Art Practice

University of California, Berkeley

About the Program

Bachelor of Arts (BA)

The UC Berkeley Art Practice Department offers undergraduate and graduate programs in studio art, which provide firm grounding in basic techniques and principles while encouraging guided experimentation. Our curriculum is designed to expand students' creative, technical, and critical abilities across a range of artistic media and disciplines, and with the guidance of accomplished faculty.

We provide technical and conceptual training, with a primary focus on painting, drawing, printmaking, sculpture, ceramics, digital photography, installation, performance, social practice, video, and selected courses offered in sound, animation, and game design. Art Practice majors are expected to round out the required studio courses with Art History and seminar classes. The department encourages an ethical, global scope, with a necessary emphasis on diversity of viewpoints and modes of practice. 

Art Practice seeks to graduate students with the necessary skills to have significant artistic and cultural impact, whether within the professional art world or through a range of other. creative fields, including as art directors, arts educators, and arts-related jobs with museums, galleries, arts management, design firms, publishing, and artists’ organizations.

Course of Study Overview

Art Practice majors need to complete thirteen courses (five lower division and eight upper division). These include ten studio courses and three courses in art history. For more details, visit the undergraduate webpage:

Advanced Studio and Critique Program

Each semester the Advanced Studio and Critique Program admits nine senior Art Practice majors who show exceptional commitment and promise.

Senior Capstone Project

During senior year students take the required course ART 185 Senior Projects/Professional Practices and work toward a thesis exhibition in the Department’s Worth Ryder Art Gallery. 

Applying to the Major

The Art Practice Department is a “high demand major” which means that not all students who apply to the major will be accepted. 

For Continuing Undergraduate Students:

Apply as early as possible after completing the prerequisites. Starting in Fall 2023, students are not allowed to apply to the major past the beginning of their junior year (i.e., Seniors are not allowed to apply). The portfolio submission is a competitive one and plays a significant role in the review process. Students are encouraged to submit their strongest work along with thoughtful written responses. Faculty review applications once per semester. Application deadlines can be found on the Art Practice website

For First Year Students Admitted Fall 2023 and After

For first-year students applying to Berkeley Letters & Science (L&S) for fall 2023 and after, there will be two pathways to declare a high-demand major. This policy will not impact current or continuing students.

Admission into L&S: Those who already know as high school students that they want a high demand major should select that major on their UC Berkeley admissions application. If admitted to Berkeley L&S, they will be guaranteed a spot in the major they selected, subject to completing the prerequisites, maintaining good academic standing in L&S, and filing a declaration form.

Changing to a high-demand major after arriving at L&S: For students who did not select a high-demand major on their UC Berkeley admissions application, the process for declaring a high-demand major will be through Comprehensive Review, rather than a minimum GPA requirement only. Students will have one opportunity to apply for a high-demand major, and will be required to have an alternate plan to declare a non-high-demand major as a back-up. 

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.

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

Lower Division Courses

ART 8Introduction to Visual Thinking4
One lower division History of Art class (HISTART)
L&S Reading and Composition courses (R1A and R1B)
One of the "Foundations" courses listed below
Lower Division Requirements
Select three studio courses from the following:
Drawing: Foundations [4]
Painting: Foundations [4]
Sculpture: Foundations [4]
Ceramics: Foundations [4]
Printmaking (Relief & Intaglio): Foundations [4]
Printmaking Foundations: Screenprint [4]
Digital Photography: Foundations [4]
Graphic Novel: Foundations [4]
Moving Image: Foundations [4]
Art, Water and California [3]

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 Sculpture: Radical Wearables [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]
Advanced Digital Media: 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]

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.

College Requirements

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

For a detailed lists of L&S requirements, please see Overview tab to the right in this guide or visit the L&S Degree Requirements webpage. 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 and must be taken for a letter grade. 

American History and American Institutions

The American History and American Institutions requirements are based on the principle that all U.S. residents who have 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 campus requirement 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 are plentiful and 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/data science. The requirement may be satisfied by exam or by taking an approved course taken for a letter grade.

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 taken for a letter grade.

Reading and Composition

In order to provide a solid foundation in reading, writing, and critical thinking the College of Letters and Science requires two semesters of lower division work in composition in sequence. Students must complete parts A & B reading and composition courses in sequential order by the end of their fourth semester for a letter grade.

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 at Cal for four years, or two years for transfer students. In general, there is no need to be concerned about this requirement, unless you graduate early, 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 L&S College 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 B.A. 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.

Major Map

Major Maps help undergraduate students discover academic, co-curricular, and discovery opportunities at UC Berkeley based on intended major or field of interest. Developed by the Division of Undergraduate Education in collaboration with academic departments, these experience maps will help you:

  • Explore your major and gain a better understanding of your field of study

  • Connect with people and programs that inspire and sustain your creativity, drive, curiosity and success

  • Discover opportunities for independent inquiry, enterprise, and creative expression

  • Engage locally and globally to broaden your perspectives and change the world

  • Reflect on your academic career and prepare for life after Berkeley

Use the major map below as a guide to planning your undergraduate journey and designing your own unique Berkeley experience.

View the Art Practice Major Map PDF.



Practice of Art

Contact Information

Art Practice

345 Anthropology and Art Practice Building

Phone: 510-642-2582

Fax: 510-643-0884

Visit Department Website


Ronald Rael

Student Services Advisor

Onisha Barham

345 Anthropology and Art Practice Building

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