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About the School of Art and Design


Prospective Students

We encourage prospective students to submit a portfolio-based application PRIOR to their arrival or acceptance at WCU, due to the competitive nature of our Bachelor of Fine Art with emphases in Studio Art and Graphic Design, as well as our Bachelor of Science in Interior Design.
*There is a separate process for students already enrolled at WCU who wish to declare these degrees-please see the separate program area pages; details will be emailed out to current students as well. 

Pending full acceptance to WCU, a passing portfolio-based application in these three programs guarantees students a seat in courses needed for these degrees.  Applicants will be notified of their status within a month after the application due date.  WCU uses the platform of Acceptd to conduct these reviews for which applicants will be charged $10.00.
Interested students may apply prior to the deadlines! 

Start your application.  Click on Start an Application on the left side and choose one:
BFA with an Emphasis in Studio Art
  (deadline to apply is the 5th Friday of each Fall and Spring semester)
BFA with an Emphasis in Graphic Design (deadline to apply is the 5th Friday of each Fall and Spring semester)
BS in Interior Design  (deadline to apply is July of the previous summer of your Fall semester)
BA (Bachelor of Art) (deadline to apply is July of the previous summer of your Fall semester)

MFA (Master of Fine Art) has a separate application process through the Graduate School. Apply to Grad School

Your Education Should be as Individual as You Are



Our programs in studio art and design focus on working with students to carve out their place in the larger cultural landscape where imagining the unknown and the unknowable is sustained and primary. We place high value on creativity, critical thinking, project development, community engagement and collaboration, as well as mastery of technique and craftsmanship.

In our program you will discover a faculty of art and design practitioners with a diverse range of creative capabilities working alongside our students. They bring to the studio and classroom a commitment to the process of innovation and skill building as well as their range of experience as makers, collaborators, and researchers.

Our well-equipped facilities, robust national visiting artist program, university research outlets, and partnerships with regional and national cultural institutions all contribute in supporting the individual and collective growth of our students. This prepares them to be competent globally-minded individuals who are capable of engaging and collaborating with professionals in a wide variety of fields and cultural contexts, to assume the challenges of our times.
Take a virtual tour of the Bardo Arts Center.
Visiting Artists 1980-present

Printmaking student rinsing silk screen



Local / Global / Artist / Citizen


Preparing the next generation of competent globally minded artist and designers who are capable of connecting and collaborating with professionals in a wide variety of fields and cultural contexts to embrace the challenges of our times.

WCU Diversity Statement

Diversity at Western Carolina University is all-inclusive and recognizes everyone and every group as part of the diversity that should be valued.  It includes race, ethnicity, gender, gender identity, age, national origin, geography, religion, disability, sexual orientation, socioeconomic status, education, marital status,   language and linguistic differences, and physical appearance. It also involves different ideas, perspectives, and values.

LEARN MORE About Diversity at WCU

The School of Art and Design offers degrees in a variety of artistic disciplines.

We believe in the power of art to transform both the audience and the artist.

Each program is structured to cultivate a student’s intellectual and creative development in a stimulating and encouraging environment, enabling students to graduate with the necessary knowledge and skills for a career in the arts, arts education, or further study at the graduate level.

Available Degree Programs


BFA ART EDUCATION EMPHASIS  This program will prepare students as artist-teachers to meet the needs of diverse student populations. It begins with a Bachelor of Fine Art with an emphasis in Art Education and, if students want to further their education, they can explore our M.A. in Education or M.A. in Teaching degrees.

BFA GRAPHIC DESIGN EMPHASIS Our Bachelor of Fine Art with an emphasis in graphic design focuses on developing students' critical thinking skills while exploring contemporary issues. Students develop a strong understanding of formal design principles, creative problem solving and fluency in multiple mediums.

BS INTERIOR DESIGN Students will learn computer-aided drafting and design, space planning, problem-solving, lighting, and other relevant topics that lead to the creation of inspired spaces. Our Bachelor of Science in Interior Design includes a senior research project or internship and encourages related study abroad.

BFA STUDIO ART EMPHASIS  Our offerings in studio art include a Bachelor of Fine Art with an emphasis in ceramics, painting and drawing, photography, print and books arts, and sculpture.

BACHELOR OF ART Allows students to gain a foundation in both studio art and art history, and then select a variety of upper level elective courses, focusing on their own areas of interest.

MINOR IN ART Students who want a less intense involvement in Art or Design can complement their studies with which requires 21 hours of approved art courses.

Frequently Asked Questions for new and transfer students. 


MASTER OF FINE ART A 60-hour terminal degree program offering the highest level of instruction in the visual arts.

*Please be aware that all declared majors in the School of Art and Design are assessed a Fine Arts major fee of $125.00 each semester to defray the costs of equipment and supplies and for maintenance of lab and studio spaces.

*Students must declare an art major in order to enroll in upper division courses (those at 300 level or higher). 

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