Studying Art FAQs

About Studying Art at Harper and Preparing for a Career

We aren't trying to read your mind. But, we're guessing you might be asking some of the frequently asked questions listed below. If you don't find the answers you're looking for here, contact us and we will get you the information you need.

It is helpful to think of these two categories in terms of their fundamental purposes. Both are art-making endeavors, but they represent very different paths.

Fine Arts (Arts) are forms of art that emphasize personal artistic expression. A degree in the Fine Arts provides historical, philosophical and technical context to help students develop their ideas and techniques. It is not intended to prepare students for a definite income-generating career. Very few artists working in the Fine Arts are able to survive on the sale of their art alone. Therefore, finding a job to provide for financial support while allowing time to make art is usually the goal upon graduation with a Fine Arts degree. A variety of related fields that support the Fine Arts also exist. (See question 2.)

Applied Arts (Design) are akin to various Design fields. A degree in Applied Arts prepares students for definite careers in the commercial art industry. The role of the artist in this context is to meet the needs of clients in the world of business. A variety of related fields that support the Applied Arts also exist. (See question 2.)

Harper's Associate of Arts degree provides a solid foundation for further degrees and/or careers in:

Fine Arts Studio: painting, drawing, sculpture, ceramics, printmaking, analogue and digital photography, digital imagery, time arts (animation, film, video, performance, multimedia), college art and/or design professor

Applied Arts (mostly digital technology): graphic design, illustration, medical illustration, industrial design/arts, landscape design, interior design, fashion design, animation, photography, film, video web design, architectural studies, prop production (theatre sets, museum environments, trade show displays), college art and/or design professor

Crafts (utilitarian and decorative arts): potter, furniture maker, textile artist, jewelry artist, fabricator Art History: researcher, theorist, critic, college art history professor Art Education: primary and secondary art teacher or administrator

Museum Studies: curator, director, conservator, restorer, preparator, museum educator, registrar, administrator

Commercial or Not-For-Profit Art Gallery: owner, director, curator, sales person, art handler

Other: art therapy, auction house employee, appraiser, art consultant

Yes. Art studio and lecture courses are available to any interested student, and may count as elective credit for the Associate of Arts and Associate of Science degrees, as well as for some Career degree programs. A counselor can advise you on specific elective requirements for degrees.

The following courses have no prerequisites and do not assume a student has any prior knowledge or experience in the subject field:

  • ART 100 Art Seminar
  • ART 105 Introduction to Art (Lecture)
  • ART 110 Drawing I (Studio)
  • ART 114 Introduction to Film ART 121 Design I (Studio)
  • ART 130, 131, 132 History of Art courses (Lecture)
  • ART 133 Non-Western Art (Lecture, satisfies World Cultures and Diversity requirement)
  • ART 280 Topics in Art History

Art History courses are lecture-based and require assignments involving reading, writing and viewing art. Courses meet for three hours per week and are typically three credit hours. Alternative course formats are occasionally available.

Art Studio courses provide an environment for hands-on investigation of techniques and concepts through making art. Courses meet for six hours per week and are three credit hours.

First Semester: ART 110 Drawing I, ART 121 Design I, and ART 130 History of Art I

Second Semester: ART 111 Drawing II, ART 122 Design II, and ART 131 History of Art II

Third semester: ART 225 Figure Drawing, art elective*, and ART132 History of Art III Fourth semester: art electives*

*Art electives currently offered for Art Majors include the following:

  • ART 133 Non-Western Art
  • ART 206 Printmaking Studio
  • ART 240 New Media Studio
  • ART 250 Digital Photography Studio
  • ART 261 Painting Studio
  • ART 280 Topics in Art History
  • ART 281 Topics in Studio Art
  • ART 291 Ceramics Studio
  • ART 296 Sculpture Studio

Degree requirements are based on the level at which you want to teach. In either case outlined below, it is recommended that you first complete an Associate in Arts Degree as an Art Major.

K-12 (Kindergarten - High School)

Teaching at the K-12 levels requires a bachelor's degree in:

  • Education with an Emphasis in Art,
  • Art Education, or
  • Art with a Certificate in Education

The college or university you transfer to will require one of these options.

College or University
Teaching at the college level does not require an Education degree. However, a Masters degree is required. Obtaining a Masters in Fine Arts degree (M.A. + 30, or M.F.A.) will be more beneficial when seeking a position teaching in the studio art areas. A Doctorate degree in Art History (M.A. + 60, or Ph.D.) will most likely be required when seeking a position teaching Art History at a liberal arts college or university.

Transfer Credits/Grade Level: Transfer institutions have the right to accept or reject credit from incoming students. Generally, students who obtain an Associate in Arts degree can transfer to a senior institution with relatively few problems. Be aware that the number of credits accepted and the year you are placed at may vary widely among institutions. For studio majors, a portfolio of your artwork can play an important role in helping the transfer institution determine your status.

Transfer Institution Choices: To select a transfer institution, do some research. Factors to consider are: location, cost, size and program aspect, such as the institution's philosophy or "school of thought" (formal, technical, conceptual, academic, research-based, or art school).

A portfolio is a representation of your commitment as a Studio Art Major. It should include your most current and highest quality work. Your portfolio may include work produced in or out of class while pursuing college level coursework. Art faculty are available to assist you in determining which work to include in your final portfolio and how it should be presented. Final portfolio preparation generally takes place during a student's last semester at Harper.

Portfolios may be required by the transfer institution to determine studio course transfer, advanced studio course placement and scholarship eligibility. The art faculty at Harper routinely reviews portfolios for the same purposes.

High school students who have Advanced Placement drawing portfolios may submit them to the Art Department for review. If approved, a student may receive credit for the Drawing I / ART110 course and enroll in the Drawing II / ART111 course.

The Art Department provides a foundation for Art Majors seeking to transfer to a four-year institution, non-art majors seeking to fulfill art elective credit, and students seeking personal enrichment.

Harper also offers art-related programs outside of the Art Department. Career Degree and Certificate Programs provide training in specific industries for the student seeking more immediate workforce employment. In addition, our Continuing Education Division offers non-credit courses in art.

Harper's dedicated counselors and our Art Department faculty are happy to help. Simply call and set up an appointment to discuss your questions and concerns:

Academic Advising and Counseling Office
Building I, Room 117 847.925.6393

Art and Music Department Office
Building P, Room P206 847.925.6568