Course Descriptions and Requirements

Art students use printmaking tools

Majors and Courses

Learn more about course descriptions and requirements for the Art major and minor in the Undergraduate Catalog.

Tracks of Study

The art major at Augustana varies from 36 to 60 hours, depending on your goals and needs:

  • Art Education: Our 36 to 43 credit hour program, in addition to 38 teacher certification credit hours, prepares you to teach at the elementary and secondary level.
  • Liberal Arts Track: A 36 credit hour major allows you to explore your art making practice, and can include a concentration in a particular medium. In order to broaden your preparation and background, you may add a second major, such as in business administration, communication studies, psychology, English or modern foreign languages.

Areas of Study Within Art

Art History

Art history is a complete synthesis of the liberal arts by incorporating aspects of not only visual studies and history, but also the disciplines of philosophy, geography, foreign language, economics, religion and scientific discovery. In every art history course, students will practice analyzing, evaluating, explaining and reflecting on the contingent nature of images, i.e. that there are “ways of seeing” and representing the world, and these differences are dictated by culture and time period. Students are challenged to become informed global citizens. For example, in ART 112, we study the founding and development of the major world religions of Hinduism, Buddhism, Christianity and Islam. By understanding differing theological structures and religious differences and seeing how religions are living, cultural institutions that change over time, often in response to political events, you can apply this understanding to current events, thus illuminating contemporary conflicts and social patterns.

High impact learning techniques and experiential learning are important components of an Augustana education. Students in art history courses have opportunities to study the history of art first hand through gallery and museum visits, such as traveling to London or New York City as a part of a spring break short course, studying changing exhibitions in Sioux Falls or the Twin Cities, or even helping curate exhibitions at Augustana’s Eide/Dalrymple Gallery.


Study forms inherent in medium of clay through free-form hand building and disciplined, classical style wheel thrown forms. You are challenged to experience new applications, test your limits to create more diversified clay works and build on your design and application processes. 


Augustana drawing courses establish a solid foundation for all other studio areas by providing you with the necessary studio practice and conceptual framework for understanding drawing as a creative process. Learning to draw is about learning to see, and discovering how you can organize, simplify, and intelligently express your experience through putting marks on paper.

Graphic Design

The Augustana University graphic design program distinguishes itself with its strong emphasis on design and concept. These result, in no small part, because the experiential community design projects and internships give excellent real world, practical experiences. Many of our graphic design students have second majors increasing potential career choices. Some popular second majors are business, marketing, English and journalism.

If you wish to pursue a career in graphic design, a 53-60 credit hour, pre-professional track is recommended. The art department has a Mac lab with the latest Adobe software.

“Students are given the opportunity to do design jobs for the University and Sioux Falls, which give them realistic feedback and experience. The program allows students to make completely unique projects compared to any other program I’ve seen.” — Aimee Fisher ‘15


The quality and diversity of expression exhibited by our student painters is a truly wonderful example of the human spirit. Students find their original voice through innovative techniques and applications and through an emphasis on intuitive solutions to problems.

A key element in this success is the sense of community prevalent in painting courses. From day one, students engage in collaborative learning by sharing their insights and growing expertise with each other. This particularly occurs while paintings are in progress and during group critiques. The group critiques, led in part by students themselves, speak to the quality of students at Augustana.

“We are all encouraged to go around and talk to each other about what we are working on. It’s a community effort. Anytime you want to talk to someone about your art, somebody’s going to be in the studio. It’s just a close community. The togetherness of working in the studio made the time spent there special for me.” — Laura Bane '14


You will study the technical and aesthetic concepts of digital photography and how various modalities inform image content. You'll develop competency in the digital darkroom and be encouraged to develop your own vision and visual language with technical, aesthetic, and conceptual tools. To assist in this pursuit it is important to learn about the history of photography, which will be addressed with various slide lectures, discussions, films, and readings.

You are encouraged to have a DSLR camera and familiarity with Photoshop, however neither is required.


Printmaking is rooted in time. Prints are part of our deep human story evident in the incised line drawings and stenciling of handprints on Paleo cave walls. Printmaking offers you the opportunity to develop your editions with a deliberate, contemplative, and experimental approach. The Augustana printmaking coursework focuses on intaglio, lithography, screenprinting, woodcut and wood engraving. Our studio community is supportive and collaborative which encourages passionate inquiry, conceptual growth, and a certain playfulness, if not downright irreverence in your daily thought process and evident in your work and progress.


You will begin by exploring the coupling of sculptural processes with traditional mediums including modeling and mold-making in plaster and clay, carving, construction and/or assemblage with an emphasis on design. Further study includes stone carving, bronze casting, welded metals, plastics, and contemporary movements in sculpture.


Every student majoring in art is assigned a faculty adviser within the department based on their emphasis: studio art, art education, architecture, design, etc. You can also choose your adviser as your needs change through your course of studies. Your adviser will work closely with you to help you decide on classes, to keep you on track in fulfilling the general education requirements, and to assist with study abroad, graduate school, and professional goals.

Augustana's policy on the use of nude models.

Learn more about what to expect as an art major from professor emeritus Steve Thomas: