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School of Art, Design and Art History (SADAH) Frequently Asked Questions


 What classes will I take in my first year? Will I take classes in my major?

All first-year students enrolled in a School of Art, Design and Art History major completed Foundations courses which include ART 102 2D Design, ART 104 Drawing I, ART 106 3D Design, ARTH 289/205 Survey of World Art I, and ARTH 206 Survey of World Art II. All Foundations classes count toward the major. Please look through the SADAH Academic Advising webpage for First Year Students for recommended first year courses by major.

 Can I change majors within SADAH?

Yes, because the Foundations classes are required in all SADAH majors students who change to another SADAH major within the first two years can still complete their degree in four years (for example, changing from Graphic Design to Art Studio or vice versa).

 Do I have to pass a portfolio review to be admitted to a SADAH major?

Anyone can declare a major in Art History or Art (Studio) B.A./B.S. These majors do not have a portfolio review. However, a portfolio review is required to be admitted to the Art (Studio) B.F.A., Architectural Design B.F.A., Graphic Design B.F.A., and Industrial Design B.S.  This portfolio review takes place while you are applying to the university, and it allows you access to the Foundations coursework that forms the common core of our School of Art, Design and Art History programs.


More information on SADAH programs is located in the JMU Undergraduate Catalog.

 What should I submit as a part of my portfolio?

Your portfolio must contain 10-12 examples of your best work, showing your creative ability, visual arts skill and/or design potential.

  • Try to show both two- and three-dimensional projects that use a variety of media.
  • Studio or design projects based on copying photographs or images from magazines are discouraged.
  • Be prepared to discuss your art or design work-related activities such as awards, exhibits or art club responsibilities, and your future goals in art.

Accepted studio and design work includes Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign digital media; technical drawings; CAD; digital fabrication work; engineering, metal and vehicle projects; time-based media; and woodshop projects.

You can submit your digital portfolio through Slideroom here.  We also recommend attending a virtual portfolio review day so you can get feedback on your work prior to submitting your digital portfolio.  In the virtual portfolio review, you will have a 1-on-1 meeting with a faculty member over Zoom where you will show images of your work.  You can register for a virtual portfolio review here.  In order to qualify for a merit scholarship from the School of Art, Design and Art History, you will need to attend a virtual portfolio appointment.

For more information about the School of Art, Design and Art History portfolio review process, please visit this page.

 When is the deadline to submit a portfolio?

We have several different deadlines for the portfolio review.  If you're applying Early Action to JMU, we have an Early Action portfolio review deadline of November 27th.  Should you be admitted to JMU, by submitting your digital portfolio by the November 27th deadline, you will also be notified of your artistic admissions status for the School of Art, Design, and Art History. The final deadline for digital portfolio review submission for all first-year applicants will be on February 12, 2021.  There is no penalty as an Early Action student for submitting a portfolio review in the Regular Decision application - you will just learn your artistic admissions decision later.

For more information about the Portfolio Review process, visit our website.

 What happens if I don't pass the portfolio review?

If you don't pass the portfolio review, or you are not able to submit a portfolio review, you will not be able to start the Architectural Design, Art Studio (BFA), Graphic Design, or Industrial Design programs. You can still declare a major in Art History or Art (Studio) - B.A. or B.S.  You can also pursue an Art minor without completing a portfolio review.  You can also submit or resubmit a portfolio as a current student, and should you be successfully admitted, you can change your major the following semester.  We also have a number of student clubs and organizations in the arts available to non-majors.

 What art disciplines are included in Art (Studio), and what is the difference between the B.A., B.F.A, and B.S. degrees?

With three different degree offerings, the Art (Studio) program allows you to pursue your passion for art in a variety of ways.  The B.A. and B.S. degrees are for students who seek a breadth of knowledge in the visual arts and who have an interest or background in the humanities or the sciences.  Many B.A. and B.S. students are completing double majors or the Art Education licensure program. The B.F.A degree is the professional degree in art, and students choose a specific concentration (specialty).  Students hoping to become practicing artists or continue on for a masters degree should consider the B.F.A degree in Art (Studio).

The Art (Studio) B.F.A. program offers concentrations in:

In order to declare an Art - Studio (BFA) major, you will need to complete a portfolio review to be admitted to the School of Art, Design and Art History.  There is no portfolio review requirement for students who are declaring the Art (Studio) B.A. or B.S degree.

 Do I have to pass any additional portfolio reviews once I am admitted to a SADAH major?

All of the design majors (Architectural, Graphic, and Industrial) require a second portfolio review at the end of the second year to be approved for upper-level courses. This review is based on your work completed in design courses at JMU. Information on design portfolio reviews:

Architectural Design

Graphic Design

Industrial Design

 What do I do if I don’t pass the second review for a design major?

All design majors allow students to re-apply one time in the following semester. Based on faculty feedback from the first design review, the student is expected to make improvements on the work in the portfolio before re-submitting. If you choose not to re-submit or are denied a second time, you can change majors within SADAH.

 What is Industrial Design?

Industrial designers blend together art, engineering, business, sociology, and anthropology. They study people, drive consumer behavior, invent, experiment, and improve the objects of our daily lives. See the Industrial Design degree checklist.

 Will I have an architecture license when I graduate in Architectural Design?

No, but you will be very well prepared to enter a master’s program in Architecture if a license is your goal. Past graduates have been very successful at earning admission and scholarships to top graduate Architecture programs in the nation including; Pratt, University of Illinois, Parson’s, RISD, Carnegie Mellon, and the University of Kentucky.


Architectural Design degree checklist

 Can I major in Art Education?

No. Art education is a professional licensure program that is paired with a SADAH major. Any student who majors in SADAH is eligible for the art education program.

Art Education program checklist

 Can I add art education and still finish on time?

Students electing the B.A. or B.S. in Art Studio can complete the courses for art education plus student teaching in four years. It is recommended to declare art education in your second year to be able to finish on time. Students majoring in the Art Studio B.F.A. typically graduate in four years and then student teach the semester after graduation. Students in the Design majors often need one or two semesters after graduation to complete courses and student teaching.

 I am an out-of-state student and plan to teach in my home state. Should I still complete art education at JMU?

It is most efficient to complete art teacher licensure in conjunction with a SADAH major, as the classes double count for the major and licensure. It is easy to apply for a license in another state once you have obtained a Virginia license. Please note that you will be required to complete student teaching in Virginia even if you are an out of state student.

 Are there professional internships for SADAH majors?

Many students complete summer professional internships. Faculty members from each major can assist students in locating and applying for internships within their field.

 Do you offer programs in Art History or museum and gallery professions?

Yes, we offer a BA in Art History with an optional concentration in Museum Studies. JMU Art History graduates often continue to graduate study and are employed in academia, professional galleries, and national museums, in professions such as curators, critics, and art handlers. Learn more here.

 If I come to JMU undeclared can I take art classes?

Art History classes are available to any student at JMU. Art studio courses offered in May and June are open for enrollment by non-majors. For fall and spring semesters Art and Design courses are limited to majors and minors in SADAH. JMU Student Activities and Involvement offers art activities throughout the year that are free and open to all students.

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