Sculpture | Minneapolis College of Art and Design

Sculpture: Degree Information

MCAD emphasizes a collaborative process and working with students from all majors. For this Bachelor of Fine Arts degree, you will take courses in several different areas, including a core focus, adding up to 120 total credits required for graduation. 

Required Courses - These are the core courses that every Sculpture student takes.

Foundation Studies - These classes help you become a well-rounded student; they build a solid art background.

Studio Electives - Throughout your studies you can choose from several studio electives that give you hands-on creative time.

Humanities and Sciences Electives - These classes round out your experience at MCAD, deepen your creative practice, and fulfill non-studio requirements for a degree.  

Learning Outcomes

  • Reference the conceptual and technical foundations of sculpture while engaging forward-looking options in terms of aesthetics, media, and process.
  • Establish an awareness of contemporary and traditional art practices, theories, and artists.
  • Define individual studio practice within a contemporary context based in research.
  • Demonstrate broad “sculptural” understanding through experience from object to installation; temporal to permanence; private to public.
  • Exhibit application of sculptural processes from traditional to expanded media including fabrication, casting, space, time, and digital processes.
  • Engage in the intellectual dialectic; critique and engage peers in expanded dialogue.
  • Participate in professional experiences through exhibitions, competitions, and internships.

Core Required Courses

19 credits

SC 3015 Fabricated Sculpture
3 credits

This class focuses on the concepts, materials, and techniques of the constructed object. Emphasis is placed on fabrication and finishing in metal, wood, and plastics. Metal techniques include advanced skills in cutting, forming, and welding, working with nonferrous metals, and machining on the lathe and mill. Wood techniques include joinery, forming, and turning. Plastics techniques include cold and hot fabrication and vacuum forming. Related topics include shop drawings, fabrication hardware, the appropriate combination of materials, and direct connection to the aesthetic of the object.

Prerequisites: Foundation: 3D

FAS 3090 Critical Studies
3 credits

Critical Studies examines the relationship between art, culture, and student work. This examination is related to many forms, including the aesthetic, political, social, and philosophical components that exist within works of art. Students focus on making work in the context of cultural issues. The cross-disciplinary composition of this course increases the depth of discussions and critiques. May be repeated for elective credit with a different instructor.

Prerequisites: Completion of 45 credits

GRLA 7021 Professional Practices
3 credits

This course addresses skills and knowledge useful for succeeding post-graduation. Students will further develop their communication skills in both written and oral forms. Via individual studio visits with the instructor early in the semester, this course becomes highly tailored to reflect the areas of foci of the enrolled students that builds upon their prior professional understanding gained through undergraduate study and/or previous professional experience. Topics can include goal setting and planning, informational interviews, job/internship searching/ applications, writing for professional opportunities and applications, the documenting and marketing of work, tax issues, and studio/business startup concerns. By the end of this course the students will be expected to produce a portfolio of documents or artifacts related to their professional goals.

SC 5010 Advanced Sculpture Seminar
3 credits

This course is for the advanced student who is interested in developing a self-motivated, sustained body of work through an understanding of the relationships between the formal, conceptual, and contextual aspects of sculptural form. Examining their own studio practice in relation to current topics in the field, students expand their perspectives while developing their work. Studio practice is supported by development of critical thinking skills, individual and group critiques, guest critiques, writing exercises, and readings covering artists, criticism, and theory.

Prerequisites: Four 3000-level furniture courses, successful Junior Review

Foundation Studies

36 credits

FDN 1111 Foundation: 2D
3 credits

Foundation: 2D is an introduction to creative thinking that develops students’ skills in research, observation, interpretation, and self-expression. An emphasis is placed on exploring new ways to read and see the world, as well as new ways to report on it. Students learn basic two-dimensional principles through the use of various media, tools, materials, and processes. As a result, students develop a visual and verbal language for analyzing, organizing, shaping, and communicating two-dimensional form and meaning.

FDN 1112 Foundation: 3D
3 credits

This course is an introduction to understanding of visual creation for the development of knowledge, imagination, and perception. Students are introduced to basic three-dimensional concepts as well as materials and technical production processes. Classroom activities include shop demonstrations of tools and techniques, information, lectures, and discussions appropriate to promote the balanced fusion of practice and theory.

FDN 1311 Foundation: Media 1
3 credits

Students are introduced to digital resources at MCAD while exploring digital media. Areas covered include the Service Bureau, Gray Studio, and Media Center, along with other digital resources. Students use a variety of software and hardware to learn the basics of working with recorded media, including video, sound, and photography, as well as developing critical language for discussing media and media artists.

FDN 1211 Foundation: Drawing 1
3 credits

Foundation: Drawing 1 is an introductory drawing course designed to prepare students for study in all majors of the college. Students develop basic drawing skills, including the ability to perceive and express visual relationships, organize a two-dimensional composition, and depict and manipulate form, space, and light. Students work from direct observation of still life, interior space, and landscape.

FDN 1212 Foundation: Drawing 2
3 credits

Foundation: Drawing 2 is an observationally based drawing course designed to reinforce and develop the basic drawing skills established in Foundation: Drawing 1. Students work with a variety of subjects, including a substantial amount of drawing from the figure. In addition to working from direct observation, students explore drawing as a tool for invention, conceptualization, and idea development. The course also affords students an opportunity to investigate drawing materials in more breadth and depth than in Foundation: Drawing 1.

Prerequisites: Foundation: Drawing 1

FDN 1412 Sophomore Seminar: Contemporary Practice
1 credits

Practice is more than working methods: it’s the context, marketing, and creative space that maintain creative work. Contemporary Practice introduces students to the foundations, variety, and tools of a professional practice. Students upgrade websites and documentation, enter contests, and create professional presentations of their work. Classes consist of lectures, student presentations, and guest speakers from a wide range of disciplines.

Prerequisites: Sophomore standing

FDN 1411 Ideation and Process
3 credits

Everything we make has its beginning as an idea, which takes form as an artist/designer makes a series of decisions to guide its creative evolution. This course is designed to help students explore the development of new ideas and their own process of making. Students also create visual tools to track their creative process from idea through construction and then to post production analysis. The course consists of discussions, critiques, exercises, and visual logs.

Prerequisites: Sophomore standing

Studio Electives

26 credits

varying BFA Studio Electives
9 credits

Choose 3 BFA studio courses to take as electives.

Humanities and Sciences

39 credits

EN 1500 Writing and Inquiry
3 credits

Key to the creative and critical growth of the engaged, successful artist is participation in a culture of writing and inquiry. Students in this course focus on the kinds of writing they will encounter and produce in their coursework at MCAD and as creative professionals. Regular writing workshops allow students to concentrate on experiential and practical approaches to writing. Students explore a variety of texts and objects through class assignments, and then develop clear compelling essays employing a variety of rhetorical and narrative strategies.

HS 5010 Liberal Arts Advanced Seminar
3 credits

The Liberal Arts Advanced Seminar enables students to pursue their own research and writing goals within a seminar setting. Projects are student-originated and consist of both a written piece and a public presentation. Class sessions are discussion-based and interactive. Group learning is emphasized.Outcomes:Efficiently and accurately identify arguments used by liberal arts scholars in their work.Effectively apply and interpret liberal arts theory and methods in classroom discussions.Develop an original research project and plan guided by liberal arts theory and methods.Draft, revise, edit, and proofread long-form analytical narratives.Give a professional presentation focusing on a project‚ showing originality of thought, research scope, and final written work.

Prerequisites: Junior standing

varying Scientific and Quantitative Reasoning
3 credits

Scientific and Quantitative Reasoning classes increase students’ appreciation for the power of scientific and quantitative approaches to knowing the world.

varying Histories, Places, Philosophies
6 credits

6 credits of histories, places, philosophies electives

varying Creative or Professional Writing
3 credits

Creative or professional writing elective

HS XXXX Humanities and Sciences Electives
9 credits


AH 1701 Introduction to Art and Design History 1
3 credits

The objective of this course is to familiarize students with the major stylistic, thematic, cultural, and historical transformations in art history from prehistoric times to the nineteenth century. This course helps students develop critical tools for the interpretation and understanding of the meaning and function of art objects, architecture, and design artifacts within their original historical contexts. Class sessions consist primarily of lecture with some discussion. Students take in-class examinations and complete short essay assignments.

AH 1702 Introduction to Art and Design History 2
3 credits

This course introduces students to issues in modern art, popular culture, and contemporary art and design. Topics may include the expanding audience for art, the transformation of the art market, the impact of new technologies, the changing status of the artist, and the role of art in society. This course is taught as a seminar with some lecture.

Prerequisites: Introduction to Art and Design History 1 or faculty permission

varying Art History Electives
6 credits

Take 6 credits of art history courses

Total Credit Hours