First Year Experience

We trust the questions you’re asking and the way you approach your practice. We don’t want you to conform to one way of thinking or making art. Our goal at SMFA is to deepen and broaden your unique artistic inquiry through a personalized program of study – and this starts from day one. Our flexible, interdisciplinary curriculum aids you in developing a rigorous set of skills to support your artistic practice and provides the tools, resources, and support to help you make work of impact. 

Before your first semester starts, you’ll begin working with your academic advisor. They are here to learn about your experiences and goals and connect you to the courses, faculty, and studio and academic resources that support your ambitions. 

While many students come to SMFA with a strong technical foundation in one or more mediums and are eager to jump into more conceptually and technically challenging studio courses, other students are choosing studio courses in their first year that will help them to build foundational skills in the mediums of their choosing or introduce them to methods of making they’ve never explored before. In addition to studio courses, most students will take English and Introduction to Visual and Critical Studies in the first semester to build written communication skills and a contextual understanding of art history and contemporary practice. which they will expand during their program. 

At the end of each semester, you’ll participate in a Review Board where you’ll work with faculty and peers to discuss your developing body of research and work as a whole to help clarify your next steps. Throughout your four years you’ll build on the relationship with your advisor as they help to track your degree progression and make sure your courses are meeting your individual needs, find creative solutions with your faculty members as they work alongside you in the studio, gain mentorship from studio managers who are helping you complete projects and expand your technical competencies, form enduring bonds through collaboration with your peers, and build professional experience with the assistance of our career services staff who are specialists in the arts. 

No matter which path you forge through your self-curated curriculum, you will meet artistic challenges, develop relationships with mentors, collaborate with other artists, and look beyond the scope of your work to see art in its broader context.

Semester Hour Unit Requirements – First Year

2-4 studio courses
8 SHUs
English 1
3 SHUs
Intro to Visual & Critical Studies
3 SHUs
14 SHUs