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Advising for Transfer Students coming into Cal State East Bay Art Department

As you may have heard, Cal State East Bay is converting from Quarters to Semesters starting Fall 2018. In the Art Department, we are making significant changes with the creation of new concentrations, and a differentiation of our Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Fine Arts degrees.

All students transferring to East Bay between now and Fall 2018 will be here for the transition and graduating under semesters. This means you will be able choose between the old quarter concentrations and the new semester concentrations. It is important to note that you will not be able to mix and match, but will have to choose one or the other.

There are three problems with the quarter offerings that we are fixing with the transition to semesters.

First is the need to keep up with student demands and offer new concentrations. A concentration is what most of you casually refer to as a major. You may say, “I am majoring in Photography”, but technically you are majoring in Art with a concentration in Photography.

In response to student demand, we are ending our general Multimedia concentration and creating new concentrations in Video & Animation, in Interaction & Game Design, and in Illustration. The details of each concentration, old and new, are listed below.

Second is that conversations with alumni and with employers showed that hiring standards had increased in our fields – there are a lot of talented people who want to move to the Bay Area – and our students weren’t leaving with the skills they needed to compete for the good jobs. Our response has been to add more required skills based courses to allow students to build up their portfolios. When you are looking for a job, you need the degree to get you past HR, but you need a strong portfolio to get hired. We have moved all these specific career focused art and design concentrations into our BFA degree. It’s not an honors degree, but it is the degree that will give you the portfolio you need to get a good job or get into graduate school.

Now I should say that this is true of every concentration except Art History. In the field of Art History, you don’t need a portfolio, so the BA is the top degree. With a BA and good grades in Art History you can get into graduate school or find a job at a museum, but for Art and Design Practice, you want to go for the BFA.

Third is that for our students, sometimes tough reality gets in the way. Someone loses a job, gets badly sick, gets pregnant, and the student just can’t hold it all together. We don’t want students to drop out without any degree to show for all their work, so we have redesigned our BA degree to have two simple options, one in Studio Arts and one in Design, that are faster to graduate than either the BFA or our quarter based BA. These don’t deliver the heavy hitting portfolio or the cutting-edge skillset, but they do mean that if you do need to get out soon, there is still a path that lets you say “I graduated from college. I got my BA.”

All the concentrations have a common series of foundation courses. Although we are not yet in Semesters, you can take the corresponding quarter classes this year and they will cover your Semester foundation. If you have taken similar courses at Community College, you can look them up on to see how they articulate. The best next step is to make an appointment with an advisor in the Art Department. However, there are no Art classes offered over the summer and no summer chair, so the first advising appointments will be in the Fall. We recommend choosing your classes to fill in gaps in your foundation and your GE and then check them with an advisor as soon as possible in the Fall.


The 3D Art and Design concentration combines the fabrication skill sets of sculpture and industrial design with digital 3D modeling to enable students to create work at the growing overlap of design and fine arts. Increasingly sculptors need to use state of the art 3D printers and modeling software, and designers need to prototype their ideas in clay or welded steel. The emphasis is on carefully aligning form and concept through agile use of a variety of media and creating objects that speak clearly to their chosen audience, from the fine art gallery to the commercial production line.

The concentration in Art History and Visual Studies trains students in the critical and historical study of art and other visual media. Students in this concentration learn how to approach art objects and images with respect to the sociopolitical and cultural conditions of their making and reception. This fosters sensitivity for diverse viewpoints and promotes critical awareness of the ethical and aesthetic dimensions of how we see the world. Coursework introduces comparative studies of world cultures, critical investigations of old and new media technologies, and examination of the global impacts of contemporary visual cultures. Students are also encouraged to broaden the scope of their studies by locating cognate courses on visuality and visual practices outside the department. The concentration prepares graduates for a wide range of careers in the arts or for graduate work in art history, film and media studies, law, and education.

The Design Concentration introduces students to processes of design thinking, critical discussion and fundamentals of visual communication. Design projects balance learning of conceptual development with technique and design tools. Students address communication problems with concept-focused solutions that integrate images, text and graphics through hands-on and digital production skills. Students seeking a stronger portfolio and more career-focused skillset are encouraged to consider one of the concentrations in the BFA degree.

The Fine Arts Practice concentration is offered for students who wish to delve deeper into their art practice, develop their key concepts, and create a focused body of work to propel their career in the Arts to the next level. Through intensive hands-on studio courses, thought-provoking academics, and BFA critiques, faculty work with students to hone their skills, widen critical thinking, strengthen creative expression, and form a deeper understanding of their role as a cultural maker. Students can specialize in drawing, painting, printmaking, sculpture, ceramics, or hybrid approaches to artmaking which may incorporate multiple media and digital media. Bridging traditional and contemporary art practices, the program prepares students with skills to produce and sustain a culturally responsive practice that embraces the emerging issues and technologies that impact society and cultural production. This degree is chosen by students who intend to become professional working artists, work in art related fields, or apply for graduate work.

In the Graphic Design Concentration students build a professional body of knowledge and the skills required for career entry as a visual designer. Projects enable students to acquire refined visual skills in research, aesthetics awareness, humanistic sensibilities, design composition and organization of information. Multifaceted design briefs require individual and collaborative teamwork, greater sophistication of design thinking, and skill sets for working within a broad application of traditional and new media formats. Students develop the ability to respond to more complex communication challenges with creative conceptual solutions and with enhanced technical expertise. 

The concentration in Illustration prepares students for careers focused in various areas of this professional field. Illustration occupies an artistic space between creativity and communication and is influenced by society, culture and technology. Our program offers courses to enhance knowledge, skill, creative and professional development. Illustration has areas of specialty including publishing, games, film, concept art, graphic novels, cartoons, children’s books, and editorial. Our program begins with practiced emphasis on core and pictorial work then goes on to familiarize the student in ideas and tools specific to the Illustration field, including career and portfolio preparation. The program covers traditional and digital tools to give students a foundation with which to branch out into their own creative endeavors.

Interaction Design focuses on the creation of meaningful experiences expressed as interactive applications and objects. Game Design applies this to entertainment, both experimental and commercial. Students analyze interactivity in art, design, and everyday life, acquire skills and develop prototypes, and work in collaborative teams to produce successful games and creatively solve real world problems.

Students in the Multimedia concentration employ the use of rapidly evolving new media tools in video, web, and interaction design to express the human imagination. Computers are used to create, control and integrate images, text, graphics, video, sound, and interactivity. Courses stress the development of strong aesthetic and humanistic sensibilities combined with sophisticated technical abilities

The Photography Concentration provides well-grounded studies in the aesthetic and practical areas of contemporary camera-generated imagery with an emphasis on digital technologies. Students take a wide range of classes, including fine art, studio lighting, and advanced digital imaging which culminate in capstone classes designed to prepare the students for a career in photography or to apply to graduate school. Our goal is to provide students with the visual, technical, conceptual, and professional vocabulary they need to succeed in their field.

The Studio Arts concentration in the Bachelor of Art degree program is offered for students who want to develop a rigorous foundation in fine art practice. With an emphasis on 2D, 3D and emergent art media, students will gain a working knowledge of drawing, painting, digital media and photography. Following 2-3 semesters of study, faculty advisors work with students to design a coherent course of study, with focus in at least one area. Through hands-on studio courses, as well as art historical research, students will conclude their studies with a solo art exhibit and demonstrate a critical understanding of historical and contemporary art practice. Students seeking a stronger portfolio and more career-focused skillset are encouraged to consider the BFA in Fine Art Practice.

The concentration in Transdisciplinary Arts prepares students to tackle complex real world problems that demand multiple ways of knowing. The program is designed with flexibility, to permit new pathways for learning between, across, and beyond traditional disciplines. Coursework is completed in two or more departments so students acquire a breadth of skills with which to creatively answer future design challenges. Students are also trained in visual arts research and the integration of theory and practice.

Based on a broad range of critical, conceptual, and production courses in the Video and Animation Concentration, students create artworks that gives expression to their ideas while engaging their audiences whether it is on monitors, theater screens, hand-held devices, or installations.  Students’ interests and films range from traditional to experimental, fictional to factual, and simply entertaining to highly conceptual. Upon graduation, students are prepared for further study in a graduate program or for entry into the work force.

Foundation Equivalents

Semester East Bay Quarter East Bay Equivalent
ART 100 Fundamentals of Drawing ART 1113 Drawing I
ART 101 Introduction to Photography ART 2630 Digital Photography
ART 102 2D Processes ART 2810 Principles of Design
ART 103 3D Processes ART 1116 Sculpture I
ART 104 4D Processes ART 1020 Creative Process
ART 120 Monuments of World Art ART 3411 Survey of World Art

Semester East Bay Chabot Equivalent Ohlone Equivalent DVC Equivalent
ART 100 ART 2A Intro to Drawing ART 106A Descriptive Drawing ART 105 Drawing I
ART 101 PHOT 50 Intro to Photo ART 139A or GA 169A Beg. Photo ART 160 Photo I
ART 102 ART 23 2D Foundations ART 104A 2D Design ART 101 Intro to Two Dimensions
ART 103 ART 24 3D Foundations ART 104B 3D Design ART 102 Intro to Three Dimensions
ART 104 (no equivalent) (no equivalent) (no equivalent)
ART 120 ARTH 8 Non-Western Art ART 103C Survey of Non-Euro Art ARTHS 193 Asian Art

So wait…I can still use the Quarter requirements and get one of the Quarter Concentrations, even after Semesters have started?

The answer is yes, but it might not be easy. If you start in the quarter catalog, you have the right to finish in the quarter catalog if you want. The catch is that once Semesters start, the equivalent Quarter courses may not be offered as often, so it may take longer to graduate. For most of you, the best choice will be to switch to a semester concentration, but we recommend meeting with a department advisor who will help you map out the best course for you.

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