Art Classes in Massachusetts with Degree Program Options

Jul 31, 2019

There are more than 20 schools in Massachusetts that have art classes. Read an overview of the ten largest schools' programs, requirements and tuition info, and find out which school is the right one for you.

Essential Information

Students who are interested in creating art or building a career in art have many college options in Massachusetts, with program options available in all sorts of 2-dimensional, 3-dimensional, and new media art forms. Programs primarily lead to associate's and bachelor's degrees; however, at least one master's program and one doctoral program in art are available in the state. Curricula and practicums in art programs often focus on the development of a portfolio and might include concentrations, exhibitions, and/or a thesis. Applicants to such programs often need to show their artwork to determine natural talent.

More than 20 Massachusetts colleges offer one or more degrees in art. The ten largest Massachusetts art schools are profiled below.


Bristol Community College

Bristol Community College is a two-year college in the city of Fall River. Approximately 9,000 students attend the school annually. Bristol offers an Associate in Arts in Art degree program, which is specifically designed for students who plan to transfer to four-year colleges. Students earn 65 credits in general education and art courses, including courses in drawing and two- and three-dimensional design. The program also offers a number of art electives, including painting, printmaking, and sculpture. This program can be completed in four semesters.

Bunker Hill Community College

Bunker Hill Community College is located in Boston and has a student population of close to 13,000. Bunker Hill offers a two-year Associate in Arts in Fine Arts degree program. While enrolled in the program, students develop their drawing and painting skills, study color theory, and amass a portfolio of work that can be used for consideration when transferring to four-year schools. Students complete a total of 65 credit hours. The fine arts concentration courses include art history, painting, drawing, and two- and three-dimensional design.

Framingham State University

Framingham State University is located in the city of Framingham. The four-year school is home to over 4,000 undergraduate students. Undergraduates interested in art can enroll in Framingham's Bachelor of Arts in Studio Art program and choose a concentration in art education, graphic design, illustration, ceramics, printmaking, painting, or sculpture. Students are required to complete core courses in art history, color and design, and drawing, in addition to courses in their specific concentration. Prospective studio art students are required to submit a portfolio to be considered for admission to the program.

Harvard University

The prestigious Harvard University is located in the city of Cambridge. The Ivy League school enrolls more than 27,000 students and offers undergraduate and graduate degree programs. Undergraduate art students at Harvard can enroll in the Bachelor of Arts in Visual and Environmental Studies degree program, which includes tracks in studio arts and film/video, environmental studies, and film studies. Courses vary slightly depending on a student's chosen track, but students could study digital media, film, video, and sound in addition to drawing, painting, printmaking, sculpture, and other artistic mediums. Graduate students can enroll in the Doctor of Philosophy in Film and Visual Studies program. Courses in this program include the history of art and architecture, film and visual theory, literature, and ethnography. Students also earn a master's degree while working toward their PhD. Other requirements for the PhD program include teaching experience, a qualifying paper, a dissertation prospectus, and a thesis.

Holyoke Community College

Holyoke Community College is located in the city of Holyoke. The college enrolls more than 7,000 students a year. Holyoke art students can earn an Associate of Science in Visual Art degree, which requires the completion of at least 60 credit hours. Visual art students take core courses in art history, drawing, and design. The program also offers a variety of art electives, and students complete at least 12 elective credits in addition to the core visual art course requirements.

Salem State University

Salem State University is located in the city of Salem. More than 9,500 students enroll in the undergraduate and graduate programs offered by the university. Salem State offers a Bachelor of Arts in Art and Design for students interested in the art field. Art and design students can concentrate in art education, art history, graphic design, interactive multimedia, photography, painting, printmaking, or three-dimensional studio art. Graduates of the art program will be prepared to enter into their chosen artistic field or continue their studies in graduate school. The school's art and design program is accredited by the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD).

Suffolk University

Suffolk University is located in the city of Boston. The private college offers undergraduate and advanced degree and certificate programs. The school offers a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Fine Arts. The four-year program requires students to complete at least 124 credits. Students begin their studies with courses in color, foundational drawing, and two-dimensional design. As the program progresses, students are trained in imaging, printmaking, advanced painting, and sculpture. In their final semester, students are required to complete a senior thesis.

Tufts University

Tufts University is a private college in the city of Medford. The four-year university has a student enrollment approaching 11,000. Tufts boasts a Master of Fine Arts in Studio Art degree program in conjunction with the School of the Museum of Fine Arts (SMFA). Prospective students should hold a bachelor's degree and need to have completed at least four art history courses in order to be accepted into the program. Students attend weekly graduate seminars and take graduate-level courses at Tufts while working with instructors who are practicing artists at SMFA.

University of Massachusetts - Boston

The University of Massachusetts in Boston is a public college that offers bachelor's, master's, and doctoral degrees. The four-year university enrolls over 15,000 students yearly. Students who are interested in art can enroll in the school's Bachelor of Arts in Art program. Art majors take at least 12 major courses, including art history courses and courses in two mediums of the student's choosing. Art courses offered by the University of Massachusetts include American art in Boston, film analysis, drawing, and introductory sculpture.

Westfield State University

Westfield State University is located in the city of Westfield. The school enrolls over 6,000 students in its undergraduate and graduate programs. Westfield offers a Bachelor of Arts in Art degree program. Students enrolled in this program can choose one of several concentrations: art history, fine arts, graphic design, or teaching certification. Students who choose the fine arts concentration take advanced studio and drawing courses and work on preparing a portfolio and a thesis. Applicants to the program need to submit a portfolio, CD, or slides of their work in order to be considered for acceptance.

School Comparison: At A Glance

School Name School Type & Setting Art Degree Programs Offered Tuition & Fees (2018-2019)
Bristol Community College Two-year, public; large suburb Associate in Arts in Art In-state: $4,776; out-of-state: $9,720*
Bunker Hill Community College Two-year, public; large city Associate in Arts in Fine Art In-state: $4,464; out-of-state: $9,408*
Framingham State University Four-year, public; small city Bachelor of Arts in Studio Art In-state: $10,520; out-of-state: $16,600*
Harvard University Four-year, private, not-for-profit; midsize city Bachelor of Arts in Visual and Environmental Studies,
Doctor of Philosophy in Film and Visual Studies
$50,420 (undergraduate),
$47,562 (graduate)*
Holyoke Community College Two-year, public; large suburb Associate in Science in Visual Art In-state: $4,902; out-of-state: $9,846*
Salem State University Four-year, public; large suburb Bachelor of Arts in Art and Design In-state: $10,642; out-of-state: $17,082*
Suffolk University Four-year, private, not-for-profit; large city Bachelor of Fine Arts in Fine Arts $38,566*
Tufts University Four-year, private, not-for-profit; large suburb Master of Fine Arts in Studio Art $52,192*
University of Massachusetts - Boston Four-year, public; large city Bachelor of Arts in Art In-state: $14,167; out-of-state: $33,966*
Westfield State University Four-year, public; large suburb Bachelor of Arts in Art In-state: $10,429; out-of-state: $16,509*

Source: *NCES College Navigator.

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