MISSOULA – The University of Montana School of Art just launched a fully online art degree, which is the first of its kind in the state.

The Bachelor of Arts in studio art gives students a diverse toolbox of skills important to a range of careers, pairing traditional media – like drawing, photography and painting with applied art courses, including illustration, video, web and graphic design.


UM School of Art students participate in an online group critique. (UM Photo)
UM School of Art students participate in an online group critique. (UM Photo)

“What is exciting about this program is that students can tailor this degree to fit their interests and career goals,” said Brad Allen, UM School of Art director.

The degree anticipates changes in workforce needs as visual communication becomes increasingly important and ubiquitous. Data Arts is one of many innovative courses specifically developed to leverage art’s pivotal role in communicating complex subject matters.

“Big data impacts so many fields – from science to policy – and the University of Montana already has strength in data analytics,” art Professor Elizabeth Dove said. “Our course in Data Arts partners with that expertise. Explaining and making sense of these huge numbers increasingly falls to the world of visual communication.”

Online education can reach potential students or former students who might not otherwise attend a university because of geographic location, job, finances, family or other responsibilities.

“This program meets students where they are,” UM Associate Professor Kevin Bell said. “You do not have to be physically on campus to be a part of our learning community. With this degree, you can study from any location, and at a time that fits your schedule. Geographic distance should not prevent a student from following their interest and improving their lives.”

Online education is helping UM reshape its education to better fit the changing needs of students and their careers. For more information click HERE,  or email art.director@umontana.edu.

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