In the College of Architecture, Art, and Planning .
Bachelor of Fine Arts (B.F.A.)
The undergraduate curriculum in art, leading to a bachelor of fine arts (B.F.A.), provides an opportunity for the student to combine a general liberal studies education with the studio practice required for a professional degree. During the first four semesters, all students follow a common course of study designed to provide a broad introduction to the arts and a basis for the intensive studio experience of the last two years. Students are encouraged to work across disciplines focusing on an intellectually rigorous independent practice. The second and third years include semester programs in New York City and Rome, Italy to experience professional and global art worlds. The final year is focused on the development of a visual thesis.
Concurrent Degree Option
The five-year concurrent degree option allows students to earn a B.F.A. as well as a bachelor of arts (B.A.) from Cornell’s College of Arts and Sciences, or a bachelor of science (B.S.) from Cornell’s College of Engineering or the Department of Fiber Science and Apparel Design in Cornell’s College of Human Ecology. Students apply to the concurrent degree option during their second year. Once admitted, they are assigned an adviser in each college to assist with course planning and graduation requirements. Concurrent degree candidates must satisfy all requirements for both degrees and a minimum of 160 academic credits. At least 64 of the total credits must come from courses offered in the Department of Art. It is expected that a concurrent degree candidate will complete the ART 4001 - Thesis I and ART 4002 - Thesis II requirements for the B.F.A. degree during the fifth year.
Scheduled annually, the spring AAP NYC art semester is a collaboratively developed and conceptually linked plan of study with studio and theory courses and internships that utilize the remarkable resources of the city. Faculty members include practicing artists, theorists, critics, and curators.
Within the context of AAP NYC’s course offerings and immersive exposure to contemporary art and artists, students explore their possible future pathways as professionals within the arts. Each student has access to studio space for the semester and shares the facilities and some courses with graduate architecture students.
Students in good academic standing who have completed the requirements of the first three semesters of the B.F.A. curriculum are eligible for participation in AAP NYC. The AAP NYC semester is designed for B.F.A. students in their second year, but students at other levels may participate.
Interested students work closely with the Director of Undergraduate Studies early in the first year of study to plan for the AAP NYC semester. Students are admitted to the program by application and review of their academic record. Application is made by March 30 of the first year to the AAP NYC program office. For additional information, visit the AAP NYC website.
Cornell in Rome
Scheduled annually in the fall and spring semesters, the Cornell in Rome program is a collaboratively developed and conceptually linked plan of study with studio and theory courses and internships that utilize the remarkable resources of the city. Faculty members include practicing artists, theorists, critics, and curators.
Within the context of the Cornell in Rome program, students are exposed to all aspects of Rome from the antique to the contemporary. Each student has access to studio space and works in a variety of media. It provides an experience unparalleled for artistic, intellectual, and personal growth. Cornell in Rome participants have the opportunity to exhibit in professional galleries and art spaces locally.
Students in good academic standing who have completed the requirements of the first two years of the B.F.A. curriculum are eligible for participation in Cornell in Rome. Students may enroll in the first or second semester of their third year or for the full academic year.
Interested students work closely with the Director of Undergraduate Studies to plan for the Cornell in Rome semester. Students are admitted to the program by application and review of their academic record. Application is made by November 15 of the preceding year to the Cornell in Rome program office. For additional information, visit the Cornell in Rome website.
Bachelor of Fine Arts Requirements
To be in good standing in the B.F.A. students must follow the semester-by-semester required curriculum outlined below. Students are permitted to switch the position of elective courses (except First-Year Writing Seminars) within the curriculum as long as the total credit hours within each semester remain consistent.
Students matriculating in Fall 2013 should follow this curriculum:
First Year: Fall Semester
First Year: Spring Semester
Second Year: Fall Semester
Second Year: Spring Semester (Ithaca or AAP NYC)
Third Year: Fall Semester (Ithaca or Cornell in Rome)
Third Year: Spring Semester (Ithaca or Cornell in Rome)
Fourth Year: Fall Semester
Fourth Year: Spring Semester
Total Academic Credits: 130
Studio Practice Requirement: 64 credits
1. B.F.A. students are required to enroll in a minimum of one and a maximum of three studios per semester. All B.F.A. students are provided access to workspaces and labs. Students are expected to be present during regular class hours for instruction and criticism.
2. Introductory 2000-level Studios: B.F.A. students are required to complete the following 2000-level studio in each studio practice area by the end of the third semester:
• ART 2201 - Introduction to Painting
• ART 2301 - Introduction to Print Media
• ART 2401 - Introduction to Sculpture
• ART 2501 - Introduction to Drawing *
• ART 2601 - Introduction to Photography
• ART 2701 - Introduction to Digital Media
*ART 2501 must be completed in the first Fall semester of study.
3. Required 3000-level Studios: B.F.A. students are required to successfully complete three 3000-level studios from 3 different studio practice areas.
• All 2000-level studios and ART 2103 must be completed or in progress in order to enroll in any 3000-level studio.
• Studios completed in Rome (ART 3001 ) and NYC (ART 3003 ) do not fulfill the required 3000-level studio requirement.
• Independent studio courses (ART 3092 ) do not fulfill the required 3000-level studio requirement.
• All required 3000-level studios must be completed or in progress in order to enroll in any 3000-level elective studio.
4. Elective 3000-level Studios: B.F.A. students are required to successfully complete three additional 3000-level studios. These studios can be from any studio area.
• All required 3000-level studios must be completed or in progress in order to enroll in any 3000-level elective studio.
• Studios completed in Rome (ART 3001 ) and NYC (ART 3003 ) are applied as elective 3000-level studios.
• Independent studio courses (ART 3092 ) of 4-credits are applied as elective 3000-level studios.
5. Thesis: All required and elective 3000-level art studios must be completed before ART 4002 - Thesis II .
Theory and Criticism Requirement: 10 credits
B.F.A. students are required to successfully complete three courses totaling 10 credits in the area of theory and criticism:
Students select from a list of approved courses , including offerings in NYC (ART 3103 ) and Rome (ART 3102 ). ART 2103 must be completed during the first Fall semester of study. Non-departmental students pursuing the minor in Fine Arts or the B.F.A. concurrent degree option should complete ART 2103 (offered Fall only) as early in their program as possible. ART 2103 must be completed or in progress in order to enroll in any 3000-level studio. In addition, the ART 2103 requirement cannot be fulfilled with transfer credit.
First-Year Writing Seminar Requirement: 6 credits
B.F.A. students are required to successfully complete two First-Year Writing Seminars by the end of the second semester. Please refer to the Knight Institute for university First-Year Writing Seminar guidelines.
B.F.A. students can satisfy a maximum of one First-Year Writing Seminar with advanced placement credit. Specifically,
- Students earning a score of 5 on the CEEB’s AP exam on either English Literature and Composition or English Language and Composition receive 3 credits and placement out of one First-Year Writing Seminar.
- Students earning a score of 5 on the CEEB’s AP exams on both English Literature and Composition and English Language and Composition receive 3 credits toward one First-Year Writing Seminar and 3 out-of-college elective credits.
- Students earning a score of 7 on the International Baccalaureate (IB) Higher-Level Examination in English receive 3 credits and placement out of one First-Year Writing Seminar.
- Students earning a grade of A on the General Certificate of Education Advanced (“A”) Level Examination in English Literature receive 3 credits and placement out of one First-Year Writing seminar.
Required Out-of-College Electives Requirement: 26 credits
Humanities and Social Sciences: 18 - 20 credits
B.F.A. students are required to successfully complete 6 courses in the humanities and social sciences. Humanities and Social Sciences courses are those designated under the following categories:
- Cultural Analysis (CA)
- Foreign Language (FL)
- Historical Analysis (HA)
- Knowledge, Cognition, and Moral Reasoning (KCM)
- Literature and the Arts (LA)
- Social and Behavioral Analysis (SBA)
If a course has been classified as a humanities or social sciences course, the code will be included in its course description in Courses of Study. FL courses are not coded in Courses of Study; all foreign language courses of 3 or more credits count as FL. For more information, please refer to the humanities and social sciences definitions in this catalog.
In/Out-of-College Electives Requirement: 8 credits
In/Out-of-College Elective credit includes any course from any college at Cornell, including AAP. This may be taken for a letter grade or S/U. Please refer to the AAP policy on non-academic credit for a list of excluded courses.
Total Academic Credits: 130
Rules Governing the B.F.A. Program
B.F.A. students are expected to follow the semester-by-semester B.F.A. curriculum and all rules governing the B.F.A. program. Any deviation must be petitioned prior to the act. Failure to comply with any department rules or petitions decisions may result in review by the College Academic Review Committee.
To be in a good academic standing, a B.F.A. student must:
• successfully complete a minimum of 12 academic credits each semester;
• earn a minimum semester grade point average (GPA) of 2.3; and
• comply with department curriculum and rules.
At the end of each semester, the college’s Academic Review Committee (ARC) goes over the record of each student who is not in good academic standing and decides an appropriate action. For additional information, refer to ARC Policies and Procedures .
All B.F.A. students are required to take a minimum of 12 and not more than 20 academic credits per semester.
To enroll in more than 20 credits, students must have a cumulative grade point average of 3.0 or better and petition for permission. Petitions must be submitted prior to the act and within the university add period.
All studios and required electives must be taken for a letter grade. In/Out-of-College Electives may be taken for an S/U grade. In addition, all college and university grading policies apply to B.F.A. students.
• All Cornell courses numbered 1000 – 1099 do not count toward graduation.
• All ART courses numbered 1100 – 1999 count as in/out-of-department elective credit only.
Advanced Placement Credit
Advanced placement credit refers to college credit that students earn before they enter Cornell. Advanced placement credit may be earned from Advanced Placement (AP), General Certification of Education Advanced Level (“A” Level), International Baccalaureate (IB), and Cornell department (CASE) examinations. Its primary purpose is to exempt students from introductory courses and to place them in advanced courses. Its value is that it allows students to include more advanced courses in their course of study.
Advanced placement credit is applied as in/out-of-college elective credit only, with the exception of one First-Year Writing Seminar. It may not be used for required out-of-college elective courses in the humanities and social sciences (CA, FL, HA, KCM, LA, SBA), physical and biological sciences (PBS), or mathematics and quantitative reasoning (MQR).
Please refer to the Advanced Placement section of this catalog for additional university guidelines regarding AP credit.
Independent study courses are offered for variable credit, for up to a maximum of 4 credits. Independent studio courses of 4 credits taken for a letter grade are applied as elective studios. Independent studio courses of fewer than 4 credits and/or taken for an S/U grade are applied as in/out-of-college elective credits only. Enrollment in an independent study requires an approved Independent Study Form.
Eligibility requirements for enrolling in an independent study (independent studio, directed readings, directed research ):
• All 2000-level studios completed;
• all required 3000-level studios completed or currently in progress;
• the first two years of the program completed;
• a cumulative GPA of 2.7 or better required; and
• enrollment in Ithaca.
The above information must be verified by the AAP Registrar on an independent study form prior to enrollment. Out-of-department students may be exempt from these requirements at the discretion of the supervising professor.
• The B.F.A. program is an eight-semester program.
• The B.F.A. concurrent degree option requires ten semesters.
• Students who transfer into the B.F.A. program must complete a minimum of four semesters in residence (Ithaca/Cornell in Rome/AAP NYC).
• B.F.A. students are required to spend the last two semesters of candidacy in residence in Ithaca.
In order for transfer credit to be accepted by AAP, the coursework must:
• Be completed at a regionally accredited institution; and
• Be completed for a letter grade of “C” or better; and
• Be equivalent in rigor to a Cornell course, as judged by:
o Course content; and/or
o The use of a textbook similar to that used in the parallel Cornell course; and/or
o The use of examinations, writing assignments, projects, portfolios, or other submitted work that is substantially similar to those required in a similar Cornell course; and/or
o Substantial similarity in meeting hours of the Cornell and non-Cornell course.
Please note that Cornell University does not accept credit for courses sponsored by colleges or university but taught in the high school to high school students, or taught at the college exclusively to high school students, even if the college provides a transcript of such work. For further information, please refer to the college policy on transfer credit for courses taken while in high school .
Transfer Credit Review Process
All transfer credit is evaluated by the designated Cornell faculty member in the appropriate subject area. To apply transfer course work toward out-of-college elective requirements, an approved AAP Transfer Credit Request form and a sealed official transcript are required. To apply transfer course work toward all other B.F.A. degree requirements, an approved Course Equivalency form and a sealed official transcript are required. All requests require submission of supporting documentation, including course descriptions, syllabi, and/or portfolio. All forms and official transcripts should be submitted to the AAP Registrar’s Office, 235 Sibley Dome, Ithaca, NY 14853.
Additional Information for Transfer Students
To ensure a timely transfer of credit, incoming transfer students are required to submit course equivalency requests immediately upon acceptance. Students should also meet with the Director of Undergraduate Studies and the AAP Registrar as soon as possible but no later than orientation to review how their credits are applied toward the Cornell degree and for course enrollment planning.
Students who transfer into the B.F.A. program must successfully complete:
- a minimum of four semesters in residence;
- a minimum of 60 academic credits at Cornell; and
- a minimum of 30 of the 60 credits in the Department of Art.
Please note that the art history requirement cannot be fulfilled with transfer survey of art history courses. Such courses will be applied toward the humanities and social sciences requirement under the category of Literature and the Arts (LA). In addition, ART 2103 - Introductory Art Seminar must be taken at Cornell.
Deviating from Curriculum, Policies, or Procedures
Students wishing to deviate from the prescribed curriculum, enroll in fewer than 12 or more than 20 credit hours, or seek a substitution for a specific graduation requirement must petition the Art department for permission. Petition forms are available in the AAP Registrar’s Office, 235 Sibley Dome. Petitions must be submitted prior to the act. Further, students wishing to take more than the standard number of credit hours should have a cumulative grade point average of 3.000 or better. Petitions should be submitted only if there are clearly extraordinary circumstances that merit special consideration. In order for a petition to be approved, circumstances must be extenuating. Once submitted and acted upon, petitions can only be reversed by subsequent petition.
Appeals. A student has ten days from the time of the petitions decision to appeal the decision in writing. Appeals should be submitted directly to the Art Department, 224 Tjaden Hall, for review and vote by the full tenure/tenure-track Art faculty. The faculty decision on the appeal is final. No further appeals will be considered.
Minor in Fine Arts (for Non-Departmental Students)
The art minor is an opportunity for students who are not enrolled in the Department of Art and who have a serious interest and/or background in studio art to continue their commitment to art at the college level.
The curriculum for the minor in fine arts totals a minimum of 23 credit hours. All coursework must be completed at Cornell University, and a grade of C or better is required. In addition, any coursework used to fulfill the minor cannot also be used to fulfill specific requirements of the student’s major.
Interested students must complete an Intent to Minor form in order to receive permission to enroll in ART 2103 - Introductory Art Seminar . Completed forms should be submitted to the AAP Registrar’s Office, 235 Sibley Dome. Upon successful completion of all minor requirements, students must submit an Application to Graduate with a Minor in Fine Arts and an official transcript to the Art Department, 224 Tjaden Hall, at least one month prior to graduation.
Questions regarding the minor can be addressed during AAP Admissions and Registrar walk-in hours on Mondays and Tuesdays from 2 to 4 p.m., and Thursdays from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. in 235 Sibley Dome.
The Master of Fine Arts Requirements
The master of fine arts (M.F.A.) requires four semesters of full-time study, equal to a minimum of 60 credits. Graduate work done elsewhere or in the summer session is not applicable to the M.F.A. The curriculum leading to the M.F.A. is flexible to accommodate the needs of the individual student and to enable the student to partake of the greater Cornell community. The ratio of graduate faculty to students allows an exceptional opportunity for individual mentoring. Graduate students are provided individual studios and have extended access to studios and labs.
Graduate students in art may enroll in courses in any field of study offered at the university. Fifteen credits are required in each semester; of these, 9 credits are in studio work, and 3 credits are in graduate seminar. Students are required to take at least 12 credits of academic work outside the Department of Art during their four semesters in residence. Candidates for the M.F.A. must have completed 18 credits in the history of art in the course of their graduate and/or undergraduate study. Prior undergraduate art history course work may apply toward this requirement and will be evaluated by the director of graduate studies. Any remaining credit toward this requirement must be taken at Cornell. Every M.F.A. candidate must prepare a written statement, offer a thesis exhibition of studio work completed during residency, and give an oral defense of the written statement and visual thesis. Gallery space is provided for a one-week solo thesis exhibition during the final spring semester.
Art Course and Fee Information
Course offerings may vary by semester and year. Students should consult the Course Roster to determine which courses will be offered in a given semester.
Fees are charged for most art studio courses and vary depending on the course. See the specific course description for course fees. In addition, art students should expect to spend a minimum of $1,000 and up to $3,000 for expendable supplies each academic year, depending on academic level, courses selected, and projects chosen.