Degrees & Majors
The information shared here is intended to provide an overview of Georgia State University’s offerings. For official details on admissions requirements, tuition, courses and more please refer to the university catalogs.
The undergraduate concentration in Art Education prepares pre-kindergarten through 12th grade art educators with expertise in the visual arts and the skills to plan and teach in a way that is responsive to all students and their communities.
The program builds a community of collegial professionals who demonstrate disciplinary expertise, including art teaching skills with sound pedagogical strategies, an understanding of current scholarship and issues within the field and the ability to positively impact student learning. Special emphasis is placed on the teaching of diverse learners in urban and metropolitan settings. The program bridges the gap between theory and practice—helping students develop skills as an instructor and an artist.
Art Education students benefit from the activities of the National Art Education Association, which provides a variety of early professional experiences for pre-service teachers, including the organization of exhibitions of art education student and alumni artwork, the sponsorship of fundraisers and service projects in the Atlanta area and travel to state and national conferences.
The program also reflects a professional art school commitment to the mastery of art media. Students are required to take several courses in one art discipline to gain the depth needed for teaching and personal artistic development, as well as a broad range of elective studio courses to master the diverse skills that will be needed as a classroom teacher.
The student experience: Three of the four pre-student-teaching courses include on-site classroom observations. The last semester of the program is spent student-teaching with master's-level teachers in the Atlanta metropolitan area.
The Master of Art Education (M.A.Ed.)is an advanced degree in art education structured to build a community of collegial professionals who demonstrate disciplinary expertise, including knowledge of the content of art education, skill with sound pedagogical strategies, understanding of current scholarship and issues in the field and the ability to positively affect student learning. Emphasis is placed on the teaching of diverse learners in urban and metropolitan settings.
Specific objectives for students completing the M.A.Ed. program include:
- Expanding their skills and understandings in studio art production and contemporary art concepts;
- Developing their pedagogical skills and strategies as master teachers;
- Empowering them to integrate theory and best practices in their classrooms;
- Fostering their critical thinking skills and life-long learning as members of a professional community;
- Developing their leadership and advocacy skills to have an impact on students, classrooms, communities, schools, districts and professional organizations.
Master of Arts in Teaching, Art Education (M.A.T.) : Students seeking a teaching certification at the graduate level may apply to the M.A.T. in Art Education. Candidates for the M.A.T. may be asked to complete additional coursework as advised by graduate faculty based on the portfolio review. Students in this program may be artists who have worked in the community, experienced art teachers or recent art graduates.
The undergraduate Art History program approaches visual culture from an international perspective and features the history of the art of Africa, Europe, and North and South America. To prime students for a career in the 21st century, the school offers a full historical spectrum, engaging you in cross-disciplinary methods of analysis and evaluation. Study-abroad programs, internships and research assistantships offer additional opportunities for you to gain expertise in the field. The program prepares you for graduate work and professions in museums, galleries, non-profits, art consultancies and publishing.
The program emphasizes the study of visual art in relation to the historical and cultural contexts in which it was created. Students learn interdisciplinary methods of analysis and develop research, writing, formal analysis and critical thinking skills. Coursework takes the form of lower-level surveys of Western and non-Western art, higher-level specialized lecture classes and Introduction to Art Historical Methodology a seminar on Art Historical Methods and Research. The Art History program offers a variety of classes on a rotating basis, including courses in Ancient Roman Art, Medieval Art, Early Modern (Renaissance) Art, 18th and 19th-Century European Art, Latin American Art, Modern and Contemporary American and European Art, African Art and Contemporary African Art.
The Ernest G. Welch School of Arts & Design and The College of the Arts offer a dual undergraduate/graduate degree program in Art History. The program provides students with the opportunity to complete a bachelor’s and a master’s degree in as short a period as five years.
Acceptance into the dual-degree program does not constitute admission to the graduate-degree program. Admission to the graduate program occurs in the senior year and is contingent upon 1) earning a bachelor’s degree, 2) maintaining the required program grade-point average, 3) performing in the graduate-level courses taken during the bachelor’s degree program and 4) meeting the other admission requirements of the specific program.
The graduate Art History program in the Ernest G. Welch School of Art & Design emphasizes the study of visual art in relation to the historical and cultural contexts in which it was created. Students receive training in various time periods and geographical areas of art history, while also gaining depth of knowledge in a particular specialization. The M.A. is a two-year degree program with thesis and non-thesis tracks. Coursework takes the form of mixed-level lecture classes, graduate-only seminars, including Methodology and Historiography of Art, and electives in subjects outside art history. The program is open to students with undergraduate degrees in art history as well as those with degrees in other fields who have completed upper-level coursework in art history. It provides a foundation for individuals who wish to pursue careers in museums and galleries, as well as undertake doctoral studies.
The graduate Art History program features established faculty with active publishing and research profiles. Students normally focus on one of the following areas: Early Modern (Renaissance) Art, Eighteenth- and Nineteenth-Century European Art, Modern and Contemporary American and European Art, or Contemporary African Art, and work closely with a faculty mentor when developing a thesis. Interested individuals are encouraged to make contact with the appropriate faculty member prior to applying. Highlights of the program include its urban setting, interface with local arts organizations and museums, the Art History Graduate Forum, an annual student-run visual culture symposium, assistantships and funding to present at conferences and symposia elsewhere. Many of the program’s diverse course offerings emphasize one or more of the following themes: gender, race, identity, the body and cities.
The Arts Administration concentration provides students with a broad-based knowledge of business and the arts and positions graduates for managerial positions in galleries, theaters and other arts organizations, especially in the nonprofit sector. The program allows students with an interest in the arts to develop widely marketable skills. Students take courses in nonprofit management, business communication and marketing with electives in business administration, creative media industries study, entrepreneurship, marketing and nonprofit management.
There are four thematic concentrations: Art History Administration, Music Administration, Studio Administration and Theatre Administration.
Students can pursue their interest in the arts in one of these four areas while also taking courses in nonprofit management, business communication and marketing.
An internship course is required for Art History Administration and Theatre Administration or can be taken as an elective in Music Administration and Theatre Administration. Other possible electives include business administration, creative media industries and world languages courses.
Our campus is in the heart of downtown Atlanta. We are part of a thriving, vibrant arts scene with many arts administration opportunities in art, music and theatre.
The Ceramics emphasis fosters personal exploration of subject matter, technical proficiency in a broad range of working methods, and professional presentation. Students in this program develop a broad base of technique and process knowledge that emphasizes experimentation and conceptual development. The program encourages mixed media exploration, stemming from a core knowledge of ceramic art. The students develop an understanding of ceramics’ vast history as well as an investigation of contemporary practices.
Methods taught include handbuilding, wheel throwing, mold-making, slip casting, press molding, clay extrusion, figure sculpting, portrait sculpting, glaze calculation, decal creation and china painting.
Students gain the experience of organizing events and marketing through their involvement with the student organization, Student League of Independent Potters (SLIPS). The organization is responsible for managing a budget, participating in fundraising through two annual sales of work and coordinating two annual visiting artist workshops.
The Master of Fine Arts (M.F.A.) in Ceramics program emphasizes professional skills and achievements and fosters personal direction, diversity, technical proficiency and professional presentation. The Ceramics program offers a highly progressive curriculum that considers ceramics as a broad-based, interdisciplinary practice while providing a strong foundation in the history of the discipline and fostering technical mastery of the material. The individual direction of each student is further developed and focused through intensive time in the studio, group interaction across disciplines and periodic critical reviews. Sensitive handling of material, the integrity of craftsmanship and depth of inquiry are the unifying characteristics of work made in the ceramics M.F.A. program.
The program emphasizes group seminars and critiques to provide a variety of settings for the development and exchange of ideas relevant to the arts in general and ceramics in particular. In the final two semesters of the graduate program, the student completes a thesis exhibition and writes a supporting thesis paper.
A strong component of the graduate program involves assistantships in either studio work or in teaching undergraduate-level courses. Students may teach a variety of courses during their studies, from Foundations to Introductory Ceramics. These experiences in conjunction with the acquisition of professional skills such as resume writing, job application skills and self-promotion prepare the student with the tools to be a professional artist once studies are complete.
Students also gain the experience of organizing events and marketing through their involvement with the student organization, Student League of Independent Potters. The organization is responsible for managing a budget, participating in fundraising through two annual sales of work and coordinating two annual visiting artist workshops.
The Master of Fine Arts (M.F.A.) in Drawing and Painting program supports artists who explore unique approaches to the creative endeavor and who transcend boundaries. We are interested in applicants who are searching for new insights into our culture and our time. The faculty encourages innovative and original ideas.
The curriculum of the Drawing and Painting program ensures a comprehensive exposure to an array of perspectives as represented by the various approaches to media, content, imagery and teaching styles of our faculty. Students are encouraged to explore the traditions of printmaking as well as drawing and painting, and to work in pursuit of new forms and with contemporary issues. While students work in the drawing, painting and printmaking combined seminar for a majority of their studio credit hours, they are highly encouraged to move among media in the discipline, as well as with other studio areas in the Ernest G. Welch School of Art & Design.
The Drawing and Painting concentration hosts diverse media-specific and conceptually focused classes, dedicated classroom studios and a project/critique space. A stylistically diverse faculty offers courses in specific media and material content—oil-based, water-based, life drawing, digital possibilities—as well as concept-driven courses such as “Figure as Content,” “Sound and Radio,” “Anthropocene Studies,” “Research Methodologies,” “Maps and Messages,” “Science + Art” and more. Philosophically, the faculty engender a range of visual expression, media experimentation, social practice and conceptual art—all grounded in traditional technical training.
Faculty areas of expertise include classical drawing, mixed-media, collage, video, sound, animation, trompe l’oeil /ultra realist and abstract painting, sculpture and installation. A range of international travel programs have been hosted by area faculty and student internships are supported by faculty.
The Printmaking curriculum introduces students to cross-disciplinary modes of working while enhancing their understanding of foundational principles of design and the importance and beauty of method, process, discipline, repetition and perseverance.
Emphasis is placed on mastering the elements of mark-making while encouraging variation and risk-taking with the tools at hand. Stressing the notion of drawing and the formal elements of process and design as a language, the faculty encourage students to broaden their vocabulary and fluency in the medium, honing and translating their perceptions of a tangible world into legible and poetic works. Students look at the history of art and the tradition of printmaking in order to trace the evolution of the medium to the position it now enjoys as a vibrant and viable means of creating contemporary art. They are taught technique and concept through discussions, demos, examples, museum/studio/gallery visits and readings that demonstrate the uses of print-based techniques for image-making, which serves as a vehicle for learning and the proliferation of meaning and messages, taking cues from all aspects of the contemporary political, philosophical and social sphere. Students gain technical skill and are shown methods of employing the techniques unique to printmaking’s fundamental processes to make work that marries form and content in meaningful ways and when appropriate reaches beyond the confines of the traditional print.
The Printmaking area cultivates a culture of collaboration and is enhanced by a student-run organization, Printmaker’s Workshop, which organizes trips to conferences, museums and studios in Atlanta and beyond.
Students learn graphic design principles through problem-solving. The program encourages students to meld the practical aspects of applied design creatively with more abstract issues of personal exploration, social consciousness and individual goals. The implementation of historical knowledge, contemporary cultural issues, conceptual and philosophical research, and media experimentation is fundamental to the graphic design experience at Georgia State.
The business of graphic design and the practical aspects of the profession are also key elements of the program. Students participate in internships with local, regional, national and international firms, which provide them with a firm footing for their careers once they leave Georgia State. In addition to the permanent faculty, the program uses a diverse and rotating staff of guest instructors, each a prominent member of the professional design field. The professional teaching staff provides an important bridge between the academic program and the professional community.
Course and topics taught: Introduction to Graphic Design, Typography, Print and Editorial Design, Interactive Design, Design for Education, Graphic Design in Popular Culture, Internship in Graphic Design, Motion Design and Timed Media, Corporate Identity Design, Graphic Design through Advertising, Professional Practices in Graphic Design, Specialized Applications of Graphic Design.
The Design M.F.A. program is for focused, motivated, experienced designers who want to introduce a multidisciplinary perspective to their work by collaborating with graphic designers, interior designers, fine artists, art historians and those from other related disciplines. Based on these experiences, graduate students in design will push their work into compelling and groundbreaking conceptual and visual directions in communication. Graduate students will take pedagogy coursework, shadow other instructors and are expected to teach entry-level design courses or work in a professional capacity for the university.
The B.F.A. in Interior Design program prepares students for successful careers in the rapidly growing and changing field of interior design. It strives to reflect the values of contemporary interior design practice as it prepares graduates for careers as licensed professional interior designers who are adept at providing provocative aesthetic solutions to client needs while managing program, schedules and budgets.
The Interior Design program is highly competitive and requires the submission of a portfolio for admission into the concentration. Following a year of required fine arts foundations coursework, Interior Design applicants take three introductory classes in the fall of their sophomore year to qualify to submit B.F.A. application portfolios for admission into the concentration. The initial 3000-level courses:
- are open to potential Interior Design majors who have completed the first-year Art & Design foundations course sequence;
- introduce varied practical aspects of contemporary interior design practice;
- introduce critical analysis and evaluation methods applied to current and historical architecture and interior spaces; and
- introduce basic architectural drawing (drafting) and communication skills required of successful Interior Design majors.
The curriculum of the Interior Design program ensures a comprehensive exposure to an array of perspectives as represented by the various approaches to media, conceptual development, content, visual representation, and a variety of teaching styles exhibited by our faculty. The program is highly individualized and ideal candidates will have already completed an undergraduate degree in interior design or a related field, ideally followed by some professional experience on which the graduate student reflects during their time in the program.
Students are encouraged to pursue new forms of expanded interiors practice and research while building on traditional design practice competencies. While students work in the interior design and graphic design combined seminar for a majority of their studio credit hours, they are highly encouraged to move within other studio areas within the Ernest G. Welch School of Art and Design that align with an expanded understanding of contemporary interiors practice, including 3D studies (sculpture, ceramics, and textiles), drawing, painting and printmaking, and photography, to name a few.
Opportunities: A significant component of the Interior Design graduate program revolves around the students’ 10-hour per week paid assistantships, either as graduate research assistants (GRA) assigned to specific faculty research initiatives, as studio lab assistants (GLA) working in essential support areas of the school (e.g., CAD labs, 3D maker spaces, materials resource labs) or teaching undergraduate-level courses as graduate teaching assistants (GTA). Following year-one requisite preparation in instruction, year-two and three GTAs are encouraged to teach a range of undergraduate courses related to their degree. Possible courses include Introduction to Studio, 3D Design, Drafting, and select courses in our CAD sequence. Actual course teaching opportunities will vary depending on departmental needs and specific language and skillsets unique to each GTA. These experiences, in conjunction with the acquisition of professional skills in evidence-based research, prepare the student with the tools to be a professional practitioner or educator once their studies are complete.
Beyond assistantship responsibilities, M.F.A. candidates in Interior Design are encouraged to pursue professional internships with one of the numerous interior design firms in Atlanta. Notably, 9 of the top 10 firms listed in Interior Design magazine’s 2020 Top 100 Giants have offices in Atlanta, with GSU alumni currently employed at 8 of those top 10 firms, including Gensler, Perkins & Will, HOK, Nelson Worldwide, and Hirsch Bedner Associates.
Research Thesis: In addition to the required coursework, M.F.A. candidates must produce a written graduate research thesis with a graphic component. This written document, combined with a specialized design project reflecting the chosen area of research, completes the thesis and is presented in a final M.F.A. thesis exhibition prior to graduation.
The undergrad photography program provides a critical and conceptual grounding for students as they independently pursue their studio practice. The weekly seminar serves as the backbone of the program. Critical theory is stressed while critique forms the basis for dialogue about ongoing work. Students are encouraged to look beyond established photographic conventions and to push their work in new directions. Creative investigation across disciplines is avidly supported and results in students working in mixed media, video, digital, installation, performance and conventional photographic print media. Guest critics and guest artists are invited to final critiques to supplement the expertise of the faculty.