College of Creative Arts
Acting Dean: Ronald Compesi

Department of Art
FA 265
Fax: 415-338-6537
E-mail: (undergraduate); (graduate)
Web Site:
Chair: Barbara Foster

Undergraduate Advisers: Bettelheim, Chadwick, Davis, J., Dawson, De La Rosa, deSoto, Downing, Foster, Hunter, Kavuri-Bauer, Kistemaker, Kuraoka, Laplante, Levine, Mann, Marshall, Mullins, Perez, Pratchenko, Walters, Wilson

Graduate Coordinator: Dawson


Professors—Bettelheim, Chadwick, Crockett, Davis, J., deSoto, Foster, Hunter, Johnson, M., Kistemaker, Kuraoka, Laplante, Mann, Perez, Pratchenko, Walters, Wilson

Associate Professors—Downing, Levine, Marshall, Mullins

Assistant Professors—Allen, Dawson, De La Rosa, Kavuri-Bauer


B.A. in Art
Minor in Art
M.A. in Art
M.F.A. in Art

Program Scope

The Department of Art offers a wide variety of courses of study leading to the Bachelor of Arts, to teaching credentials, to the Master of Arts in Art with an emphasis in Art History, and to the Master of Fine Arts in Art with an emphasis in Studio Art. Accredited programs in the fine arts and art history are taught by leading Bay Area artists and scholars. Students in the undergraduate program in art may choose an emphasis of study from art education, art history, ceramics, conceptual and information arts (including experimental digital media), painting, photography, printmaking/print media, sculpture, and textiles. Students in the credential and liberal studies programs with an emphasis in art may select courses from the art education area. Elective courses in glass augment the above emphases in studio art. The Department of Art is oriented towards the fine arts and does not offer courses in graphic art or design. However, many courses make an excellent foundation for further study in applied fields. Students in the department learn to develop their awareness of the visual world through hands-on studio experience and study the history and theory of the visual arts. Some of the courses are offered in cooperation with the General Education program of the university and many are structured for various levels of experience. A Minor in Art is offered for students who want to pursue a secondary interest in art on an organized basis. The Department of Art is accredited by the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD).

The Art Department offers five scholarships for studio students. The Jules H. Strauss Memorial Scholarship supports undergraduate students in photography, the Martin Wong Scholarship in painting and ceramics and the Urania Cummings Memorial Scholarship acknowledges contributions to the african american community. Graduate students in any area may be considered for scholarships awarded through the Leo Douglas Stillwell, Jr. Endowment Fund. The Christine Tamblyn Memorial Scholarship for Interdisciplinary Creative Work is available for undergraduate or graduate students. Scholarships are awarded for creative ability on a competitive basis. For further information, contact the Art Department.


Art Department facilities were remodeled and expanded in 1994. First floor studios in the original wing of the Fine Arts Building feature indoor spaces for sculpture, wheel and glaze rooms, a hand-building studio for ceramics, and a hot glass shop. The second floor remodel includes a textiles dye laboratory in addition to loom and surface design studios, refined spaces for art education, and specialized studios for photography and painting. Printmaking studios and the department offices are located in an expanded portion of the second floor. A 3,800 square foot department gallery facility and computer laboratories for the conceptual and information arts program are in the new Fine Arts Building addition. The Martin Wong Gallery has been added to the renovated wing of Fine Arts Building. The gallery affords undergraduates the opportunity to exhibit visual works through class projects and installations under the guidance of faculty mentors and aids in the development of professional exhibition experience. Additional space for graduate studios and outdoor ceramics activities are on the grounds of SFSU's Romberg Tiburon Center in nearby Marin County. The Art Department maintains a well-equipped slide and digitized image library as well as an instructional archive/collection of historic and contemporary prints, drawings, and photographs.

Career Outlook

The Art Department offers one of the most diverse and vital programs for the study of the visual arts in Northern California. The program fosters development of specialized skills, encourages personal creative direction, and promotes understanding of the history and cultural traditions that shape artistic expression. Courses in many traditional art media, in innovative and multidisciplinary techno-media, and in the history of art provide training for a variety of related careers. These include fine artist and teacher of art as well as potential careers in technical illustration, computer graphics, digital media, sculptural or ceramic fabrication, photo documentation, and art writing. Training in art often prepares students for careers in applied design in diverse fields. Artist-trained designers work with textiles, furnishings, book/CD-Rom publishing, fashion, Website, digital, and multimedia applications to name a few. Related expressive media such as theater, cinema, and television also rely on trained artists for visual design and direction.

Art Department courses in exhibition design are offered in the professional environment of the department gallery and provide intense, practical, and theoretical training for gallery and art museum careers. Art and art history students with an interest in working with visual artifacts, and with the diverse professional aspects of presenting art and artists elect courses in this popular area.

Opportunities for the graduate with a B.A. in Art vary depending on the student's initiative and inclinations. Students dedicated to creative expression or scholarly research in the history of art may elect to pursue graduate education. Others may find opportunities for technical or on-the-job training in the related fields detailed above. Graduate degrees open the door to teaching positions at the college-university level. Those students who elect unrelated careers will find access to more rewarding cultural life experiences through their visual arts education.


The B.A. provides innovative studio concentrations in varied traditional and new disciplines as well as programs and course work in art education and art history. An art major requires a minimum of 46 units of art courses, including a minimum of 28 units of upper division work. For students transferring from other institutions, a minimum of twelve units in residence is required. Students are expected to choose an Area of Emphasis by the junior year, after they have finished a suitable program of lower division work. Majors are required to be advised yearly. Graduating seniors are required to submit a senior project in order to complete the degree program.

Area of Emphasis

The Area of Emphasis allows for intensive study in one specialty in the visual arts, with a degree of breadth sufficient for understanding and awareness in other areas. Students are encouraged to decide on their Area of Emphasis by the junior year, and to discuss their choice of emphasis with an adviser in that area. In some instances, the Area of Emphasis will request a portfolio of work completed to date, evidence of preparation for upper division study, etc. Since some areas are very crowded, students transferring at an advanced level from other institutions should contact an adviser in their proposed Area of Emphasis upon application for admission to this institution. The Area of Emphasis programs may be structured to fit individual needs after conferring with an adviser in the area and obtaining the adviser's approval. Under special circumstances, a dual emphasis may be selected and six units from other departments in the university may be included in the major.

The course requirements for each emphasis are listed below. On-line course descriptions are available.

Art History Emphasis

The history of visual form examined in relation to the values, beliefs, and institutions of specific cultures.

Studio and Art Education Emphases

Art History (must include a minimum of 6 upper division units)
Must include one course focusing on the 20th/21st centuries chosen from the following:
ART 303 The Artist in the 20th-21st Centuries: Cultures in Collision—Cultures in Fusion  
ART 402 History of Architecture
ART 501 Western Art: Special Areas
  Appropriate topics:
Women and Art: The 20th/21st Centuries
Art in the 80s: The Post-modern Dilemma
History of Photography
Performance Art
Dada and Surrealism
ART 506 American Painting and Sculpture: 1940 to the Present
ART 508 African Art History
Must include a non-Euro-based course (3 units minimum)
Art Productions 1
Area of Emphasis Requirements 33
Total 46

Studio—200 level (All are three-unit courses)

200 level studio courses are integral to most of the emphases listed below. These courses provide introductory experiences in selected areas of the Art Department. They focus on perceptual skills, modes of consciousness, and creative expression. Some attention is given to traditions and heritage of the discipline, to contemporary issues and forms, and to imaginative problem solving. Courses are designed to provide a broad experiential and conceptual orientation to the visual arts.

ART 222 Textiles 1
ART 231 Drawing 1
ART 235 Drawing and Printmaking 1
ART 240 Sculpture 1
ART 245 Ceramics 1
ART 260 Photography 1

Art Education Emphasis

A program devoted to the place of the visual arts in elementary and secondary education and in general human development. A minimum of 46 units in art is required for the major and to prepare for the Single Subject Credential in Art. Students must work closely with an Art Education adviser to plan the 46-unit major program prior to enrolling in the sequence of courses listed below.

Ceramics, Conceptual and Information Arts, Painting, Photography, Printmaking, Sculpture, or Textiles Emphases: Students selecting any of these emphases must take:

Studio Emphasis

Studio emphases are described below.

Ceramics: Offers a foundation in ceramic information and techniques and provides a base upon which the student can build professional skills in ceramics.

Conceptual and Information Arts: Prepares artists and media experimenters to work at the cutting edge of technology. Students learn contemporary digital production skills, but they do so in the context of questioning the cultural context of technology and in experimenting with newly emerging technologies. Courses cover topics such as web art, interactive media, non-linear narrative, digital video, experimental sound, alternative interfaces, electronics and robotics, and art and biology.

Students in the Conceptual and Information Arts Emphasis are expected to take the ART 410/412 introductory core and ART 610/612 advanced seminars.

Painting: Emphasizes visual awareness and understanding through studio study of painting and drawing media. Painting/drawing is offered as a productive endeavor in itself, as well as a means of acquiring visual skills that may be applied to other disciplines. Attention is given to diverse histories and traditions and their effect on contemporary practices.

Photography: Emphasizes contemporary cultural concerns within the context of photographic history and processes. A variety of photographic technologies are engaged, from nineteenth century handmade processes, black-and-white and color formats to digital imaging hardware and software. Students are encouraged to explore and experiment during the development of individual projects and group critiques.

Printmaking/Print Media: Provides in-depth studio practice in one or more of the major processes in fine art printmaking and the extensions of the field. It emphasizes cultural awareness and critical problem solving within the context of historical and contemporary printmaking processes and thought. Students are encouraged to investigate alternative printmaking processes, such as bookarts, mixed media applications, and photographic/digital based print processes as planned progress towards advanced work.

Sculpture: Emphasizes cultural awareness, conceptual development, and artistic expression evolved through research, analysis, dialogue, and hands-on investigation utilizing a wide range of traditional and exploratory materials, processes, and creative strategies.

Textiles: Allows students to learn about textile techniques, their traditions, and contemporary application. Areas of studio focus include 4, 8, and 16 harness loom constructions (both manual and computer assisted), and a variety of surface design processes such as dyeing with fiber reactive dyes, resist dyeing, discharge, painting, and screen printing. Teaching draws on study and physical examples which emphasize a multicultural approach.

Dual Emphasis I: A dual emphasis is available for students with cross-over interests in any two studio areas listed above, such as painting/printmaking. The emphasis consists of a planned combination of courses, approved in advance. Approval must be by advisers in both areas, one of whom must be a full-time regular faculty member. Courses in Dual Emphasis I must total a minimum of 46 units, including at least twelve upper division units in one studio area and nine upper division units in the other. Two elective related courses (six units) are possible. In addition, the student is required to take two lower division studio courses. All other requirements for the B.A. in Art, as listed above, must be satisfied.

Dual Emphasis II: A dual emphasis is also available for students with cross-over interests in Studio and Art History. The emphasis consists of a planned combination of courses in both areas, approved in advance by advisers in Art History and Studio. Courses in Dual Emphasis II must total 46 units to be distributed as follows.

To initiate a dual emphasis, the student is expected to consult advisers in the appropriate areas and to draft a contractual proposed course of study on a Dual Emphasis Advising Form. The program must be approved by the advisers and the chair of the department in advance. Copies of the form are retained by the student, the advisers, and the department. Students should seek continued advising each semester to assure satisfactory progress in the proposed course of study.


For students transferring from other institutions, a minimum of twelve units in residence is required.

Program Units
Six Units of Art History (3 units must be upper division) 6
Units selected from the 200-level studio courses listed above 3
Units of upper division electives 15
Total 24


Two graduate programs are offered—an M.A. with an emphasis in Art History and an M.F.A. in Studio Arts. The three-year professional M.F.A. curriculum is an integrated course of study across a spectrum of studio arts and their adjunct fields of theory, history, and criticism. The M.A. prepares students for doctoral studies and for careers in galleries, museums, and other community institutions. Specializations are available primarily in modern and contemporary—including feminist—art; a variety of Western European and Asian art topics; and the arts of Africa and the African diaspora, the Caribbean, and the Native Americas; and art of the Spanish-speaking world.


General Information

This program leads to an M.A. in Art with an emphasis in Art History. The degree is intended to prepare students for Ph.D. programs in art history and for careers in community art programs, galleries, auction houses, and museums. The curriculum culminates in a thesis. Individual programs of course work and independent study are arranged to meet the needs of the specific student.

Admission to Program

Applications for classified status in the M.A. program are accepted beginning October 1 for admission the following fall. Applicants are required to file two applications, one to the university and one to the Art Department.

The university Graduate Admissions Application and the Art Department M.A. Application are due by  early February for the following fall. Call the Art Department for the exact date. Admission requirements are described in the Master of Arts (Art History) General Information brochure. Department application forms and the brochure may be obtained by writing to: Art Department, M.A. Admissions, San Francisco State University, 1600 Holloway Avenue, San Francisco, CA 94132. Information and applications are available on both the university and Art Department web sites.

In addition to these two applications, the requirements for admission to the M.A. in art history include the following:

Acceptance of an applicant for an M.A. degree in the Art Department is contingent upon acceptance to classified status. No more than twelve units taken in unclassified post-baccalaureate status at the university are applicable towards the M.A. Only six units of upper division courses approved on advisement are acceptable for the degree.

A departmental review of each student's progress is required at the end of each year in the program.

Written English Proficiency Requirement

Level One: satisfied with a paper written an ART 701. Level Two: satisfied with the thesis requirement.

Foreign Language Examination: written translation with dictionary or a satisfactory score on GRE examination. Examination must be taken before ART 898.

Completion of Degree

In order to complete the M.A. in Art History, students must satisfy all university and Art Department requirements. Students who anticipate completing the thesis in one semester, and graduating the same semester, should enroll in ART 898 (Master's Thesis). If an additional semester is required to complete the degree requirements, the student must enroll in ART 897 (Research Projects in Art) the next semester. Any additional time required to complete the thesis which includes advising and/or re-submission of the thesis must be accompanied by enrollment in ART 897. The Art Department requires students to be enrolled during the semester in which they graduate.

On-line course descriptions are available.

Program Units
ART 700 Seminar in Art Theory 3
ART 701 Art History: Images and Meaning 3
ART 702 Seminar: Art History Methods 3
ART 703 Seminar in Art History Research Applications 3
Upper division (400 level or above) and graduate art history courses by advisement 12
Electives (may include art history or other subjects on advisement) 3
ART 898 Master's Thesis 3
Minimum total 30


The three-year master of fine arts program is designed to provide professional training for the student pursuing a career as an artist or artist/teacher. Students are accepted into the program in the following areas of emphasis or combinations thereof: ceramics, conceptual and information arts, new practices, painting, photography, printmaking, sculpture, and textiles. While affiliation with a single area of emphasis is the norm, a broad approach to art-making and the development of a coherent, informed understanding of issues relevant to many forms of creative expression is encouraged throughout the program.

Admission to Program

Applications for classified status in the M.F.A. program are accepted beginning October 1 for admission the following fall. Applicants are required to file two applications, one to the university and one to the Art Department. Admission to classified status requires acceptance by both the university and the Art Department.

The university Graduate Admissions Application and the Art Department M.F.A. Application are due by  early February for the following fall. Call the Art Department for the exact date. Admission requirements are described in the Master of Fine Arts General Information brochure. Department application forms and the brochure may be obtained by writing to: Art Department, M.F.A. Admissions, San Francisco State University, 1600 Holloway Avenue, San Francisco, CA 94132. Information and applications are available on both the university and Art Department web sites.

The Art Department's M.F.A. admission application requirements include:

Written English Proficiency Requirement

Level One: the first level requirement is satisfied with ART 700. Level Two: the student satisfies the second level requirement with ART 705.

Completion of the Degree

In order to complete the M.F.A., students must satisfy all university and Art Department requirements. Art Department requirements are described in detail in the M.F.A. General Information brochure. In addition to satisfactory completion of the course of study, the Art Department requirements include satisfactory performance on yearly departmental reviews, a creative work exhibition and review, and creative work documentation. The Art Department accepts transfer units on a course-by-course basis, only upon advisement, and in accordance with the limits established in the section entitled Transfer of Credit for Previous Graduate Work of the M.F.A. General Information brochure. If the creative work project is not complete in the final semester of the program, students must enroll in ART 899 in the semester they intend to graduate. The Art Department requires students to be enrolled during the semester in which they graduate.

Program Units
Studio Requirements
ART 704 Seminar in Art (taken each of six semesters at 3 units/semester on advisement.) 18
ART 780 Graduate Visiting Artist/Scholar Studio (taken twice at 3 units/semester) 6
Studio electives: two courses of three units each. May be taken in Art or in any other department, by advisement. 6
ART 882 Tutorial in Studio (taken twice at 3 units/semester) 6
ART 890 Creative Work Research 3
ART 894 Creative Work Project 3
Minimum studio total 42
Academic Requirements
ART 700 Seminar in Art Theory and Criticism 3
ART 705 Seminar in History of Art 3
ART 850 Directed Experience in Public Roles for Artists 3
Academic electives: may be taken in any department and may include additional academic art courses/seminars in theory, criticism, history, and directed experience, including teaching of art practices (ART 750) by advisement. 9
Minimum academic total 18
Minimum degree total 60

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