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Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) Degree

The School of Art History's BFA program blends academic inquiry and practice with one of the most extensive studio art and design programs in the world. Merging the classical tradition of studying western art with the skills and practice of a fine art education, our students gain the unique perspective and ability to discuss broad themes around history's most enduring and inspiring works of art.

BFA Art History Unit Requirements

Major Coursework
Core 27 units
Major* 9 units
Major Elective 9 units
Studio 33 units
Liberal Arts** 36 units
Electives 6 units
TOTAL 120 units

*Advanced Studies Art History

**Non-Art History General Education

BFA Art History Degree Requirements

  • Minimum grade of C- in all core courses, major courses, studio coursework, LA 107 Writing for the Multilingual Artist or LA 108 Composition for the Artist, and LA 202 English Composition: Creative Persuasion & Argument
  • Minimum 2.0 GPA and the following general education requirements:
    4 European Foreign Language courses
    1 Written Communications: Composition course
    1 Written Communications: Expository Writing course
    1 Western Civilization course
    1 Quantitative Literacy course
    1 Employment Communications and Practices course
    1 Cultural Ideas & Influences course

After above general education requirements are met, take Liberal Arts electives as needed to fulfill the Liberal Arts unit requirement.

Additional Information

BFA Program Learning Outcomes

Undergraduate students will meet the following student performance criteria:

Art Historical Knowledge

  • Demonstrate proficient knowledge of art historical issues through a final written thesis.
  • Intelligently discuss art and architecture from the major Western traditions and the artists that produced them
  • Analyze the stylistic characteristics of Western art and architecture using appropriate terminology
  • Analyze the social, political, historical and religious contexts of Western art and architecture

Art and Design Skills

  • Create a portfolio of work within a specialized discipline of fine art (Painting and Printmaking or Sculpture)
  • Demonstrate basic command of color, drawing and compositional choices within their specialty area

Research and Analysis

  • Research and persuasively analyze an art historical issue and/or theoretical position
  • Apply theoretical and methodological approaches to the interpretation of Western art and architecture

Communication Skills

  • Clearly express their ideas though reflective writing and researched presentations
  • Speak, read and write on a basic level in a foreign (European) language

Professional Readiness

  • Conduct research, write effectively and synthesize acquired knowledge in art historical as well as fine art contexts.

Academy of Art University Learning Outcomes
Graduates of the Academy of Art University will demonstrate the ability to:

  1. Produce a body of work suitable for seeking professional opportunities in their chosen field of art and design.
  2. Solve creative problems within their field of art and design, including research and synthesis of technical, aesthetic, and conceptual knowledge.
  3. Communicate their ideas professionally and connect with their intended audience using visual, oral, and written presentation skills relevant to their field.
  4. Execute technical, aesthetic, and conceptual decisions based on an understanding of art and design principles.
  5. Evaluate work in their field, including their own work, using professional terminology.
  6. Recognize the influence of major cultural and aesthetic trends, both historical and contemporary, on art and design products.
  7. Learn the professional skills and behaviors necessary to compete in the global marketplace for art and design.


Explore our course catalog and take classes based on your interests, either online or in our world-class facilities in San Francisco.

Undergraduate Degree Breakdowns

Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA)

Rooted in practical skills and professional knowledge, the BFA degree provides students with a disciplined approach to the study of Art History. The general education program (Liberal Arts) supports major coursework by promoting the breadth of knowledge, critical thinking and communications skills necessary to analyze issues from multiple perspectives. Student portfolios will demonstrate the variety of skills and creativity developed. Graduates enter the field prepared for professional opportunities in Art History.

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