Curriculum & Requirements

Requirements for the Major in Visual Arts

The major consists of eleven courses, which must include Visual Arts 150; Visual Arts 180, 190, or 195; Visual Arts 395, and another 3000 level Visual Arts Course. Five additional additional visual arts courses must be taken, no more than one of which may be an independent study course. Two courses in art history are also required.

Requirements for the Minor in Visual Arts

The minor consists of six courses, which must include Visual Arts 150 and one of 180, 190, or 195. Three additional visual arts courses must be taken, no more than one of which may be an independent study course. One course in art history is also required. 

Courses that will count toward the major and minor must be taken on a graded basis (not Credit/D/Fail), and students must earn grades of C- or better in these courses.

Visual arts courses without prerequisites are frequently oversubscribed; preference in enrollment is then given to first- and second-year students, as well as to juniors and seniors fulfilling requirements of the visual arts major or minor.

Interdisciplinary Majors

The department participates in interdisciplinary programs in art history and archaeology and in art history and visual arts. See the section on Interdisciplinary Majors.

Visual Arts Major/Minor Checksheet

Visual Arts Major/Minor ChecksheetThis PDF checksheet is intended to be informational only. Students must consult with an academic advisor prior to registration

Visual Arts Study Away Policy

A student who takes a non-Bowdoin visual arts course away, to fulfill a requirement in visual arts, MUST have a visual arts professor APPROVE the away course IN WRITING PRIOR to going away. The course(s) must be successfully completed with a grade of C- or better.

The Visual Arts Department Study Away Approval Form is IN ADDITION to the Study Away Application and the Student Records Transfer of Credit Forms.

When you return to Bowdoin and after the department receives your away transcript, it is YOUR RESPONSIBILITY to see the Visual arts professor who approved the away course to verify that you will receive visual arts requirement credit.

If you do not follow up with the professor on your return, the course(s) away will not be given visual arts requirement credit. In some cases this will mean that you will not meet your major/minor requirement.

Department Description from the Bowdoin Course Catalogue

The Department of Art comprises two programs: art history and visual arts. Majors in the department are expected to elect one of these programs. The major in art history is devoted primarily to the historical and critical study of the visual arts as an embodiment of some of humanity’s cultural values and a record of the historical interplay of sensibility, thought, and society. The major in visual arts is intended to encourage a sensitive development of perceptual, creative, and critical abilities in visual expression.