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 is designed to develop critical understandings across a broad range of media and disciplines. We provide technical and conceptual training in most traditional and new media: painting, drawing, printmaking, sculpture (wood, metal, ceramic, and mixed media), photography, installation, performance art, video, animation, sound, and in the emerging 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 seeks to graduate students with potential for significant artistic and cultural impact. Successful Art Practice graduates understand the professional art world and are articulate about their work. They are deeply engaged with their art forms, rigorously committed to their craft, and highly capable of invigorating conceptual, technical, and critical creative research. Students graduating with a major in art pursue careers as professional artists and teachers, or in arts-related activities with museums, galleries, arts management, publishing, and artists’ organizations.

Course of Study Overview

While the undergraduate major is made up largely of studio courses, it also requires at least three courses in art history. Our students are required to be broadly familiar with the aesthetic strategies that artists have devised to understand and invent their worlds, not just in the 20th and 21st centuries, but throughout the millennia of human culture. Field trips to area museums, galleries, and artists’ studios provide an important onsite learning tool, one which emphasizes the pedagogical primacy of direct contact with works of art.

Small studio classes with frequent critiques are designed to foster a supportive community, productive debate, and collaborative thinking. Students are encouraged to be both open-minded and tough-minded, to look closely, think critically, and challenge assumptions. Most upper division studio courses involve an exhibition requirement when students are asked to consider questions of audience, context, site, and timing. Several gallery spaces, among them the Worth Ryder Art Gallery, offer exhibition venues. The department also maintains web space for online exhibitions and video streaming.

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 and 1 lower division History of Art course (any).
  4. Submit a portfolio of 12 images (include work from all UC Berkeley studio classes).
  5. Submit one letter of recommendation from an art faculty, art lecturer, or art GSI.

Honors Program

Students with an overall grade point average (GPA) of 3.3 or higher who are in their senior year may, with the permission of a regular faculty member, enroll in the honors program. This is an independent study course, taken for a minimum of one semester and a maximum of two semesters and comprising a minimum of 4 units and a maximum of 8 units. A final grade is given at the completion of the program. Honors courses count toward the art major as they are taken for a letter grade.

Minor Program

For information regarding declaring the minor, please contact the department.

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

The following two studio courses and one history of art class must be completed before declaring the Art Practice major:

ART 8Introduction to Visual Thinking4
ART 12The Language of Drawing4
Select one lower division history of art class

Lower Division Courses

Select two studio courses from the following:
Language of Painting [4]
The Language of Sculpture [4]
Introduction to Printmaking: Relief & Intaglio [4]
Introduction to Printmaking: Lithography & Screen Printing [4]
Beginning Digital Photography [4]
Foundations of American Cyber-Culture [4]
Moving Image Media Production [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
Approaches to Painting [4]
Research, Methods and Materials of Drawing [4]
Contemporary Perspectives of Figure Drawing [4]
Approaches to Printmaking: Intaglio [4]
Approaches to Printmaking: Lithography [4]
The Language of Printmaking-Screenprinting [4]
Advanced Projects in Printmaking [4]
Approaches to Sculpture: Concept and Construction [4]
Approaches to Sculpture: Ceramics [4]
Approaches to Sculpture: Meaning in Material [4]
Approaches to Sculpture: Installations [4]
Temporal Structures: Video and Performance Art [4]
New Genres [4]
Special Topics in Visual Studies [4]
Social Practice: Critical Site and Context [4]
Art and Meditation [4]
Art, Medicine, and Disabilities [4]
Digital Video: The Architecture of Time [4]
ELECTRO-CRAFTING [4]
Advanced Digital Video [4]
Game Design Methods [4]
Advanced Digital Photography [4]
Junior Seminar: Meaning and Making [4]
Senior Projects/Professional Practices [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]
1

Two studio classes from the following list may be substituted: FILM 180, FILM 181, FILM 185THEATER 175A/THEATER 175B, NWMEDIA 190, VIS STD 180A, VIS STD 180B, VIS STD 181, VIS STD C185AVIS STD 185X, VIS STD 187A.

Minor Requirements

Students who have a strong interest in an area of study outside their major often decide to complete a minor program. These programs have set requirements and are noted officially on the transcript in the memoranda section, but are not noted on diplomas.

General Guidelines

  1. All courses taken to fulfill the minor requirements below must be taken for graded credit.
  2. A minimum of three of the upper division courses taken to fulfill the minor requirements must be completed at UC Berkeley.
  3. A minimum grade point average (GPA) of 3.0 is required for courses used to fulfill the minor requirements.
  4. Courses used to fulfill the minor requirements may be applied toward the Seven-Course Breadth requirement, for Letters & Science students.
  5. No more than one upper division course may be used to simultaneously fulfill requirements for a student's major and minor programs.
  6. All minor requirements must be completed prior to the last day of finals during the semester in which you plan to graduate. If you cannot finish all courses required for the minor by that time, please see a College of Letters & Science adviser.
  7. All minor requirements must be completed within the unit ceiling. (For further information regarding the unit ceiling, please see the College Requirements tab.)

Minor Requirements

Lower Division
ART 8Introduction to Visual Thinking 14
ART 12The Language of Drawing4
Select two studio courses from the following:8
Language of Painting [4]
The Language of Sculpture [4]
Introduction to Printmaking: Relief & Intaglio [4]
Beginning Digital Photography [4]
Foundations of American Cyber-Culture [4]
Data Arts
Moving Image Media Production [4]
Upper Division
Select four studio courses, from advanced-level, upper division art studio courses 2
ART 102Approaches to Painting4
ART 117Research, Methods and Materials of Drawing4
ART 118Contemporary Perspectives of Figure Drawing4
ART 120Approaches to Printmaking: Intaglio4
ART 123The Language of Printmaking-Screenprinting4
ART 130Approaches to Sculpture: Concept and Construction4
ART 133Approaches to Sculpture: Meaning in Material4
ART 138Approaches to Sculpture: Installations4
ART 141Temporal Structures: Video and Performance Art4
ART 142New Genres4
ART 160Special Topics in Visual Studies4
ART 163Social Practice: Critical Site and Context4
ART 164Art and Meditation4
ART 165Art, Medicine, and Disabilities4
ART 171Digital Video: The Architecture of Time4
ART 172CGI Animation Studies4
ART 173ELECTRO-CRAFTING4
ART 174Advanced Digital Video4
ART 178Game Design Methods4
ART 180Advanced Digital Photography4
Select one Art History course from the following: 1
Theories and Methods of Art History [4]
Theories & Methods for a Global History of Art [4]
Art and Colonialism [4]
Art in the Early 20th Century [4]
Art in the Later 20th Century [4]
Latin American Art [4]
Race and Representation in the Twentieth Century in the United States [4]
1

Must be taken at UC Berkeley

2

Two studio classes from the following list may be substituted: FILM 180FILM 185,, THEATER 175A/THEATER 175B, NWMEDIA 190, VIS STD 180A, VIS STD 180B, VIS STD 181, VIS STD 185X, VIS STD C185A, VIS STD 187A.

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.

Asma Kazmi, Assistant Professor.

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

Brody Reiman, Associate Professor.

Stephanie Syjuco, Assistant Professor. Art, sculpture, ceramics, social practice, craft, activism, public art, feminism, capitalism, communes, material culture, informal economies, black markets, hacker culture, detournement, digital culture, the industrial revolution, Russian Constructivism, Arts and Crafts Movement, The Bauhaus, The Berlin Wall, design culture, architecture, brutalist architecture, urbanism, survivalism, archives, libraries, museums, museum display, modernity, postcolonial studies, labor history, American history, globalization, revolutions, cargo cults, the Philippines, Asian American studies, empire, textiles, fashion, ethnography, trade routes, science fiction, afrofuturism, camouflage, surveillance technologies, DIY culture, zines, punk rock, maker culture, kittens.
Research Profile

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

Lecturers

Nathan Kwame Braun, Lecturer.

Aida Gamez, Lecturer.

Michael Hall, Lecturer.

Jamil Hellu, Lecturer.

Randy M. Hussong, Lecturer.

Sahar Khoury, Lecturer.

Christopher S. Kubick, Lecturer.

Carmen Lang Merino, Lecturer.

Stephanie F. Lie, Lecturer.

Masako Miki, Lecturer.

Jill S. Miller, Lecturer.

Indira M. Morre, Lecturer.

Craig K. Nagasawa, Lecturer.

James S. Pitt, Lecturer.

Elise A. Putnam, Lecturer.

Erik Scollon, Lecturer.

Stacy Jo Scott, Lecturer.

Azin Seraj, Lecturer.

Jenifer K. Wofford, 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

Allan deSouza

337 Kroeber Hall

adesouza13@berkeley.edu

Undergraduate Adviser

Dee Levister

341 Kroeber Hall

Phone: 510-643-9107

dplev@berkeley.edu

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