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Bachelor of Fine Arts

Degree Type



Art Department

In the digital world, photos have the power to influence politics, pop culture and everything in between. Whether you want to work as a professional photographer for National Geographic or as a photojournalist for The New York Times, photography provides you the opportunity to make your mark on history.

Program Overview

Turn your passion for photography into a profession.

The Photography emphasis dynamically interacts with all other disciplines in the Art Department. Coursework in the program will teach you a wide range of technical skills including digital camera operation, lighting and post-production editing. In the program, attentive faculty members will support your experimentation and aesthetic freedom, while also teaching you the fundamental skills you’ll need to develop your professional portfolio and launch your career.

The perfect shot

Western Photography students learn how to shoot and edit professional photos in our recently renovated facility.

Program Requirements

At Western, course rotations are crafted to encompass a variety of subject fields for a comprehensive education and versatile degree. For required courses and degree plans, visit the official University Catalog. Below is a general overview of courses at Western Colorado University related to this area of study.

Program Requirements

A minimum of 66 credits is required including the 39-credit BFA Foundation Courses, six credits of Art electives:

BFA Foundation Courses
ART 000Exhibition and Convocation Attendance (six semesters with “S” grade required)0
ART 119Foundation Drawing I3
ART 120Foundation Drawing II3
ART 171Foundation Design: Two-Dimensional3
ART 172Foundation Design: Three-Dimensional3
ART 173Foundation Design: Digital Art and Design3
ART 222Art History I3
ART 223Art History II3
ART 319Intermediate Drawing3
Art History (300 level)3
ART 400Artist's Portfolio/Senior Exhibition3
ART 491Seminar in Art3
ART 419Advanced Drawing3
Art History (400 level)3
Total Credits39

And the following 21 credits:

ART 246Introduction to Photography3
ART 270Introduction to Graphic Design and Illustration3
ART 346Intermediate Photography3
ART 370Intermediate Graphic Design3
ART 446Advanced Photography I3
ART 447Advanced Photography II3
ART 448Advanced Photography III3
Total Credits21
Plan of Study Grid
Year One
ART 000 Exhibition and Convocation Attendance 0
ART 119 Foundation Drawing I 3
ART 171 Foundation Design: Two-Dimensional 3
ENG 102 Academic Writing (GT-CO1) 3
Gen Ed General Education 3
HWTR 100 First Year Seminar 1
MATH 105 Mathematics for the Liberal Arts (GT-MA1) 3
ART 000 Exhibition and Convocation Attendance 0
ART 120 Foundation Drawing II 3
ART 172 Foundation Design: Three-Dimensional 3
COM 202 Academic Writing and Inquiry (GT-CO2) 3
Gen Ed General Education 6
Year Two
ART 000 Exhibition and Convocation Attendance 0
ART 222 Art History I 3
ART 246 Introduction to Photography 3
ART 270 Introduction to Graphic Design and Illustration 3
ART Intro ART Elective
Gen Ed General Education 6
ART 000 Exhibition and Convocation Attendance 0
ART 223 Art History II 3
ART 346 Intermediate Photography 3
ART 370 Intermediate Graphic Design 3
ART Intermediate ART Elective
Gen Ed General Education 6
Year Three
ART 000 Exhibition and Convocation Attendance 0
ART Intro ART Elective
ART 270 Introduction to Graphic Design and Illustration 3
ART 446 Advanced Photography I 3
ART Intro ART Elective 3
Gen Ed General Education 6
ART 000 Exhibition and Convocation Attendance 0
ART 319
or ART 370
Intermediate Drawing
or Intermediate Graphic Design
ART 447 Advanced Photography II 3
ART 300-400 level Art History course 3
ART Intermediate/Advanced ART Elective 3
Gen Ed General Education 3
Year Four
ART 000 Exhibition and Convocation Attendance 0
ART 400 Artist's Portfolio/Senior Exhibition 3
ART 448 Advanced Photography III 3
ART 491 Seminar in Art 3
ART 300-400 level Art History course
ART 319 Intermediate Drawing 3
ART Intro/Advanced ART Elective 3
ART 000 Exhibition and Convocation Attendance 0
ART 419 Advanced Drawing 3
ART 300-400 level Art History course 3
ART Intermedite/Advanced ART Elective 9
 Total Credits121

Courses listed in the Fall are only offered in Fall. Courses listed in the Spring are only offered in the Spring. With the exception of ART 286 Introduction to Watercolor, and ART 271 Typography and their Intermediate counterparts, Intro classes are exclusively offered in the Fall and Intermediate courses are offered exclusively in the Spring. Advanced offerings are available for all disciplines every semester.

ART 000 Exhibition and Convocation Attendance and ART 319 Intermediate Drawing are offered in both the Fall and the Spring.


Career preparation starts your first year at Western and is the primary focus of every degree.

Visit Career Services in Library 120 or online to discover your interests, define your goals, and land the career of your dreams.

The data below is automatically collected by Burning Glass Technologies, a firm that sources job market data and provides analytics. The statistics illustrate general trends in U.S. careers, but do not precisely represent every job and salary.



  • Full-time Western Senior majoring in Art
  • Overall GPA of 3.0 or above
  • Student must exhibit service to the Art program by involvement with the ART League or other co-curricular art activities
  • Preference will be given to a BFA Senior Veterans of the United States Armed Forces


This scholarship is provided by Dr. Al Caniff.

Amount: $1000

Selected by: Art Faculty in consultation with the Financial Aid Office.


Contact the Art Department at 970.943.3093 | Quigley Hall 202


  • Must be a full-time student
  • Must be pursuing a major or minor in art, music or the performing arts.
  • Must have financial need


This scholarship is provided by Carol Buswell in honor of her husband Lloyd Buswell, nicknamed “Buzz”who earned his BA in Industrial Arts and Education from 1974 -1978.

  Award depends on funds available


Please complete and submit Western’s Common Scholarship Application

Alumni Association Future Alumni Scholarship

The Alumni Association Scholarship is a one-time scholarship of $1,000 and is applicable for the student’s junior or senior year at Western.

Any child or grandchild of an alumni is eligible to receive the Future Alumni Scholarship.

  • This is a one-time non-renewable scholarship of $1,000.
  • Only one Future Alumni Scholarship will be awarded per academic year.
  • GPA must be 3.2 or above (college).

Due date has been extended to April 1 for 2022. An Alumni selection committee, appointed by the Alumni Advisory Council, will review applicants and select awardee by June 1.


Alumni Legacy Scholarship

The Alumni Legacy Scholarship is a one-time non-renewable scholarship and is only applicable for the student’s first year at Western (incoming freshman or new transfer students are eligible).

Do you have a son or daughter looking at college? Have they considered attending Western? As an alumni, your son, daughter and/or grandchildren are eligible for certain benefits distributed through this scholarship, as follows:

  • This is a one-time scholarship of $1,000.
  • Nominee must be an incoming freshman or new transfer.
  • The cost of orientation is reduced by half (a $45 value).
  • The admission application fee is waived (a $30 value).
  • GPA must be 2.5 or above (high school or college of transfer).

The applicant must fill out the application form found below. Application forms are accepted year-round. If the applicant meets the GPA guidelines, the scholarship will be awarded.


Mountaineer Alumni Recommendation Scholarship

The Mountaineer Alumni Recommendation Scholarship is a one-time non-renewable scholarship and is only applicable for the student’s first year at Western. This scholarship is not available to midyear transfers or students beginning in the spring semester.

Are you an alumni or employee of Western and know a prospective (or incoming) student who would be a great fit at Western? A recommendation from alumni and employees can support any new student and provide them a $500 scholarship their first year. (Western employees may not recommend a spouse or dependent receiving tuition benefits).

  • Any Western alumni/employee may nominate only one student per academic year to receive the $500 scholarship (distributed $250 per semester).
  • The scholarship is good for the first year only and is non-renewable.
  • The recommended student must be a full-time undergraduate student, attending Western for the first time.

The applicant must fill out the application form found here. The nominating alumni/employee must fill out the application form and submit the required documents by June 1. The recommended student must meet university admissions acceptance standards and complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).

The Presidential Promise is guaranteed to students who have received a scholarship through the Denver Scholarship Foundation (DSF) and/or GearUp—and are eligible for a Pell Grant.

For students who meet these criteria, Western will cover the cost of tuition and fees through the combination of federal, state and institutional aid. For more information on the Presidential Promise, visit our scholarships page.


The Western Presidential Honors Scholarships, established by the Jack and Marilyn MacAllister Foundation shall be an elite class of scholarships awarded to Western’s highest achieving and most deserving students, celebrating the ideals of academic excellence and service to the campus and community. Recipients of the Scholarships will be members of the Western Colorado University Honors Program.

There are eight Presidential Honors Scholarships of $2500 each. Each year two new Presidential Honors Scholarships will be awarded to two incoming freshmen.

Western Undergraduate Exchange (WUE) or Central Plains (CP) tuition represents a substantial savings relative to normal, out-of-state tuition. Students eligible for the WUE or CP program will be charged 150% of Western’s total in-state tuition. For 2018-19, total in-state tuition was $8,934. WUE/CP tuition was $13,401. The WUE/CP discount is valued at $4,695.

For more information about the WUE and CP geography-based programs, visit Western’s Tuition Discount Programs Page.

Immediately upon acceptance at Western, every student is considered for a merit scholarship worth between $2,500-$4,500 per year for in-state students and $8,000-$10,000 for out-of-state students. The amount is based on the student’s GPA and ACT/SAT scores. Visit our Net Price Calculator at western.edu/cost to determine whether you qualify for a merit scholarship.

For more information about merit scholarships at Western, visit our scholarships page.

Get Involved

Make your education a life changing experience.

A college education is so much more than just taking classes. Expand your community and network, while gaining hands-on experience in your field.

  • Gallery Exhibits: Students have opportunities to display their work in numerous shows, exhibits, convocations and galas—on campus and in the community.
  • Pathfinder Magazine: An annual publication for student creative work.
  • Student Art League: A branch of the Council for Creative expression, the Student Art League is dedicated to providing visual arts, experiences, professional development, educational opportunities and outreach for Art students.

Work on display

Students have opportunities to display their work in numerous shows, exhibits, convocations and galas—on campus and in the community.

Department Information

Art Department

Department Chairperson

S. Chase Hutchison, MFA

Art Department Chair, Associate Professor of Art

Administrative Assistant

Anna Flynn

Administrative Assistant

Contact Information



Campus Location

Western Colorado University
Quigley Hall 202
1 Western Way
Gunnison, CO 81231

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Alumni Community

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