Nov 20, 2018  
2013-2014 UMass Dartmouth Undergraduate Catalog 
2013-2014 UMass Dartmouth Undergraduate Catalog [Archived Catalog]

College of Visual and Performing Arts

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The College of Visual and Performing Arts (CVPA), is a comprehensive arts college with Bachelors and Masters programs to prepare students for careers in the arts. To assure that its programs meet appropriate standards, the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth is an accredited institutional member of the National Association of Schools of Art and Design, the national accrediting body for the visual arts.  The college is considering membership in the National Association of Schools of Music.

Undergraduate students in the college may choose specialized options from a broad spectrum of the arts, all of which provide a framework for developing a high degree of professional competence and pursuing individual creative goals. Essential to this framework are the academic programs and resources of the whole university.

Students may pursue one of two undergraduate degrees: the Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) or the Bachelor of Arts (BA).  In the Visual Arts, the BFA is recognized as a professional-track degree preparing students for a career as an artist, designer, teacher or graduate school.  The BA is the traditional Liberal Arts degree that provides a well-rounded education in the arts. 

Students majoring in the BFA in Visual Design select an option in Graphic Design, Illustration, Photography or Digital Media. Students majoring in the BFA in Artisanry select Ceramics, Jewelry/Metals or Textile Design/Fiber Arts. Students majoring in the BFA in Fine Arts select an option in Painting/2D Studies or Sculpture/3D Studies. In Art Education, students pursue a BFA and licensure for teaching in K-12.  Students majoring in Art History or Music pursue a BA.  Additionally, Music majors may pursue initial licensing for K-12 instruction.

New first-year applicants to the college’s studio arts programs are encouraged to seek admission by selecting a major in Artisanry, Visual Design or Fine Arts.  For those undecided, applicants may elect to be undeclared during the first year.

CVPA has two campuses which serve our students–the CVPA building on Main Campus in North Dartmouth, and the Star Store building located in nearby downtown New Bedford.  The facilities and equipment at both locations are a source of pride for our students and faculty and are among the finest in New England. Visits by applicants are strongly encouraged.

In CVPA, individual attention is emphasized. Students are encouraged to consult with the Foundation Studio Arts Program Director, departmental advisors, department chairpersons or the Dean about choosing programs and options, and in matters concerning individual progress at the university.  CVPA has an active studio culture in both the visual and performing arts areas where peer review, critique and friendship is fostered.

Admission and Application

Applicants for admission to programs in Art Education, Artisanry, Design or Fine Arts must submit an art portfolio. Applicants to the Music program must perform an audition. These requirements are summarized below. Specific instructions are given at  As space in the visual arts programs is limited, it is strongly recommended that complete applications are submitted as early as possible.

Transfer students are admitted into specific majors only. Applicants submit an art portfolio or perform an audition as an element of consideration in the respective department’s admission decision and to aid in the evaluation of their previous work for transfer credit at UMass Dartmouth. Transfer applicants must identify a preferred option, such as “Graphic Design” or “Ceramics,” if their major of choice offers options. Transfer students who wish to be admitted into courses above the sophomore level must must have their portfolio assessed for this purpose and evaluated for placement. Placement into advanced courses is not guaranteed.

Portfolio Submission Specifications for Incoming Freshmen and Transfers

A portfolio consists of a body of work which represents an applicant’s technical skill and creative interests.  Specifications for submitting a portfolio is available on the Admissions page of the CVPA website.

To submit portfolios, CVPA uses the web-based platform SlideRoom.  Applicants submit portfolios online at:  Images (jpeg), video (mov,wmv,flv) and/or PDF documents may be uploaded.  For good image quality and fast upload, image files should be sized no larger than 1220px @ 72dpi and video files should be under 60MB each.

Applicants will be requested to specify the size, medium and date of completion of each piece submitted in the portfolio.  Descriptions of the assignments, concepts or processes used in the making the work can also be included.  This information assists faculty in the review process of the submitted work.

If applicants are unable to submit work via SlideRoom, please contact Admissions Office, University of Massachusetts Dartmouth, 285 Old Westport Road, North Dartmouth, MA 02747, to make other arrangements.

Music Audition

An audition is required of applicants to the music program. Contact the Department of Music at (508) 999-8568 or email: to make an audition appointment.

Additional Policies and Information

Laptop Computer Requirements

In order to better prepare students for the demands of the visual and performing arts fields, CVPA suppports Apple and PC computer platforms.  Although a laptop computer is not necessary for work in first-year studio classes, the departments of CVPA have specificiations for laptop computers which are required in the sophomore or junior and senior years depending on the area of study.

The Office of Financial Aid has funding options available for students who want to use financial aid to cover the purchace or lease of a laptop. 

  • An allowance of up to $4000 has been established for the purchase or lease a personal computer, printer, and associated hardware and software. Students who want to purchase or lease a personal computer should indicate their reequest in writing to the Financial Aid Services Offices and include purchase documentation (invoice or vendor cost estimate).
  • Sudent eligibility is limited to loan funding only, including Federal Direct Loan or various private loan programs.
  • Student must meet all Federal and institutional financial aid eligibility requirements including matriculation into a degree program, enrollment at least half-time, and filing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) form.

Students may learn more about the U$AVE computer purchase program through Financial Aid or contacting the IT Service Center at or (508) 999-8790.

CVPA Departmental Computer Requirements can be found at:

Changing to a Studio or Performing Arts Major

In addition to submitting the change of major form, students requesting a change of major into one of the visual arts majors/options are expected to provide a portfolio of digital images, or in the case of Music, perform an audition.  Students interested in the Visual Arts should contact Megan Abajian, Director of Studio Arts Foundations, to arrange for a portfolio consultation.  Students interested in Music, should contact Department of Music Secretary Michelle Cieto at or (508) 999-8568 to arrange for an audition.

Advanced Placement

Credit for advanced placement courses will be awarded if grades of 3 or above (on a 1-5 scale) have been achieved in courses that have UMass Dartmouth equivalents. The department will determine whether this credit will be given toward elective or major requirements.

Course Prerequisites

Many programs in the College of Visual and Performing Arts are sequential, building knowledge and skills step-by-step. Course prerequisites, which assure that essential knowledge has been achieved, are identified in the course descriptions found in this catalogue. Normally, courses are offered only once each year; therefore, students entering the college at mid-year may have to wait until the following semester to meet a prerequisite.

Lectures and Studio Credit/Class Hour Requirements

Following established guidelines for professional programs, visual art courses require three hours of work per week for each hour of credit. In most studio-based art courses, two hours per credit per week are scheduled in class and the third hour is the responsibility of the individual student to complete. Lecture courses typically meet one hour per week per hour of credit.

Cumulative Average

To be eligible to graduate, a student must achieve at least a 2.0 cumulative average (C) for the entire program with a minimum of 2.0 in identified key courses in the major field of study, as identified in subsequent sections of the catalogue.

Use of Student Work

The College of Visual and Performing Arts reserves the right to use examples of student class work for teaching, exhibition, performance and promotional purposes.

Additional Programs

The college offers 36-credit undergraduate certificate programs in Artisanry (Ceramics, Jewelry/Metals and Textile Design/Fiber Arts) and in Fine Arts (Painting/2D Studies or Sculpture/3D Studies). These programs are designed for individuals seeking to develop their studio practice and conceptual skills in the context of a strong foundation in art history and literature. Use these links to view the full description and application procedure for the Artisanry Certificate and the Certificate in Fine Arts.

For individuals who have already completed a bachelors degree and wish to pursue a post-baccalaureate-level studio experience, the college offers a Post-Baccalaureate Certificate in Fine Arts (PBC/FIA) and a Post-Baccalaureate Certificate in Artisanry (PBC/ATR). Designed to be completed in two semesters, each of these 9-credit programs provides an intensive studio experience whose credits may be applied toward the MFA. See the Graduate Catalogue for details and application procedures.

The 21 credit Post-Baccalaurate Program for Art Teacher Licensure is designed primarily for students with a bachelor’s degree in studio art. The program leads directly to Initial Licensure as an art teacher in grades PreK-8 or 5-12; it also constitutes admission to the 33 credit Master of Art Education program, which leads to Professional Licensure.

Graduate Programs

The college offers graduate programs leading to the Master of Fine Arts in Artisanry, Fine Arts, or Visual Design; and the Master of Art Education. The MFAs in Artisanry, Fine Arts and Visual Design are professionally-oriented and develop the abilities and interests of each student toward the broad goal of advanced professional practice. The Master of Art Education has components for practicing art teachers, fine arts degree holders, and continuing education students, as well as students seeking K-12 teacher certification. See the Graduate Catalogue for additional information.

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