You want a school that helps you develop and refine your artistic talent? The art department at Mercyhurst University provides the individualized instruction you need to secure a rewarding career in the creative field. Our coursework provides a hands-on, studio approach to art in our state-of-the-art labs and facilities.

You’ll learn from a dynamic faculty who are working artists themselves, currently exhibiting in the field. They will teach you artistic processes; methods of creative problem solving; the diversity of art materials, media and approaches; the importance of design; and the role of art history. Studio space is always available here, unlike large schools where space may be limited.

No matter which major you choose, you’ll have the opportunity to get hands-on experience right away through internships and other experiences. Art education majors have more than 100 hours of observing and teaching art as part of their coursework before student teaching. Art therapy majors conceptualize problems and solutions with actual clients by creating art, utilizing story and narrative, creating research journals, and role playing and game integration to promote the value of non-verbal expression.

Graphic design majors have competed at the annual American Advertising Federation awards; have membership in the American Institute of Graphic Arts; and have worked with real nonprofits, including the Erie Small Business Development Center, the Liberian People’s Initiative Against Poverty and the Sisters of Mercy. Studio Art majors present their work at a senior exhibition held in the Cummings Art Gallery on campus and will graduate with a fully-prepared portfolio to use in graduate school interviews.

With a 14-1 student-to-faculty ratio and an average class size of 20 students, you’re never just a number at Mercyhurst. In fact, many upper level courses average 10 or fewer students. We keep our classes small so you can get individualized attention from professors to ensure your success in class and beyond.'

Art Students at Mercyhurst University are encouraged to pursue individual goals. Students are challenged to develop their creative potential through the varied experiences and disciplines of the art field. Art department sponsored field trips, art. art education, and art therapy clubs, slide lectures, workshops, and exhibitions provide enrichment for students.

The curriculum is designed to expose students to a wide range of skills, capabilities, and knowledge in order to compete in their field. The liberal arts curriculum— in combination with major programs —help them think critically, develop values, and comprehend the richness of the world around them.

In order for all art students to understand the discipline of art, a foundation year has been developed to codify knowledge, introduce expectations, and hone skills. This foundation year consists of 3 courses: Drawing I, 2-Dimensional Design, and 3-Dimensional Design. This common beginning allows for more effective critiques, a broad-based, understanding of the field of art, and the creation of a framework for a student to begin to explore art in their chosen area.

Sophomore review allows student to reflect on their work created in the first two years at Mercyhurst. Students create a display of their portfolio of work, an artist statement of intent, and present their academic record in the courses they have taken to date. A student must have a 2.7 major GPA and successfully complete their sophomore review in order to remain as an Art major. During the review, student’s individual goals and issues are discussed with the faculty review panel. Students are provided feedback to reinforce their strengths and properly address concerns.

After successfully completing the foundation year coursework and entry-level classes, Students can choose from a variety of upper level courses. Exemplary courses include Figure Drawing, Wheel Thrown or Sculptural Ceramics, Oil Painting, Intermediate or Color Photography, and advanced Graphic Design, Art Therapy or Art Education offerings.

Ready to begin your journey in art?  Apply online today -- it's free and getting your application started takes only a few brief minutes.  

  • Critically analyze select works of art and design
  • Describe the historical, geographic, cultural and contemporary contexts of works of art and design
  • Present and critique works of art and design using appropriate criteria and terminology
  • Create works of art and design by applying methods, tools, materials and techniques
  • Generate and revise ideas in stages of creative process
  • Develop works of art and design that utilize concepts, elements and principles of art and design

Contact Us

Jodi Staniunas Hopper, MFA
Chair, Department of Art
Office: Hirt 101
Phone: 814-824-3313