Choosing a major in Art
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What does it mean to be an art major?

Why is Austin Peay State University a good place to major in art?

What can APSU art majors do after graduation?

Whom should I contact to learn more about majoring in art?

What scholarship opportunities are available for art majors?


What does it mean to be an art major?

To major in art is to become a visual problem solver. In your first year, you are introduced to the methods and materials of visual thinking through a series of Foundation courses. In these courses, you will examine and explore the visual world through drawing, computers, and other hands-on experiences in sculpture and two-dimensional design.  The five Foundation Courses—Drawing 1, Drawing 2, Electronic Imaging, Two-Dimensional Design, and Three Dimensional Design—provide all incoming students with a solid set of conceptual and technical skills; we believe in a combination of old and new technologies. Even in the digital age drawing is never out of date!

To major in art is also to become a part of an exciting community. There is always some activity in the art building. Students use the classrooms from 8 a.m. until midnight, and everyone is encouraged to participate or form their own student club. Currently, students run the Painting Club, the Student Design Group, the Student Art League, the Ceramics Club, the Mud Club, and the Art Education Club. These groups organize trips, host speakers, and also meet just to have fun.

In your second year, we encourage you to take art history courses so that you begin to see yourself in an historical and global context. Your hands-on studio choices open up, too. You can enroll in Introductory Studio courses, Graphic Design classes, and Art Education sections which will give you a broad view of the visual word.  Thus, you will begin to see that in the 21st century all areas of art are inter-related; drawing influences sculpture, sculpture influences design, design influences photography, for example. You do not need to choose a particular area of concentration to major in until late in your second year. In fact, we encourage you to take your time so that you can choose from a broad base of knowledge, knowing that eventually all of your classroom experiences will benefit your growth as an artist.

In the third year, you will begin to focus more on your particular area of interest, whether it is Art Education, Fine Art, or Graphic Design. However, the faculty encourages you to see the two as one because all visual language shares the same grammar! As a student in Visual Communication, you will take more advanced courses in print design, web design, digital photography, typography and the like, while in Fine Arts you will begin to sharpen your interest in one of the major areas of concentration, namely Photography, Drawing, Sculpture, Ceramics, Illustration, Printmaking, New Media, and Painting. As an Art Educator, you will explore the history of the field, strategies for the classroom, and education theory and practice. Remember, however, that these courses are open to everyone in the department regardless of concentration. We encourage you to be broad based.

In your junior and senior years, there are many off-campus opportunities that we suggest you try. Study abroad is one, a professional internship is another, and it is possible to do both! Summers are a good time for this kind of study.

The senior year is the time to prepare for life after undergraduate school. For some this means entering a career in education, graphic design, or the arts, and for others this means graduate school. Each student is different, and we work with you to tailor the final semesters to your particular needs.   BFA students in the Fine Arts exhibit mount a solo exhibition in Gallery 108, graduating seniors in Visual Communication hold a large group show in the Trahern’s main gallery, and Art Education majors prepare for student teaching.  Your experience in the art department will be uniquely your own.


Why is Austin Peay State University a good place to major in art?

The short answer is this: the faculty, the students, and the opportunities.

All professors are active in their fields and all hold terminal degrees. We are a community of engaged artists, scholars, and educators.

We also have many extra-curricular programs such as such as the aforementioned student groups, study abroad programs, and internships. The Trahern building offers nine well-equipped studios including a state of the art Mac lab and the Goldsmith Press.

Our program of visiting lectures, workshops and speakers is also unrivalled in the state of Tennessee. Every year we bring to campus world-renowned designers, educators, and artists who share their experiences with you, the student.

What can APSU art majors do after graduation?

Education and graphic design are two of the fastest growing fields in the 21st century, and our graduates are successful in finding positions in these areas. Fine artists are able to purse graduate work or are often successful at creating entrepreneurial opportunities for themselves in galleries, as freelance artists, and as owners of small business.

The greatest value of an arts education is that it prepares students to solve problems in a creative way. That’s the number one skill that employers in all fields are looking for in the 21st century. 

Finding new meanings in the world is what an arts education is all about.


Whom should I contact to learn more about majoring in art?

Contact Barry Jones, Chair of Art, at or (931)221-7330. You can also find information at  For more information about studying art at APSU, follow this link to the Art Department website.


What scholarship opportunities are available for art majors?

A number of scholarship and financial aid opportunities are available for art majors, including the Presidential Research Scholarship. An individual form for a specific art scholarship must be filled out and turned in with the portfolio or essay.  Moreover, portfolio guidelines are the same for all scholarships requiring a portfolio.                              

Applications for all scholarships, including art scholarships, are through the APSU Financial Aid Office website.  The online general APSU scholarship application needs to be filled out only once (not for each scholarship). 

Art Department specific scholarships are available for incoming freshmen, returning, and transfer art students.  Art scholarships are based on student portfolios and academic performance; some scholarships may require a written essay.  Each scholarship has a specific application accompanied by the specific requirements needed to apply. The art faculty determines art scholarship awards. 

Financial Aid Office links:

Review Art Department scholarships: 

Further information about visual arts scholarships is available by calling Gena at the APSU Department of Art at (931)221-7333 or at


Follow this link to the programs of study for art majors (B.F.A.).


Follow this link to the programs of study for art majors (B.A.).


The Center for Excellence in the Creative Arts at Austin Peay State University brings world-class writers, musicians, performers, and artists to campus each year to work with students in master classes, concerts, and workshops. For more information and a schedule of upcoming events, follow this link to the Center for Excellence in the Creative Arts.