Undergraduate Program

The Department of Art, Art History and Design is multi-disciplinary in nature and offers courses in the studio arts, art history, and design at both the undergraduate and graduate levels. From the beginning of recorded history, the human ability to communicate ideas, to record experience, to solve complex problems, and to design objects of beauty and utility have been embedded in human culture and central to personal growth.

BFA 2017

At the University of Notre Dame, the study of art, art history, and design provides a unique perspective on what it means to be human. Under the guidance of a talented and diverse faculty, students will acquire the technical and visual skills necessary to work creatively, develop their intellectual abilities to think critically, and cultivate the personal discipline and maturity to reflect thoughtfully on the world and our place in it. Choose Art, Art HistoryDesign, or Collaborative Innovation to explore further.


Studio art prepares students to contribute creatively to the social and cultural discourses that shape contemporary society. The major seeks to promote growth and development of the student through a range of courses dealing with aesthetic, technical and critical skills. The interdisciplinary structure of the curriculum encourages students to explore a range of media in pursuit of their educational or career objectives. Students may concentrate their area of study in ceramics, painting and drawing, photography, printmaking or sculpture.

Art History

Art history shows you the world. Whether it is an ancient temple in Corinth, Greece, or a desert landscape reinterpreted by Georgia O’Keeffe, the subtle hatching of an Old Master drawing or the brilliant stained glass of a Gothic cathedral, art history explores past and present cultures in light of contemporary intellectual, social, and artistic issues.


Design begins with a foundation in the liberal arts. Such a basis is a design student's best path to meet and solve the varied communication challenges inherent in today's complex world. Because a design solution may emerge from the humanities, an algorithm, or a scientific discovery, the curriculum provides a student with the opportunity to be firmly grounded in the fundamentals of design and the visual arts, while also taking courses in science, math, history, philosophy, and theology. As students progress through the tiered design program, they develop as a visual communication or industrial designer, as an intellectual, and as a moral person, prepared to address the social, ethical, and political circumstances influenced by the design profession.

What can I do with that?

Learn about the studio art, art history, and design majors who found full-time employment, enrolled in graduate school, entered service programs, joined the military, or launched independent projects within six months of graduation. 


areas of study

The department has three divisions of programs that offer undergraduate degrees. Visit each to see the variety of majors and minors offered.

advising notes

Meant to complement students' formal advising, the department has put together a more detailed list of advising guidelines, an official Undergraduate Handbook, as well as a BFA Handbook

fine arts requirement
(pre-fall 2018)

Looking to satisfy the university's fine art requirement? We have studio courses in ceramics, industrial design, painting, photography, printmaking, sculpture and visual communication design that count towards your degree. Get the facts.

ways of knowing requirement
(starting fall 2018)

Looking to satisfy the university's ways of knowing requirement? Learn more.

arts & letters college

Arts and Letters students from every major succeed in business, graduate or professional school, or full-time service. Learn more about the career outcomes for Art, Art History and Design majors.

current & upcoming courses offered

application information

A portfolio is not required but highly recommended. Undergraduate portfolios of 10-12 images should be submitted through Slideroom. For all other questions concerning the undergraduate application, please visit the Admissions page