BFA in Painting

The Painting program promotes painting as a fundamental form of visual and artistic expression. The principal component of the Painting program is studio activity, and students explore various forms of painting in the first years of the major. Students also consider the roles of sight, insight, and perception in relation to processes of making from the foundation level onward. Critical dialogue and rigorous expectations about studio practice support work toward a young artistic vision in upper-level courses.

The sequence of seven semesters of Painting courses is intended to provide a solid base for postgraduate involvement in the larger art world. In the foundation year, observational studio work is combined with inventive assignments as a means for students to learn about medium, form, content, broader artistic concepts, and the kinds of questions they wish to address with their work. The post-foundation sequence includes Painting II and Painting III in the sophomore year, Junior and Senior Painting Studios, Painting Techniques I, and three semesters of seminar courses. Students have their own studios in the upper level and work in individual conversation with the professor and in group critiques with one another to develop a cohesive and ambitious body of work and to refine artistic voices. The BFA Painting major culminates in the BFA thesis exhibition, which includes a written component.

Students are also expected to develop a strong drawing practice and to verbally critique and write about their own and others’ work. Writing and visual research are strengthened in three semesters of Art History. A range of additional studio electives encourage students to see and make creative connections between diverse practices.


All students entering as freshmen in Fall 2018 and after will pursue coursework in the BU Hub, a general education program that is integrated into the entire undergraduate experience. BU Hub requirements are flexible and can be satisfied in many different ways, through coursework in and beyond the major and, in some cases, through co-curricular activities. Students majoring in Painting will ordinarily, through coursework in the major, satisfy a number of BU Hub requirements in Philosophical, Historical & Aesthetic Exploration and Diversity, Civic Engagement & Global Citizenship, as well as some of the requirements in Communication and the Intellectual Toolkit. Remaining BU Hub requirements will be satisfied by selecting from a wide range of available courses outside the major or, in some cases, co-curricular experiences.

Painting Program of Study

The BFA requires 132 semester credits.

Visual Arts Foundation Requirements
CFA AR 131 and 132 Drawing I 8 cr
CFA AR 141 Foundation Painting 4 cr
CFA AR 121 Foundation Sculpture 4 cr
CAS AH 111, 112 Art History 8 cr
Painting Major Requirements 
CFA AR 241 and 242 Painting II and III 8 cr
CFA AR 341, 342, 345, 346 Painting Major Studios (minimum 4 semesters) 18 cr
CFA AR 547 or 548 Painting Techniques 2 cr
CFA AR 329, 331 Junior and Senior Contemporary Issues Seminars (2 cr each, fall of junior and senior years) 4 cr
CFA AR 332 Senior Painting Seminar (spring of senior year) 2 cr
CAS AH 393 Contemporary Art History (fall only) 4 cr
CFA AR 236, 238, 239, 250, 251, 270, 318, 425, 447, 448, 451, 452, 500, 517, 518, 527 Drawing and Printmaking electives 14 cr
CFA AR 221, 222, 223, 224, 327, 337, 338, 418, 470 Sculpture elective 4 cr
BU Hub Requirements Outside Major and Electives
BU Hub requirements outside the major, including First-Year Writing Seminar (e.g., WR 120) and Writing, Research & Inquiry (e.g., WR 150/151/152) or equivalent 32 cr
Additional BU Hub requirements and/or studio/general electives 20 cr
132 cr