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College of Creative Arts: School of Art and Design

Art and Design, BFA

The BFA program is designed to help students acquire fundamental technical and conceptual skills along with a broad knowledge of art and design history as a foundation necessary for the creation of original works in art, design and scholarship.

As a nationally-accredited major, the BFA in Art and Design has a proven record of producing students with the talent to lead successful creative lives in professional careers as artists, art consultants, art directors, educators, animators, gallery directors, cartoonists, curators, exhibition designers, graphic designers, illustrators, multimedia consultants, museum educators, museum preparators, photojournalists, product designers, professional print studio assistants, special effects designers, typographers, videographers, web developers and more.

Beyond offering training in all areas of studio practice, this program is designed to strengthen a student’s critical thinking and creative problem-solving ability. BFA graduates are uniquely positioned to contribute innovative solutions in response to evolving circumstances in every profession.

BFA students take several studio art courses outside of their area of emphasis to learn flexibility, and a menu of unique, scholarship-supported Global Positioning Studies courses allow students to make creative responses to a specific regional, national or international culture or environment. Additionally, art history classes required for the BFA give students a broader and more inclusive introduction to global art and culture.

At its core, the BFA program promotes authentic curiosity and exploration, a respect for diversity and a celebration of progressive creative development.

Your Degree Plan


Aerial view of Martin and Woodburn Halls

The BFA in Art and Design is nationally accredited and constantly updated to provide students with the most current training and technology to prepare for a career in today’s growing creative professions.

Tailor this major to your interests by focusing your coursework in one of these areas:

  • Graphic Design

    Study in Graphic Design begins with learning a foundation in typography, color, symbolic drawings, design for small and large formats and design thinking. In addition to computer graphics and web design, tactical elements of design are explored hands-on through paper engineering, book arts courses and access to a letterpress studio.

    The Graphic Design area runs a model design studio, Studio 2453, that serves up to 30 clients per year. Students work as project directors with clients to produce designs that often benefit a particular community.

    A portfolio class also prepares seniors for a design career where they present their work in Pittsburgh or Cleveland at AIGA Portfolio Days to gain feedback from industry professionals.

  • Painting

    The Painting area provides training in traditional and experimental oil and acrylic media and exploration of both figurative and abstract imagery. The naturally-lit painting studio located on the top floor of the Canady Creative Arts Center offers semi-private studio space to undergraduate students during their junior and senior years.

    A unique Summer Painting Program in China allows students to study landscape painting in the Chinese ink style in Nanjing and Tangka (Tibetan scroll painting) in Tongren with extensive travel to major historical and artistic sites throughout China.

    The Painting in NYC Global Positioning Studies course gives students the opportunity to explore the cutting-edge contemporary art scene in New York City.

  • Photography

    The Photography area fosters creative exploration in the production of contemporary art through digital and traditional photographic processes. Facilities include a traditional darkroom and a digital-imaging lab.

    Students are encouraged to travel to the wilderness of Jackson Hole, Wyoming to participate in the area’s unique summer field course, the Jackson Hole Photography Workshop.

    By graduation, students have the ability to build a high-quality portfolio, jump-starting those interested in photography in the professional photography business.

  • Time-Based Art

    The Time-Based Art area fosters creative exploration in the production of durational media–instead of static art objects–including digital video, animation, installation, interactivity and sound design.

    Students can travel to the Atacama desert in South America to participate in the area’s summer field course, Space: Atacama. This unique adventure art course takes students into the remote, northern desert region of Chile to investigate themes of perception, space, positioning, self-awareness, and environmental appreciation, bringing a host of multimedia tools and strategies to bear upon this investigation.

    Additionally, the area hosts the West Virginia Mountaineer Short Film Festival that celebrates exceptional, compelling and innovative works in film, experimental video and animation. Time-Based Art students are encouraged to submit their films for consideration

Take advantage of special options related to this major:

  • Honors

    Expand your curiosity — and enhance your curriculum — through the WVU Honors College. Two programs are offered: Honors Foundations for first- and second-year students and Honors EXCEL for third- and fourth-year students.

    Explore Honors

The WVU Difference

What sets this program apart from its competitors?

  • Cross-disciplinary program that encourages experience in all studio practices in addition to an area of professional emphasis including ceramics, graphic design, painting, photography, printmaking, sculpture and time-based art.
  • Students take Global Positioning Studies (GPS) courses focused on making creative responses to a specific environment in locations in the state and region, across the country and around the world.
  • Generous funding is available for student travel for GPS courses and study abroad experiences.
  • All students can apply to the annual Juried Student Exhibition held in the Mesaros Galleries and offering cash awards.
  • Students get hands-on learning experiences in state-of-the-art studios including printmaking processes from silkscreen to lithography, firing ceramic kilns and learning 3-D ceramic printing, helping with metal and bronze casting pours in sculpture, and learning lead-type and relief printing in graphic design.
  • Internships allow students to bridge the gap from student to professional life including creative opportunities with other campus departments, regional museums, galleries, print studios, design firms, web developers, etc.
  • Accredited by the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD) since 1977; currently under re-accreditation review.
  • Metal pour for mold casting in the Sculpture area. The metal shop is at the back of the Canady Creative Arts Center.

90% of WVU freshmen receive grants or scholarships (2020-2021).

Learn more

Learn by Doing

Learning happens outside the classroom. Get involved.

  • Web Design Intern, WVU University Relations
  • Design Intern, WVU College of Business & Economics
  • Clay Business Intern, Archie Bray Foundation for the Ceramic Arts
  • Printmaking Intern, Artist Image Resource (AIR)
  • Museum Intern, Art Museum of WVU

Attending college will prepare you for many things. The Art and Design major will give you the following skills:

Students in the BFA major learn to think critically and solve problems creatively, a valuable skill in any profession.

Live, study and pursue outside-the-classroom learning in a residence hall community that shares your interests:

Outside of the Evansdale Crossing building.

What you learn outside of the classroom is just as important as what you learn during class. We’ll help you follow your curiosity.

Careers and Outcomes

How does this degree prepare students for a career?

Craft Artists

Create or reproduce hand-made objects for sale and exhibition using a variety of techniques, such as welding, weaving, pottery and needlecraft.

Median Salary: $38,150

Possible job titles include: Artist, Designer, Furniture Maker, Glass Artist.

Explore Career

Fine Artists, Including Painters, Sculptors and Illustrators

Create original artwork using any of a wide variety of media and techniques.

Median Salary: $57,560

Possible job titles include: Artist, Fine Artist, Painter, Sculptor.

Explore Career

Desktop Publishers

Format typescript and graphic elements using computer software to produce publication-ready material.

Median Salary: $47,910

Possible job titles include: Advertising Associate, Computer Typesetter, Electronic Console Display Operator, Graphic Artist, Electronic Imager, Electronic Publishing Specialist.

Explore Career

Video Game Designers

Design core features of video games. Specify innovative game and role-play mechanics, story lines and character biographies. Create and maintain design documentation. Guide and collaborate with production staff to produce games as designed.

Has a Bright Outlook

Median Salary: $83,240

Possible job titles include: Design Director, Game Designer, World Designer, Level Designer, Designer.

Explore Career


Administer collections, such as artwork, collectibles, historic items or scientific specimens of museums or other institutions. May conduct instructional, research or public service activities of institution.

Has a Bright Outlook , May require a Graduate Degree

Median Salary: $60,380

Possible job titles include: Associate Curator, Collections Curator, Curator, Museum Curator.

Explore Career

Art Directors

Formulate design concepts and presentation approaches for visual communications media, such as print, broadcasting and advertising. Direct workers engaged in art work or layout design.

Median Salary: $105,180

Possible job titles include: Art Director, Creative Director, Production Manager, Senior Art Director.

Explore Career

Special Effects Artists and Animators

Create special effects, animation or other visual images using film, video, computers or other electronic tools and media for use in products or creations, such as computer games, movies, music videos and commercials.

Median Salary: $98,950

Possible job titles include: Animator, Art Director, Artist, Creative Director.

Explore Career

Commercial and Industrial Designers

Develop and design manufactured products, such as cars, home appliances and children's toys. Combine artistic talent with research on product use, marketing and materials to create the most functional and appealing product design.

Median Salary: $75,910

Possible job titles include: Design Engineer, Industrial Designer, Mold Designer, Product Designer, Sign Designer.

Explore Career

Graphic Designers

Design or create graphics to meet specific commercial or promotional needs, such as packaging, displays or logos. May use a variety of mediums to achieve artistic or decorative effects.

Median Salary: $57,990

Possible job titles include: Creative Director, Designer, Graphic Artist, Graphic Designer.

Explore Career


Photograph people, landscapes, merchandise or other subjects, using digital or film cameras and equipment. May develop negatives or use computer software to produce finished images and prints. Includes scientific photographers, aerial photographers and photojournalists.

Has a Bright Outlook

Median Salary: $40,170

Possible job titles include: Commercial Photographer, Photographer, Photojournalist, Portrait Photographer, Advertising Photographer, Sports Photographer, Studio Photographer, Photo Editor, Portrait Photographer, Graduation Photographer, Newspaper Photographer.

Explore Career

Where our recent grads are working

  • Corporate Partnership Creative Services Coordinator, Cleveland Cavaliers
  • Organizational Culture Specialist, Design and Organizational Culture
  • Marketing Associate, Dietician on Demand
  • Senior Product Designer, Zoom
  • Senior Graphic Designer II, McDaniel College
  • Senior Graphic Designer, Appian Corporation
  • Graphic Designer, Burns Scalo Real Estate
  • Marketing Administrator, Dan Ryan Builders
  • Graphic Designer, Dogs of Charm City
  • Art Director, Newell Brands
  • Owner/Designer, Duende Design Co.
  • Senior Designer/Global Consumer Products, Netflix
  • Senior Graphic Designer, JPA Health
  • Junior Graphic Designer, Assured Partners
  • Senior Designer, Union Creative Performance Marketing Agency
  • Game Play Director, Esports Engine
  • Studio Tech & Artist-in-Residence, Maine College of Art and Design
  • Workshop Organizer, Beckley Art Center
  • Printer, Artists Image Resource
  • Videographer, The Stick Company
  • Ceramic Instructor, Butler Community College
  • Assistant Professor of Fine Art, University of Cincinnati
  • Arts Manager, Englewood Arts Center
  • Ceramic Designer, Limelight
  • Assistant Professor of Photojournalism, University of Texas at Austin
  • Communication/Graphic Design Instructor, E. Russell Hicks Middle School
Related Professional Organizations

Studio Art

WVU graduate programs to consider:

Where some of our grads have continued their studies:

  • MS, Cyber/Computer Forensics and Counterterrorism, Maryville University of St. Louis
  • MFA, UX Design, Maryland Institute College of Art
  • MFA, Digital Art, Bowling Green State University
  • MA, Film and Media Production, American University
  • MFA, Sculpture, University of Wisconsin-Madison
  • MFA, Printmaking, Southern Illinois University
  • MFA, Printmaking, University of Arizona
  • MBA, WVU College of Business & Economics
  • MFA, Photography, Maryland Institute College of Art


Common questions and answers about Art and Design.

  1. Yes, but we have faculty to help you and easy instructions to follow. This is a non-competitive opportunity for students to submit images of visual work in any medium as evidence of their creative potential.

  2. Our graduates have a high placement record in a variety of creative professions as artists, designers, artist assistants, gallery/museum staff and more. Many choose to pursue graduate degrees or certificates to become art teachers or art therapists.

  3. Yes, BFA students can participate with a number of regional/national travel courses and study abroad opportunities in Chile, China, France and Italy. Generous funding is available to help with travel expenses and students earn course credit toward their degree.

  4. BFA students are encouraged to submit their work every year to the Juried Student exhibition and have the chance to win cash prizes. All graduating BFA students can participate in the BFA Senior Exhibition. Both shows are held in the Mesaros Galleries in the lobby of the Canady Creative Arts Center. Additionally, there are many galleries and businesses around Morgantown that are open to exhibiting student art.

Places and Spaces

Learn about all of the places and spaces you'll learn in.

Program Facility - Creative Arts Center

Canady Creative Arts Center

The Loulie, Valerie and William Canady Creative Arts center boasts 4 exhibition spaces, 5 performance spaces, 33 individual practice rooms and 50 classrooms and studios with plenty of space to create. The loading dock at the rear of the building is a wonderful open-air space with stunning acoustics.

Explore the Canady Creative Arts Center
  • Virtual Tour
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  • Student Life
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Admission Requirements

To be admitted to WVU's Art and Design major, first-time freshmen must meet WVU's first-time freshman admission requirements for the 2024-25 academic year. Interested in transferring? Review the transfer admission requirements.

Tuition and Aid

How much does Art and Design at WVU cost? And how can you save?

Tuition and Fees

Estimated rates are available on our tuition website. Anyone who is not a current West Virginia resident, including international students, will be charged non-resident rates.

View Tuition and Fees


Estimate your eligibility for merit scholarships at WVU Morgantown.

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Net Price Calculator

Estimate your cost of attendance and eligibility for financial aid and scholarships at any WVU System campus.

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Ways to Save

Here are a few ways for you to save on the cost of attending WVU in addition to university scholarships.

Financial Aid

The most important step toward funding your future with financial aid for the Art and Design major is submitting the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, or FAFSA.

How to Complete the FAFSA

Transfer Articulation Agreements

To simplify the transfer process, we have formal agreements with certain institutions. These agreements outline the courses you should take to prepare for transferring to WVU.

Review the full list of transfer articulation agreements to see if your institution is listed.

Learn How to Transfer Course Credits

Ready to take the next step?

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Request Info

Want to know more about Art and Design at WVU? Fill out our request form to receive more information.

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