Established in 1948, the Department of Art and Design includes B.F.A. majors in Fine Art, Illustration, Graphic Design, and Photography, a B.A. major in Art History, and an M.A. in Museum Administration. Our B.F.A. and B.A. programs offer an intensive art school curriculum within the context of a liberal arts university. Students and faculty work in an environment where the desire to succeed professionally is balanced by the tenets of the Vincentian mission, which emphasizes respect for the individual, service to the needy, human solidarity, and adherence to the belief that giving of one’s self makes the world a better place. Our mission is to provide challenging visual arts degree programs with the goal of developing visually sophisticated artists and designers who are intellectually driven, ethically conscious, and critically aware. Our philosophy centers on students becoming professional artists, designers, and art historians by expressing their unique ideas with skill and conviction, while remaining responsive to the historical, cultural, and social context within their own work and lives.
St. John’s Department of Art and Design alumni are leaders in a wide range of art and design related professions both in New York City and around the country. Our alumni make important contributions to their respective disciplines, and many continue to play vital roles in the department where they serve as advisors and mentors to students and as potential employers. The ongoing connection between current students, faculty, and alumni ensures the continued success of the department and its graduates.
St. John’s University has attained the prestigious National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD) accreditation, held by selective art schools nationwide.
If you would like to visit our department to speak with our faculty and tour our studios, please contact us at 718-990-6250 or [email protected]. We are happy to meet with you to discuss our programs and your career plans.
After completing the St. John's Undergraduate Application, B.F.A. applicants who choose to study Fine Arts, Graphic Design, or Photography do not need to submit a portfolio for acceptance.
Students who wish to study Illustration are required to submit a portfolio (see below) for acceptance. Portfolios and applications are accepted on a rolling basis. For early action, please submit your portfolio for the Illustration program via SlideRoom by December 15. 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.
Applications for all B.F.A. programs are reviewed on a rolling basis.
If you wish to be considered for a visual arts scholarship, regardless of the major you select, you must submit your portfolio via SlideRoom on or before January 15.
Portfolios for scholarship candidates must include 12-15 original pieces using a variety of materials in their portfolio. Judging will be based on creativity, conceptual ability, design, color sense, idea communication, draftsmanship, use of materials, and personal vision.
We suggest that you include at least two examples of each of the following in your portfolio:
Fine Arts and Illustration candidates may add:
Graphic Design candidates may add:
Please note that Graphic Design candidates may present a portfolio consisting only of graphic design work.
Photography Candidates may add:
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].
Students currently enrolled in the B.F.A. programs may take advantage of the University's William B. Ronalds Art Scholarship Fund, Carmela Mirro-Young Scholarship Fund, and Figueira-Merk Scholarship Fund.
You can find information about all scholarships open to students in the department below. You can also find more information on the Scholarships page.
Please note that acceptance into St. John’s University (Bachelor of Fine Arts Program with a major in Graphic Design, Fine Arts, Photography, or Illustration) is a prerequisite for all scholarships. All students wishing to be considered for the program must also complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Students from the state of New York, must also complete the New York State Tuition Assistance Application (TAP).
If you have any questions or comments, or would like to schedule an appointment with one of our faculty members, please call 718-990-6250 or e-mail [email protected].
William B. Ronalds Art Scholarship Fund
Former art professor and chair William Ronalds saw a need to establish a scholarship fund for students enrolled in the B.F.A. programs who found themselves in financial crisis. With the help of friends and Vice President of Community Relations Joseph Sciame, Ronalds founded what was initially called "Art Students in Crisis." For the past 20 years, the scholarship has kept deserving art students in school, enabling them to complete their degrees and succeed in their careers as artists. We thank all of our generous alumni who continue to contribute to William B. Ronalds Art Scholarship Fund and support art students and the arts through challenging economic times.
Carmela Mirro-Young Scholarship Fund
The Carmela Mirro-Young Scholarship Fund was established in 1999 by the Mirro family in memory of their late daughter. Born on June 12, 1961, Carmela Mirro-Young '83C was a fine arts major who was generous, talented, and above all, loving. She was passionate about the arts and excelled in painting, sculpture, and drawing. She passed away on October 9, 1998 at the age of 37 from thrombo-thrombocytopenia purpura, a rare blood disorder. The Carmela Mirro-Young Scholarship is awarded each year in her honor to an SJU undergraduate who is pursuing a bachelor's degree in fine arts and displays academic and/or financial need.
Figueira-Merk Scholarship Fund
This fund was established in 1997 by Theresa M. Figueira, M.D. in accordance with the wishes of the late Harvey J. Merk, M.D. to provide partial annual scholarships to undergraduate students pursuing a major or minor in the humanities (English, Philosophy, Theology, Classics, Asian Studies, Fine Arts, or a foreign language) who demonstrate both financial need and academic achievement.
The Department of Art and Design offers a variety of minors to complement St. John’s University’s major courses of study.
The 18-credit Art minor is a creative addition to any major. You’ll explore techniques that strengthen your observational skills and hone your ability to think creatively, which will enhance your experience of your chosen major.
If you elect the Art minor, you must take the following three courses:
You must also take three courses from among the following suggested electives, chosen in consultation with a departmental advisor:
The Art History minor is an excellent addition to majors in History, Psychology, Sociology, Anthropology, and English. The 18-credit minor requires the completion of the following three courses:
You must also complete two of the following elective courses, chosen in consultation with an advisor:
Additionally, you must complete one of the following studio electives:
Required courses: Students must take the following three courses
ART 1105 or ART 1135 Graphic Design I or Digital Media 3 credits
ART 1115 Graphic Design II 3 credits
ART 2125 Typography 3 credits
Choose from three of the following:
ART 1120 Social Media for Artists and Designers
ART 2115 Graphic Production
ART 2130 Motion Graphics
ART 3125 Advanced Typography
ART 3120 Interaction Design I
ART 3135 Junior Design
The 18-credit music minor is designed to provide interested students with a foundation in the language and history of music as well as experience in a performing ensemble. The minor will allow you to use your creative talents effectively while pursuing other areas of study at St. John’s. It can be tailored to your individual musical abilities, and we encourage you to take a Music Theory Placement Test in order to determine which level is most appropriate for you.
If you elect the music minor, you must take the following two courses:
You must also choose three courses from the following approved electives:
Additionally, you must choose three credits of private study in your instrument of choice, or successfully participate in one of the SJU Musical Ensembles listed below. Please note that the fee for private music instruction is $500 per semester.
The 18-credit Musical Theatre minor will provide you with a foundation in the language and history of musical theatre as well as experience in the performing arts. The minor will allow you to use your creative talents effectively while pursuing other areas of study at St. John’s.
To complete the minor, you are required to take the following courses:
You must also choose three additional courses from among the following:
Additionally, you must complete three credits in applied music:
Please note that the fee for private vocal instruction is $500 per semester. Each section is one credit.
The 18-credit minor in Photography is a creative addition to any major but will especially benefit majors in English, Journalism, Education, Psychology, Sociology, History, and the sciences. You will explore photographic techniques that strengthen your observational skills and learn to ability to create effective visual documentations.
To complete the Photography minor, you must take the following four required courses:
You must also select two of the following elective courses, in consultation with a departmental advisor:
External Transfers to the Fine Art, Graphic Design, Illustration and Photography programs:
Transfer students are required to submit a portfolio for admission to the BFA programs in Fine Art, Graphic Design, Illustration and Photography. External transfer students should submit a portfolio via slideroom.com.
Internal Transfers to the Fine Art, Graphic Design, Illustration and Photography programs:
If you are already a student at St. John’s University and do not have a portfolio you can make an appointment with the Chairperson of the Department of Art and Design and s/he will advise you on next steps to be admitted into the one of our four BFA programs.