The University of Massachusetts – Dartmouth (UMass Dartmouth) offers a range of undergraduate and postgraduate art and design degrees at the BFA and MFA levels in the College of Visual and Performing Arts (CVPA) for students interested in careers in these fields.
UMass Dartmouth has a long tradition of excellence in its art and design programs and is the only one of the five campuses in the University of Massachusetts system with a college dedicated to the visual and performing arts. As a public institution, tuition costs are considerably less than private universities in the region. CVPA offers multidisciplinary art programmes that will prepare students for varied careers in the field.
For instance, students can choose from a Bachelor of Fine Art (BFA) or a Master of Fine Art (MFA) degree in the fine arts, photography, graphic design, game art and animation, illustration, fashion design (BFA only), as well as the new BSc in Interior Architecture and Design (IAD). The university also has strong programmes in the history of modern and contemporary art and community-engaged social practice.
Becoming a UMass Dartmouth student entails enjoying state-of-the-art facilities on the main campus, designed by the internationally renowned architect Paul Rudolph, and at the Star Store in downtown New Bedford, an exciting arts centre in the region. Located in bucolic Dartmouth, Massachusetts, UMass Dartmouth sits close to the state’s most beautiful beaches and in close proximity to the cities of New Bedford and Fall River. Students can also take advantage of the larger metropolitan centres of Boston, Providence and New York City, all within easy reach of campus and where our students have found internships and employment.
Forward-thinking degrees in the visual and performing arts
Students aspiring to work in the fashion industry will find UMass Dartmouth’s new BFA concentration in Fashion Design to be an ideal choice. It strikes a balance between technical skills and creativity, preparing students for a vast range of job placements upon graduation, in positions spanning the likes of Product Development Specialist to Assistant Designer. The curriculum combines a solid academic foundation with professional preparation.
Students can expect to study all facets of fashion design through hands-on instruction and one-on-one interactions with faculty in a variety of classes that reflect industry trends, including courses in computer-aided pattern drafting, technical design and portfolio development. Students will produce two collections – one in Junior year and one as a Capstone project in Fashion Design – enabling them to explore more than one clothing category, be it sportswear, childrenswear, menswear or bridalwear, before graduation. All garments made throughout the year are critiqued by apparel industry professionals.
All students are required to have an internship and to develop a strong traditional and digital portfolio to ensure they remain competitive and industry ready. They can also play a major role in producing the annual student fashion show.
UMass Dartmouth is thrilled to begin offering the BSc IAD beginning in Spring 2020. It’s the only programme of its kind in the New England region and is accredited by the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (CIDA) and the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD).
The degree is a blend of IAD-specific courses, studio art foundation courses and general education requirements. The IAD course content, along with project type and size, increase in difficulty and complexity as students’ progress through the curriculum. The professional interior architect is qualified by education, experience and examination to enhance the function and quality of interior spaces. The course prepares students for professional level entrance into the design field. There are also excellent internship opportunities while graduates are competitive in all design fields.
BFA degrees that matter
Other popular CVPA programmes include BFA Graphic Design and BFA Animation and Game Arts. The Graphic Design course structure aims to prepare graduates for the many career opportunities available in contemporary design practice, while students will learn from an experienced faculty who are also professionals in the field.
The Animation and Game Arts programme integrates digital art, design and technology; students will concentrate on digital animation and interactive multimedia while exploring 2- and 3-dimensional design, web design and virtual reality. There’s also plenty of hands-on experimentation, where students will work with faculty members who have considerable expertise in the field. Graduates will be prepared for a wide range of careers, including, but not limited to art direction, advertising, animation, broadcasting, software application design and video editing.
Prospective BFA students eager to enroll in the institution are required to submit a portfolio for admissions, which works on a rolling basis. More information of international students interested in applying to UMass Dartmouth can be found here.
UMass Dartmouth also offers a unique gateway programme for students who meet their academic requirements but don’t have the required TOEFL score of 79 for admission. This programme has three entry points: for students with a score of less than 59 (three semesters), those with scores from 60-69 (two semesters), and 70-79 (one semester). Developed specially for international students in CVPA, the programme combines English language preparation with core CVPA and art based-specific instruction that provide extra support for our students’ academic and career goals. The programme will help them adjust to all aspects of US university life, with lessons taught through interactive seminars and lectures, and a programme of study developed specifically for international students in CVPA majors.
It’s crystal clear that UMass Dartmouth offers prospective visual and performing arts students an unparalleled learning experience, culminating in a respective degree that prepares graduates for successful careers in the field.