Info for Prospective Students

The Department of Studio Arts offers hands-on courses with small class sizes, providing an exceptional amount of one-on-one attention from faculty within a close-knit and supportive community of creative thinkers and makers.

Beginning with their very first term at the University, students have a number of opportunities to work with faculty mentors. First-year students collaborate with faculty on various department and independent professional research projects through the First Experiences in Research (F-ER) through the Office of Undergraduate Research, Scholarship, and Creative Activity. This might include helping a faculty member construct a prototype of a sculpture or installation, collect and catalogue public domain video footage for a creative research project, learn screen print production printing in order to assist the creation of new work, or explore the parameters of a tool in order to catalogue protocols and possibilities.

Faculty work with Undergraduate Teaching Assistants (UTAs) in second-level media courses. UTAs assist faculty and students through a particular course, demonstrating media-based techniques, and hold office hours to provide additional, outside-of-class assistance. UTA opportunities offer valuable experience as preparation for graduate school or to deepen media-based knowledge and exploration. Faculty members also work with students on Directed Study and Directed Research projects, which can be term-based pursuits or unique summer fellowship opportunities (like OUR's London Field Study or Summer Undergraduate Research Award or the UHC's Brackenridge Fellowships).

Meet Studio Arts Chair, Faculty Member, and Research Mentor Delanie Jenkins

Our department is active and vibrant, and we sponsor numerous outside of the classroom events, field trips, Study Abroad experiences, and other activities designed to provide our undergraduates with the chance to network, explore the city's rich cultural landscape, and take advantage of the extensive resources available to them as students of a world-class university.  

  • We produce two student exhibitions each year in the University Art Gallery: the summer research exhibition takes place the January following summer research awards to show the development of research work and ideas, the annual student show takes place each April. Both exhibitions offer opportunities to work with faculty in the production of the exhibitions, gaining valuable exhibition experience, and to discuss work with participating students. The annual exhibition highlights the work of graduating seniors but also includes exceptional work of other students that is submitted by faculty on their behalf.
  • The Studio Arts' fall "Brown Bag" series offers an informal introduction to faculty research and creative developments of summer research students. Because Studio Arts produces two to three exhibitions per year, Conversations with Artists in the gallery offer additional opportunities to discuss creative work with professional and student artists.
  • All faculty take classes to local museums and institutions, tying in exhibitions and opportunities with course projects. Often, we invite visiting artists into specific courses, or the broader department, to share work, offer demonstrations, or to work directly with students.
  • Because Pitt is located in the museum district of Oakland and within a city brimming with culturally rich museums, archives, and performing venues, faculty tie course assignments to whatever is happening within the city. Whether taking advantage of exhibitions across the street at the Carnegie Museum of Art, venturing to the Northside to see exhibitions or speak with artists exhibiting at the Mattress Factory or Andy Warhol Museum, drawing projects inspired by the plants at Phipps Botanical Gardens, printmaking workshops at Artists Image Resource, or abstraction assignments inspired by the dinosaur bones at the Natural History Museum - we use the resources of the city for our work, teaching, and as foundation for inspiration (even a bus ride for incidental drawing projects...).
  • Through the University Honors College, Studio Arts offers a 2.5 week Field Study Intensive in Wyoming each summer (2018 was the 10th year). Housed in Rock River, Wyoming northwest of Laramie, with access to the University's Spring Creek Preserve 20 minutes away, students expand their work through a directed study, artist residency-like field study, creating work in a makeshift studio eight hours per day. A mid-field study trip to Utah allows for exploration of Nancy Holt's Sun Tunnels in the Great Basin Desert, Robert Smithson's Spiral Jetty off Promonotory Point in the Great Salt Lake, and the Red Desert of South Central Wyoming.

For more information about our department, or to schedule a visit or tour, please contact the Dietrich School's Manager of Undergraduate Recruitment, Nicole Horvath, at nicolehorvath@pitt.edu.