Areas of Study
Students at SMFA can dive as deeply as they like into a single medium or explore a range of disciplines in service to ambitious projects and individualized goals.
Our students do not declare majors; rather, they work directly with their academic advisors and faculty to make a curriculum tailor-made to support them in their art practice while preparing them for their goals beyond school. All doors are open whether you’d like to explore photography to document your paintings, or you’d like to pioneer a new field at the intersection of installation, virtual reality, and painting.
Animation at SMFA consists of a hands-on, artist-driven curriculum that provides students with a solid foundation in a variety of 2D, 3D, hand-made, and digital techniques while encouraging the exploration of a student’s voice and ideas.
Ceramics courses focus on the creative and expressive use of clay through a range of approaches, including installation, performance, mixed media, and large-scale commissioned sculpture.
The curriculum of Digital Media offers courses that provide practical and conceptual skills for creating fine art with newer technologies: 3D, virtual reality, augmented reality, interactive installation, and custom software.
Within SMFA’s drawing curriculum you’ll find courses and resources designed to cultivate your technical skills as well as classes designed to challenge your conceptual practice.
Students can engage in moving image practice through a variety of conceptual and technical traditions, in courses that investigate both cinema and gallery-based work.
The Graphic Arts area combines aspects of design, illustration, web design, comics art/sequential narrative, and bookmaking in order to build a set of flexible skills adaptable to students' specific projects and goals in commercial settings, in book publishing, on the web, in the streets, and in the world of fine arts.
Installation engages in issues of space, site, location, situation, immersive experience, viewer relations, and exhibition design.
Metals courses focus on the direct study of sculptural processes and expression through non-ferrous metals such as brass, copper, and silver which have great expressive potential due to their malleability, durability, value, and aesthetic properties.
The painting curriculum at SMFA offers courses that build technical, critical, and conceptual skills with the goal of engaging contemporary painting practices in a multi-disciplinary, historical, and theoretical manner.
The practice of performance art has changed radically from the early provocations of Dada through the happenings and body art of the '60s and '70s, to contemporary practices that reincorporate aspects of dance and theater or build on relational aesthetics and social practice.
The photography curriculum at SMFA spans the range of photographic practices of the 21st century, questioning and reframing the evolution of photographic and post-photographic approaches.
Print courses offer in-depth instruction in traditional printmaking techniques—relief, intaglio, lithography, and screen-printing—as well as a variety of contemporary hybrid approaches.
Flexible, creative, sculptural responses inform the individual experience in our sculpture curriculum.
Courses use sculpture to encourage an open exchange of ideas, to facilitate communication, and to nurture discovery through play and research.
As one of the oldest programs of its kind in the country, SMFA’s sound curriculum continues to lead in the development of the theory and practice of sound art.
At SMFA, Virtual Reality is approached as a unique, hybrid medium combining elements of gaming, cinema, and contemporary art installation.
Students are able to transform their existing analog and digital skills in areas such as drawing, animation, film, photography, and architecture into virtual environments and experiences.
Visual and Material Studies (VMS, formerly Visual and Critical Studies) is a cross-disciplinary department bringing together faculty from the related fields of Art and Architectural History, Film, and the Language Arts.