Major Overview

We believe that creation is a discipline that can be learned only through practice, with mastery implying fluidity of expression and understanding of the world in relation to the self. Our major offers you a unique opportunity to explore your talents and your identity in a city that has captivated artists for centuries. Here, you will develop a foundation in Art History, expand your talents through a rigorously structured art studio program, and learn alternative problem-solving methods, all while developing a critical view of your own work. Access to our Fine Arts Gallery, one of AUP’s centers for cultural activity, will allow you to meet with world-renowned experts and see your own work exhibited. Upon graduation, you will have a complete portfolio and be ready for the next stage of your artistic career.


The educational goals for this major are as follows:

  • You will demonstrate the ability to manipulate materials.
  • You will understand the essential evolution of western art history and have an awareness of contemporary art movements.                                                          
  • You will deconstruct and solve visual problems in artwork and concise prose.         
  • You will be able to criticize objectively and understand the role of art criticism.      
  • You will be able to develop a personal expression and vision of the world.

Learning Environment

You will receive individualized attention in small, classroom settings, where you will be encouraged to develop your own vision. Paris itself provides the ideal environment in which to study studio art and discover your talents, as you explore new techniques of expression. Your time in the studio, where you will work from still-lifes and live models, will provide you with the skills to explore your visual imagination and learn how to construct complex forms with different mediums. Many of your classes will take place in museums, on forgotten street corners, and around architectural wonders in this historical center of Western art.

Major Components
Build Your Degree

With every single one of our majors, you’ll find a carefully curated medley of core courses and electives, which will provide you with the tools you need to establish an unshakeable foundation in the principles and concepts fundamental to your growth within your disciplines of choice. Many majors also enable you to specialize further within the broader area of study.

Core Courses

Core Courses

We aim to help you develop a range of skills, capacities, and modes of inquiry that will be crucial for your future since employers and graduate schools are looking for the critical thinking and innovative problem-solving skills that are associated with a liberal arts education, including sophisticated writing abilities, willingness to pose difficult questions, and an understanding of the historical and cultural contexts surrounding a topic or decision.

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Each elective provides you with entry to a variety of subject areas which you can choose among to further focus your studies. With the help of your academic advisor, you’ll be able to tailor your major so that it most effectively prepares you for the next step in your academic and professional journey.

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Core Courses

The Fine Arts core courses, which you must take as part of the major requirements, will provide you with the tools you’ll need to ground your present and future studies. Your introduction to the fundamentals of Fine Arts will help pave the way for your successful completion of other Fine Arts courses.

AH1000 Introduction To The History Of Art I

Teaches the skills needed for an informed approach to art and architecture by introducing the salient concepts, techniques, and developments from Prehistory and Antiquity through the end of the Middle Ages. Studies works in their historical, social, and cultural contexts. Includes visits to museums and monuments in and around Paris.

AH1020 Introduction To The History Of Art II

Continues the study of selected monuments of painting, sculpture, and architecture, from the Renaissance to the 20th-century. Emphasizes historical context, continuity, and critical analysis. Includes direct contact with works of art in Parisian museums. The overall themes of the class may vary by semester.

AR3090 Junior Seminar

The Fine Arts Junior Seminar: concentrates on problems of contemporary art and how the student’s work relates to that. The seminar will be a study of the current art galleries, journals and online resources. Visits to galleries, museums and artists’ studios will be essential components as well as guest speakers, artists and professionals in the field. Class discussions should include analysis of contemporary art themes with each student expected to support their conclusions citing critical writings on art and statements and work of contemporary artists. Students are responsible to come to class prepared, having read the required reading and ready to discuss the material. Class participation is essential and will be taken into account for the final grade.

AR4075 Portfolio

Under the supervision of the major advisor, students prepare a portfolio of their work to be presented to a jury of all of the AUP Fine Arts Professors, plus one outside guest artist. The student puts together a dossier of all of his/her works, along with an artist’s statement, and makes a presentation, to the panel of professors. It should include the original work, plus a professional looking catalogue of photographs that could be presented to a gallery. The student should be prepared to answer questions from the panel defending their work.

AR4095 Senior Project

A Senior Project is an independent study representing a Major Capstone Project that needs to be registered using the Senior Project registration form. (Download:


*One of the above courses can be replaced by any AH course 2000 level or above.

Choose two of the following introductory-level courses: 

AR1010 Intro To Drawing

This studio course provides an introduction to the basic ideas and techniques needed for the comprehension and construction of the built environment. Starting with elemental design concerns, students will be asked to use what they learn in order to create ever larger and more complex entities. Site-specific assignments making use of Paris and its history will oblige the students to engage in the “conversation” of the urban world.

AR1015 Painting I

For students with little or no previous experience in drawing or painting. First analyzes still life objects in basic plastic terms starting with value. Concentrates during each class session on a new painterly quality until a sufficient visual vocabulary is achieved so that more complicated subjects such as the nude can be approached. Work will be done in oil.May be taken twice for credit.

AR1032 Intro To Sculpture

For students who have little or no previous experience. Students learn how to see in three dimensions and work from observation. Mastery of structure and the architecture of form in space are acquired by the building up technique in clay. Work from plaster copies, nude models (male and female), and imagination are followed by an introduction to the carving technique. There is an additional fee in this course for materials.

AR1061 Digital Photography

This introductory course is an exploration of both technical and aesthetic concerns in photography. Using a digital camera, students will produce original work in response to a series of lectures, assignments, and bi-weekly critique classes. The course will cover the fundamentals of photographing with digital SLR’s, and students will learn a range of digital tools including color correction, making selections, working with layers and inkjet printing. After mastering the basics, students will work towards the completion of a final project and the focus of the remaining classes will be on critiques. Students will be asked to make pictures that are challenging in both content and form and express the complex and poetic nature of the human experience. REQUIRED EQUIPMENT: • A digital SLR or mirrorless camera that can shoot “RAW” files in FULLY MANUAL mode (the brand does not matter) • An SD card of at least 8GB (SanDisk or Lexar brand) • A camera lens (preferably a 50mm fixed-length lens, but zooms are ok) • An SD card reader • Two external hard drives of at least 500GB • A portfolio box Your course fee covers standard paper and ink usage, additional usage will be charged to your student account. AUP provides access to a photo inkjet printer, but DOES NOT PROVIDE CAMERAS, LENSES, SD cards, etc. Please note that it is the student's responsibility to purchase all required individual equipment. Please note that an additional fee will be charged for this course.