Department of Art


Do I need to submit a portfolio of artwork to be admitted to the program?
No, once you are admitted to the university based upon the general admission criteria, you will be admitted into the program, as long as there is available space.

What's the difference between the B.A. and B.F.A. majors?

  • The Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) is a liberal arts degree, with a focus on art and design, but in the context of a broad program of general studies. B.A. students will take at least 45 credits within the department.
  • The Bachelor of Fine Arts (B.F.A.) is the professional arts degree, with a focus on intensive work in art and design, supported by a program of general studies. The B.F.A. major consists of at least 80 credits within the department.

student faq

What exactly is the B.F.A. Portfolio Review?
The B.F.A. Portfolio Review is a review of your artwork that takes place during the spring semester of your sophomore year. The review acts as the gateway into the B.F.A program. The portfolio should consist of representations of the strongest artwork created during class time or independently. A team of department faculty members reviews the portfolio. Transfer students are encouraged to apply their first semester at Western. You must have a minimum Art GPA of 2.50, and your portfolio must demonstrate that your work meets the standards of the B.F.A. program before you are allowed into the B.F.A. major. If you are not successful in passing the B.F.A. Portfolio Review, you may reapply the next semester, or remain as a B.A. major.

Is there a deadline for applying to the Department of Art at WIU?
Admission to the program is based upon the date of application and acceptance to the University. We accept both Fall and Spring semester applications to the program. Starting in the Fall will allow you to take courses in their proper sequence. In general, many of our scholarships and Talent Grant/Tuition Waver awards are granted to early applicant, therefore the earlier you apply during the Spring semester; you increase your chances of obtaining financial assistance.

Will I be assigned an advisor?
Yes, Art majors will be assigned a faculty advisor from the department during their first semester; however, you will also have an advisor from the University Advisement Office. Both advisors will assist you with program planning, however, it is your responsibility to meet with your adviser and fulfill all department and university requirements, rules and regulations. In order to be fully prepared, you should familiarize yourself with the university’s course catalog, timetable and other graduation requirements.

Are there art scholarships available to qualified art students?
Yes, there are general scholarships and awards available through the university. Also, there are scholarships and awards available through the department.

If I am not exactly sure that I have chosen the right major and/or emphasis, can I change it at a later date?
Yes, you may make a change in your major and/or emphasis declaration at any time. Please be aware that changes in a major may change specific Gen. Ed requirements.
student faq2

What is ARTS 472, Studio Comprehensive Exhibition?
All BFA candidates create competent, cohesive and in-depth bodies of work reflecting a serious commitment to creative achievement. ARTS 472 prepares BFA students for their senior capstone exhibition. All BFA students in a 2D and 3D emphases mount a formal group gallery exhibition of their work. Additionally, students prepare and defend an artist statement, write a vita summary and generate documentation of their artwork. Students in the Graphic Design emphasis create a comprehensive senior project, presented in a self-promotional portfolio, a resume, business card and website. They present their work during a group exhibition, which is open to the public. In addition to the instructors of record for ARTS 472, faculty review committees assist in the oversight of students’ progress in the class. Students must pass ARTS 416 or 472 in order to graduate with the BFA degree.

What are "Lab fees"?
"Lab fees" are sometimes referred to as "studio fees". The faculty member teaching the course uses these fees to purchase materials that will be used by the class during the semester. By buying in bulk, the department can purchase materials at a discounted price. Typically, your lab fees will purchase paper, canvas, clay, mat board, illustration board, drawing materials, wood, printing plates, etc.

Will I need my own computer?
Having your own computer is highly recommended.

Department of Art Laptop Policy:

It is strongly recommended that each student entering the Department of Art at Western Illinois University have a laptop for use in art courses. Laptops allow students the ability to literally carry their studios with them and become proficient with art related applications and technology. This recommendation pertains to students enrolled in 100 and 200 level classes (with the exception that a laptop is required in ARTS 215 Introduction to Graphic Design and Typography).

A laptop is required when students begin taking 300 graphic design course.

What laptop should I get?

An Apple MacBook Pro laptop is recommended as the department is set-up to support the Apple operating system (MAC OS). Apple computers are often used in design and art studios. However, laptops with a Windows operating system and a minimum of 8GB memory are fully acceptable.