The Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Art aims more specifically at the aspiring professional artist and designer, and prepares these students with the skills and knowledge needed to go on to graduate study or a design career.

The creative capacity of students pursuing the BFA degree leads them to express themselves visually. The degree curriculum enables these students to determine their artistic identity and their expressive voice, providing them with the tools and means to communicate their ideas, thereby participating within their community through their chosen emphasis. The intellectually rigorous program focuses on the communicative power of art—it demands of students a high level of commitment, introspection, and consideration. While still situated within a university that offers various opportunities for exploration outside the field of art, BFA students focus in greater depth in their studio art or graphic design practice. The extra art or design credits taken allow for further investigation into a chosen emphasis, ultimately producing a final body of work in that emphasis to be shown in a final professional gallery exhibition and explained in a final thesis or portfolio project.


The BFA in Art with an emphasis in Illustration, like other intensive studio degrees, includes a comprehensive examination of the history and theories of visual studies. This approach allows for a wide range of interests and styles, suited for technical, editorial or narrative illustration.

A study of the creative strategies of global artists throughout history and a core exploration in a range of media encourage students to seek imaginative and innovative approaches to both individual and client-based challenges. More directed study leads to a practical knowledge of the common materials and techniques for illustration, both past and current.

The Illustration emphasis culminates in coursework and a thesis project that connect the students' work to content in areas outside of studio practice, such as science, literature, politics, or any range of contemporary global concerns. Through humor, drama, or instructional work students learn how illustrators can be a distinctive voice in shaping our culture.

Students in the BFA program with an emphasis in Illustration fulfill most of the same core requirements as for the BA in studio art. In addition, they must complete 9 further credit hours in Art History and Criticism; 30 credit hours in Illustration-specific courses; and 3 credits in a content area outside of studio practice.

This program is offered through the Department of Art, Design, and Art History in the Leigh Gerdine College of Fine Arts. Please see the Colleges, Schools, and Departments section of this catalog for further information.

Degree Requirements

Thesis and Exhibition

A BFA student’s experience at Webster culminates in a final body of work, which is discussed in a written thesis and displayed in a final exhibition. Student register for the thesis course in their final semester, and meet weekly with the thesis faculty leader. Students develop a body of work over the course of their final year in the advanced courses of their chosen area of study. Theses take the form of a written produced piece of work that describes the body of work, its concepts, style, media, etc, influences and connections to past or contemporary art production. The exhibition is entirely student led. Students find an exhibition space in St. Louis, set up the exhibition, advertise it, and organize the installation, opening, and deinstallation.

Additional Information

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