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The College of Visual and Performing Art (CVPA) at UMass Dartmouth is proud to announce that it has added a Post-Baccalaureate Certificate (PBC) in Visual Design to its BA, BS, and BFA degree programmes in studio arts, several design fields, art history, arts education, and music. This new PBC allows you to focus on graphic design, illustration, and animation/game art. It is open to anyone with a bachelor’s degree by portfolio review.

Here are three key reasons why you should consider a PBC in Visual Design:

  • Portfolio development: This 18-credit hour programme is designed for students who want to strengthen their design portfolios before applying to graduate programmes or for jobs in the design industries.
  • Professional development: The PBC programme is perfect for working professionals who want to expand or update their skill set.
  • A new path: The PBC programme allows studio and performing artists to gain solid design skills to build or expand their own career opportunities.

UMass Dartmouth’s PBC in Visual Design is a pathway to the Master of Fine Arts (MFA) degree. Successful PBC students who choose to continue their studies in a MFA programme at UMass Dartmouth will receive up to nine credit hours towards that degree, allowing you to combine the PBC with an abbreviated master’s programme.

Located on the beautiful South Coast of Massachusetts, UMass Dartmouth is 30 minutes from Providence, Rhode Island, an hour from Boston, and 4.5 hours from New York City. The South Coast has miles of pristine beaches, bicycle and walking trails, and is the gateway to the world-famous Cape Cod with its picturesque villages and glorious beaches.

CVPA has state-of-the-art facilities on both the main campus (designed by the renowned, mid-century architect Paul Rudolph) and the Star Store campus in the heart of New Bedford’s downtown arts and culture district. Students in all programmes will have the opportunity to work one-on-one with our world-class faculty, in small collaborative groups across disciplines, and with the larger South Coast community. Its faculty also has excellent ties to the professional organisations and in the industries related to their specific design fields.

UMass Dartmouth

Source: UMass Dartmouth

PBC students work closely with CVPA’s MFA students in class and in the studio. UMass Dartmouth offers a MFA in studio art and design (with concentrations in painting, drawing, sculpture, printmaking, ceramics, graphic design, illustration, and animation/game art). Both the PBC and the MFA are designed to allow students to expand their creative horizons, to work across media, and to prepare to be successful designers and artists in the 21st century.

CVPA is proud of its dedicated and professionally-active faculty in all its disciplines. Recent faculty accolades include:

  • Scott Ahrens (Graphic Design) and Michael Swartz (Animation) are collaborating with an interdisciplinary faculty to visualise the Hoover Dam in a project funded this year by the National Endowment for the Humanities;
  • Rebecca Huntchison (Ceramics) showed her most recent multimedia sculpture in a solo show at the Danforth Museum in Framingham, Massachusetts in fall and winter 2021;
  • Our newest faculty member, Gabo Camnitzer, continues to show new work at prestigious venues in the US and Europe.

In Animation Career Review’s 2021 rankings, UMass Dartmouth performed well in the Illustration category: top 20 nationally among public schools and colleges, top 20 in the East and second in Massachusetts.

In addition to the PBC in Visual Design, CVPA also offers a PBC in Ceramics, available to students both remotely and on its Dartmouth campus. Both Post-Baccalaureate Certificates allow students an excellent opportunity for portfolio and professional development and offer a proven pathway to building exciting careers in design and ceramics. The MFA is the highest art and design degree offered in the US. Like the PBC, it offers students an opportunity to experiment, take risks, and grow as artists and designers. It is also the degree required if you seek to teach the art or design fields in American colleges and universities.

Personalised support from the get-go

CVPA is working with New Mind Education on a pre-arrival programme for students coming to UMass Dartmouth from China. New Mind Education created this initiative to help Chinese students enrolling in US universities to understand academic expectations in a different educational setting and to assist with cultural adaptation. This valuable programme will be delivered online to allow students to complete it before making their way to the US.

An experiential final

The capstone experience for CVPA’s MFA students is the annual MFA Thesis Exhibition. International student and 2021 graduate Sung Ji Lee from South Korea wrote this about her mixed media textile installation in this spring’s exhibition, “Over time, memories fade; their fragments are fossilised and reside somewhere in my unconscious mind. Each fragment is not very clear but has subtle tracks. They could be found in various forms like objects, smells, colours, and emotions.”

“I explore those fragments which have been hidden for a while, to paraphrase Walter Benjamin, like a man digging the earth to find dead cities. I try to synthesise my old memories across time to make them live again in my work. In this process, memories are no longer ambiguous, but they are articulated in a tangible and visible form.”

To learn more about how CVPA prepares students for careers in the arts and beyond, click here.

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