Undergraduate Program Art Practice

Portland State University art practice students working in an art studio

Art Practice Bachelor's Degree and Minor Overview

Art practice is the exploration of studio art experiences and processes with an emphasis on developing your own creative vision. Our program goes beyond the physical activities of making to include idea generation, influences, materials, tools and methods. We offer an interdisciplinary approach with an emphasis on current trends in contemporary art.

Our bachelor of fine arts degree in art practice provides you with the knowledge and skills designed to prepare you for a fulfilling career as a practicing artist. It’s a flexible degree that allows you to design an individual path of study based on your interests and goals. We strive to acquaint you with fundamental concepts while nurturing your own unique vision.

You will start off in our innovative Core program, which offers you the foundational toolkit you'll need to succeed. Core courses foster community and excitement for the diverse ways we engage in creative life and provides learning situations that open up those possibilities.

Our faculty, who are all active makers as well as educators, will mentor you along your path in small classes with frequent one-on-one instruction. As you progress as an art practice major, you will experience a variety of traditional media including painting, drawing, printmaking, photography, sculpture, and textiles. But you might also be intrigued by time-based arts that have a durational dimension, such as film, video, sound, and performance art.

We are leaders in the pioneering field of Art + Social Practice. Instead of making art as objects, this field focuses on collaborative experiences and interaction between the artist and cultural systems through activism and social engagement.


  • Access to specialized labs and studio facilities
  • A regular program of visiting artist lectures
  • Exposure to a variety of mediums and techniques
  • Opportunities for summer study abroad
  • Expert faculty who are active participants in the creative community
  • Courses in a variety of areas including painting, drawing, printmaking, sculpture, textiles, video, photography, social practice

Degree Details

  • BFA
    Bachelor of Fine Arts
    Delivery Method
    On campus
    Total Credits
    Start Term
  • m
    Delivery Method
    On campus
    Total Credits
    Start Term

Learn more about PSU’s academic program delivery methods.

Art Practice Bachelor's Degree or Minor: Why PSU?

As an art practice major at PSU, you will be challenged to explore your creative ideas and pursue your practice within a thriving arts community of makers, designers, and performers. Situated in downtown Portland, PSU places you at the heart of Portland’s vibrant creative scene, where innovation and imagination are the drivers. Our faculty, alumni, and students are the changemakers of the city, using their art to question the status quo.

Our beautifully renovated studios feature high ceilings and tall windows, welcoming an abundance of natural light. Most studios offer a stunning view of the tree-lined Park Blocks for an added dose of inspiration.

We offer a variety of specialized labs for art students, including a printmaking facility, a sewing and fabric construction studio, a weaving studio that includes digital looms as well as traditional floor looms, a photographic darkroom, and a well-stocked audio-visual equipment room.

Our Materials Lab is a multi-use facility that serves both art and architecture students. There you will find a woodshop, a metals shop with welding equipment and a foundry for bronze and aluminum casting, and a digital fabrication studio with 3D printers, laser cutters, and a CNC router.

Our Mac Lab is Mac computer-based classroom with the latest Adobe Creative Cloud tools and high-quality printers. Need a computer when class is in session? No worries. Nearby we have a 12-seat drop-in lab as well.

What can I do with a bachelor's degree or minor in Art Practice?

While some graduates of our program go on to pursue a master of fine art degree, many find work in a wider array of jobs. As more and more employers look for people who know how to think creatively, an arts training is a great asset.

  • Fine artist
  • Art Director
  • Illustrator
  • Filmmaker
  • Photographer
  • Designer
  • Teacher or Arts Educator
  • Art gallery manager
  • Exhibition designer
  • Arts administration
  • Art therapy
  • Museum technician

Featured Courses

  • ART 101 CORE: Surface
  • ART 102 CORE: Space
  • ART 103 CORE: Time
  • ART 105 CORE: Ideation
  • ART 104 CORE: Digital Tools
  • ARH 106 Intro to Visual Literacy
  • ART 131 Introduction to Drawing I
  • ART 303 Making & Meaning
  • ART 485 Professional Practices
  • ART 330 Critical Theories
  • ARH 398 Contemporary Art
  • ART 336 BFA: Research & Proposal
  • ART 339 BFA Vertical Lab I: Collaboration and Presentation Strategies


  • ART 331 Art & Privilege
  • ART 327 Intermediate Art and Social Practices
  • ART 358/Des 358 Video, Design & Community
  • ART 371 Intermediate Printmaking: Thematic Process
  • ART 391 Drawing Concepts
  • ART 375 Mold Making and Casting
  • ART 250 Life Drawing
  • ART 316 Fabric and Form


Portland State University is fully accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU).