The Painting program promotes painting in its varied manifestations as a fundamental form of artistic expression. Instruction, practice, and awareness of historical and contemporary context are brought together to enable students to think critically and imaginatively, and to express their ideas with skill and conviction. The principal component of the Painting program is rigorous studio activity. Students also consider the role of sight, insight, and perception in relation to processes of making. Critical dialogue and rigorous expectations about studio practice support work toward a fully formed artistic vision.

Undergraduate Admissions

Graduate Admissions

Degrees Offered

  • BFA
  • MFA

Average Class Size

  • Class sizes average at about 14.
  • With faculty approval, students can also take one-on-one directed studies.

Unique Opportunities

  • Students are given numerous opportunities to display work in Boston University galleries, including the student-run Gallery 5.
  • Graduate students enjoy large, personal studios full of natural light; undergraduates are assigned personal studios at the start of their Junior year.
  • Undergraduates can study painting alongside printmaking, glassblowing, and other disciplines in the School’s study abroad program in Venice, Italy.
  • Electives in Site Specific Art train students to apply their studio skills to the creation of public artworks, culminating in commissions and installations across and beyond the campus.

Notable Graduates

  • Brice Marden, pioneering American abstract painter; subject of numerous one-person shows and retrospectives at sites such as the Museum of Modern Art, the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, and the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; member of the Academy of Arts and Letters; represented by Matthew Marks Gallery.
  • Pat Steir, painter and printmaker with an extensive exhibition history, including solo shows at the New Museum and Brooklyn Museum of Art; 1982 Guggenheim Fellow; represented by Cheim and Read in New York.
  • Mathew Cerletty, solo exhibitions with Blum & Poe gallery in Los Angeles and Algus Greenspon in New York; featured in a five-person exhibition at the Whitney Museum of American Art in 2016; represented by Office Baroque in Brussels.
  • Christian Roman, story artist for Pixar.

Faculty Members

2015–16 Graduate Visiting Critics

  • Michael Berryhill
  • Keltie Ferris
  • Josephine Halvorson
  • Tom McGrath
  • Patricia Treib

Undergraduate Curriculum Requirements (132 credits)

Prerequisites (40 credits)

  • Drawing I (2 sem): 8 cr
  • Additional Drawing and Print Electives: 4 cr
  • Painting I, II, and III: 12 cr
  • Sculpture I: 4 cr
  • Art History (2 sem): 8 cr
  • Freshman Writing: 4 cr

Major Requirements (44 credits)

  • Drawing and Print Electives: 10 cr
  • Sculpture: 4 cr
  • Painting Major Studios (min 4 sem): 18 cr
  • Painting Techniques: 2 cr
  • Contemporary Issues Seminars (3 sem): 6 cr
  • Contemporary Art History: 4 cr

Electives (48 credits)

  • Sciences | Social Sciences | History: 8 cr
  • Language | Literature | Philosophy: 8 cr
  • Additional Liberal Arts Electives: 12 cr
  • Additional Studio or General Electives: 20 cr

Graduate Curriculum Requirements

Two-Year Outline of Study (60 credits)

  • Graduate Painting: 36 cr
  • Graduate Seminar/Discussion: 12 cr
  • Liberal Arts Elective: 4 cr
  • Art or General Electives: 8 cr