Major in Studio Arts

Portfolio submission is not required for enrollment in our studio art program, but prospective students are encouraged to include documentation of their art practice as supplementary materials to their application.

A major in studio arts is typically declared prior to the junior year and requires a total of twelve courses:

  • Four 100-level studio courses; no more than two transferred studio courses will be accepted toward a major
  • Three 200/300-level studios, in any discipline
  • SART 209: Writing on Art (preferably taken prior to the junior year)
  • SART 396 (fall only) and 397 (spring only) must be taken in the same academic year; both must occur in the senior year and SART 397 should not be taken concurrently with any other 200/300-level studio
  • Two other courses from related areas, typically in art history or film and media studies

Students are encouraged to meet with a faculty advisor to design a coherent program of study early in their degree process. Majors should consider course alternatives to the regular 200/300-level offerings, such as internships, Art New York, supervised teaching, and study abroad.

Majors must present an exhibition of works (SART 399) in their senior year along with a thoughtful, cohesive defense of it. Documentation of the works is submitted to and retained by the department. The works comprising this exhibition will eventually be added to the Virtual Alumni Gallery.

Honors in Studio Arts

If you wish to be considered a candidate for honors in studio art, you must meet the following requirements before applying:

  • A grade-point average of 3.5 within the major
  • The ability to fully integrate the honors requirements in the beginning of the junior year


To apply, you must submit an honors project proposal to your faculty advisor(s) and the chair. The subject of the proposal needs to have been mutually agreed upon (and signed) by the student and his/her faculty advisor in the junior year. To apply, submit the following:

  • A portfolio of twenty images that most clearly represent your creative practice as an artist or designer
  • A one-page artist statement that broadly defines the interest that informs the entire scope of work
  • A statement of purpose outlining your interests and goals as it relates to the process and results of the honors thesis work (one page)

Honors Program Requirements

Following the acceptance of the proposal by the department, you must complete a minimum of twelve credit hours beyond major requirements, with the following distribution:

  • Four credit hours in a 300-level course.
  • Four credit hours in a 200-level or higher art history course (preferably in critical theory or relevant to your artistic concerns) and agreed upon in consultation with a studio advisor.
  • Four credit hours in SART 393: Senior Project. This course should include both studio work and a distinguished research paper substantiating the student's art with historical and/or theoretical principles. SART 393 should be completed during the senior year and must be evaluated by the student’s faculty advisor and a second reader.
  • Submit the essay and a digital portfolio that includes documentation of the work as an interactive PDF or website.
  • Maintain a 3.5 grade-point average within the major.

The research paper should exemplify a thorough investigation into subject matter that supports and/or runs parallel to the content of the student’s visual production. This paper must clearly articulate a thoughtful perspective and creatively analyze the chosen topic rather than simply provide a formal review of pre-existing research.

Components of the paper may include, but are not limited to:

  • Art historical references
  • Issues in visual and cultural studies
  • Discussions regarding a specific process that is critical to understanding the work itself
  • Evaluations of other artists' works
  • Invented narratives
  • Discussions surrounding the use of non-traditional media (i.e., the implications of using social networking as a medium)
  • Relevant documents and/or interviews

The length of the paper will be determined in consultation with the advisors.

Example honors paper (pdf)

Suggested Timeline

The majority of the studio work should be completed in the fall semester with the exhibition scheduled in January or February. The written section of the thesis must be turned in by March 1.

Requirements for Graduation with Distinction

Grade point average is calculated only from the required major courses. Transfer grades and study abroad grades (unless given by the University of Rochester) are not computed.

Levels of distinction are rated by a minimum GPA as follows:

  • With Distinction: 3.5
  • With High Distinction: 3.7
  • With Highest Distinction: 3.9

More Information

For more information about studio art, contact one of our undergraduate advisors for studio art: 

Stephanie Ashenfelder
(585) 273-5994

Heather Layton
(585) 273-5994

Sage Art Center