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Visual Arts Profile

Visual Arts

Carnegie Mellon’s College of Fine Arts (CFA) was founded in 1905 as the first comprehensive arts learning institution in the United States. For 98 years it has educated outstanding artists, architects, designers, theater artists, and musicians who have made important contributions to culture in the United States and the world. Within CFA, there are three schools that focus on the visual arts: the School of Architecture, School of Art, and School of Design.

The student to faculty ratio for CFA is 9:1, which provides intense learning interactions and conservatory or studio training within the larger university. The educational and artistic life of the college is interwoven with a dense calendar of theater performances, concerts, exhibitions in university and community galleries, film and media presentations, and numerous presentations by visiting artists and scholars.

School of Architecture
Carnegie Mellon’s School of Architecture is committed to educating students who will become responsible, innovative leaders in the field. Our one professional degree program, the Bachelor of Architecture, is a five-year, fully accredited, professional degree program that prepares students to enter into practice after graduation. (It is accredited by the National Architectural Accreditation Board.) The curriculum consists of several sequences—design, technology, design science, drawing, history, department electives, and university electives—but the design sequence stands as the core of the program.

Through design courses, students gather essential humanist and technical knowledge, as well as procedural skills. They spend the first year addressing fundamental questions about architecture. During the second year, they focus on architectural composition and construction. They study programming and site design in the third year, advanced building construction and system integration in the fourth year, and urban design and practice in the fifth year.

School of Art
The mission of the School of Art is to encourage the development of artists capable of excelling in a complex, rapidly changing global society, with a special emphasis placed upon developing an understanding of the multiplicity of roles for the artist in contemporary society.

The bachelor of fine arts program in art is three-fifths studio and two-fifths academic courses. All program requirements stress both breadth and depth of experience. A unique eight-semester sequence of concept studios forms the core of the program. These studios focus on such issues as the human being, space and time, processes, systems, and context.

School of Design
The School of Design is unique in that it provides an option to major in industrial design or communication design. Students enter Carnegie Mellon as design majors and have two semesters to choose which option they prefer. Our program is most concerned with identifying the real problems that people face and responding with meaningful solutions that give shape, color and structure to visual and physical information that is useful, usable, and desirable.

The School of Design believes in a blend of traditional hand processes and electronic media. The freshman foundation program in design consists of courses which stress an understanding of the visual elements (line, shape, volume, and color), the basic skill of drawing, the process of reflection and evaluation, and the adoption of creative learning attitudes. Students learn new ways of seeing and understanding familiar objects and learn to use visual and verbal elements in giving form to ideas. 


Majors in the Visual Arts

School of Architecture
• Architecture

School of Art
• Painting, Drawing and Printmaking
• Electronic and Time-Based Work
• Sculpture, Installation, and Site Work

School of Design
• Communication Design
• Industrial Design

For more information
Visit for information about the fine arts schools.