About the School

Mission Statement

As a unit of the Hixson-Lied College of Fine and Performing Arts, the School of Art, Art History & Design is committed to the philosophy that prospective artists, designs and art historians must be provided with a thorough education, and practical skills for productive lives as professionals.

The department also educates students preparing for careers in art related fields and students wishing to enhance their education through art study and experiences, and serves the broader Nebraska community by providing cultural enrichment.

The department’s goals include:

  • To educate students for professional or academic work in art and art history to the highest degree of the students’ artistic and intellectual ability,
  • To provide an environment that is conducive to growth and development of students and ensures that all students have the opportunity to succeed,
  • To assist all students in the development of an intellectual foundation with critical awareness of visual culture,
  • To offer programs that keep Nebraska’s best students in state, that also attract the nation’s and world’s best students, and that support the retention of all students.
  • To provide access to varied and meaningful cultural experiences that enhance the quality of life for all of Nebraska’s citizens through public exhibitions, publications and presentations.

Teaching, research/creative activity, and service are the traditional and primary courses of action utilized in order to accomplish these program goals. Our educational outreach and public service mission is a direct outgrowth of our teaching, research, and creative activity, and serves to enhance the quality of life and the cultural diversity of Nebraska’s citizens.

The school offers four degrees and three majors: the BA, BFA and MFA in Studio Art; the BA and BFA in Graphic Design; and the BA and MA in Art History. Studio art students may emphasize any of the following areas of study: Ceramics, Drawing, Painting, Photography, Printmaking, Sculpture, and interdiscoplinary studio art.

About the Department

As an accredited institutional member of the National Association of Schools of Art and Design, UNL’s School of Art, Art History & Design meets the highest academic standards required of all professional art and design schools.

We offer two degrees at the undergraduate level: the bachelor of fine arts (BFA) with a major in art, or graphic design, and the bachelor of arts (BA) with a major in art, art history, or graphic design. Art majors may choose to emphasize in one or more of the following areas:

Our graduate programs include the master of arts (MA) in art history, and master of fine arts (MFA) in ceramics, drawing, new genres, painting, photography, printmaking, and sculpture.

Students work closely with teachers who have national and international reputations in art, art history, and archaeology. The Sheldon Museum of Art and Great Plains Art Museum offer additional opportunities for students to learn and work with major art collections.

As part of a major national university, students can complement their art studies with courses from 120 different degree programs from Classics to International Business, or Horticulture to Textiles. The university's national reputation for research, academic excellence, and athletics makes this an extraordinary college experience for all of our students. When you come to UNL you will join a thriving community of professional artists and focused students. You will work in one of the best art making environments in the country.

Welcome to the School of Art, Art History, & Design website. Perusing our website, you will find the strength of our programs pillar on our acclaimed research faculty of scholars, artists, and designers with National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD) accreditation. Offering undergraduate and graduate degrees in Studio Art, Art History, & Design, our students come from around the globe for the opportunity of interdisciplinary study with the sciences and humanities offered in our internationally recognized land-grant university..

Located in vibrant Lincoln, the culturally diverse state capital of Nebraska, our campus includes the historic Sheldon Museum of Art, established in 1888, with one of the world’s most significant collections of 20th century American art. Harnessing the history and culture of our region, the Great Plains Art Museum hosts changing exhibitions, public programs, and includes an extensive library and collection of works of art. The campus truly offers a diverse and future focused learning experience with the Office of Research and Economic Development and several other unique cultural interests including the International Quilt Study Center & Museum, Lester F. Larsen Tractor Test and Power Museum, and our own student-run Medici Gallery.

From exploring the fine arts through historical and societal conception and development, visual representation, learning to creatively and critically work through your ideas, to international study abroad programs, we position you to shape your future. Our students are our most important resource. It is my hope that you will join us in imagining the arts.

Robert Derr

Robert Ladislas Derr Director, School of
Art, Art History & Design