The concentration in the Practice of Art enables students to become fluent in the discipline of the practice of visual arts. Students will develop critical and analytical thinking as well as the discipline’s techniques and methods as a means to explore artistic, intellectual and human experience. Students will build towards creating a personal vision beginning with primary studies in drawing and introductory art history, proceeding on to courses using a broad range of media, and culminating in advanced studio studies of a more self directed nature. Working with their advisors, students will be encouraged to nurture the strong interdisciplinary opportunities found both at Amherst and the other institutions in the valley.


Professors Clark‡, Kimball†, Levine, and Sweeney‡; Assistant Professors House and Monge; Senior Resident Artists Garand† and Gloman; Visiting Lecturers Culhane, Donner, Drummer, Jahns, and Phipps.

† On Leave Fall semester 2023.
‡ On Leave Spring semester 2024.

Course Requirements

The Practice of Art concentration consists of a minimum of 10 courses (12 with honors project):

  • Three introductory level studio courses
  • Five additional studio courses, at least 2 of which must be at the intermediate or advanced levels, chosen in close consultation with advisor
  • One course in contemporary Art History
  • One additional course in art history

In consultation with their advisors, students in this concentration will be encouraged to take additional courses both in art history and other disciplines.  These courses should be broadly related to their artistic interests outside of the studio concentration, enriching their interdisciplinary understanding and engagement within a liberal arts curriculum. This expectation will be especially high for honors thesis candidates.


Candidates for honors will, with departmental permission, take Art 498-499 during the senior year. Students must apply to be accepted at the end of their third year, usually the last week in April. In designing their year-long projects, students will be encouraged to explore the interdisciplinary implications and opportunities inherent in their artistic directions. Thesis students will also be required to develop a statement that ultimately places their body of work within a historical and cultural artistic discourse. There will be an exhibition of the bodies of work representing the honors theses in the Eli Marsh Gallery, Fayerweather Hall late April through commencement.

Comprehensive Examination

Required of all studio concentration majors, except thesis students. This work should be done in consultation with your advisor. You should meet with them before thanksgiving break.

With the guidance of an advisor, each student will create a digital portfolio of important work that they have created during the course of their art studies at Amherst. They also will write a short artist's statement and prepare a formal artist's talk that presents their portfolio, contextualizes it in terms of their interests and influences, and discusses future directions for their practice. Students will present their talks to the department.

Grades are due to the Registrar by the end of the 6th week of the student's final semester.