Art and Design

Female student painting on canvas

Established in 1948 as the “Department of Fine Arts,” the Department of Art & Design currently offers undergraduate degree programs in Graphic Design, Fine Art, Illustration, and Photography, and a graduate program in Museum Administration. In 2004, the Department gained NASAD (National Association of Schools of Art and Design) accreditation, aligning us with the highest standards held by leading art schools nationwide.

As a department, our greatest strength derives from our ability to provide an intensive studio art curriculum within the context of a liberal arts university.

Our mission, since our first degree program was offered in 1963, is to provide a rich and challenging educational environment that emphasizes the creation of visually sophisticated works and concurrently develops the whole person; intellectually, ethically and critically.

We believe that students become professional artists when they begin to express their own unique ideas with skill and conviction while being aware of historical, cultural and social context within their own lives and work.

Through the years, our alumni have made important contributions in the United States and abroad and we continue to integrate the Vincentian Mission of the University as an essential part of the education we offer.  

If, after having read this, our programs interest you, and you would like to visit our department for a studio tour, please contact us at 718-990-6250, or email [email protected]. We'll be happy to meet with you, review your portfolio and discuss your career plans.

Additional Information

B.F.A. applicants must submit their portfolio via SlideRoom. This online portfolio service will allow you to upload, label, arrange and submit your portfolio electronically. We request 12-15 images, JPG format, for the Macintosh platform.

Please note:

  • Files must be labeled as follows: First initial, last name, image number (e.g., jdoe_1)
  • Digital images can’t be larger than 1200 pixels on the longest side and saved in JPG format
  • Inventory sheet with your name, date of birth, degree in which you are applying for (eg: B.F.A. in Fine Art, Photography, Graphic Design, or Illustration), title, dimensions, materials and date of each piece must also accompany the submission. This document must be saved as a PDF in order to upload it to SlideRoom with your portfolio.

Optional On-Campus Interview and Portfolio Critique

B.F.A. applicants also have the option to bring a few pieces from their portfolio to campus to discuss them in an interview setting with a professor from the Department of Art and Design. Campus visits offer applicants the opportunity to attend information sessions, meet individually with art faculty and take a tour of our facilities.

In-person critiques will not confirm or deny your acceptance, but they are a valuable tool in your decision making process and enable you to better select the work you will submit in your portfolio for final assessment.

Please note that applicants attending an on-campus interview and portfolio critique are still required to submit their portfolio via SlideRoom.

What type of work should you include in your portfolio?

Portfolio candidates must include 12-15 original pieces in their portfolio using a variety of materials. Judging will be based on the following criteria: creativity, conceptual ability, design, color sense, idea communication, draftsmanship, and use of materials.

It is suggested that you include in your portfolio at least two examples of each of the following:

  • Original drawings (studies from life; objects, nature, people)
  • Two-dimensional design compositions
  • Painting(s) on paper using at least three colors

Fine Arts and Illustration candidates may add:

  • Flat canvas oil or acrylic paintings
  • Photographs of ceramics or sculpture
  • Illustrations
  • Graphic design projects
  • Original photographs
  • Mmulti-media projects

Graphic Design candidates may add:

  • Graphic design projects
  • Layout designs
  • Typographic designs
  • Original cartoons
  • Original photographs

Please note that Graphic Design candidates may present a portfolio consisting only of graphic design work.

Photography Candidates may add:

  • Original photographic work
  • Analog photography
  • Multi-media works

Please note that Photography candidates may present a portfolio consisting only of photographic work.

Should you have any questions or concerns, we encourage you to contact us at: [email protected].

The Department of Art and Design offers full and partial scholarships to first-year students 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 bestows a $1,000 incentive scholarship to high school seniors who demonstrate excellence in the visual arts.

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. 

35th Annual Art and Design Scholarship Competition for the 2019-2020 Academic Year for High School Seniors

St. John’s University's Department of Art and Design will offer again two full and three partial scholarships to Fall 2019 incoming first-year students who demonstrate a proficiency in the visual arts drawing, painting, printmaking, illustration, graphic design, and photography. All students who apply to one of our B.F.A. programs and submit a portfolio of their work via SlideRoom by January 15, 2019 will be considered for the scholarships. Please note that although we have rolling admissions, only those who apply and submit their portfolio requirements by this date will be considered for the art scholarships.

Portfolio Requirements and Submission Process

B.F.A. applicants must submit their portfolio via SlideRoom. This online portfolio service will allow you to upload, label, arrange, and submit your portfolio electronically.

We request 12-15 images, JPEG format for the Macintosh platform.

Please note:

  • Files must be labeled as follows: First initial, last name, image number (e.g., jdoe_1).
  • Digital images can’t be larger than 1200 pixels on the longest side and saved in JPEG format.
  • Along with your portfolio, please submit an inventory sheet with your name, date of birth, degree for which you are applying (eg: BFA in Fine Art, Photography, Graphic Design, or Illustration), title, dimensions, materials, and date of each piece. This document must be saved as a PDF in order to upload it to SlideRoom with your portfolio.

Please make sure that you have applied to the university before uploading your digital portfolio.

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 this scholarship. 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).

Portfolios are evaluated on artistic expression and sensitivity, technique, and concept. For more information on the type of work that should be included in your portfolio, please visit our Portfolio Requirements Page.

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.