Why Study Art?

The Art department's mission is to train artists, art historians, and visual arts administrators, as well as to provide service courses for non-art majors. Through our courses, we aspire to build an appreciation for the rich interchange of images and ideas that can happen between art and other academic disciplines. Our graduates in art have been encouraged to consider their future professional role in the context of both the contemporary world and the historical world. Besides a reverence for art history, they have been taught appropriate skills of mind, hand, and eye. They have been helped to find the next steps in their life journey, and have been challenged to be the best they can be in their chosen specialty.

How We're Different

  1. Small classes taught by nationally and internationally renowned faculty equates to individual attention and successful mentoring.
  2. Students have access to studios 24 hours a day, seven days a week which promotes independent visual exploration, fosters camaraderie and community among students, and encourages the work ethic needed for success in the visual arts.
  3. Each studio faculty member maintains an active studio, most have gallery affiliations, and all have successful national and/or international exhibition records.
  4. Art history faculty have proven records of success including publications and presentations at national and international venues, publications in peer-reviewed literature, and internationally competitive research grants and fellowships.
  5. Faculty and students have participated in ArtPrize by curating, publishing, and exhibiting and have included Overall Winner in 2010, Top 10 in 2012, and Final Five in 2014 in the time-based category.
  6. Students can participate in a life-changing biennial study abroad program in Paris which combines rigorous art history and studio training on campus during the spring semester with a three-week travel study in Paris in May.
  7. All art students have free access to the Grand Rapids Art Museum and Frederik Meijer Gardens and Sculpture Park and bus trips are offered each year to the Art Institute of Chicago, the Museum of Contemporary Art, and the Detroit Institute of Art
  8. Facilities include a new 25-computer Mac lab for graphic design courses.
  9. Students have successfully secured internships at the Grand Rapids Art Museum, the Frederik Meijer Gardens and Sculpture Park, the Grand Rapids Public Museum, the Ford Library, the Urban Institute of Contemporary Art, and The Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago.
  10. Six gallery exhibits per year showcase the art of students, faculty, and national artists.

Major Requirements

Seventy-eight (78) hours. Required courses: thirty-three (33) semester hours of foundation studio courses; AT130, AT131, AT142, AT143, AT201, AT202, AT212, AT230, AT311, AT321, AT341, AT400; a primary studio concentration (12 hours) and a secondary studio concentration (9 hours) in ceramics, drawing, painting, photography, printmaking, or sculpture; six (6) hours of art electives; and fifteen (15) hours in art history courses including AT150, AT151, AT350, AT391, and an art history elective.

B.F.A. majors are required to earn a minimum of thirty (30) credit hours in studio and nine (9) semester hours in art history at Aquinas College. At least nine studio art credits must be earned during the last two years before graduation. Entry into the B.F.A. program is via a portfolio review conducted near the end of each semester. To remain in the program, B.F.A. students are required to have their portfolio successfully reviewed each semester. A final thesis exhibition is required of all B.F.A. students before graduation. This exhibition must be approved by the Art Department faculty and verified by the department chairperson. B.F.A. Majors are required to submit a portfolio of work completed at Aquinas before mid-term of their last semester.


  • AT130 Basic Drawing I (3) AC
  • AT131 Basic Drawing II (3)
  • AT142 Graphic and Digital Design (3)
  • AT143 2 and 3 Dimensional Design (3)
  • AT201 Life Drawing (3)
  • AT202 Advanced Drawing (3)
  • AT212 Photography I (3)
  • AT230 New Forms Studio (3)
  • AT311 Painting I (3)
  • AT321 Sculpture I (3)
  • AT341 Printmaking I (3)
  • AT400 Art Seminar (3) SC
  • AT150 History of Art and Architecture I (3) AC
  • AT151 History of Art and Architecture II (3) AC
  • AT350 Modern Survey (3) WI
  • AT391 Contemporary Art (3) WI

Program taught in:
  • English

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Last updated June 1, 2019
This course is Campus based
Start Date
4 years
25,000 USD
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Start Date
End Date
June 2020
Application deadline
Application deadline
End Date
June 2020

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