Austin, TX, Art Schools
Students who are interested in taking art classes in Austin can find stand-alone courses and programs at a private university and two public schools, which are featured below. Liberal studies programs with majors in general or studio art can lead to a Bachelor of Arts (BA); professional undergraduate and graduate programs culminate in a Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) or Master of Fine Arts (MFA). Continue reading to learn more about the degree options at the three featured schools, and use the accompanying table to compare cost of attendance. A paragraph about two other schools within 30 miles of downtown Austin can be found at the end of the article.
- The University of Texas at Austin offers informal classes, as well as bachelor's and master's degree programs, in studio art. Art students also have the chance to study abroad in Italy. At 2.2 miles, the university is the closest to downtown Austin.
- At Saint Edward's University, a small, private university located 3.8 miles from Austin's downtown, liberal studies students can earn a BA in Art. They can also participate in local internships and out-of-town residencies.
- Austin Community College offers a variety of art classes and an associate's degree in art. Located 5.4 miles from downtown Austin, the college also offers three study abroad programs in Costa Rica and Italy.
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Comparison of Schools
The following table can provide prospective Austin art students with a snapshot of the three featured schools. Noteworthy figures include the open admissions and low in-district tuition rate at Austin Community College, as well as the percentage of first-time students who received financial aid at Saint Edward's University in 2010-2011.
|The University of Texas at Austin||Saint Edward's University||Austin Community College|
|School Type||4-year; public||4-year; private, not-for-profit||2-year; public|
|Total Enrollment (2014)||51,313*||4,686*||40,949*|
|Campus Setting||Large city||Large city||Large city|
|Undergraduate Tuition & Fees (2015-2016)||$9,806 in-state,
|% of Incoming, Full-Time Students Receiving Some Form of Financial Aid (2013-2014)||63%*||92%*||47%*|
|Acceptance Rate (2014)||40%*||78%*||Open admissions*|
|Retention Rate (Fall 2013 to Fall 2014)||94% full-time,
|83% full-time*||56% full-time,
|Undergraduate Graduation Rate||81% (students who started Fall 2008)*||67%; 27% transfer out (students who started Fall 2008)*||8%; 30% transfer out (students who started Fall 2011)*|
Source: *National Center for Education Statistics - College Navigator
University of Texas at Austin
The University of Texas at Austin, or UT at Austin, offers undergraduate and graduate degree programs, as well as community classes, in art.
The continuing education program at UT at Austin offers a variety of art classes to the public through its Informal Classes program. The Creative Life section provides training in a variety of art forms, such as drawing, oil painting, photography, life drawing and watercolor. Students can sign up for the Art in Nature classes individually or as a series; topics include botanical illustration and landscape drawing. Some classes meet regularly, while others are 1-day workshops.
Bachelor of Arts in Studio Art
The BA in Studio Art program allows students to pursue a liberal arts education while focusing on the visual arts. The program requires 48 credits in general education, including courses in English, humanities, math, science and social science. Students also take 16 credits in foreign language courses.
Coursework for the major includes six credits of fine arts and 12 credits of art history, as well as eight credits in electives. Students begin with 12 credits of foundational courses in studio art before taking an additional 18 credits of advanced studio art courses.
Bachelor of Fine Arts in Studio Art
The BFA is a professional degree program that requires only 33 credits of general education courses, rather than the 48 credits required for the BA. Credits in foreign language are not required. While both programs incorporate 12 hours of art history classes and 12 hours of prerequisite courses in studio art, students in the BFA program take an additional 48 credits in studio art and six credits in electives.
Master of Fine Arts in Studio Art
The 60-credit graduate program in studio art enrolls just 30 applicants each year and takes three years to complete. Students can pursue one of five areas of specialization: drawing and painting, printmaking, photography, 3-D media or transmedia. Requirements include 27 credits of studio art, six credits of art history and 12 credits in electives; working as an assistant instructor is also encouraged.
Over the course of their studies, students take two oral examinations and receive five critiques. They must also observe the oral examinations of other art graduate students. The program culminates in a master's report and an exhibition.
Saint Edward's University
Saint Edward's University offers a bachelor's degree in art for undergraduates seeking a liberal arts education. Students at Saint Edward's University can expect small class sizes with a student-faculty ratio of 14 to 1.
Bachelor of Arts in Art
The BA in Art is a liberal studies program in which students learn to work with a variety of visual arts media, master a medium and prepare an artist's portfolio. All students fulfill general education and elective requirements. They also take core coursework in art history and acquire techniques for exhibiting art.
After completing the art core, students then take advanced courses in art history, drawing, painting, printmaking or clay. To fulfill the university's service learning requirements, they also take courses in environmental art or art in public spaces; participation in an art internship is typical. The program culminates with a senior art show in which each student displays their body of work in a public exhibition. This program prepares students to work in the arts or pursue a graduate degree.
Austin Community College
Serving eight counties in and around Austin, this community college offers a variety of vocational and technical degree programs. One such program, the Associate of Arts in Art, includes a variety of higher education art classes. The college also offers affordable art classes that can be taken by students or members of the community.
The art department offers two ceramics classes. The first is an introductory class that teaches basic ceramic skills. Students design art pieces, either by hand or through the use of a throwing wheel, and apply glazes. In the advanced class, students learn to glaze and fire their own ceramic pieces.
Austin Community College offers four drawing classes. Students must start with the beginning drawing class, in which they learn how to work with line, form, space and perspective while creating still-life, landscape and figure drawings. The class focuses primarily on developing hand-eye coordination and a sense of composition.
After this class, students can take an advanced drawing or life drawing class. In advanced drawing, participants learn to incorporate light and shading, as well as work with pencil, pen, ink and charcoal on a variety of subjects, including architectural objects. In life drawing classes, students sketch models and develop their knowledge of anatomy and their capacity to portray mood and expression in their artwork.
In the introductory painting class, students develop their own sense of aesthetic while acquiring skills and techniques in oil and acrylic painting. This class also teaches students about color and composition. In the more advanced class, students learn to solve creative problems as they arise, while creating figure, landscape, portrait and still life paintings. Students can also take a watercolor class.
Prior to enrolling in the printmaking classes, students are encouraged to take other art classes. The beginning course provides students with an overview of the various types of printmaking, such as intaglio, relief, monotype and lithographs, while teaching them the skills and methods for creating their own work. Students can then take an advanced class that explores intaglio, relief and lithograph prints in more depth.
The introductory sculpture class helps students acquire basic techniques and express their 3-D ideas through a variety of materials. Students can hone these new skills in an advanced sculpture class.
Associate of Arts in Art
The associate's degree program incorporates core liberal arts with introductory art courses and teaches students how to communicate through the visual arts. Students begin with a beginning drawing class, then take art history and either design or digital art. In their second year, they take advanced courses in drawing and design. The program requires a total of 64-66 credit hours and typically takes four semesters to complete.
Other School Options
Art students in Austin can earn a Bachelor of Arts or Bachelor of Fine Arts in Art at Southwestern University, located about 26 miles from the downtown in Georgetown, or Texas State University in San Marcos, which is 30 miles away from the downtown.