Department of Art


Do I need to submit a portfolio of artwork to be admitted to the program?

No, once you are admitted to Western Illinois University, 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?
  • Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) in Art is a broad, well-rounded liberal arts degree that is intended for students who desire an intensive Art specialization with a more open educational program. The flexibility of this degree allows students to pursue Art alongside another field(s) of academic study. Students have the option to select a minor or a group of related courses with the assistance of their faculty advisor. Options are offered in Graphic Design and Art Studio.
  • Bachelor of Fine Arts (B.F.A.) in Art is the degree for the Art professional and provides an in-depth, comprehensive and structured background in art and design. It allows the student to focus on their chosen area for the development of conceptual focus and exceptional technical proficiency. Options are offered in Teacher Education, Graphic Design and Art Studio. Areas of studio specialization include: ceramics, drawing, metals/jewelry, painting, printmaking, and sculpture.


student faq What exactly is the B.F.A. Portfolio Review?

The B.F.A. Portfolio Reviews are an opportunity for students to submit a collection artwork to be assessed by a committee of Art Faculty.

The Entry Review serves as an application for becoming part of the B.F.A Art Studio or Graphic Design programs. The artwork submitted should consist of the student’s strongest work either created during class time or independently. The Entry Review is recommended for students who have earned 30 s.h. of credit. Transfer students are encouraged to apply their first semester at Western. Students must have a minimum GPA of 2.50 in Art, and a positive Entry Portfolio Review to be admitted into the B.F.A. Art Program. If a student is unsuccessful in passing the Entry Portfolio Review, they may re-apply the following semester, or continue as a B.A. Art major.

The Junior Review is an assessment process to determine if a B.F.A. student is making adequate progress in their area of specialization to complete a successful B.F.A. Senior Exhibition or Design Portfolio Website and graduate with a strong body of artwork and the skills needed for employment or acceptance into an advanced degree program.


Is there a deadline for applying to the Department of Art at WIU?

Admission to the Art program is based upon the date of application and acceptance to the University. Both Fall and Spring semester applicants are accepted to the program. Starting in the Fall allows students to schedule courses in their proper sequence more easily. Many scholarships and Talent Grant/Partial Tuition Waver awards are granted to early applicants so the earlier a student applies during the Spring semester, the greater the chance of financial assistance.


Will I be assigned an advisor?

Yes, All Art majors are assigned a departmental faculty advisor their first semester. Students will also have an University advisor. Both advisors will assist with degree selection, planning, and course scheduling.  

It is the responsibility of the student to meet with their advisor, fulfill all department and university requirements, and follow all rules and regulations. 


Are there art scholarships available to qualified art students?

Yes, there are several scholarships and awards available through the Department of Art.

Also, there are general scholarships and awards available through the University.


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, students may change their major and/or emphasis declaration at any time. Please be aware that changes in a major may change some General Education requirements.


student faq2 What is ARTS 410 B.F.A. Senior Exhibition?

All B.F.A. Art Studio option candidates are expected to create a competent, cohesive and in-depth body of work that reflects a serious commitment to artistic achievement. Students in the Graphic Design option take as 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. Students must pass ARTS 416 or 410 in order to graduate with the BFA degree.


What is the "Materials charge for course"?

The "Materials Charge" for studio art courses allows the faculty  teaching the course 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, the Materials Charge 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.