Sam Fox to offer new Bachelor of Arts primary majors

Aiden Blinn | News Editor

The College of Art in the Sam Fox School will now offer two Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) programs in art and design to allow greater flexibility for art students while still providing a studio-driven experience.

The new B.A. majors, which require 30-36 credits of studio work instead of the usual 65 credits accredited to the Bachelor of Fine Arts (B.F.A.) programs, were created to give Sam Fox students room in their schedule to attain second majors or minors from other colleges at the University.

Director of the College and Graduate School of Art Heather Corcoran emphasized the interdisciplinary nature of the Bachelor of Arts programs.

“It’s really designed to give students who have chosen to do their degree in the Sam Fox School an opportunity to integrate more coursework from across the campus into their degree at the school,” Corcoran said.

Corcoran believes that the B.A. majors will appeal to students who wish to employ multiple fields of study in the workplace.

“I think that there’s a subsection of students who really want whatever else they’re studying on campus to be a prominent part of their post-college plan,” Corcoran said. “It’s not that their major or their degree isn’t central to them, but the idea of really doing intensive portfolio-based work in the professional field is not really why they are there.”

Corcoran highlighted several interdisciplinary combinations that are especially relevant to Sam Fox students and have practical applications.

“Some [combinations] that come to mind for me are if you’re getting a B.A. in design, computer science is a pretty interesting intersection,” Corcoran said. “Certainly, marketing in the business school would be interesting and is interesting for a lot of our B.A. students in design or in art, specifically fashion.”

Freshman Isabella Xie believes that the B.A. program will open up doors for the students to pursue multiple interests.

“I definitely think it’s a good opportunity for a lot of students because I know many of the Sam Fox students really want to pursue an interdisciplinary path in college instead of just focusing on the fine arts or communication design or architecture,” Xie said. “I think that having this B.A. program gives students like us more of [our] other passions.”

Corcoran compared the B.A. offerings to the College of Art’s new second majors, which allow students with other primary academic divisions to graduate with a second major in Sam Fox.

“Students who are already majoring or getting a degree in some other school at [Washington University] have some other major to begin with,” Corcoran said. “They, too, we hope, will find a second major compelling so that they can find a way to integrate art or design into what their primary field is.”

Kevin He, a junior in the Olin Business School with a second major in Communication Design, sees the new majors as the best way to combine Sam Fox classes with classes from other colleges.

“I think it’s a more holistic approach to combining something in Sam Fox with something else outside of Sam Fox,” He said. “Even though we’re second majors, we’re still dedicated to doing the same amount of work that the full B.F.A. students are, only we have other classes that we also care about.”

He added that because the College of Art’s second majors are in their early stages, he’s still figuring out how to make the most of his art classes while providing feedback to Sam Fox faculty to improve the new offerings.

“I’m still figuring out a lot of the stuff that I want to do with my B.A. that will help give guidance to the future second major students,” He said. “For example, I really wanted to do final critique because I feel like that’s a really good way to improve and get feedback from my professors, and in the future they’re probably going to do something more with final critiques for other B.A. students.”

According to Corcoran, the College of Art is in an unprecedented era of accessibility for Washington University students because of recent changes such as the second major and B.A. programs.

“The College of Art was founded in 1879, and as far as I know, this is one of the most permeable moments we’ve ever had in our history. I think we’re all feeling really excited and hope that students will find it relevant and that they will reach out and talk to us about the experiences they’re having,” he said.