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Saint Xavier University Chicago Campus Residence Halls

Art and Design Department

Visual communication is among the most basic of human languages. Through the study of art, students acquire a rich understanding of human nature, values, psychology, aesthetics and history. Well-prepared artists, designers and educators are crucial contributors to our increasingly complex visual world -- career opportunities are numerous. Graduates of our program now work in a variety of fields, such as educators at the secondary and collegiate level, art directors, illustrators and graphic designers in advertising agencies, studio photographers and filmmakers, museum and gallery curators, certified art therapists and as independent studio artists with professional gallery representation.

The faculty of the Art and Design Department believe visual literacy should be an essential skill for every well-educated and productive citizen. Since the invention of photography and increasingly in the multi-media environment fostered today by computers, everyone is inescapably subject to both the riches and hazards of visual culture. Thus, we urge every university student to consider taking at least one art course to fulfill a general education requirement in the art, humanities, music and literature area.

Prospective art and design majors are offered a range of courses in several areas of specialization: art education, graphic design and studio art. Regardless of which track a student selects, students are encouraged to gain a broad understanding of the history of their field, to acquire the vocabulary and facility in communicating their understanding and appreciation of art and to develop the skills necessary to create artistic statements of their own.

Art and Design Departmental Objectives

  • To train undergraduate students to develop problem-solving abilities which bridge visual and verbal thought processes.
  • To develop an adequate vocabulary for speaking and writing of their understanding and appreciation of art and design.
  • To promote understanding of the practices, history and social context of cultural representation in the field of art and design.
  • To sponsor stimulating and enriching exhibits by professional artists working in a variety of media and cultural contexts in the SXU Gallery.
  • To help students develop the skills necessary to create visual artistic statements of their own and the resiliency to succeed in a competitive, changing world.
  • To foster a vibrant community of leaders who are committed to collaboration and exchange of ideas and skills and are instilled with the desire and ability to continue lifelong learning.


Students have a number of art-related, extra-curricular opportunities, including the award-winning University newspaper, The Xavierite; working for the University FM station, WXAV; or co-editing and contributing to the annual art and literary magazine, Opus. Student work-study is available in Production Services, the computer labs, the SXU Gallery, The HUB and University Relations.

Internship opportunities are encouraged and developed in collaboration with the Career and Personal Development Center. Upper division students may seek any of a wide variety of positions both on and off campus. These internships provide valuable experience in the field and an insider's knowledge of related employment opportunities after graduation.

Scholarships administered by the Art and Design Department include the Portfolio Scholarship for art majors and art minors; M. Paul Keefe, R.S.M., Art Scholarship; the Mildred Keene Scholarship; the Roy W. Clough Graphic Design Scholarship; the Tim and Jean Morman Unsworth '55 Scholarship; and the Goldenberg Scholarship.

The SXU Gallery

The SXU Gallery is an important asset to the University and neighboring community. The Gallery display of professional artists' work is on a rotating basis. This work brings additional material for student-faculty study. Shows are customarily accompanied by an opening lecture by the artist. Senior art majors present their work in a yearly exhibit in the SXU Gallery or the Visual Art Center Student Gallery as a capstone to their educational experience at SXU.

The Visual Art Center Gallery

The Visual Art Center Gallery, which provides an exclusively dedicated venue for SXU students and alumni to show their work, is housed in the stunning former sanctuary of a church, which was remodeled in 2009, to become the new home of Saint Xavier University's Art and Design Department. The VAC Gallery offers the "in-house" exhibition opportunity our students have never before had in the history of the University. Three to four exhibitions per semester are installed, presenting the artwork from various courses within the department curriculum, thematic calls for submissions or alumni-curated shows highlighting their continued involvement in the arts. The VAC Gallery is also used as a critique space, allowing students and faculty alike the opportunity to view and discuss work in a professional setting.


C. Ruggie Saunders, chair; J. Fuller; N. Peck

Admission to Department

Formal portfolio application for admission to the major is typically made after the end of the sophomore year or in the case of transfer students, at the conclusion of the first semester of enrollment at Saint Xavier University. By the end of the junior year, students choosing the studio, graphic design or art education track will submit another portfolio showing the artistic direction in which they will concentrate for the two-semester Senior Seminar, culminating in a professional group exhibition in the SXU Gallery.

Programs of Study

Art and design majors must select one of the three track options (studio, graphic design or art education) and earn grades of C or above in all courses required for the major. Art education majors must maintain a minimum grade-point average of 3.0 in the major.

Studio Art Core

Studio art majors must complete a set of nine courses and elect at least six additional courses from their respective tracks for a major totaling 45 credit hours.

  • ART 101: Drawing I (3)
  • ART 102: Design Two-Dimensional (3) or ART 116: Computer Graphics (3)
  • ART 201: Drawing II (3)
  • ART 202: Design Three-Dimensional (3)
  • ART 305: Senior Seminar I (3)
  • ART 306: Senior Seminar II (3) (Taken in sequence after ART 305 with required Senior Exhibit)
  • Three Art History Courses (9)

Total Core Hours (27)

For the three art history course requirements, art majors in the studio track must take the two chronological surveys listed below:

  • ART 222: Art of the Renaissance through the Enlightenment (3)
  • ART 223: Modern and Contemporary Art (3)

The third art history course requirement may be at the 100-level or higher and should be selected in consultation with an advisor. Studio majors must have completed one 200-level art history course by the end of sophomore year. For transfer students, one 200-level art history course must be taken by the end of junior year.

Studio Art Track

(In addition to the Studio Art Core - 27 credit hours)

Studio majors will choose six courses from those listed below selected in consultation with an advisor and in anticipation of a senior exhibition concentration:

  • ART 105: Painting I (3)
  • ART 205: Painting II (3)
  • ART 203: Book as Art and Design (3)
  • ART 206: Watercolor Painting (3)
  • ART 209: Figure Drawing I (3)
  • ART 309: Figure Drawing II (3)
  • ART 210: Printmaking: Silkscreen and Lithography (3)
  • ART 229: Printmaking: Relief and Intaglio (3)
  • ART 207: Collage and Assemblage -- Alternative Expressions (3)
  • ART 208: Ceramics: Hand Construction (3)
  • ART 258: Ceramics: Wheel Throwing (3)
  • ART 215: Sculpture: Modeling and Casting (3)
  • ART 112: Photo I: Film (3)
  • ART 113: Photo I: Digital (3)
  • ART 212: Photo II: Digital Dark Room (3)
  • ART 119: Digital Imagery (3)
  • ART 315: Web Site Art and Design (3)
  • ART 317: Photo III: Advanced Photography (3)
  • ART 120: Graphic Design I (3)
  • ART 211: Typography (3)
  • ART 116: Computer Graphics (3)
  • ART 220: Graphic Design II (3)
  • ART 237: Screen Printed Poster (3)

Graphic Design Track

Design majors in the graphic design track must complete a core of 11 courses and at least four additional courses for a major totaling 45 credit hours.

  • ART 101: Drawing I (3)
  • ART 201: Drawing II (3)
  • ART 202: 3D Design (3)
  • ART 223: Modern and Contemporary Art (3)
  • 100-level Art History course (3)
  • ART 305: Senior Seminar (3)
  • ART 306: Senior Seminar (3)
  • ART 116: Computer Graphics* (3)
  • ART 119: Digital Imagery* (3)
  • ART 120: Graphic Design I* (3)
  • ART 211: Typography* (3)

*These four courses should be taken in this recommended sequence - ART 116, 119, 120, 211.

In addition, graphic design track art majors must choose four from the following courses:

  • ART 113: Digital Photography (3)
  • ART 220: Graphic Design II (3)
  • ART 228: Design History (3)
  • ART 237: Screen Printed Poster (3)
  • ART 241: Illustration (3)
  • ART 315: Web Design (3)
  • ART 317: Advanced Photography
  • ART 322: Advertising and Marketing (3)
  • ART 327: Multimedia (3)
  • ART 365: Internship (3)

Total credit hour requirement (45)

Art Education Track (K-12)

Art education is an interdisciplinary track, combining learning in art and design practices, art history and visual culture and the pedagogy of performance as a visual art teacher. Students in this track are trained to be artist/designer-teachers.

Art education majors are required to take the 27 credit hour studio art core, including Senior Seminar I and II and a minimum of six other art and design courses chosen to cover both traditional studio practices and contemporary digital media. State requirements for secondary visual art teachers suggest an appropriate distribution of these courses in the following areas: painting, drawing, printmaking, computer graphics/graphic design, three-dimensional design, sculpture, ceramics, photography, film studies, art education methods, history of visual art and visual culture.

Art students who are seeking state licensure must be admitted to the Education Department and complete all requirements for the major, general education courses, professional education courses with a minimum of a C and maintain a minimum cumulative grade-point average of 3.0. Consult the Education Department section of the catalog for the specific requirements and procedures. It is the responsibility of the student to ascertain and fulfill the requirements for the desired degree program. The major advisor and an education advisor will assist the student in this responsibility.

Applied Graphic Design (Degree Completion)

Applied Graphic Design is designed to offer Adult Degree Completion students a relevant contemporary knowledge of graphic design tools, theories and skills. Students will study the designed world at the intersection of print, web, motion and interactive graphics.

Graphic design conveys visual information with meaning and significance. Every aspect of our day-to-day world is designed. The careful integration of image and type create graphics that instruct, inspire, promote, and entice. Using typography, illustration, symbolism, and photography, graphic designers communicate ideas in visual terms. At Saint Xavier University, development of a design vocabulary, knowledge of theory, technique and a philosophy of problem-solving methodologies make up the Graphic Design specialization. Studio projects stimulate creative exploration of concepts in both traditional and contemporary media.

Applied graphic design majors must be admitted as an adult student learner and must have either a complete Associates Degree or an Illinois articulation agreement and earn grades of C or above in all courses required for the major.

Students in the Applied graphic design program must complete 11 courses for a major totaling 33 credit hours.

  • ART 101: Drawing I (3)
  • ART 103: Introduction to Art (3)
  • ART 202: 3D Design (3)
  • ART 116: Computer Graphics (3)*
  • ART 119: Digital Imagery (3)
  • ART 120: Graphic Design I (3)*
  • ART 211: Typography (3)*
  • ART 113: Digital Photography (3)
  • ART 315: Web Design (3)
  • ART 327: Multimedia (3)
  • FOSEM 350: Capstone Course or Internship or Alternate Capstone in consultation with advisor

*Computer Graphics is a prerequisite for Graphic Design 1 and Typography

Program for a Studio Art Minor

A minor in art and design will be awarded for the completion of any six courses (18 credit hours) selected from the regular offerings of the department. Students should consult with a department advisor when planning their minor.

*No more than 15 credit hours in transfer credit will be accepted toward the studio track minor in Art and Design.

*At least 9 credit hours must be earned beyond your major requirements.

Program for a Graphic Design Minor

A minor in graphic design requires six specific courses, four of which should be taken in the recommended sequence. This minor has significant career potential as it provides grounding in digital and web design.

*At least 9 credit hours must be earned beyond your major requirements.

Graphic design minor in suggested sequence:

  • ART 116: Computer Graphics (3)
  • ART 119: Digital Imagery (3)
  • ART 120: Graphic Design I (3)
  • ART 211: Typography (3)

Two of the following:

  • ART 113: Digital Photography (3)
  • ART 220: Graphic Design II (3)
  • ART 315: Web Site Art and Design (3)
  • ART 322: Advertising in Marketing (3)