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New Bachelor of Fine Arts fills student demand

This month, the University System of Georgia (USG) Board of Regents approved University of North Georgia’s (UNG) proposal for its first Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) degree program in visual arts.

 "I was just tremendously excited," said Dr. Pamela Sachant, head of the visual arts department at UNG. "The faculty and students have been waiting for years for this to happen. Ever since I arrived 13 years ago at UNG, they have been asking if we would get it."

Starting in fall 2018, UNG students can apply to the newest bachelor's degree program after completing the foundation courses in visual arts. Some of those courses are two-dimensional design/color, drawing one, three-dimensional design, and one course in a chosen studio area.

Applicants must maintain a grade point average of 2.75 or higher, be subjected to a portfolio review and undergo an in-depth assessment of their work and goals, Sachant said.

"We will have a stringent admission process," she said.

This will not deter art majors such as Hunter Kindberg, a junior majoring in visual arts with a concentration in digital arts from Cumming, Georgia. He said he was glad to hear about the recent addition. Kindberg plans to apply for the program if he is eligible.

"I'm always looking for ways to push myself and become a better artist," the 27-year-old Army veteran said. "I love to create."

Katie Spangler, a sophomore majoring in visual arts with a concentration in digital arts, said she would love to apply to a program that would give her a more diverse and in-depth expertise in her desired concentration.

"I think that the BFA in visual arts will really help with career placement and look good on a resume," the 20-year-old Watkinsville, Georgia, native said. "It will show that we have a background of fine arts and not just arts. This degree program is an amazing opportunity to allow students to graduate with a larger body of work and stronger set of skills that could be used in the workforce.

Before students can enroll in the new program, the visual arts department must implement it. Sachant said that will take some time.

"We are going to begin slowly," she said. "It is all new territory for us and we want to do it right."

The tentative plan is to initiate the degree program with five to 10 students in their sophomore year. Juniors and seniors may be too far into their programs to switch to a new degree.

"I know I am going to have some very disappointed students," Sachant said.

The new program will take UNG's visual arts program to another level by offering students a greater number of art courses, a greater number of courses in their areas of concentration and more professional development coursework.

The biggest change, though, is the effect on the senior student exhibitions. Currently, students are part of a group exhibition their senior year, Sachant said.

"When we change to the BFA in visual arts, each student will have an individual art exhibition," she said. "So they will leave with a portfolio to show future employers and clients. The new degree program is more desirable than a traditional bachelor of arts degree, especially for those who plan to apply to a master's degree program," Sachant said.

That is music to Kindberg's ears.

"If I find a master’s degree that I feel would take me in the right direction I’d definitely go for it," he said. "There is always more to learn."

For more information about the program, visit the Department of Visual Arts webpage.


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