Jan 23, 2019  
2017-2018 Undergraduate Catalog 
2017-2018 Undergraduate Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Painting and Drawing Emphasis, Fine Arts BFA

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Please click here  to see general Visual Arts information.

The painting and drawing emphasis takes a contemporary approach that works to integrate painterly and drawing concerns with focused artistic practice and developing critical dialogue. As a studio discipline, painting and drawing is as rich in visual arts history as it is charged with contemporary innovation. Painting and drawing as a studio practice encourages a multi-faceted dialogue within this continuum. Students are introduced to a variety of techniques and ideas, exposed to several historical and contemporary practices, and are challenged to develop a studio process that involves both formal and conceptual impact. Painting and drawing classes are interdisciplinary in that they allow the use of multiple materials and/or techniques in the production of a successful art piece or body of work. Students come away with a strong studio skill base, an engaged conceptual framework, and an ability to take part in the exciting discourse of contemporary painting and drawing.

Program Delivery

  • This is an on-campus program.

Declaring This Major

  • Click here  to go to information about declaring a major.
  • Students who are applying for entrance into the painting and drawing emphasis must submit a portfolio, as described below. The painting and drawing emphasis accepts applications twice a year. Students who meet the requirements and are accepted go on to take upper-division painting and drawing courses.


University of Colorado Denver Students

The student has completed, or is in the process of completing, the following courses:

A minimum cumulative fine arts/art history GPA of 2.75

Transfer Students

The student has completed and is transferring a minimum of 24 credit hours from a previous institution.

Student has completed, or is in the process of completing, the equivalents of the following courses:

A minimum cumulative fine arts/art history GPA of 2.75


Students applying to the painting and drawing emphasis submit a portfolio of 10 images in digital format, a written statement and unofficial transcript(s) from CU Denver and all previous post-secondary educational institutions. Application materials must be uploaded to SlideRoom.com by November 1 or April 1 at 5:00 pm (Mountain Time). Applications are only accepted online and must be formatted to the specifications listed below. There is a $30 fee to apply.

Portfolio of Images

The portfolio must include a minimum of 10 digital images of creative work (but no more than 15). Submit six or more images of artworks done in FINE 1100 Drawing I, FINE 1400 Two Dimensional Design, FINE 1500 Three-Dimensional Design and FINE 2030 Life Drawing. Also provide two or more artworks that demonstrate an understanding of value and color. Additional examples (up to five) may include design, drawing, painting, photography, mixed media, installation and/or printmaking.

All images should be formatted as JPEGs. Limit file size to 1 megabyte. File names must be numbered, include the student’s last name, and then an underscore and a brief title.

File Name Examples:            

  • 1_lastname_figuredrawing.jpeg
  • 2_lastname_still-lifedrawing.jpeg

Note: For each image uploaded to SlideRoom, the applicant must provide the following information: title, year, media and size, the name of the course for which it was created (if applicable) and a brief explanation of the artwork.

Written Statement

A written statement must be uploaded as a PDF file with the portfolio on SlideRoom. In the essay, the student should address the following questions in no more than one page in length (400-500 words).

  • Why do you want to study painting and drawing and what goals and expectations do you have regarding a career as a studio artist?
  • What are your creative strengths, and what areas need further development?
  • What other accomplishments would you like the committee to know about, such as Dean’s List, GPA, internships, art-related extracurricular activities or relevant professional experience?

Course Transcripts

These may be official or unofficial transcripts from CU Denver and previous post-secondary institutions. The CU Denver transcript must show any current semester courses.


  • A committee of painting and drawing faculty members reviews the application materials.  Acceptance into the painting and drawing emphasis is based on the portfolio images, written statement and GPA. 
  • If not admitted into the painting and drawing emphasis, a student has the choice of attempting the review process again in a later semester or applying to another emphasis. Students are encouraged to apply for more than one emphasis. Students are also encouraged to schedule a meeting with the area head of painting and drawing to learn ways to improve their portfolios for future submissions.

Please note that there are minors in illustration and painting/drawing. Should a student not get into their first choice emphasis area, there is the possibility of minoring in that area. These minors do not require portfolio review. To learn more, please link to these minors from the Programs  page in this catalog.

The application is evaluated on the following criteria:

  • Presentation - The portfolio should be well-crafted and well organized in content and presentation.
  • Technical Skill - The portfolio should demonstrate strong proficiency in drawing, composition, design and color.
  • Creativity - The portfolio should demonstrate creative choices in content and aesthetics.
  • Conceptual Skills - The portfolio and written statements should reflect analytical thinking and conceptual exploration of the foundations of drawing and design.
  • Written Statement - The statement should outline academic and artistic goals, addressing any potential strengths and weaknesses.
  • Academic Performance - The grades must reflect a commitment to learning and growth.
  • Completeness of Application - All required documentation must be submitted (images, written statement and transcripts).


For more portfolio information, please contact CAM@ucdenver.edu or painting/drawing area head Melissa Furness at melissa.furness@ucdenver.edu.

General Requirements

To earn a degree, students must satisfy all requirements in each of the areas below, in addition to their individual major requirements.

Program Requirements

  1. A minimum grade of C (2.0) is required for each course applied toward a College of Arts & Media major, minor or certificate requirement. A grade of C- (1.7) or lower will not fulfill a major, minor or certificate requirement. A grade of P is acceptable for courses in which the only grade available is Pass or Fail.
  2. All upper-division visual arts courses must be taken at CU Denver unless approved otherwise by Department of Visual Arts faculty.
  3. At least 27 semester hours of visual arts credits (at any level) must be taken at CU Denver.
  4. At least 24 semester hours of total visual arts courses must be upper-division.

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