Mission and Vision


The Department of Visual Arts carries out UMBC’s mission as a dynamic public research university. Our diverse, internationally acclaimed faculty are committed to guiding future artists and design professionals to think independently, work entrepreneurially, and implement creative solutions to real world problems. By providing an environment of collaborative research and interdisciplinary learning, we enable experimentation across media. Our BA, BFA and MFA curricula equip students to push beyond disciplinary parameters as they move skillfully between technologies, processes, and modes of thinking.


The department seeks to become an international model for art and design programs within a public research university that stresses cross-disciplinary activities. We envision students as agile, flexible thinkers and civically engaged leaders in a rapidly changing world.



Our visual arts and design curriculum strengthens and deepens students’ core foundational skills and techniques so they may acquire the necessary discipline for their creative practice. We encourage inventive thinking and develop students’ abilities to imaginatively implement their creative ideas using print, time-based, electronic and digital media, and installation.


As students participate in group activities and practice teamwork on projects, they learn to recognize the value of working in cooperation with others and come to realize that the creative process is not always solely individual, but often results from a collective vision.


Through internships and independent study, students learn to bring newly acquired skills and creative practices from the studio to address issues and concerns of campus, local, and world communities.

Critical Thinking

Through conceptual problem solving and by studying the history of visual arts and design, students learn to shed preconceptions, become intellectually curious, and develop independent critical and thinking skills.


Faculty mentor their students through independent studies, portfolio preparation, lectures, critiques, and academic advisement. Faculty mentorship enhances students’ aspiration for career paths in the visual arts and design, while preparing them to compete for positions in the job market or for placement in prestigious graduate programs nationally and internationally.