Students interested in college-level art classes in Michigan can choose from more than 75 community colleges and universities across the state. Program offerings include undergraduate and graduate degree programs in studio art, art education or art history. These programs often include concentrations so students can focus on an area that interests them. Credits from associate's degree programs may be transferable.
Art programs allow students to work in studios, create portfolios and complete projects. Students may also have study abroad or internship opportunities. In some cases, students will need to complete a thesis, essay or exhibition before graduation.
Below are overviews of the ten largest schools in Michigan that offer art classes or degrees, as well as a comparison table that provides students with at-a-glance information about program titles and tuition. As of 2013, the National Association of Schools of Art and Design accredits the following: Central Michigan University, Grand Valley State University, the University of Michigan and Western Michigan University.
Central Michigan University
Located in Mount Pleasant, Central Michigan University offers three undergraduate programs that include majors in 2-dimensional and 3-dimensional art. Areas of specialization associated with 2-D studies include drawing, printmaking, painting and photography. Students in the 3-D studies program can concentrate in ceramics, fiber art or sculpture. Requirements for the Bachelor of Fine Arts include a portfolio, a thesis exhibition and an artist's talk.
Undergraduates learn to develop their artistic skills through faculty feedback and guidance, and the emphasis on artistic exploration and directed studio work can help them qualify for a master's program. Additional program features include the opportunity for ten qualified students to spend a summer drawing in Florence, Italy.
Eastern Michigan University
Eastern Michigan University in Ypsilanti offers a number of bachelor's and master's degrees in studio art, art history or art education. The Bachelor of Fine Arts program requires foundational coursework in drawing and design, after which students can pursue a 15-21-credit concentration in one of 12 areas, including furniture or graphic design, fine arts, time-based media or watercolor painting. Additional program features include small class sizes and the opportunity to participate in a capstone project. Undergraduates interested in a broader course of study may want to investigate the Bachelor of Science in Art, a combination of liberal studies, art history and studio work.
At the graduate level, Eastern Michigan University also offers a 2-year Master of Fine Arts program. The ten areas of concentration are similar to those found in the undergraduate curriculum, and the degree requirements include a final exhibition.
Grand Valley State University
Allendale -based Grand Valley State University offers three bachelor's programs in studio art, and each one combines a liberal studies core with training in the visual arts. Among the eight areas of concentration are those in painting, sculpture, visual studies, illustration and ceramics. Studio disciplines are also an important part of the art education program.
Instruction and hands-on studio work takes place in state-of-the-art facilities, and students enjoy small class sizes and individualized attention from faculty members. Undergraduates can also participate in student art exhibitions and internships, go on field trips and attend the visiting artist lecture series. Co-curricular activities include the Contemporary Ceramics Association, the Professional Association for Design and the Society for Experimental Artistic Services.
Lansing Community College
This Lansing community college offers an Associate in Fine Arts in Art for students who plan to transfer to a 4-year program. Major courses include topics in design and communication, watercolor and figure painting, drawing and art history.
The college also offers an associate's degree in art history that includes the periods both before and after the Renaissance, a course in mythology and a study of artistic and musical masterpieces. Both 2-year programs required at least 60 credits each to complete.
Macomb Community College
Macomb Community College is a 3-campus school that includes a location in Warren. The college awards more 2-year degrees than any other school in the state, and offers both certificates and Associate of Applied Science degrees in media and communication arts. Areas of specialization include imaging and illustration, design and layout, 3-D animation and photography. Students can also pursue formal training in collaborative media, video production and Web-based media.
While each course of study has its own requirements, the curriculum for the programs in imaging and illustration include training in conceptual, figure and painted visuals. In addition to the certificate and degree programs, Macomb offers a number of courses for pre-art majors in color, drawing and sculpture.
Michigan State University
Located in East Lansing, Michigan State University offers four undergraduate degree programs in the arts. In particular, the Bachelor of Arts in Studio Art is a liberal arts-based course of study with seven concentrations in, among other areas, painting, sculpture, ceramics and photography. The Bachelor of Fine Arts in Studio Art is a professional program that allows for one 6-course and a second 2-course concentration, as well as a senior studio project or an internship.
Undergraduates in the art education program complete 24 credits of general studio courses, along with required electives in 3-D art forms, drawing, graphic design and printing. A 60-credit Master of Fine Arts in Studio Arts is also available, where students complete 36 credits in one of five major disciplines and participate in an oral exam and a graduate art exhibition.
Oakland Community College
Oakland Community College in Bloomfield Hills offers an Associate in Liberal Arts with a specialization in the fine and visual arts. This program provides students with the chance to experiment with a variety of different concepts and mediums while they develop basic art skills and build their portfolios. Qualified graduates can transfer to a 4-year program or pursue entry-level work in the field. Art courses include topics in art appreciation, figure drawing, sculpture, ceramics, stained glass and acrylic painting.
University of Michigan-Ann Arbor
The Ann Arbor campus of the University of Michigan offers undergraduate and graduate programs in art and design, and the facilities include well-equipped studios and four galleries. Students also have access to a university lecture series that features both emerging and established artists and designers. Unique to the school is a new undergraduate program in interdisciplinary arts that combines studio arts courses with those in drama and theater.
Instead of focusing on a single discipline, students in both the Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Fine Arts in Art programs acquire a core set of skills associated with graphic design, painting, printmaking and other related areas. Additional degree requirements for the Bachelor of Fine Arts include an international exchange experience and a 12-credit project. The opportunity to study abroad is also a key part of the 3-year, thesis-based Master of Fine Arts program.
Wayne State University
Detroit-based Wayne State University offers three bachelor's programs in art, including a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Art with 12 areas of concentration in design, electronic media and fine arts. Students who are interested in a career in art conservation or therapy may also be interested in the Bachelor of Arts in Art. This course of study not only provides them with a background in art history and studio art, but also allows for a specialization in ancient or contemporary art, as well as a second major in a different field.
Students in the Master of Arts and Master of Fine Arts programs pursue common areas of concentration in, among other disciplines, ceramics or sculpture, drawing or painting, graphic design or printmaking. Graduate students who pursue a degree in art history take an exam and write an essay or a thesis. Scholarships for art and art history students are available and are based on artistic talent, financial need and grades; graduate students can apply for teaching assistantships.
Western Michigan University
Western Michigan University in Kalamazoo offers specialized undergraduate art programs in eight areas of concentration. These include, among other disciplines, ceramics, painting, sculpture, printmaking and education. The new art facilities provide students with the chance to study and exhibit in a cutting-edge space, and additional program features include free art shows and visiting artist programs. Unique to the school is the Fine Arts House, a special residence for art, dance, music and theater majors.
Grants and scholarships are available to both art major and minors, and application help is available through fall and spring workshops. At the graduate level, students can earn a Master of Arts in Art education; the Master of Fine Arts in Art is currently being reassessed (2013).
School Comparison: At a Glance
|School Name||School Type and Setting||Art Programs Offered||Undergraduate Tuition & Fees (2018-19)|
|Central Michigan University||4-year, public; distant town|| Minor in Art or Art History,
Bachelor of Applied Arts (2-D or 3-D art),
Bachelor of Arts (2-D or 3-D art),
Bachelor of Fine Arts (2D art, 3D art or graphic design),
Bachelor of Science in Education (visual arts education major)
| $12,960 (in-state);
|Eastern Michigan University||4-year, public; large suburb|| Bachelor of Arts (art or art history),
Bachelor of Fine Arts in Art,
Bachelor of Science in Art,
Master of Arts (art administration, art education or studio art),
Master of Fine Arts
Graduate: $18,100 in-state, $32,140 out-of-state*
|Grand Valley State University||4-year, public; large suburb|| Minor in Art History,
Bachelor of Arts (art education, art history or studio art),
Bachelor of Fine Arts in Studio Art,
Bachelor of Science (art education or studio art)
| $12,484 (in-state);
|Lansing Community College||2-year, public; midsize city|| Associate in Fine Arts in Art,
Associate in Arts in Art History
| $3,530 (in-district);
|Macomb Community College||2-year, public; large city|| Certificates in Media and Communication Arts,
Associate of Applied Science in Media and Communication Arts
|Michigan State University||4-year, public; rural|| Bachelor of Arts (art history and visual culture or studio art),
Bachelor of Fine Arts (art education or studio art),
Master of Fine Arts in Studio Art
| $14,460 (in-state);
Graduate: $18,132 in-state, $35,628 out-of-state*
|Oakland Community College||2-year, public; large suburb||Associate in Liberal Arts (concentration in fine and visual arts)|| $2,408 (in-district);
|University of Michigan-Ann Arbor||4-year, public; midsize city|| Minor in Art and Design,
Bachelor of Arts in Art and Design,
Bachelor of Fine Arts (art and design or interarts performance),
Master of Fine Arts in Art and Design
| $15,262 (in-state);
Graduate: $23,456 in-state, $47,006 out-of-state*
|Wayne State University||4-year; public, large city|| Minor in Art or Art History,
Bachelor of Arts (art or art history),
Bachelor of Fine Arts in Art,
Master of Arts (art or art history),
Master of Fine Arts in Art
| $13,097 (in-state);
Graduate: $17,661 in-state, $36,061 out-of-state*
|Western Michigan University||4-year, public; small city|| Minor in Art or Art History,
Bachelor of Arts (art, art history or art education),
Bachelor of Fine Arts (art, art education or graphic design),
Master of Arts in Art Education,
Master of Fine Arts in Art
| $12,483 (in-state);
Graduate: $16,561 in-state, $30,492 out-of-state*
Source: *NCES College Navigator