A Fine Arts degree with disciplinary depth and multidisciplinary breadth

The School of Art and Design offers a four-year, professional degree program leading to the Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) degree. The unique curriculum, which incorporates a specialized approach for each of the academic years of study, is recognized for its innovation in emphasizing disciplinary depth and interdisciplinary opportunities. Here you'll work in state-of-the-art facilities, you'll be provided with individual studios in your senior year, and you will enjoy the benefits of entering a partially state funded art program in a private university setting.


Campus Locations

Main Campus - Alfred, NY


Art and Design (BFA)


none offered

Credit Hour Requirements (BFA):

Students who enroll in the School of Art and Design must complete the requirements listed below to receive the BFA degree:

  • Studio - 72
  • Academic Requirement - 25
  • Art History - 17
  • Electives - 14
  • Senior Project - 0
  • Total degree credit hours - 128

Students must also complete:

The University Global Perspective requirement. The University Global Perspective required credits could be taken within the required academic and/or Art History requirements.

The University Physical Education requirement. The University Physical Education Requirement brings the total number of credits to graduate to 132. Note: additional PE activity credits (100-level PHED, EQUS) may not be used toward any degree requirements.

Credit Hour Requirements (BFA with Art Education Minor):

Students who enroll in the School of Art and Design must complete the requirements listed below to receive the BFA degree with an Art Education Minor.

*The Art Education Minor is offered to BFA students through the Division of Education in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. The BFA requirements are adjusted as indicated below to account for the Art Education Minor and Teaching Certification requirements:

  • Studio - 68
  • Art History - 17
  • Liberal Arts Core - 19
  • Education Core - 31
  • Senior Project - 0
  • Total degree credit hours - 135

The University Global Perspective required credits could be taken within the required academic and/or Art History requirements.

The University Physical Education Requirement brings the total number of credits to graduate to 132.

Academic Requirements and Electives (For BFA students taking the Minor in Art Education, the Academic Requirements and Electives consists of the Liberal Arts Core and the Education Core required of the Minor and to satisfy New York State Education Department guidelines for Teacher Certification. See the Division of Education for more information on the Minor.)

Foundations is a first-year course predicated on generating a rigorous studio practice through comprehensive teaching philosophy that engages a broad range of questions, extending across and beyond artistic disciplines. Individual students bring their own experiences and skills into a community of peers. Drawing is a key component of the Foundations curriculum.

In addition to the Foundations studio courses in the first year, students complete 6 credits of art history by taking three 2-credit courses in non-western art, ancient to baroque art, and modern to contemporary art. First-year students also fulfill academic requirements in writing and humanities.

The sophomore curriculum is designed to enhance and further develop the studio experience of the Foundations year with the introduction to specific studio areas, all of which support the "high tech, high touch" vision of the School. The curriculum encourages study of studio disciplines represented across each of four Divisions - Ceramic Art; Expanded Media; Painting, Drawing and Photography; and Sculpture/Dimensional Studies. Drawing is a key component of the sophomore and junior year curriculum.

Sophomore students learn fundamental skills necessary in the development of an artistic practice. These include an awareness and ability to understand, use and integrate processes, tools, materials, and vocabularies. During this year students choose four studios, one from each division, or opt to take four studios in three divisions. This allows those who want to focus in a specific medium to do so, while allowing others a more varied studio experience. Both options are meant to prepare students for the challenges of the junior and senior curriculum.

The sophomore art history requirement, Issues and Debates in Contemporary Art, provides a stimulating and integrated context to the studio experience. Students also extend the breath of their academic experience by choosing elective courses from other schools and colleges at Alfred University.

Students entering the junior year have the latitude to define their interests and creative goals. Students naturally become more focused, integrating conceptual and technical skills while developing a personal vision in their art making. At the junior level, academic and elective course work fosters interest in cross-disciplinary practice and undergraduate research possibilities.

The junior year is also the time for students to take advantage of study abroad opportunities. The School of Art and Design has several exchange programs including agreements with the University for the Creative Arts at Farnham, England, Edinburgh College of Art in Scotland, Fachhochschule Koblenz University of Applied Sciences in Germany, the Central Academy of Fine Art in Beijing, China, and Sydney College of the Arts and the University of New South Wales in Australia. The Drawing, Painting and Photography Division offers a summer program through the Santa Reparata International School of Art in Florence, Italy.

Seniors work semi-independently in their own studio spaces and are required to meet weekly with two faculty advisors (instructors) to discuss their work, research and process. Additionally, seniors participate in seminars, visiting artists programs, group critiques, discussions and exhibitions. Defining their own direction, seniors develop and produce a consistent body of work which draws on their individual experiences, acquired skills and personal vision. The culmination of the BFA degree is the senior thesis exhibition.

During the final two weeks of the academic year, the School of Art and Design is transformed into quality exhibition space where graduating seniors display their thesis work. The opening celebration of Senior Shows includes families and numerous guests from throughout Western New York State. Following the openings, students come back into their exhibition spaces for final reviews and faculty critiques. The momentum gained during the senior year prepares graduates to enter the work force as highly accomplished and motivated artists and designers.

What will you do?

Our BFA degree programs have two main objectives: to help students develop the commitment and skills necessary to pursue a career in art; and to prepare students for graduate work. Outcomes for artists are very different than for other majors – “career success” can be defined as selling work, exhibiting at shows and galleries, freelancing and many other activities.

Recent examples include:

  • Hot Glass Instructor - Corning Museum
  • Artistic Coordinator - MD Productions
  • Internal Design and Marketing Representative - Capital Printing Ink
  • Wax sculpture worker - New Arts
  • Wood Shop Technician - Bucks Rock
  • Curator - Poplar Hill Mansion
  • Photo Editor - Totsy
  • Artist In Residence - Salem Art Works
  • Assistant to an Executive Producer - Fox Television Animation
  • Jewelry Artist - Walker Metalsmiths
  • Scenic Painter - Adirondack Scenic Inc.
  • Color Consultant - Sephora; Home Goods
  • Production Manager - Lifetouch, Inc.
  • Gallery Docent - Wayne County Arts Alliance
  • Graphic Designer - OfficeMax (Corporate Headquarters)
  • Kids Accessory Designer - Accessory Network Group
  • Production Manager, Jewelry Reproduction - Metropolitan Museum of Art
  • Costume Maker - Izquierdo Studio
  • Furniture Designer/Painter - MacKenzie Childs Ltd.
  • Shoe Designer - MiuMiu (Prada)
  • Fabrication Specialist - Shedd Aquarium
  • Landscaper; Artist - Watkins Garden Center; Greenhouse Gallery
  • Automotive Sculptor - General Motors of North America
  • Graphic Designer - Time Magazine

Similar Programs

The BFA in the School of Art and Design is often combined with double majors or minors in the following related programs:

All Undergraduate Programs