Fine Arts

The arts – visual arts, theater, film, dance, music, and creative writing – challenge and extend human experience. They provide means of expression that go beyond ordinary speaking and writing. They can express intimate thoughts and feelings. They are a unique record of diverse cultures and how these cultures have developed over time. They provide distinctive ways of understanding human beings and nature. The arts are creative modes by which all people can enrich their lives both by self-expression and by response to the expressions of others.

Works of art often involve subtle meanings and complex systems of expression. Fully appreciating such works requires the careful reasoning and sustained study that lead to informed insight. Moreover, just as thorough understanding of science requires laboratory or field work, so fully understanding the arts involves first-hand experience with them. [Academic Preparation for College: What Students Need to Know and be Able to Do (New York: College Entrance Examination Board, 1983, p. 16.]

A core-area course in the Fine Arts will enhance the student’s understanding of and appreciation for one or more of the fine arts (visual arts, theater, film, dance, music, and creative writing). It will instill in the student an understanding of the role of the fine arts in expressing and maintaining, discovering and questioning a culture’s dominant beliefs and ideals. The focus of the course is broad enough to encompass different styles, but also allows an intensive scrutiny of the way in which the work of art is composed and created.

All university students have experienced the arts in one way or another. They have all seen artwork whether it be in advertising or public art or even a visit to a museum. They have heard music almost constantly since they were born. They have experienced theater either as a live performance in a theater, or more likely in film and television. They have read literature, increasingly written expressly for children and young adults, and perhaps have heard creative writers describe their craft at reading events and book signings. The core-area course in the

Fine Arts will build on that foundation of knowledge and develop an appreciation for what students already know while exposing them to other levels of the particular art form. In discussing the various art forms across the historical spectrum, students will become more aware of the fact that the arts, and the culture in which those arts were created, have a great deal in common. Students will also discover that certain arts are successfully implemented because they reflect the view of the dominant group within a culture.

The arts can be a focal point of beginning to understand what a culture has to offer. By examining examples from diverse cultures, students will recognize that certain values are held in common, although they may be expressed in different ways.


Students in a Fine Arts course will come away from it with an understanding of the means by which an artist can express an idea, an emotion, or a cultural belief. Such an understanding should include an awareness of the possible variations that exist in style, expression, and symbolic associations that allow for a range in audience reaction and that make a work of art relevant not only to its own world, but also to our own. Students should become aware of the

power of communication that goes beyond ordinary language and be able to analyze its structure, message, and effect.

Since many of the ideas and perspectives explored in a Fine Arts core-area course are interdisciplinary in nature, drawing upon history, language, literature, philosophy, and religion, it is recommended that students take some of these courses prior to the Fine Arts course.

Students must take four credits:

 Course Numbers
ARTH 105, 106, 115, 116, 120, 121, 130, 131, 132, 140, 141, 142, 150, 202, 204, 250, 251, 260, 265, 270, 275, 280, 282, 284, 285, 291, 297, 304, 305, 310, 321, 323, 328, 329, 330, 335, 339, 340, 345, 351, 352, 355, 356
ENGL 255
FILM 200, 310
MUSC 112, 115, 117, 130, 162, 170, 204, 216, 218, 230, 233, 412
THTR 111, 218, 221, 222, 223, 297, 412

Alternately, students may choose to participate for four semesters in one of the following music ensembles:

  • MUSN 173 Guitar Ensemble
  • MUSN 181 Orchestra


Students may take a total of four semesters in any combination of choirs:

  • MUSN 140 Donne Unite
  • MUSN 142 Chamber Singers
  • MUSN 143 Liturgical Choir
  • MUSN 160 Concert Choir


Students may take a total of four semesters in any combination of bands:

  • MUSN 185 Symphonic Band
  • MUSN 186 Symphonic Wind Ensemble


Students may take a total of four semesters in 50-minute lessons in the same instrument or lesson (with exceptions granted in consultation with the Chair):

  • MUSP 110 Digital Music Lessons
  • MUSP 121 Harpsichord: Elective
  • MUSP 122 Lute: Elective
  • MUSP 128 Recorder: Elective
  • MUSP 131 Piano: Elective
  • MUSP 135 Organ: Elective
  • MUSP 158 Guitar: Elective
  • MUSP 159 Harp: Elective
  • MUSP 160 Banjo: Elective
  • MUSP 161 Harmonica: Elective
  • MUSP 162 Mandolin: Elective
  • MUSP 165 Music Composition: Elective
  • MUSP 168 African Drumming: Elective
  • MUSP 187 Electric Guitar: Elective
  • MUSP 188 Flamenco Guitar: Elective
  • MUSP 152 Jazz/Pop Vocal: Elective
  • MUSP 153 Jazz Piano: Elective

Four semesters of music ensembles (MUSN 140, 142, 143, 160, 173, 181, 185, 186) or lessons (MUSP 110, MUSP 121, MUSP 122, MUSP 128, MUSP 131, MUSP 135, MUSP 159, MUSP 160, MUSP 161, MUSP 162, MUSP 165, MUSP 168, MUSP 187, MUSP 188, MUSP 152, MUSP 153).

Note: A student cannot satisfy the Fine Arts requirement with a combination of two semesters of ensembles (or lessons) and then another 2-cr Fine Arts course.