts for undergraduate and graduate art degrees nationwide.

Our 132-credit program provides necessary technical and creative tools as well as a rigorous liberal arts education. You gain the practical experience and intellectual preparation to develop your artistic identity. You acquire a thorough understanding of the various media used in visual arts while refining your creative skills in drawing, painting, photography, and digital media. Courses and projects expand your critical thinking and analytical skills as well as the creative conceptualization of your artist’s voice, as does the University's well-rounded liberal arts curriculum.

St. John's is located in New York City, the global capital of the arts and media. As a B.F.A. student, you have access to leading companies in the design, fine arts, photography and illustration industries, and may embark on career-enhancing internships at leading design studios and arts organizations.

Program Mission Statement

Since the making of art is a multifaceted process, the education of an artist should go considerably beyond instruction of technique and media. The artistic process, at its best, is creative, intuitive, analytical, and highly sophisticated. It requires all the knowledge, discipline, sensitivity, and awareness of a liberally-educated mind.

The Bachelor of Fine Arts (B.F.A.) program in Fine Art at St. John's prepares students for a career in a variety of arts disciplines and for graduate studies by:

  1. Teaching the core competencies of research, writing, and critical thinking through the continual observation and analysis of the visual and social world.
  2. Helping students develop two and three-dimensional media-based design skills and technological proficiency toward the creation of a professional portfolio.
  3. Providing a strong philosophical and historical foundation of the visual arts and its impact on contemporary social and visual culture. Students in the Fine Arts program gain the technical and intellectual preparation necessary for the development of their own personal creative solutions, as well as the means to make informed career decisions. Our studio art courses are aimed toward preparing students to become creative and ethically-minded contributors to the social and cultural discourse that shapes contemporary society.

Contact

Elizabeth DeLuna
Professor and Chair
718-990-5603
[email protected]

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Admission

In addition to applying to St. John's College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, each B.F.A. candidate must submit their portfolio of original artwork to the Department of Art and Design via SlideRoom. This online portfolio service allows you to upload, label, arrange, and submit your portfolio electronically to faculty reviewers. We request 12-15 images using JPG format, but also accept other file types as per the instructions on the SlideRoom portal. Specific instructions for your portfolio upload are available on the department page, and in the SlideRoom Portal.

After completing the St. John's Undergraduate Application, you will be able to upload your images via SlideRoom.

Portfolios and applications are accepted on a rolling basis, but you must submit your portfolio via SlideRoom on or before January 15 to be considered for one of the visual art scholarships. For early action, please submit your portfolio via SlideRoom by December 15.

Please contact the Department Chair directly at [email protected] with any questions regarding this process.

For more information about admission to this and other acclaimed undergraduate programs at St. John's University, please visit Undergraduate Admission

Scholarships

The Department of Art and Design awards two full-time, four-year scholarships to first-year students who demonstrate extraordinary proficiency and creative potential in their portfolio submission and have met the academic requirements of St. John’s College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.

Three additional first-year students who demonstrate excellence in the visual arts are offered a $1,000 incentive scholarship. Students are selected through the portfolio review process and must submit their portfolio in our SlideRoom portal by January 15 to be considered. For more information, contact Nerissa Palad-Palermo at 718-990-6250 or [email protected].

Courses

To earn a B.F.A. in Fine Art, students complete 132 credits in core, major-requirements and elective courses as outlined below. For more information about courses, please see the St. John’s College of Liberal Arts and Science section of our Undergraduate Bulletin.

Required Studio Courses*

ART 1110Foundation Design
ART 1130Color Theory
Choose one from ART 1135 or ART 1105
ART 1200Drawing I
ART 1210Drawing II
ART 1510Printmaking: Relief & Intaglio
ART 2120Three-Dimensional Design
ART 2220Anatomy & Figure Drawing I
ART 2310Painting I
ART 2320Painting II
ART 2520Printmaking: Planographic Methods
Choose one from ART 3200 or ART 3720
ART 3240Drawing III
ART 3350Mixed Media Concerns
ART 3560Studio Seminar I
ART 4110Studio Seminar II

*Please note that studio art courses meet for six hours per week. 

Required Art History Courses

ART 1710History of Art I
ART 1720History of Art II
ART 2750Historical Modernism 1848-1945
ART 2790Contemporary Art & Culture

Choose One of the Following: 

ART 4125Creative Thesis (9 credits)
ART 4909Internship (9 credits)

In addition, you must select four art electives (12 credits total). 

Required Core Curriculum Courses

DNY 1000C
ENG 1000C
ENG 1100C
HIS 1000C
MFL Electives (2)
MTH 1000C
PHI 1000C
PHI 2200C
PHI 3000C
SCI 1000C
One social science elective from: ANT, ECO, GEO, GOV, LIN, PSY, or SOC
SPE 1000C
THE 1000C
THE 2000-level
THE 3000-level

Career Outcomes

Thanks to their strong personal and professional connections, our professors help you build your own network in New York’s art scene. Seniors gain internships with publishers, magazines, advertising agencies, graphic design studios, museums, galleries, and other organizations that enable them to launch successful careers.

A survey conducted by The Wall Street Journal includes St. John’s among its Top 100 colleges that are “most likely to help students land a job in key careers and professions — areas that are growing, pay well and offer high levels of satisfaction.” Studios, galleries, multimedia communications firms, and businesses in general rely on the creative intuition and skills of designers to reach their target audience. This competitive field is expected to grow an estimated 13 percent, especially in the interactive media sector. Our alumni find great success within their field of study and most of our interns are hired by the hosting firm before they even graduate.

    Global Approach to Education

    Since 1998 the Department of Art and Design has been a leader in Global Education. As a B.F.A. student, you may apply for a study abroad semester, during which you will experience the cultural riches of Rome, Italy, Paris, France, and/or Limerick, Ireland first-hand. We also offer individual course opportunities in a variety of locations around the globe. We encourage you to use our global art offerings to broaden you understanding of humanity from both a global and personal perspective.

    Below is a sampling of some of the courses we offer abroad:

    • The Italian Sketchbook
    • Drawing and Design in Rome
    • Photography in Paris
    • Survey of Art and Architecture in Italy
    • Art and Architecture in France
    • Monuments of World Architecture
    • The City of Rome
    • A variety of “Special Topic” short-term classes abroad

    Additional Information

    You gain a solid foundation in the visual arts and emerging media and their applications across various media and disciplines. You learn from experienced and internationally known faculty whose work appears in prestigious media companies, product and publication design, galleries, museums, and publications in New York City, across the country, and around the globe.

    Our studios provide an ideal environment for you to learn and create under the guidance of master educators. Our facilities include state-of-the-art classrooms with cutting-edge equipment and software.

    Each B.F.A. program capstone experience is a thesis or internship during your senior year. Thesis students work closely with their chosen faculty advisor creating a body of work to present to galleries or include in an M.F.A. application portfolio. Internships are individually arranged according to the student's interests, strengths, and career objectives. With easy access to Manhattan, students have access to our strong network of affiliates and alumni who now hold prominent positions in the arts.