Area of Study Guidelines: The Arts for Students Matriculated Before Fall 1 2015 Policy

Area of Study Guidelines: The Arts for Students Matriculated Before Fall 1 2015 Policy


Academic Affairs


Vice Provost





Effective Date:


Implementation History:



Area of study guidelines, The Arts, AOS

Background Information:


To provide context for the area of study guidelines for area of study The Arts.


Area of Study Guidelines: This set of guidelines helps students plan their degree plans by spelling out what the academic world and many employers understand a particular concentration to mean.  The guidelines are found in many academic publications.

Disciplinary — A program of study guided by the existing framework of a discipline.

Interdisciplinary — The simultaneous and interrelated study of two or more disciplines.

Problem Oriented — A program of study organized around a problem.

Professional/Vocational — A study which focuses on acquiring knowledge and skills needed for specific career performance and applications. It also entails inquiry into the conceptual foundations of the profession, the role of the professional in that career, and the relations between the profession and society at large.

Thematic — A program of study focusing on a particular theme or set of ideas.


Study possibilities in The Arts include both the practice and the history and criticism of the visual arts (sculpture, painting, crafts, photography, design, graphics, etc.); the performing arts (dance, theatre, music, etc.); and the film arts (film, video, photography, etc.). Any of the five organizing frameworks may be used to design concentrations: disciplinary, interdisciplinary, problem oriented, professional/vocational or thematic.

A degree program in The Arts should provide for the development of:

  • understanding of the historical and cultural context of works of art;
  • knowledge of relevant theoretical and philosophical issues;
  • awareness of diverse cultural perspectives;
  • awareness of current developments and critical perspectives;
  • research skills;
  • technical proficiency;
  • capacity to formulate, express, and communicate concepts and images;
  • and ability to formulate critical judgments.

Concentrations in The Arts begin with foundation studies which prepare the student for more advanced-level work. Advanced-level competence should be developed in those areas which are most relevant to the specific concentration design and to the specific organizing framework. A progression of studies for concentrations in practice, performance and creation should lead to: competence in methods and techniques; an understanding of current developments, theory and critical perspectives; and should result in resourcefulness and independence. A progression of studies for concentrations in history and criticism should lead to competence in understanding history, theory, critical perspectives and cultural contexts. In planning the concentration, consideration should be given both to depth and breadth.

Students who wish to continue their studies on the graduate level and/or become practicing artists should consult the guidelines for professional degrees, which have been developed by professional associations such as the College Art Association and American Theater Association.

Students preparing for graduate work also should investigate the entrance requirements of specific graduates schools.

The creative arts are traditionally included with those studies considered to be liberal arts. Studio arts would fall within this definition. Learning not considered liberal studies focuses on specialized knowledge and skills often related to specific professional vocational needs and practices. Technical photography, art therapy techniques, advertising art and methods for art education might fall into this category.

Applicable Legislation and Regulations

Related References, Policies, Procedures, Forms and Appendices

Introduction to the Area of Study Guidelines

College Learning Goals Policy