Female student painting on canvas

Fine Arts, Bachelor of Fine Arts

Art and Design


Studios, galleries, and multimedia communication firms are just some of the organizations in constant need of talented, creative, and professionally trained artists. With the rising consumer preference for more realistic video games along with movie and television special effects, such as 3D animation, this need will continue to grow. 

You can prepare for these opportunities through the Bachelor of Fine Arts program at St. John's. Our Department of Art and Design has attained the prestigious National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD) accreditation, held by selective art schools nationwide.

This 132-credit degree provides necessary technical and creative tools as well as a rigorous liberal arts education. You gain the experience and intellectual preparation to carve out your individual artistic identity. You develop a thorough understanding of the various media used in visual arts, while refining your artistic skills through drawing, painting, and working with computer graphics software. You also acquire essential critical thinking and analytic abilities, benefiting from the University’s well-rounded liberal arts curriculum.

Because of St. John’s location in New York City — a global capital of the arts and media — you have access to invaluable, career-enhancing, for-credit internships at a cross-section of leading cultural and arts organizations.

Contact Information

Belenna Lauto
Professor and Chair
[email protected]

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As part of the admission process, each candidate applying to any of the B.F.A. degrees must also submit their portfolio of original artwork to the Department of Art and Design via SlideRoom. This online portfolio service will allow you to upload, label, arrange, and submit your portfolio electronically. We request 12-15 images using JPG format, for the Macintosh platform. More information on the types of files accepted for upload and specific instructions for portfolio submissions and requirements is available on our department page.

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

We accept portfolios and applications on a rolling basis, but you must submit the portfolio via SlideRoom on or before January 15 if you wish to be considered for one of the visual art scholarships. If you wish to apply for early action, please submit your portfolio via SlideRoom by December 15.

If after reading the portfolio requirements page you have any questions regarding this process, please feel free to contact the Department Chair directly at [email protected].

If you would like more information about admission to this and other acclaimed undergraduate programs at St. John’s University, please visit Undergraduate Admission


Program Requirements BFA in Fine Art

To earn a Bachelor of Fine Art Degree 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 students build their own networks 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 survey 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 business companies 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

    In the area of Global Education, the Department of Art and Design has been a leader since 1989. B.F.A. candidates may apply all of the courses we offer abroad as art electives. We offer courses and programs abroad in Rome, Paris, Spain, and around the world. We encourage you to use art to promote a broader 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
    • The French Sketchbook
    • Painting in Italy
    • Drawing and Design in Rome
    • Culture of Southern Italy, a Visual Journey
    • Photography in Paris
    • Art in Vietnam
    • Survey of Art and Architecture in Italy
    • Art and Architecture in France
    • Italian Renaissance Art and Literature

    Additional Information

    At St. John's, you gain a solid foundation in art theory and its applications to various media. You learn from an enormously gifted, internationally-known faculty of artists whose work appears in galleries, exhibitions and publications in New York City, across the country, and around the world.

    The Department of Art and Design offers full and partial scholarships to freshmen with a record of exemplary skills in high school. Two full-time, four-year scholarships are awarded to students who demonstrate extraordinary proficiency in drawing, painting, printmaking, illustration, graphic design and/or photography.

    St. John’s also awards a $1,000 incentive scholarship to high school seniors who demonstrate excellence in the visual arts. Students are selected through the portfolio review process. For more information, contact Nerissa Palad-Palermo: 718-990-6250; [email protected].

    Our studios provide an ideal atmosphere for students to learn as they create under the guidance of master teachers. Facilities include the state-of-the-art classrooms, featuring cutting-edge equipment and software.

    Each of our B.F.A. programs allow you to complete a thesis or internship during your senior year as the culmination of your degree. Thesis students work closely with their chosen faculty advisor to create a body of work to present to galleries or include in an M.F.A. application portfolio. Internships are individually arranged according to the your interests, strengths, and career objectives. Since we are located just 20 minutes from New York City, and have established a strong network of affiliates and alumni who now hold impressive positions within the art world, we offer extensive internship opportunities. You will benefit from our 50 years of experience and educational excellence in the visual arts.