Art Practice

University of California, Berkeley

About the Program

Bachelor of Arts

The UC Berkeley Department of Art Practice offers an undergraduate program in studio art which provides a firm grounding in basic techniques and principles while encouraging guided experimentation. Our curriculum provides technical and conceptual training,  and develops critical understandings across a broad range of media and disciplines, including : painting, drawing, printmaking, sculpture (wood, metal, ceramics, and mixed media), photography, installation, performance art, video, animation, sound, and in the newly emerged fields of programming, interactivity, game design, and AR/VR. Art Majors are expected to round out the required studio courses with Art History and Theory classes.

Art Practice students are deeply engaged with their art forms, rigorously committed to their craft, and highly capable of invigorating conceptual, technical, and critical creative research.  Students gain direct experience with a broad range of arts professionals and display spaces, through in-person meetings with artists and curators, and through gallery and museum visits. The department graduates students with potential for significant artistic and cultural impact, with many  pursuing careers as professional artists, designers, and teachers, or in arts-related activities with museums, galleries, arts management, publishing, and artists’ organizations.

 

Course of Study Overview

UC Berkeley’s Department of Art Practice provides rigorous practical, conceptual, critical, and professional training within the context of a world-renowned public research university. The department prepares students for professional lives within contemporary art, while acknowledging that these can take multiple forms and approaches. The department emphasizes an ethical, global scope, with a necessary encouragement of diversity of viewpoints and modes of practice. It offers innovative media-specific, and interdisciplinary courses leading to B.A. and MFA degrees. Studio and seminar courses provide essential skills within conceptual and critical frameworks. The faculty consists of national and internationally recognized artists working across a range of media including painting, drawing, photography, printmaking, sculpture, installation, performance, video, animation, sound, social practice, and the newly emerged fields of programming, game design, and virtual and augmented reality.

Five goals underlie the teaching in the Department of Art:

  1. Acquire and develop practical production skills across different disciplines, e.g. digital media, painting, photography, sculpture, video, etc.

  2. Gain knowledge of art histories and how art discourses and practices have adapted into current understandings and forms.

  3. Gain conceptual and critical skills in generating and evaluating artistic work.

  4. Develop the above skills as part of, or within social and ethical practices.

  5. Translate all the above towards professional and career development.

Declaring the Major

In order to declare the major, you must:

  1. Have an overall GPA of 3.3.
  2. Complete the R&C requirements.
  3. Complete two required studio classes: ART 8 and ART 12
  4. Complete one lower division History of Art course (any)
  5. Submit a portfolio of 12 images (include work from UC Berkeley studio classes).
  6. Submit one letter of recommendation from an art faculty, art lecturer, or art GSI.
  7. A statement of intent 

The application process, including recommendations, is done online. Faculty will review all materials including the portfolio once per semester. Application deadlines can be found on the Art Practice department website

 
 
Graduate Program

Practice of Art: Master of Fine Arts (MFA)

Visit Department Website

Major Requirements

In addition to the University, campus, and college requirements, listed on the College Requirements tab, students must fulfill the below requirements specific to their major program.

General Guidelines

  1. All courses taken to fulfill the major requirements below must be taken for a letter grade. An exception is made for courses that are offered on a Pass/No Pass basis only. Other exceptions to this requirement are noted as applicable.
  2. No more than one upper division course may be used to simultaneously fulfill requirements for a student's major and minor programs, with the exception of minors offered outside of the College of Letters & Science.
  3. A minimum grade point average (GPA) of 3.3 must be maintained in both upper and lower division courses used to fulfill the major requirements.

For information regarding residence requirements and unit requirements, please see the College Requirements tab.

Lower Division Prerequisites

ART 8, ART 12, and one history of art class must be completed (or in progress) before declaring the Art Practice major:

ART 8Introduction to Visual Thinking4
ART 12Drawing: Foundations4
Select one lower division history of art class

Lower Division Courses

Select two studio courses from the following:
Drawing: Foundations [4]
Painting: Foundations [4]
Sculpture: Foundations [4]
Ceramics: Foundations [4]
Printmaking (Relief & Intaglio): Foundations [4]
Printmaking (Lithography & Screen Printing): Foundations [4]
Digital Photography: Foundations [4]
DIGITAL MEDIA: FOUNDATIONS [4]
Moving Image: Foundations [4]

Upper Division Courses

The following two courses are required for the upper division group
ART 119Global Perspectives in Contemporary Art4
( an art history course for majors)
ART 185Senior Projects/Professional Practices4
(a studio class)
Select five studio courses from the following: 120
Advanced Painting: Research and Methods [4]
Advanced Painting: Reconsidering the Portrait & Figure [4]
Ancient Pigments & Contemporary Drawing Practices [4]
Advanced Drawing: Research and Methods [4]
Advanced Drawing: Remixing the Figure [4]
Advanced Printmaking: Intaglio [4]
Advanced Printmaking: Lithography [4]
Advanced Printmaking: Screen Print [4]
Advanced Projects in Printmaking [4]
Advanced Sculpture: Concept and Construction [4]
Advanced Ceramics: Research and Methods [4]
Advanced Sculpture: Meaning in Material [4]
Advanced Projects in Ceramic Sculpture [4]
Advanced Sculpture: Installation [4]
Temporal Structures: Video and Performance Art [4]
New Genres [4]
Contemporary Rituals: New Forms in Performance Art and Video [4]
Special Topics in Visual Studies [4]
Social Practice: Critical Site and Context [4]
Art and Meditation [4]
Art, Medicine, and Disabilities [4]
Video Projects [4]
Electro-Crafting [4]
Advanced Digital Video [4]
Game Design Methods [4]
Advanced Digital Photography [4]
Creative Writing for Artists [4]
Junior Seminar: Meaning and Making [4]
Bridging the Arts Seminar [1-4]
Select one history of art class which focuses on 20th century topics
Theories and Methods of Art History [4]
Art in the Early 20th Century [4]
Art in the Later 20th Century [4]

College Requirements

Undergraduate students must fulfill the following requirements in addition to those required by their major program.

For detailed lists of courses that fulfill college requirements, please review the College of Letters & Sciences page in this Guide. For College advising appointments, please visit the L&S Advising Pages. 

University of California Requirements

Entry Level Writing

All students who will enter the University of California as freshmen must demonstrate their command of the English language by fulfilling the Entry Level Writing requirement. Fulfillment of this requirement is also a prerequisite to enrollment in all reading and composition courses at UC Berkeley. 

American History and American Institutions

The American History and Institutions requirements are based on the principle that a US resident graduated from an American university, should have an understanding of the history and governmental institutions of the United States.

Berkeley Campus Requirement

American Cultures

All undergraduate students at Cal need to take and pass this course in order to graduate. The requirement offers an exciting intellectual environment centered on the study of race, ethnicity and culture of the United States. AC courses offer students opportunities to be part of research-led, highly accomplished teaching environments, grappling with the complexity of American Culture.

College of Letters & Science Essential Skills Requirements

Quantitative Reasoning

The Quantitative Reasoning requirement is designed to ensure that students graduate with basic understanding and competency in math, statistics, or computer science. The requirement may be satisfied by exam or by taking an approved course.

Foreign Language

The Foreign Language requirement may be satisfied by demonstrating proficiency in reading comprehension, writing, and conversation in a foreign language equivalent to the second semester college level, either by passing an exam or by completing approved course work.

Reading and Composition

In order to provide a solid foundation in reading, writing, and critical thinking the College requires two semesters of lower division work in composition in sequence. Students must complete parts A & B reading and composition courses by the end of their second semester and a second-level course by the end of their fourth semester.

College of Letters & Science 7 Course Breadth Requirements

Breadth Requirements

The undergraduate breadth requirements provide Berkeley students with a rich and varied educational experience outside of their major program. As the foundation of a liberal arts education, breadth courses give students a view into the intellectual life of the University while introducing them to a multitude of perspectives and approaches to research and scholarship. Engaging students in new disciplines and with peers from other majors, the breadth experience strengthens interdisciplinary connections and context that prepares Berkeley graduates to understand and solve the complex issues of their day.

Unit Requirements

  • 120 total units

  • Of the 120 units, 36 must be upper division units

  • Of the 36 upper division units, 6 must be taken in courses offered outside your major department
Residence Requirements

For units to be considered in "residence," you must be registered in courses on the Berkeley campus as a student in the College of Letters & Science. Most students automatically fulfill the residence requirement by attending classes here for four years. In general, there is no need to be concerned about this requirement, unless you go abroad for a semester or year or want to take courses at another institution or through UC Extension during your senior year. In these cases, you should make an appointment to meet an adviser to determine how you can meet the Senior Residence Requirement.

Note: Courses taken through UC Extension do not count toward residence.

Senior Residence Requirement

After you become a senior (with 90 semester units earned toward your BA degree), you must complete at least 24 of the remaining 30 units in residence in at least two semesters. To count as residence, a semester must consist of at least 6 passed units. Intercampus Visitor, EAP, and UC Berkeley-Washington Program (UCDC) units are excluded.

You may use a Berkeley Summer Session to satisfy one semester of the Senior Residence requirement, provided that you successfully complete 6 units of course work in the Summer Session and that you have been enrolled previously in the college.

Modified Senior Residence Requirement

Participants in the UC Education Abroad Program (EAP), Berkeley Summer Abroad, or the UC Berkeley Washington Program (UCDC) may meet a Modified Senior Residence requirement by completing 24 (excluding EAP) of their final 60 semester units in residence. At least 12 of these 24 units must be completed after you have completed 90 units.

Upper Division Residence Requirement

You must complete in residence a minimum of 18 units of upper division courses (excluding UCEAP units), 12 of which must satisfy the requirements for your major.

Courses

Practice of Art

Faculty and Instructors

Faculty

Allan deSouza, Associate Professor. Photography, contemporary art, Art Pedagogy, performance, postcolonial studies, Contemporary African Art, South Asian Art.
Research Profile

Kenyatta A.C. Hinkle, Assistant Professor. Visual Art, painting, Drawing, performance, social practice, Experimental Poetics, African studies, African-American Studies.
Research Profile

Asma Kazmi, Assistant Professor. Transdisciplinary, performative, relational works.
Research Profile

Jill S. Miller, Assistant Professor. Visual arts.
Research Profile

Greg Niemeyer, Professor. Art, film studies, digital media installations, photography.
Research Profile

+ Brody Reiman, Associate Professor. Sculpture and installation.
Research Profile

Stephanie Syjuco, Associate Professor. Visual art, installation, cultural objects, archives, social practice.
Research Profile

Anne Walsh, Associate Professor. Video, performance, audio, photography, text.
Research Profile

Lecturers

Chris Christion, Lecturer.

Aida Gamez, Lecturer.

Nicki Green, Lecturer.

Dana Hemenway, Lecturer.

Carrie Hott, Lecturer.

Randy M. Hussong, Continuing Lecturer.

Christina Klein-Tross, Lecturer.

Christopher S. Kubick, Continuing Lecturer.

Indira M. Morre, Continuing Lecturer.

Craig K. Nagasawa, Continuing Lecturer.

Leila Weefur, Lecturer.

Emeritus Faculty

Jerrold Ballaine, Professor Emeritus.

Squeak Carnwath, Professor Emeritus. Art, painting, printmaking.
Research Profile

Anne Healy, Professor Emeritus.

James Melchert, Professor Emeritus.

Mary Lovelace O'Neal, Professor Emeritus.

Richard Shaw, Professor Emeritus.

Katherine D. Sherwood, Professor Emeritus. Art and Disability.
Research Profile

David Simpson, Professor Emeritus.

Brian Wall, Professor Emeritus.

Contact Information

Art Practice

345 Kroeber Hall

Phone: 510-642-2582

Fax: 510-643-0884

Visit Department Website

Chair/Associate Professor

Greg Niemeyer

341 Kroeber Hall

niemeyer@berkeley.edu

Department Manager

Erik Nelson

340 Kroeber Hall

Phone: 510-642-4190

erik_nelson@berkeley.edu

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