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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:

  • Ceramics

    Learn all aspects of the ceramic process from wheel-throwing to hand-building to 3D ceramic printing, glaze technology, and kiln building and firing. Our program is one of the few left in the nation with a ceramics production line, making student ceramics available to the public at bi-annual sales. Students can travel and study with some of China’s most prominent teachers and ceramic artists in summer and fall Ceramics in China courses through a unique partnership with the Pottery Workshop in Jingdezhen. The Ceramics in China courses offer access to the Ceramics Technology Global Research Center, which promotes creative exploration at the intersection of advanced technology and ceramics.

  • 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.

  • Printmaking

    Students can explore monoprinting, relief, silk-screen, computer-mediated images and alternative printing processes in the Printmaking area. Courses focus on the student’s visual expression through their examination of formal issues, media exploration, relevant histories, contemporary critical discourse and diverse approaches to problem solving. The visiting artist and collaborative print initiative are exciting components of the program where nationally-recognized artists work with students to produce limited edition prints. The printmaking area is dedicated to preparing students for life as practicing, professional artists. Through a unique partnership with the Artists Image Resource (AIR) in Pittsburgh, select printmaking students may intern each year, working with AIR’s executive director to learn new processes and collaborate with professional artists.

  • Sculpture

    The Sculpture area encourages experimental approaches to art-making including mixed media, mold making, installation, community-based and environmental work. Students have the opportunity to participate each year in group metal pours, learning the technical and safety requirements to successfully cast in bronze and aluminum. Coursework provides a thorough introduction to many different materials and processes and is structured to enhance the student’s ability to solve structural, spatial, formal and conceptual problems. Initially, students concentrate on basic construction techniques and craftsmanship and then explore various tools and techniques used in the wood and metal shops. Large-scale works are encouraged and may be exhibited on the grounds of the Canady Creative Arts Center.

  • 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.
  • The Creative Consultant program pairs students with successful alums for mentorship.

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?

Desktop Publishers

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

Median Salary: $46,910

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: $79,890

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: $60,110

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.

Has a Bright Outlook

Median Salary: $100,890

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

Explore 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.

Has a Bright Outlook

Median Salary: $35,930

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.

Has a Bright Outlook

Median Salary: $60,820

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

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.

Has a Bright Outlook

Median Salary: $78,790

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: $77,030

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

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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: $50,710

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: $38,950

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.

Canady Creative Arts Center

Students in the BFA major benefit from state-of-the-art studios that serve all areas of emphasis located within the Canady Creative Arts Center (CCAC) on the Evansdale campus of WVU. The School of Art and Design is located on all five of the floors within the CCAC. Level 1 hosts the sculpture wood shop along with a Fabrication Lab while the metal shop is on Level 2 along with the art education studio. The Mesaros Galleries are located to either side of the Douglas O. Blaney Lobby inside the main entrance. The ceramic studios and kiln space are at the back of the building while facilities for ceramic 3-D printing are located off site at a separate production studio. Level 4 has two graphic design studios and a photography lighting lab. Finally, Level 5 is home to two painting studios, the drawing studio, printmaking studios and lithography room, electronic media studio, foundations studio, a photography dark room, photography classroom and Epson printer rooms.

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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 2023-24 academic year. Interested in transferring? Review the transfer admission requirements.

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