Turn Your Creativity into a Career

UNC’s Bachelor of Arts in Art and Design stands out for its practical, career-oriented approach. You’ll develop technical skills, while learning to market yourself effectively as a creative professional, freelancer or entrepreneur. Our Art and Design program grants you a high degree of independence, enabling you to focus the program on your own artistic interests and career pursuits. 

With small classes and engaged faculty, you’ll get lots of one-on-one attention and mentoring. You’ll work in up-to-date facilities that support a full range of art-making techniques and processes, including photography, ceramics, painting, computer graphics and more. The program includes exhibition opportunities both on campus and off, as well as the chance to prepare for the workplace via internships, student teaching placements and other hands-on experiences. The program is accredited by the National Association of Schools of Art and Design.

Degree Options

The Art and Design bachelor’s degree program includes four distinct emphasis areas as well as a minor. You can choose the one that best fits your career goals and academic interests.

Art Studio Emphasis

The BA in Art - Art Studio Emphasis focuses study on the studio art disciplines with a solid foundation in creativity, problem-solving, critical thinking, and digital and traditional skillsets. Students can concentrate in one or more areas, and with plenty of elective credits in the degree you can take classes in multiple areas or pursue a double major. This degree prepares student to graduate having completed a significant body of work and developed a portfolio to launch their career as an artist or gain acceptance to graduate level degree programs. You can choose a concentration in Ceramics, Drawing, Computer Graphics, Drawing, Painting, Photography, Printmaking or Sculpture.

Art K-12 Teaching Emphasis

Choose this emphasis area if you seek to teach visual arts in elementary, middle or secondary school. You’ll develop a broad set of skills in art techniques and processes, along with an understanding of how to apply the arts as a tool for learning and development. The program satisfies all the requirements you need to qualify for a K-12 art education license.

Art History Emphasis

The art history emphasis prepares you for graduate studies in art history and can lead to careers in teaching, curating, museum administration, art conservation and related fields. You’ll gain an understanding of artistic techniques, styles and historical context. Coursework emphasizes critical thinking and analysis, research, and strong written and verbal communication. Students engage with critical perspectives and examine works in depth to develop visual literacy, and the ability to understand and communicate their meanings.

Art Graphic Design Emphasis

In this emphasis area, you will prepare to work as a visual thinker and communicator using a variety of traditional print and emerging digital media. You will plan, analyze, create, and evaluate visual solutions to communication problems in a full range of areas such as Editorial Design, Corporate and Brand Identity Design, Advertising, Publications, Packaging Design, Typography, Web, and Interactive Design. You will gain skills needed to work professionally as a print designer, interactive media designer, art director, or creative director for production studios, corporate design groups, advertising agencies, publishers or the film and television industry.

Minor Option

Art and Design Minor

Completing UNC’s Art and Design Minor can provide options and opportunities for students majoring in a range of programs, from education to psychology. Students in the art minor can pursue a range of studio and art history coursework, from ceramics to computer graphics and contemporary art to Chinese art history.

Your Future in Art and Design

Our program offers exceptional preparation for employment as an art teacher, graphic artist, or other creative professional. In addition, UNC’s Art and Design program helps you take advantage of recent trends that have created new ways for artists to make a living. You’ll learn to promote yourself, make connections, compete successfully for full-time jobs and freelance gigs and develop multiple revenue streams to support your art. We also offer a unique Arts Entrepreneurship Certificate that you can earn alongside your bachelor’s degree.

Consider UNC’s B.A. in Art and Design if you want to:

  • Use your artistic talent to build a strong career foundation
  • Pursue a career in graphic art, web design, marketing, and related fields
  • Become a K-12 art teacher
  • Prepare for graduate studies in art history or visual art
  • Acquire skills, techniques, and strategies to launch your studio art career

You’ll learn:

  • Artistic technique in a broad range of media
  • Historical and cultural contexts for art
  • Teaching skills and practices
  • Visual communication and design thinking

Sample courses:

  • Life Drawing
  • Ceramic Design
  • Painting
  • Brand Identity Design
  • Japanese Art

Beyond the Classroom

University of Northern Colorado art students can show their art in three on-campus exhibit spaces: the Mariani, Oak Room, and Arts Annex galleries. In addition, our department enjoys strong relationships with arts and cultural organizations throughout northern Colorado. These partnerships often yield opportunities for students to exhibit, curate, perform internships and gain other hands-on experience to promote their art and their career.

Up, Up and Away

UNC graduate Gabe Eltaeb earned his BA in Graphic Arts in 2004. Today, he is a successful freelance comic book artist who just joined forces on a new title, Invincible Universe, with Robert Kirkman, creator of The Walking Dead

A gifted artist who was drawing comic book characters by age 3, he remembers using butcher paper as his canvas in his grandparents’ Mexican restaurant in Greeley. He followed his dream to UNC, where he started a comic strip with the student newspaper The Mirror and soon landed an internship with the Greeley Tribune

Gabe now colors and draws for big-name comic book companies, who seek out the talented freelancer for high-profile assignments including such titles as Star WarsSupermanBatman and more. “The 13-year-old me would never have believed where I am now,” he says.

After views of the Northern Vision cover Eltaeb created.
Before view of the Northern Vision cover Eltaeb created.
Justice League #8, Page 4, April 18, 2012. Colors by Gabe Eltaeb. ™ and © DC Comics. Used with Permission.
Justice League #5, Page 10, Jan. 25, 2012. Colors by Gabe Eltaeb. ™ and © DC Comics. Used with Permission.
Green Lantern Corps #19, Page 20, April 10, 2013. Colors by Gabe Eltaeb.™ and © DC Comics. Used with Permission.
Star Wars #1, Page 20, Jan. 9, 2013. Colors by Gabe Eltaeb. Star Wars © 2013 Lucasfilm Ltd. & ™. All rights reserved.
Star Wars #4, Page 10, April 10, 2013. Colors by Gabe Eltaeb. Star Wars © 2013 Lucasfilm Ltd. & ™. All rights reserved.
Invincible Universe #1, April 10, 2013. Colors by Gabe Eltaeb. ™ and © Robert Kirkman LLC. All rights reserved.
Invincible Universe #1, Page 20, April 10, 2013. Colors by Gabe Eltaeb. ™ and © Robert Kirkman LLC. All rights reserved.

Art and Design Program

Where can your degree take you?

  • K-12 art teaching
  • Exhibiting Studio artist
  • Conservation, curation, and gallery and museum work
  • Design Firms; specializing in Marketing, web design, and commercial art
  • Graduate school

What You Need to Know Right Now