Art, unlike any other academic pursuit, challenges you to re-examine deeply-held beliefs, find uncertainty amidst rigid rules, and see the world in completely new ways. At Carnegie Mellon School of Art, we believe that your curiosity, artistic vision, and creativity can help shape a new and better world.

We are committed to helping you find your voice through a strong foundation in critical studies and media exploration, peer and faculty review, and independent 24-hour studios in your junior and senior years to support your dedicated art practice.

BFA Student Experience

School of Art students are both intellectually and artistically curious. The BFA curriculum integrates both highly conceptual and theoretical study and hands-on studio courses, fully acknowledging that neither concept nor media can be presented independently of the other.


From your very first course in the School of Art, expect to be challenged by new materials and new ideas, and to allow yourself to explore the boundaries of art-making. As a first-year student, a suite of Foundations classes will give you a strong basis in technical skill and conceptual thought in order to prepare you for self-driven intermediate and advanced electives.

First-Year Seminar provides a structured approach to acclimating to art school, introduction to Pittsburgh’s established and grassroots arts organizations, and opportunities to build lifelong, supportive relationships with your artist-peers. A series of medium-specific classes — encompassing 2D, 3D, and digital media — will introduce you to the many tools and approaches to artmaking. A Critical Studies course will introduce you to key theoretical ideas guiding contemporary art today, and a transdisciplinary studio course will challenge you to experiment broadly and expand your conceptual notions of artmaking.

At the end of the foundation courses, a formal sophomore review with three professors will help you to chart your path forward as you more deeply develop your artistic vision.

Concentrations & Advanced Study

Beginning your sophomore year, our curriculum gives you the freedom to choose a concentration or to forge your own hybrid path. We offer a wide range of advanced courses in the following areas:

In addition, you will augment your studio work with advanced Critical Studies and Professional Development courses created specifically for art students.

All students have access to a wealth of facilities and cutting-edge emerging technologies. All juniors and seniors also have independent 24-hour studios.

Senior Capstone

During your senior year, you will create an ambitious project culminating in a professional Senior Exhibition at the Miller Institute for Contemporary Art and a printed catalog. Learn more about the Capstone experience.

Study Outside the School of Art

We believe that your interests outside of art are essential for your artistic practice. Art studio courses make up over 60% of your study, rounded out by academic courses. As a leading research university, Carnegie Mellon offers courses across many academic disciplines. Whether you are interested in gender theory, robotics, scientific research, sustainable design, business, creative writing, or virtually any other area, you will find a class at CMU that will inform and transform your art.

School Community

At CMU, you will join a diverse and tight-knit community of 200 undergraduates from across the United States and around the world. With a student-teacher ratio of 9:1, each of our students receives one-on-one mentorship from our faculty, comprised of nationally and internationally accomplished artists. Outside the classroom, join our campus community with hundreds of student organizations and activities, or connect with the city of Pittsburgh, named in the Top 20 Most Vibrant Arts Communities in America.

Student Resources & Opportunities

To further complement your BFA study and explore your interests, the School of Art, College of Fine Arts, and wider university provide additional opportunities such as dedicated spaces to collaborate with students in other schools, academic minors focused on marketable career skills, project funding and grants, affinity groups, visiting contemporary artists, and more. Learn more about student resources.

Career Services

School of Art alumni go on to have successful careers as studio artists, as well as careers in animation, gaming, media, emerging technology, and other creative fields. Whichever path you choose, the School of Art provides support through professional development courses, career panels and networking, and individual mentorship. In addition, the university’s Career & Professional Development Center offers a wealth of resources to help students find and land prestigious internships and jobs. 


We seek ambitious, self-motivated students who are eager to explore new ideas, learn new mediums, and develop their own unique voices. Our students are driven by their insatiable intellectual and artistic curiosity and their belief in the power of art to help shape society.

Learn more about how to apply and receive portfolio tips here