2011-2013 Undergraduate Catalog

The Department of Art

Dr. Patricia Vettel-Becker, Chairperson
LA 106, (406) 657-2324

Professors:  Landis, Vettel-Becker
Assistant Professors:  Fliegel, Knobel, Lightner
Gallery Director/Instructor:  Gilbertson
Professor Emeritus:  Jussila, Pollock, Selsor, Steele

Undergraduate Degrees and Majors

Bachelor of Arts
Major:  Art
Option:  Teaching Licensure

Bachelor of Fine Arts in Art

Minor: Art
Teaching Minor: 

Mission of the Department

The mission of the Department of Art at Montana State University Billings is to educate students in the understanding, production, and analysis of visual art and culture.  This educational process includes the development of technical, conceptual and art historical awareness; the development or furtherance of visual and tactile insight; the development of appropriate verbal and written skills; and the fostering of professional attitudes and goals.  The curriculum is designed to prepare students to face the challenges and diverse career opportunities that exist within the discipline and to give students the knowledge, practical skills, and maturity of critical thinking that is necessary to embark on study at higher levels.

This mission is accomplished through classes in various studio media; in art history, theory, and criticism; through individual advisement and assistance from a concerned faculty; through exhibitions in the Northcutt Steele Gallery, the Yellowstone Art Museum and other museums and galleries in the area; through the activities of the Art Students’ League and the Potters’ Guild; through the visiting artist programs; and through career advisement.

Coursework in art history, ceramics, drawing, new media, painting, photography, printmaking, and sculpture lead to a Bachelor of Arts (BA) degree in Art or a Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) degree in Art.

The BA in Art is a liberal arts degree that focuses on art in the context of a broad program of general studies.  Students choose one of the following Areas of Emphasis:  Studio Art, Studio Art with Minor, Art History with Minor, or Studio Art and Art History.

The BA in Art with Teaching Licensure is designed for the student seeking licensure (K-12) in the extended major teaching field of art.

The BFA in Art is considered the professional undergraduate degree in studio art and is designed to provide students with a thorough grounding in fundamental principles and techniques with opportunities for emphasis in one or more specific studio art areas.

Students may also obtain teaching licensure with a BFA, but the coursework extends beyond the minimum credits required for the BA in Art with Teaching Licensure.

Learning Outcomes

Students in all art major and minor programs will:

  • Demonstrate knowledge of formal elements and principles, artistic genres, stylistic categories, materials and techniques and contextual factors.
  • Exhibit proficiency with a range of media in creating two- and three-dimensional artworks.
  • Demonstrate research, analysis, and organizational abilities in relation to artworks.
  • Articulate art concepts in appropriate oral and written professional presentations.

Career Opportunities

Many careers require the expressive, communicative and imaginative skills of individuals educated in the visual arts.  According to various reports, career possibilities in the visual arts are more diversified now than ever before.  Whether designing one’s own art career or following an already existing path, exciting opportunities exist for artists and art educators.  Basic preparation for professional studio artist and art teacher careers can be supplemented with consideration of the following:  positions in a museum, gallery or center as director, manager, curator, conservator; art historian; art librarian; illustrator; designer; architect; therapist; personnel connected to public and private art granting and government agencies, among many others.


The Department of Art is accredited by NASAD (National Association of Schools of Art and Design).

Auditing Courses

Studio classes, including Practicum and Workshop classes as designated in the General Bulletin, may not be audited.  Art History and Seminar classes may be audited with instructor permission and following University policies.

Advising Information

Students are required to meet with their advisor each semester to confirm that their Plan of Study is accurate and complete.  If necessary, changes and updates should be made in order to ensure that program requirements can be completed in a timely manner.  Faculty advisors work with students to explore appropriate internships, cooperative education placements and/or experiential learning opportunities which will enhance the student’s academic program.  In addition, advisors provide assistance in selecting elective courses which support the student’s interests, career plans and Plan of Study.

Academic advising services for all freshmen Arts and Sciences majors are provided through the Advising Center on McMullen Hall first floor west.  Upon declaring a specific major, Arts and Science majors will be assigned to a faculty advisor in their department for upper division advising.  Advising files for all upper-division students are maintained in the departmental office of the program in which the student is majoring.  Although advisors are available to assist students in designing their Plans of Study, students are ultimately responsible for meeting degree requirements.

A grade of “C” or higher is mandatory in all Art classes satisfying major and minor requirements.

Location of the Art Facilities

The Department of Art is housed in various campus locations.  The Liberal Arts Building houses the main Art office, Visual Resource Center, the Northcutt Steele Gallery, the Outer Gallery and the Student Gallery.  Studios for drawing, design, digital photography, darkroom photography, new media, painting and printmaking are in the same location.  Art history courses meet in various buildings with multimedia classrooms.  Studio spaces for ceramics and sculpture are in the Art Annex.  Art Education classes meet in the College of Education building.

Gallery Complex

The Department of Art coordinates everyday access to the Northcutt Steele Gallery located in the Liberal Arts Building.  The gallery features a variety of exhibitions including the annual art faculty exhibition, juried student exhibition, and individual artist exhibitions of national, regional, and area significance.  The Student Gallery and Outer Gallery are dedicated to the exhibition of student work.  Four other art collections are maintained and shown at various times:  Permanent Art Collection, Opal Leonard Collection of Chinese and Japanese Art, Andy Warhol Photographic Collection, and the Helen and Paul Covert Collection of Fine Art.

Explanation of Credits in Art

The Department of Art offers two types of classes:  1) classes which meet one hour per week for each earned credit hour referred to as “Lecture” (Lec), and 2) classes which are a combination of studio, recitation and discussion referred to as “Studio” (Stu).  “Studio” classes meet one hour per week for each credit hour designated as recitation/discussion (Rct) and two hours per week for each credit hour designated as Studio (Stu).  Students should plan to study on their own for an additional two hours for each credit earned.  The designation of a course as lecture (Lec), recitation/discussion (Rct) or studio (Stu) can be found in Course Terms and Definitions.

Studio Use

Unscheduled studio classrooms are available for art student use during the day.  Students should avail themselves of the open studios at these times.  In addition, an adopted “After Hours Studio Use Policy” is posted in each classroom for other hours.

NEXT: Bachelor of Arts Degree Major in Art

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