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Contemporary Arts (B.A.)

Website: School of Contemporary Arts


About the Major

The Contemporary Arts major is an interdisciplinary contract major that allows students to design their own major to reflect their particular interests and career goals such as Public Relations or Animation.   Working in consultation with a faculty advisor, students select courses from the offerings across the School of Contemporary Arts and across the whole college.  For example, a student interested in pursuing a career in Animation may elect to take courses from the fine arts programs of Theater and Visual Arts, combined with courses from the Communication Arts program.  Or, a student interested in Business Communications may combine communications journalism and writing with courses from the Anisfield School of Business.

This major requires self-motivation and serious planning, but it can be especially rewarding for the student who has specific goals that cannot be met in a regular major at the college, or who wishes to have the flexibility to take a wider array of courses than would be possible in a regular major.  After an initial consultation with the Convener of the major, each student will develop the major with a faculty advisor who is most knowledgeable in the area of the student’s interest.

Examples of past Contemporary Arts Contract Major titles include:  Arts Management, Arts in Community, Business Communication, Advertising, Environmental Journalism, Photojournalism, Art and Design and Film Business.

This major leads to a B.A. degree.  It requires a minimum of 48 credits in the major, at least 16 of which must be upper level, (300/400), in addition to the School of Contemporary Arts Core.

Declaring the Major

A first year student entering the college may declare the Contemporary Arts major in provisional status.  Upon the completion of 32 credits, you may declare the major in permanent status through the following process:

  1. After an initial consultation with the Convener of the major, each student will be assigned to work in developing the major with a faculty member who is most knowledgeable in the area of the student’s interest.
  2. Students are required to complete the major proposal process, explaining your academic interests and career goals and giving your major a title.
  3. This will include submitting:
    1. a statement of goals
    2. a paragraph describing the relationship of their interdisciplinary studies
    3. a preliminary list of courses
  4. In consultation with their advisor, students will create an advisor agreement, laying out a tentative cycle of courses, learning outcomes, and advisement schedule.
  5. Schedule an appointment and meet with the convener of the major to discuss these and to review the requirements of the major.
  6. Complete the change of major form with the convener
  7. Upon reaching a threshold of 96 credits, students will be asked to reflect, in writing, on their contract.

As a transfer student you should follow the same process, but should plan to meet with the convener before your orientation on campus in order to select appropriate courses for your first semester.

Note: Students may not declare the Contemporary Arts major if they will have completed 96 credits by the end of the current semester. At least six of the “open choice” courses must be within the School of Contemporary Arts.

A minimum overall GPA of 2.5 is required to transfer into the major from another major.

Advisement: Once you have declared the major, they will be assigned to work with a faculty advisor to develop a course sequencing plan that will serve to guide your course selection. You are expected to meet with your faculty advisor at least once in every semester. Your course sequencing plan will remain flexible until you apply for graduation. At least half of the credits applied to your major must be earned from courses taken in the School of Contemporary Arts.

Outcomes for the Major

Outcome 1: Understand the discipline or inter-disciplines identified as part of their learning agreement developed in consultation with their academic advisor. 

Outcome 2: Apply creative thinking in the work they produce. 

Outcome 3: Be able to write appropriately to their discipline. This outcome includes demonstrating and synthesizing significant ideas about the disciplines through writing. 

Outcome 4: Produce advanced work that demonstrates skills relevant to their discipline. Students should be able to demonstrate an ability to connect and synthesize ideas, use innovation to solve problems and explore their content in depth.

Requirements of the Major
  1. Transfer students who have 48 or more credits accepted at the time of transfer are waived from the courses marked with a (W) below.  Waivers do not apply to Major Requirements.
  2. Double counting between General Education, School Core, and Major may be possible.  Check with your advisor to see if any apply.
  3. Writing Intensive Requirement (five):  two writing intensive courses in the general education curriculum are required: Critical Reading and Writing and Studies in the Arts and Humanities the other three courses are taken in the major.
  4. Not all courses are offered each semester.  Please check the current Schedule of classes for semester course offerings.

Note: A 2.0 GPA in the major is required for graduation.