What is an Art major?

UCSB’s Department of Art offers undergraduate and graduate degree programs in the visual arts and its related fields of research, including theory and media studies. Through a comprehensive foundations program, students are first introduced to the diversified and hybridized practices of contemporary art, including study in history, theory and process. At the upper division level, students are given the opportunity to focus and individualize their aesthetic practice while still maintaining an open attitude towards art and its ever-evolving contextual relationship with contemporary culture.


Major, General, and Career Information




From UCSB's Art Department

In order to accommodate optimum student learning, UCSB offers two different ways to major in the practice of art.  You can be an art major in the Department of Art (BA) in the College of Letters and Science, or at the College of Creative Studies (BA). There are many different ways to succeed as young artists in our programs.

Both majors are serious, challenging paths in which students are expected to develop a mature body of creative work by the time they graduate. We encourage students to take courses in each art program, exhibit their work in both student art galleries, and share ideas and resources.  Our excellent laboratory facilities reside mainly in the Dept. of Art building, which overlooks the Pacific Ocean.

The Dept. of Art offers a structured program that guides students through beginning courses to advanced.  We offer a highly flexible, rigorous, and opportunity-filled program that includes our selective Honors Program, (a one year seminar, studio space, and final exhibition). The majority of art courses at UCSB take place in the Dept. of Art and include a full range of materials and subjects.  The genesis or our curricula derives from the idea that thinking and making are intertwined. Students who do not apply as art majors upon entering UCSB enter the major by taking 3 introductory courses successfully. For more on courses offered: (undergraduate courses). Many Art Department majors pursue a double major or minor in other Letters and Science academic departments very successfully.

The College of Creative Studies art program is designed for students who are prepared to work independently as artists from the start. CCS art students are admitted by portfolio review, attend smaller classes, work closely with faculty advisors, go through a rigorous mid-residency review process and stage a senior exhibition.  Most students have studio space by their sophomore year.  Emphases include Spatial Arts/Sculpture, Painting, and Book Arts: (CCS Art)  If you apply to CCS and do not get in, your admission to UCSB allows you to start the major in the Dept. of Art if you list it as your second choice.

Occupational Outlook Handbook for Art for Art

UCSB Program Learning Outcomes for Art


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Resources and Professional Associations

UCSB Library Art & Architecture

UCSB Department of Art

College Art Association
College Art Association includes among its members those who by vocation or avocation are concerned about and/or committed to the practice of art, teaching, and research of and about the visual arts and humanities.

American Institute of Graphic Arts
AIGA, the professional association for design, is committed to furthering excellence in design as a broadly-defined discipline, strategic tool for business and cultural force.

National Art Educator Association
This dynamic community of practice is where visual arts teachers, scholars, researchers and professors, students, administrators, and art museum educators, and artists come together around a shared belief in the power of the arts in developing human potential.

UCSB Art Museum

California Arts Council
Job listing for careers in the Arts

Print Jobs
A constantly-updated list of over one hundred job openings in the industry. They provide job candidates and employers the opportunity to submit information for inclusion in their database. There is no cost to applicants to register.

Art Deadlines
You can subscribe to a newsletter or just check back regularly for upcoming gallery submissions, competitions, job positions, etc.