Explore an Art Degree at UNW | University of Northwestern, St. Paul
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Department of Art & Design


Student art on the walls in the drawing studio
Department of Art & Design


  • Bachelor of Science
  • Bachelor of Arts
  • Undergraduate

125 credits

required for program

Minor Available

125 credits

125 credits

required for program

Minor Available

Prepare for a career in studio production by developing your creative process and artistic techniques in studio areas such as drawing, ceramics, printmaking, sculpting, and painting. The art program introduces you to a variety of media as well as concepts in aesthetics, art history, and art criticism. This degree also lays the foundation for further graduate study.

Why study art at Northwestern?

Faith is the foundation of who we are and it fuels what we do. God’s creative work in our lives gives us the confidence to use our struggles as inspiration, to fuel our creative fire and point back to Him. You can learn how the joy, hardships, and discovery in your faith can produce remarkable results in your own work.

We have facilities available for you to explore your creative side. Our department houses a drawing classroom, ceramics studio, painting studio, and a design lab. You may feature your art in the student gallery for the public to view. Faculty, who are artists themselves, encourage you to compile samples of your work for a professional portfolio to show prospective clients and employers.

With campus so close to downtown Minneapolis and St. Paul, students can take advantage of opportunities in Minnesota’s thriving art and business industries. Other opportunities include field trips to major art and design centers, like the Walker Art Center, the Minneapolis Institute of Art, and the Swedish Institute to view others’ work and be inspired.

If you have a flair for creativity, enjoy working with your hands, and want to show your talents to the world, this might be the right degree for you.

What will I learn?

You will develop an appreciation for aesthetics, become detail oriented, and learn to solve problems.

Since graduating Northwestern in 2011, I’ve earned an MFA in Ceramics from The School of the Art Institute of Chicago. My work has been represented by Stuart & Company Gallery since the summer of 2014 and I help manage Skybox Studios, an artist collective and studio in Chicago’s West Town neighborhood.
Alumni | Department of Art & Design - Class of 2011

Careers in art

There are a variety of career and academic pathways that begin with a degree in art.

What types of work are related to this degree?

  • Textile design
  • Sculpting, painting, creating art
  • Fashion artist
  • Costume design
  • Floral design
  • Photography or photojournalism
  • Museum technician or conservator
  • Makeup artist
  • Art display designer
  • Merchandise display designer
  • Police sketch artist (forensic artist)
  • Art restoration
  • Studio owner
  • Illustrating/medical illustrating
  • Private art instructor
  • Art sales or gallery management

Who employs people with this degree?

  • Many are self-employed
  • Museums and galleries
  • Local historical societies
  • Craft guilds, arts associations
  • Retail establishments
  • Newspapers and publishing houses
  • Design companies
  • Advertising /public relations firms
  • Photo agencies, studios
  • Commercial firms and corporations
  • Libraries and universities
  • Public and private schools
  • Non-profit agencies
  • Prisons and rehabilitation centers
  • Hospitals and nursing homes
  • Fashion and interior design firms
  • Recreational and after school programs
View Career Guide

of art graduates felt professionally prepared by their education


of seniors believe the faculty are genuinely interested in their welfare


of seniors grew in their relationship with God during their time at Northwestern

Preparing for a Career

College graduation rates continue to increase each year making competition for jobs even greater. Set yourself apart from the crowd with the following strategies for getting started, networking, and gaining experience.

Strategies for success:

  • Take coursework (or minor) and gain experience in marketing, business, sales, history, writing or computer technology if the idea of being self-employed is appealing to you. The US Department of Labor reports that 62% of artists are self-employed.
  • Develop excellent technical and computer skills in a variety of platforms and design software to complement your artistic skills and give employment flexibility.
  • Save artwork (and a photographic record of artwork) for a strong portfolio – too much is better than too little. Keep your portfolio both digitally and physically.
  • A bachelor’s degree is valuable for entry-level positions, but an advanced degree is usually necessary to attain competitive, upper-level positions.
  • An art degree can and should be tailored to areas of specialization.

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