Bachelor of Arts (BA) Degree with a Major in Art

Program Learning Outcomes for the BA Degree with a Major in Art

Upon completing the BA degree with a major in Art, students will be able to:

  1. Demonstrate a knowledge and understanding of a variety of processes in a range of two and three-dimensional media as well as the ability to apply these acquired skills to other materials and ways of working. This includes students developing their own artistic vocabularies and independent visions.
  2. Demonstrate an understanding of how to make work from observation and invention, developing the ability to articulate content and meaning visually through form.
  3. Develop critical and analytical thinking skills including the skill to problem solve uniquely. Students gain proficiency navigating the group critique context, with exposure to different critical discussion formats. They will exit with the capability to critique their own work in addition to the work of their peers and other artists.
  4. Demonstrate an understanding of the meaning and potential purpose of the arts, a knowledge of art history, art's role and varied guises in contemporary society, and art's relationship and engagement with other disciplines including literature, music, philosophy, and the sciences.
  5. Develop an understanding of self in the larger context of the practice of the arts. 

Requirements for the BA Degree with a Major in Art

For general university requirements, see Graduation Requirements. Students pursuing the BA degree with a major in Art must complete:

  • A minimum of 13 courses (39-40 credit hours, depending on course selection) to satisfy major requirements.
  • A minimum of 120 credit hours to satisfy degree requirements.
  • A minimum of 7 courses (21 credit hours) taken at the 300-level or above.
  • A maximum of 2 courses (6 credit hours) from study abroad or transfer credit. For additional departmental guidelines regarding transfer credit, see the Policies tab.
Students pursuing the major in Art are strongly encouraged to explore art-related courses offered in other departments that may enrich their interests, such as philosophy, anthropology, science, history, cultural studies, language, writing, comparative studies, etc. Students should speak with their faculty advisor prior to enrolling.

The courses listed below satisfy the requirements for this major. In certain instances, courses not on this official list may be substituted upon approval of the major’s academic advisor, or where applicable, the department's Director of Undergraduate Studies. (Course substitutions must be formally applied and entered into Degree Works by the major's Official Certifier.) Students and their academic advisors should identify and clearly document the courses to be taken.


Total Credit Hours Required for the Major in Art39-40
Total Credit Hours Required for the BA Degree with a Major in Art120

Degree Requirements

Core Requirements 1
Select 4 courses from the following:12
Select 2 courses from the following:6-7
Professional Practices Seminar and Field Trip
Elective Requirements 1
Select 1 course from Art History (HART) course offerings from courses numbered 101 or above3
Select 2 courses from ARTS, FILM, or FOTO course offerings from courses numbered 165 or above6
Senior Studio
ARTS 499SENIOR STUDIO (taken in senior year, fall semester)3
ARTS 499SENIOR STUDIO (taken in senior year, spring semester)3
Total Credit Hours Required for the Art Major39-40
Additional Credit Hours to Complete Degree Requirements *49-50
University Graduation Requirements *31
Total Credit Hours120

Footnotes and Additional Information

Policies for the BA Degree with a Major in Art

Transfer Credit 

For Rice University’s policy regarding transfer credit, see Transfer Credit. Some departments and programs have additional restrictions on transfer credit. The Office of Academic Advising maintains the university’s official list of transfer credit advisors on their website: Students are encouraged to meet with their academic program’s transfer credit advisor when considering transfer credit possibilities. 

Departmental Transfer Credit Guidelines

Students pursuing the major in Art should be aware of the following departmental transfer credit guidelines:

  • No more than 2 courses (6 credit hours) of transfer credit from U.S. or international universities of similar standing as Rice may apply towards the major.
  • Requests for transfer credit will be considered by the program director (and/or the program’s official transfer credit advisor) on an individual case-by-case basis.

Distribution Credit Information

The determination of distribution credit eligibility is done initially as part of the new course creation process. Additionally, as part of an annual roll call coordinated each Spring by the Office of the Registrar, course distribution credit eligibility is routinely reviewed and reaffirmed by the Dean’s Offices of each of the academic schools.  

Faculty and leadership in the academic schools are responsible for ensuring that the courses identified as distribution-credit-eligible meet the criteria as set in the General Announcements. Students are responsible for ensuring that they meet graduation requirements by completing coursework designated as distribution-credit-eligible at the time of course registration. 

Additional Information 

For additional information, please see the Art website:

Opportunities for the BA Degree with a Major in Art

Academic Honors

The university recognizes academic excellence achieved over an undergraduate’s academic history at Rice. For information on university honors, please see Latin Honors (summa cum laude, magna cum laude, and cum laude) and Distinction in Research and Creative Work. Some departments have department-specific Honors awards or designations.

Distinction in Research and Creative Work

Distinction in Research and Creative Work is a university award for select undergraduates, granted at commencement, which appears on the transcript and diploma. Students must apply within their department or program to be considered for the award, and a letter from a faculty member must support the application.

Eligibility for the award extends widely to include a variety of research, design, and other creative projects, as well as persistent dedication to research. Projects completed in part or entirely at other institutions or with community partners will be eligible for consideration.

Applicants must be in good academic standing.

Also, of further note: The award will be granted only to projects that produce a concrete outcome – e.g. an essay, invention, design, art exhibition, project or performance, or musical composition – and demonstrate commitment and/or achievement above and beyond the norm. Students who complete senior theses, senior design projects, or other required senior capstone projects shall not qualify automatically for consideration for this university distinction.

For the Department of Art, the application for Distinction in Research and Creative Work must include:

  1. application form, including portfolio;
  2. a written artist statement;
  3. letter of support from a Department of Art faculty member;
  4. public exhibition, screening, publication, or performance that includes a lecture or artist talk component by applicant;
  5. two-page description of how the project meets the requirements of Distinction.

The department requires exceptional evidence of success, as defined by completion of a project (body of artwork, film, theatrical design work, etc.). Support through the application process is available through the department – e.g. workshops, seminars and individual meetings with faculty mentors.

Contact the department or look online for deadline dates. No electronic submissions accepted. Please note that your project does not have to be already completed to apply for Distinction (all final materials will be due in the Spring semester). The department selects a very limited number of students for this university academic honor.

Exhibitions, Lectures, and Arts Programs at Rice

The Department of Art mounts several art and photography exhibitions and stage productions each year. In addition, exhibitions and related activities organized by the Moody Center for the Arts enrich the teaching program of the Art department, as well as the larger university and Houston communities.

The department enjoys an ongoing close relationship with local theatres, museums, and galleries. The department offers opportunities for students to work and study with local art venues and alternative art spaces by way collaborative events and programs. The collections and exhibitions of local museums are often the subject of course lectures.

Lectures, symposia, and talks are sponsored by the department and are designed to bring local, national, and international scholars, actors, directors, critics, and studio artists to campus to speak on a broad range of topics and current interests.

Junior Professional Practices Seminar and Field Trip (ARTS 387)

ARTS 387 is required for students pursuing the Art major. The junior year field trip is designed to help Art majors focus on the upcoming senior year of intensive studio work, and to get to know the Department of Art's faculty and staff. These are trips to cultural centers nationally and internationally, including visits to museums, galleries, artist studios, theaters, and meetings with creative professionals in the fields of film and photography, studio art, etc.

Rice Cinema

Rice Cinema works in concert with the Department of Art's academic mission to enrich students’ undergraduate experience. Film and media studies students are provided state-of-the-art screening facilities to examine and study the historical and methodological aspects of movies from around the world in celluloid and 4K Digital Cinema Projection with Dolby Digital Sound. Film production students can showcase their work during the academic year on our silver screen in recently renovated projection facilities.

During the academic year, Rice Cinema screens films from around the world - foreign features, shorts, documentaries, and animation - as part of our ongoing partnership with the diverse cultural communities of the City of Houston. Film at Rice reaches beyond the university’s hedges to create, engage, and encourage scholarly thought and dialog on the many issues that impact our world. Internationally known filmmakers who have appeared on our campus over the years include Werner Herzog, Rakhshan Banietemad, Atom Egoyan, Shirin Neshat, Martin Scorsese, Andy Warhol, and Dennis Hopper.

Theatre Opportunities

Students who matriculated at Rice prior to academic year 2023-2024 may have declared the major in Visual and Dramatic Arts with a major concentration in Theatre, which includes acting, directing, stage management, costume design, stage and lighting design, or theatre technology. These students are strongly encouraged to explore theatre-related courses offered in other departments to enrich their curriculum, such as: philosophy, anthropology, science, history, cultural studies, language writing, comparative studies, etc. Student should speak with their faculty advisor prior to enrolling.

The Rice Theatre Program produces two stage productions per year (one fall and one spring). The program also encourages and supports our students to participate in local theatre companies and venues through volunteering, internships, and fellowships. Students have internships with such companies as the Alley Theatre, Houston Shakespeare Festival, and Theatre Under the Stars, among others.

Additional Information 

For additional information, please see the Art website:

See for tables of fellowships, prizes, and internships/practica that may be relevant to this major.