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Closeup of a welded sculpture in progress

Frequently Asked Questions Regarding the B.F.A. Degree

General Questions

What are the differences between the Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) and the Bachelor of Fine Arts (B.F.A.), and how can I decide what is right for me?

The B.F.A., which requires 74 credits, provides much more breadth and depth than the B.A., which requires 43 credits. The B.F.A. is considered the degree for professional preparation; however, the B.A. degree provides the opportunity to take a second major, minors, or more elective courses. For example, the B.A. enables a student to study both art and psychology in preparation for a Masters in art therapy. Discuss the degrees with your advisor, any of the art faculty, or the art chairperson. You can also read about the B.F.A. and the B.A. in the Plattsburgh College Catalog, and in the catalogs of many art schools and universities with B.F.A. degrees.

What if I am a freshman and haven't decided whether to apply for the B.F.A.?

In the first year, courses for the B.A. and the B.F.A. are identical. This permits you to select either degree on April 1, near the end of the foundation year. In the second year, courses for the B.A. and the B.F.A. are similar; however, students intending to apply for the B.F.A .must take more studio courses each semester, and must complete most of the "breadth" courses (5 of 8).

I am a freshman. Can I complete the B.F.A. in four years?

Freshmen can complete the B.F.A. in four years by carefully following the semester-by-semester plan in the Art Major Handbook.

How many lower division courses (100/200) and upper-division (300/400) courses are in the B.F.A. degree? Will it be difficult to satisfy the college's requirement of 45 credits of upper-division courses?

The B.F.A. requires 34 lower-division credits. The B.F.A. requires 31 credits of upper-division courses, and the nine credits of studio elective may be upper-division courses, for a total of forty. Six credits of perspectives courses are upper-division, and free electives may be upper division.

Questions about Applying for the Degree

If I start in the art major as a freshman, when is the earliest I can apply for the B.F.A.?

You may choose to apply as a high school student, or you may submit an application and a portfolio on April 1 of your freshman year.

Can I apply after my freshman year?

Yes, you may apply after your first year, but it is recommended that you apply as soon as possible. You must complete three semesters in the B.F.A. program after you have been accepted. To graduate in four years, you should follow the B.F.A. course plan all four years.

When is the last time I can apply?

You must complete three semesters after you are accepted. Therefore, for many students, the final application opportunity will be at their junior-level review, which takes place in January. (B.F.A. applicants will be grouped separately at the junior-level review.) You may apply the following April, if you plan to attend extra semesters.

If I am turned down, can I reapply?

You may apply a maximum of three times.

Where is the B.F.A. Application Form?

The forms are available in the art office, or from:

Kimberly Hall-Stone, Secretary
Phone: (518) 564-2179
Email: [email protected]

Myers Fine Art Building
101 Broad Street
Plattsburgh, New York, 12901

Forms should be returned to the art office at the above address.

If I am an entering freshman, should I have an interview?

An interview is highly recommended, but is not required.

Transfer Student Questions

If I start in the art major as a transfer student from another college, when should I apply for the B.F.A. degree?

If you enter as a second-year student, you should apply either with your transfer portfolio, or after your first year. If you enter as a third-year student, you should apply either with your transfer portfolio, or after your first semester--as part of the junior-level review. (B.F.A. applicants will be grouped separately at the junior-level review.) If you enter with no art courses and no portfolio, you will need at least three years to complete the degree, as noted above. During the first year you should complete the foundation program, and you should apply in April.

I am a new transfer student and want to graduate in two years. How long can I wait before applying for the B.F.A.?

If you intend to graduate in two years, you must apply during your junior-level review, in January of your junior year. (B.F.A. applicants will be grouped separately at the junior-level review.) You must be in the B.F.A. for three semesters before you graduate. You must also have your concentration approved prior to your junior-level review.

If I am a transfer student, should I have an interview?

An interview is highly recommended, especially for transfer students. An interview is not required.

I am a junior-level transfer student. Can I complete the B.F.A. in two more years?

The number of semesters required for transfer students depends on the art credits completed before entering the program. Students who have taken no art credits will require at least three years to complete the art courses in the B.F.A., as can be seen in the schedule below.

Example of a three-year completion of the B.F.A. degree for transfer students
First Year Second Year Third Year
Fall Spring Fall Spring Fall Spring
ART 102 ART 262 1 of 5 studio studio elective ART 471 ART 473 (1 cr)
ART 161 1 of 5 studio 1 of 5 studio concentration II ART 472 concentration V
ART 104 1 of 5 studio concentration I 1 of 5 studio concentration III concentration VI
ART 231 ART 137 art history art history concentration IV studio elective
ART 139 (open elective) (GenEd persp) (GenEd persp) studio elective (open elective)
Courses in italics are 46 credits in 300/400 courses.

Are there special requirements for transfer students?

The College Catalog B.F.A. Footnotes lists special requirements for transfer students. Forty-one credits in art courses must be taken at SUNY Plattsburgh, including ART 102 (1), the concentration (18), studio electives (12), art history elective (3), ART 471, 472, and 473 (7).

I am a transfer student and took studio courses not offered by SUNY Plattsburgh. Will these courses satisfy my breadth (5 or 8 studios) requirement?

Probably. Each course will be reviewed individually. You should complete a request for a substitution immediately upon entering the program.

Grade Point Average (G.P.A.) Questions

What if my G.P.A. in art courses falls below 3.0?

You will automatically be changed from the B.F.A. to the B.A. degree. It will be necessary to reapply to the B.F.A. after your G.P.A. has returned to 3.0. When your G.P.A. returns to 3.0 or higher, you will be permitted to reapply for the B.F.A.

What if, in my last semester, I receive a grade of C- or lower in an art course, or fall below a 3.0 G.P.A. in my art courses?

It will be necessary to take additional courses to satisfy these requirements.

Concentration Area Questions

Can the introductory course in my concentration also count as one of my breadth (5 of 8 studios) courses?


May the studio elective courses be taken in my concentration area?

The studio elective courses may be taken in any studio area; however, the elective courses for graphic design students must be approved by the graphic design faculty. It may be necessary to take 300/400-level courses in order to satisfy the college requirement of 45 credits of upper-division courses (see next question).

Must I be approved for my concentration?

Yes, you must be approved by the faculty in the concentration area. That approval requires an initial approval, which must be renewed at the conclusion of each semester. The final approval will be at the conclusion of your course of study, including the B.F.A. Senior Exhibition.

When is the earliest I can receive my initial approval for my concentration?

You may not be approved for a concentration before April 1 of your sophomore year (and only if you are near successful completion of your required courses). You must take the required foundation and breadth courses before seeking concentration approval.

When is the last opportunity to obtain initial approval from the concentration faculty?

The last opportunity to obtain approval from the concentration faculty is the first week of spring semester of your junior year. You may be approved at a later date, but it will delay your graduation. You must have approval three semesters before you intend to graduate.

Is it possible to take more than one concentration?

Yes, you may take two concentrations.

Is it possible to be accepted in the B.F.A. program, but not approved in my preferred concentration? Is it possible that my concentration approval will not be renewed?

Yes and yes. Faculty approval is not guaranteed. Initial approval does not guarantee renewal. Faculty will complete a Concentration Renewal Form and Progress Report each semester.

Senior Art Exhibition Questions

May I be in the Senior Art Exhibition in May, if I still have requirements to take the next fall semester?

It's preferable and beneficial for you to graduate in May, and be in the senior exhibition in your final semester. You should make every effort to complete a normal senior year fall and spring sequence of ART 472 and ART 473.

When do I exhibit if I must graduate in the fall semester (in December)?

If you are graduating in the fall semester, you may receive special permission to exhibit the previous May, only if you are completing your fifteenth credit in your concentration during the semester of the exhibition. To obtain this permission, you must demonstrate that you will graduate the fall after the exhibition.

The year of the exhibition, you must be in ART 472 and must pass the faculty review in September. You also must fully complete ART 473 the year of your exhibition. During the fall of your graduation, you must present the work of that semester to the faculty in December.

May I choose to wait until the next fall to exhibit?

Normally you will not be permitted to exhibit in the fall semester (see next question).

What if I must take six credits in my concentration in the fall, in order to complete my requirements?

Under normal circumstances you will be expected to exhibit in the Senior Exhibition the following May; however, you may apply for a deviation to exhibit in December. That deviation will only be granted if the following are demonstrated:

  1. it was impossible for you to have fifteen credits in your concentration the previous spring, or you did not pass the faculty exhibition review,
  2. you completed ART 472 and ART 473 the previous spring (but without exhibiting in ART 473),
  3. you are able to arrange an exhibition in the Lobby Gallery,
  4. you register for a 0 credit Independent Study: Senior Exhibition in the fall semester, and
  5. you satisfy all other requirements for the B.F.A.

Will there continue to be a faculty review of work for the B.F.A. Senior Art Exhibition?

Yes, there will be a review in September, to determine whether you are ready to be in the B.F.A. exhibition. You must be in the exhibition in order to receive the B.F.A. If you are not accepted in the September review, you will have one last opportunity in December.


Contact Information

If you would like more information about art at SUNY Plattsburgh, please contact:

Dr. Karen Blough
Office: Myers Fine Arts 220B
Phone: (518) 564-2468
Email: [email protected]

Kimberly Hall-Stone, Secretary
Office: Myers Fine Arts 220B
Phone: (518) 564-2179
Fax: (518) 564-2199
Email: [email protected]

SUNY Plattsburgh
Art Department
Myers Fine Arts 220 B
Plattsburgh, NY 12901