Learn to create and understand art through a variety of media.

Whether you want to create, to teach, or to enhance your ability to appreciate art, you can earn your art degree through the study of visual arts, theory, concept, and practice. The visual arts program incorporates a curriculum consistent with College Art Association (C.A.A.) guidelines through the exploration of traditional and emerging mediums.  

Choose from a variety of optional concentrations to customize your bachelor’s in art to meet both your personal interests and career goals. All concentrations share a common art major foundation program that leads into the concentration specializations in the final two years of study. 

Available optional concentrations: 

Graphic Design
For art majors interested in a career in graphic design or commercial art, the Graphic Design Concentration provides an emphasis in computer-generated graphics, as well as an opportunity to study various art forms. 

For art majors interested in a career in illustration or preparation for graduate study in illustration, the Illustration Concentration (18 additional credits) offers broad-based training. You’ll learn how to research, develop, and create ideas relating to characters, stories, graphics, editorials, and settings into pictorial interpretations of ideas or narratives for reproduction in print, electronic, and time-based media. 

The Animation Concentration (18 additional credits) offers broad-based training in this field of art. You’ll be exposed to a wide range of contemporary and conventional techniques and learn about documentary animation, character animation, stop motion, digitally generated animation, and emerging animation technologies. This concentration culminates in a project consisting of an animated film as well as a portfolio presenting your professional and creative work in the field. 

Art History
The Art History Concentration (18 additional credits) offers broad-based training in Western and Non-Western Art for those interested in a career in art criticism, museum work, or preparation for graduate study in Art History. 

Visual Arts Education Licensure (PreK-8 and 5-12)
Westfield State University’s educator preparation programs are approved by the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) and accredited by the Association for Advancing Quality in Educator Preparation (AAQEP). If you wish to become licensed to teach visual art, you must complete all the requirements of the art major as well as an additional 36-credit teacher preparation sequence for either Elementary (preK to 8) or Secondary (5-12) licensure. 

Art Therapy Preparation
As a mental health profession, art therapy counseling combines the therapeutic uses of art with the skills of a professional counselor to help heal and restore the functional and emotional health of clients of all ages. In this concentration, you’ll learn visual art, creative process, psychotherapy, human development, and counseling theories and techniques.  

Art therapists are professional providers with at least a master's degree in art therapy or a master's degree with a concentration in art therapy. A bachelor's degree is required to get into an art therapy graduate program. The Art Therapy Preparation concentration at Westfield State University meets all coursework and portfolio requirements necessary to gain admittance into a graduate program in Art Therapy. 

Fine Arts
Designed for the art major who is interested in a career in fine arts or preparation for graduate school in studio art (MFA), the Fine Arts Concentration draws influence from various studio courses, drawing, and other art electives. 

Program Highlights

  • On campus
  • Join a network of art professionals and student organizations
  • Graphic design computer lab
  • Painting, ceramics, and printmaking studios
  • Supportive, collaborative, student centered community
  • Robust internships and field experiences
  • Use innovative equipment in our MakerSpace

Make the world a better place with an art, art history, art therapy, or art education degree.

Learn to communicate thoughts and ideas as well as express your creativity through color, form, structure, and design.

Experience the arts at Westfield State University! Our Catherine Dower Center for Performing and Fine Arts features art studios that allow our students to explore a variety of traditional and emerging mediums.

Hone your creative skills and prepare for a career in art.

  • A student cups their hands next to several pieces of in-process ceramic artwork.

    A creative environment that promotes independent thought

    With seven areas of concentration, you’ll have the opportunity to pursue the area of study that interests you most. Our talented professors provide the creative environment and support you need to experiment and explore. You’ll experience art through trips to regional museums and galleries along with presentations and workshops with regional and national visiting artists. 

  • Graphic design club featuring five smiling students.

    Internships in the visual arts

    Learn by doing. We strongly encourage all art majors and minors to take advantage of the many internships and summer artist residences, as well as the University's Center for Undergraduate Research and Creative Activities (CURCA) programs. Additionally, you’ll have the opportunity to participate in capstone and thesis classes. Refine your skills and develop new ones as you learn more about careers available in the art profession.

  • A student uses their hand to blend a charcoal drawing while seated outside in a class setting.

    Small classes

    Our intimate studio environment and lecture class size encourages personal growth and provides you with an opportunity to work one on one with your professors who are professional practitioners in their fields of study. Immerse yourself in a creative and supportive environment as you develop your technical skills and increase your understanding of art in all of its forms.

Program Details

Program Mission

The Visual Arts Program is designed to develop the creative ability of students to enter professional visual arts careers. The curriculum fosters their aesthetic and historical knowledge of the visual arts.

We provide a comprehensive background in the visual arts program with an emphasis on both foundation and advanced studio courses. Students are oriented toward a career in graphic design, illustration, animation, studio art, and art history, or preparation for continued study at the graduate level.

The department’s professional visual arts program, as structured within the liberal arts, enables students to receive personal attention in small classes. Our goal is to encourage students to build an appropriate pathway for internships and future career opportunities.

Program Vision

To become a preeminent public visual art institution in Western Massachusetts that is accessible to all students in New England and eastern New York.

Learning Outcomes
  • Developed capacity for critical, creative, investigative, and conceptual thinking.
  • Ability to identify and solve visual and conceptual problems.
  • Ability to present and communicate effectively, creatively, and critically across a range of form and media.
  • Generate a personal focus and contribute an independent voice to the world.
  • Be ready to work as professionals in art education; art history; design; fine arts; illustration and animation.
  • Refer to the fullest range of historical and contemporary art and design sources from across cultures and time.
  • Apply a wide range of research methods and technologies in gathering and analyzing information.
  • Engage effectively in individual and/or collaborative approaches to work.

Since I was 16, I was interested in art therapy. When I applied to college, I knew I wanted to look at both psychology and art . . .  [At Westfield] I got to work individually with a professor to look at a research question I developed. My research combined my two fields of study to create a psychological study that looked at the impact of mindfully created art on a person’s mood. I never would have had the opportunity to do that kind of research on my own. Westfield gave me that opportunity.

- Liz Ferrera, Art and Psychology

What can you do with a bachelor’s in art?

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, overall employment of visual artist is projected to grow 4 percent from 2022 to 2032, about as fast as the average for all occupations.

Our alumni work as: Graphic Designers, Illustrators, Animators, Art Therapists, Public School Art Teachers, Professors.

Alumni are employed by: Brigade Branding, Magic Eight Branding, Sullivan Paper Company, Mount Wachusett Community College Marketing Department, Straumann Group, Annie Selke Companies, iHeart Media, Data Street Marketing, REXA, Sentec, The Motley Fool, Jet Mail Services, Inc., Ethos Veterinary Health, Northborough Public Schools, Pittsfield Public Schools, Solidus, Draft Kings, Hitachi Solutions America, Charles River Laboratories, Expressive Design Group.

Multiple people look a large painting displayed in a gallery setting.

Ready to learn more?

Course Requirements

Program Description

The Art Major sequence of classes has been structured to develop a critical understanding of making art and understanding art in a variety of media through teaching technical skills as well as expanding and deepening creative ideas. These foundation classes are of critical significance as it provides each student a comprehensive background in color, form, structure, and design. The courses are suited to those students wishing to major in art, as well as those who wish to include studio art as part of their liberal arts education. The Art Major foundation classes lead students into the department's concentration specializations in the final two years of study.

A mandatory review of an Art major's artwork from the Art Major sequence of classes will occur at the end of an Art major's fall sophomore semester. Satisfactory completion of the portfolio review is required for all Art Majors that have completed 45 credits of University classes to continue as an Art Major. Students must pass the portfolio review to continue in the major. This in-person portfolio review by the Art Department's faculty will occur at the end of the semester during the week of finals. Students will have to submit their portfolio digitally before the Tuesday of Thanksgiving Break.

*The department's acceptance of the 60-credit transfer student's (junior standing) portfolio submission upon entering the University will meet the requirement of this class.

Requirements for Art Majors

One of the following:


** Students completing Art Teacher Licensure Programs must take ART 0108 Introduction to Computer Graphics as their art elective.

Art majors are required to take ART 0106 and ART 0107, to satisfy the Appreciation of the Arts requirement of the common core.

Art majors must complete a minimum of 27 credits of course work within the Art Department at Westfield State. Students are advised to consult their advisors for information on course sequencing and general core requirements.

Art majors intending to pursue graduate work beyond their major are advised to take additionally recommended studio courses of their choice. It is also advisable to include more than the minimum requirements in Art History.

Additional Graduation Requirements

All students must meet the University Graduation Requirements and complete a common core of studies, distributed among the different academic areas as detailed in the Common Core.

Get big school features with small school advantages.  

We offer high-quality academics, unique learning opportunities, and a gorgeous campus—and we have small classes, accessible faculty, and one-on-one support. 

You'll join fellow motivated students ready to make the most of the college experience through active participation. Become part of a caring and committed community that understands and embraces the bridge between academic study and civic responsibility.

  • 15:1

    student-faculty ratio

  • 84%

    of grads are employed in their field

  • 300+

    service projects

Passionate creators. Creative educators.

We are proud of the diverse group of professors who make up our Art Department. Our professors hold graduate degrees and are professional practitioners in their fields of study. You’ll learn from their unique perspectives as you develop your own point of view. The one-to-one support you’ll get from our faculty will help you increase your understanding of art, polish your technical skills and help you grow as a person.

Art Department Professor Imo Imeh engages a student in conversation.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do I have to submit SAT/ACT scores or an essay when I apply?

Westfield State University does not require an application essay, SAT and/or ACT scores, or letters of recommendation (except for special program admissions).     

All first-year applicants are reviewed for admission based on their high school record. First-year applicants must meet the minimum eligibility requirements established by the Massachusetts Department of Higher Education (DHE) in order to qualify for admission to a state university.   

Learn more about the application process and admissions here.

How much does Westfield State University cost?

Westfield State University offers a comprehensive university experience at an affordable cost—with many options for financial aid. Visit our Cost and Aid page to learn more. 

Will I receive academic support?

We’re invested in your success. Whether you need a little help adjusting to college, study strategies, tutoring, or disability services, the team at the Academic Achievement Department is ready to help. Our mission is to provide you with the tools to explore academic opportunities as well as to plot strategies for continued growth. 

Learn more about our student support services here.

Is a portfolio required?

Yes, if you have requested admission to the art major on your application form, applicants must successfully pass a portfolio review by the Art Department's faculty.

Learn more

Are there scholarships available to art majors?

Several scholarships are available. Learn more on our available scholarships page.

How can I find the Art Department on social media?

You can follow us on several social media platforms below:

Portfolio Review:

If you've requested admission to the Art Major on your application form, applicants must successfully pass a portfolio review by the Art Department’s faculty.

Request Information

We’re here to answer your questions and deliver the support you need along your academic journey. Please provide your contact information and area of interest, and we’ll be in touch shortly.


Art, B.A.