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Bachelor of Fine Arts at UCM

Illustration • Painting • Ceramics • Sculpture • Printmaking

Make the most of your creative talent at UCM with a Bachelor of Fine Arts.

Art Education at the University of Central Missouri

Pass on the spark of creativity! Teach art.
Study Art Education at UCM.

Earn a B.F.A. in Graphic Design

Design your future with a B.F.A. in Graphic Design.

Earn a B.F.A. in interior design at UCM

Think creative!

Transform the world from the inside out. Earn a B.F.A. in Interior Design at UCM.


Is UCM accredited in art and design? In art education?
All of UCM's programs in art and design are accredited by the National Association of Schools of Art and Design and have been continuously since 1986. UCM is the only 4 year public institution in Missouri with this distinction. In addition, all of UCM's education degrees, including the B.S.E. in Art Education, are accredited by the National Counsel for Accreditation of Teacher Education. UCM's Department of Art and Design is actively pursuing accreditation from the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (formerly FIDER).

I'm a transfer student, will my classes count toward a UCM art or design degree?
Articulation agreements are in place with community colleges in the state, and many classes are automatically substituted. For other classes, we make every effort to give you the maximum credit toward your program that we are able. For transferred classes that are not already articulated, we may ask you to submit the syllabus and course description of the class, and a portfolio of work produced if it is a studio class.

What does a graphic designer do?
They are often referred to in the business as "the creative." The graphic designer is involved in developing and producing designs for printed materials and increasingly, designs for electronic displays and websites. They are likely to develop ideas by sketching and working with their hands, but ultimately, their primary tool is the computer and sophisticated design software and technology, such as the Adobe Creative Suite set of applications. Graphic design doesn't necessarily hold still anymore. Movement and basic animation are often a part of the graphic designers skill set. If you major in graphic design, you'll take foundation courses in drawing and designing by hand, alongside increasingly more extensive use of the computer as your designing tool.

What does an interior designer do?
The field of interior design should not be confused with interior decorating. It is a much more technical field. It shares much with the field of architecture. The interior designer is often a licensed professional. The work of the interior designer is, just as it sounds, the job of creatively designing interior spaces. The quality of the look and function of a space is dependent on the work of the interior designer. Decisions about interior structure, such as the placement of walls, and appearance through the choice of materials for wall, floor and ceiling surfaces, as well as lighting and furniture all figure into the job of the professional interior designer. If you major in interior design, as a creative worker you'll be trained in drawing and designing by hand, but eventually, your primary tool will be the computer. Applications such as Autodesk's AutoCAD and Revit and other applications such as SketchUp Pro will be among your most important tools.

What's the key to getting a good job in the design field?
The quality of your work in the portfolio of work you produced during your college career is number one. Developing your abilities to their maximum potential and constantly pushing yourself to improve your work will put you in the best position for a career in design.

What is the difference between Graphic Design and Graphic Arts at UCM?

Graphic Design is a creative-based degree, offered in the Department of Art & Design. Graphic Technologies (the complete title of the “Graphic Arts” degree) is a technical degree related to the printing industry, pre-press issues, and other technical aspects of image display and presentation, either in print or electronically.  It is offered in the School of Technology.  Do you want to be a person who develops the creative ideas and visuals that are used to “sell” a product or an idea? Did you take art classes in high school? Do you think of yourself as a creative idea person with skills you want to further develop? If you answered yes, then Graphic Design could be right for you. Also look in the back section of the Survival Guide (our student handbook) for a detailed explanation and diagram that contrasts Graphic Design and Graphic Technologies.


Do I need to get my own computer if I am a design major?  

Only if you are an Interior Design major. Click here for more information. We maintain specialized computer labs in our Grinstead facility for the Graphic Design program (two labs) and we still have two back up computer labs for Interior Design program. Students are encouraged to talk to their program coordinators for advice before buying a computer. 


What kind of computer resources are available in the department?

Students in the design majors have 24-hour access to their respective computer labs.  We also have an open computer lab in the Art Center with designated hours, 8:00-8:00 PM, Monday-Thursday, 8:00-5:00 on Friday. All our computer labs are stocked with professional hardware and software, with new upgraded computers every three years.


If I choose to get a computer of my own, what kind of computer should I get?

Interior Design Majors are required to have a laptop and peripherals as freshmen, beginning with ART 1300, Interior Design Drafting I. PC laptops are strongly recommended for Interior Design majors. For more info click here. Macintosh computers are recommentded for Graphic Design majors and the Adobe Creative Cloud set of applications is the recommended software for this major.


What is the demand for art teachers; are there jobs available?

Opportunities have been improving steadily with the economic recovery, especially if the graduate is geographically mobile and able to go to where the jobs are.  It is of course important to have a strong record of accomplishment in your classes, a strong GPA, and a record of success from your student teaching semester with positive references from those who have observed you teaching.  Substitute teaching is a good way to network and gain experience.  Joining the Missouri Art Education Association as a student member and attending their events is also a good way to network and hear about openings before they are widely known.

What are the options for a studio art degree in ceramics, painting, printmaking or sculpture?

There are five emphasis areas in studio art.  For the four more traditional areas (ceramics, painting, printmaking, and sculpture) the degree prepares the student to become a professional artist.  A significant number of students earning a BFA in these four emphasis areas have the goal of continuing their development as an artist in a graduate school, pursuing a Master of Fine Arts degree or Master of Arts degree.  The goal for some is to teach in higher education.  An extensive award-winning exhibition record is required for success in finding full time teaching work in higher education.   


A liberal arts education like that provided by the Studio Art BFA can prepare students well for a broad range of possible careers.  We have alumni who have been successful in many adjoining fields, including restaurant owner-managers, museum management, technical welding, art supply stores, and even sales.  Some studio majors go on for a Master of Arts in Teaching as an alternative path toward teaching art in the public schools.


What about studio art illustration?

Studio Art majors pursuing the Illustration emphasis are prepared to be professional illustrators, working within the business of art and design, most commonly as a self employed contractor, or in some cases as an in-house illustrator for a business. 


What does an illustrator do?

Illustrators provide artwork that is inserted into publications of various sorts:  advertisements, newspapers, books, web-based environments, comics, video games, animations, storyboards, etc.  Often times our illustration students also take additional graphic design courses to satisfy the degree requirement for 12 departmentally approved elective credits.  This gives them flexibility in being able to work both as an illustrator and graphic designer.  Illustration is a very competitive field and requires very strong drawing ability and a relentless work ethic.  It’s important to remember that it is the strength of your portfolio and an entrepreneurial spirit that that are among the keys to having success in this field.

What student clubs and groups do you have?

Student Art Coalition (anyone interested in art)

AIGA Student Chapter- Graphic Design Club

Art Education Club

Clay Club

Illustration Club
Interior Design Student Association

Printmaking Club


What kinds of scholarships do you have?

 In addition to the Red & Black scholarships that the University gives out, the Department of Art & Design awards incoming student portfolio scholarships to freshman and new transfer students.  For our continuing students we offer Foundation Scholarships that are endowed.  The deadline for all scholarship applications is March 1of each year..  Instructions for applying for incoming portfolio and Foundation scholarships can be found in the scholarship section of the UCM Art & Design web site.

I want to visit the Department of Art and Design at UCM. Who should I contact?

Contact the UCM Admissions Office through the UCM website or by phone at 660-543-4290/4677.  A campus tour and visit to the Department of Art & Design facilities can be arranged.  Come and visit us to see for yourself!