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Bringing together degree programs and academic support services for all College of Art and Design students, the Integrated Studies division helps students advance their professional art and design learning and career development. The division encompasses and oversees the first-year experience, the Art History and Critical Studies program, the honors program, general education; the peer and faculty mentoring programs, and academic advising.  

By integrating programming with student support services, students gain a sense of unity and engagement both within the college and across the university, and a more cohesive and meaningful experience on both a curricular and co-curricular level.

raizes gallery with crowd of students

First-year Experience

The First Year Experience is more than just the Core Curriculum. During your first year you will learn new skills, develop your aesthetic awareness, and begin a journey of artistic and intellectual discovery. The work you complete throughout your first year will provide the basis for your future career in the visual arts. It is about learning who you are as an artist in the deepest way possible. Bring your passion to everything you do this year.

Four courses comprise the core curriculum at the College of Art and Design: Drawing Intensive, 3-D Concepts, Visual Culture Seminar, and Image in Context. The curriculum balances technique building with critical thinking and making. Participating in the core curriculum creates community and a shared experience for all new students.

Seeing and Doing

Being a College of Art and Design student comes with advantages – from the state-of-the-art facilities of the Lunder Arts Center to the rich communities of Cambridge and Boston right outside our front door. You will enjoy festive openings and view cutting-edge art at all three of the College of Art and Design’s exhibition spaces: the Roberts, Raizes, and VanDernoot Galleries. Artwork by faculty, students, and alumni are always featured on the walls here, providing both inspiration and a space to slow down and observe. Exciting field trips to New York City and MassMoCA, and attending First Friday Gallery Openings in Boston augment the rigorous experience inside the classroom. Your student ID secures you free admission to the Harvard Art Museums (Fogg, Busch-Reisinger, and Arthur M. Sackler), the Peabody Museum of Archeology and Ethnography at Harvard University, the Institute of Contemporary Art, The Museum of Fine Arts, MIT’s List Visual Art Center, as well as other perks.

MFA Stuart Steck speaking in front of small group of people

Art History and Critical Studies

Art History and Critical Studies courses focus on modern and contemporary issues with emphasis on concerns directly impacting practicing artists and students who want to explore contemporary visual culture. Comprised of practicing artists, curators of major national and international exhibitions, and acclaimed art critics, the art history faculty help students make meaningful connections between theories and practices of art.

students look over print design layouts

Honors Program

As an honors student, challenge yourself to grow as a critical thinker and a creator. Engage in seminars and critiques with artists and designers who push you to think differently and take bigger risks. During your time in the program, tackle a series of collaborative projects that build your ability to conceptualize and pitch ideas to professionals in the local arts community.

Learn more about the Honors Program

teacher with 2 students at a desk

General Education

General Education, including a foundation in the liberal arts, is the cornerstone of a university education. Its purpose is to develop in students the knowledge, skills, and character necessary to live thoughtful, ethical, and successful lives, both professionally and personally, and to foster a love of lifelong learning.

students in classroom

Academic Advising and Peer and Faculty Mentoring

At the College of Art and Design each new student is assigned to three members of the community to give a broad range of support, including an academic advisor, a faculty mentor, and a peer mentor.

Our roles as academic advisors are to assist you from your first day until the day you graduate. We are here to support your success!

Faculty mentors are a valuable resource, take advantage of this relationship! Contact your faculty mentor for assistance with things like guiding and providing feedback on your studio progress or helping you consider internships, apprenticeships, and graduate programs.

Before the beginning of Freshman year your peer mentor will contact you during the summer to check in on the progress of your summer assignment and to answer any questions you have about the College of Art and Design or college life in general. Your peer mentor will stay with you for the first year and potentially beyond as lasting friendships are often made.