Design Arts

Professors Arthur Schaller and Aron Temkin; Associate Professors Cara Armstrong, Wendy Cox, Eleanor D'Aponte, Jason Galligan-Baldwin, Danny Sagan; Lecturer Cara Armstrong;

Developed for students who are curious, artistic, and want to develop their talents for practical solutions, the Design Arts program nurtures critical thinking and merges historical and digital practices in art, fine craft, and industry. In collaboration with the Vermont Granite Museum’s Stone Arts School, in Barre, the self-proclaimed “Granite Center of the World,”  we aim to be North America’s premier source of stone arts information and education by merging historical and digital practices in art, fine craft and industry.

Drawing on the School’s emphasis on human-centered design as well as Design Build, the program teaches students to use critical thinking and the design process itself to bring new value to citizens, communities, and companies. Professors with expertise in a wide range of areas guide students in researching user experiences to create well-conceived and executed projects.

Each year, progressively more challenging studio projects enable majors to build an awareness of materials and gain an in-depth understanding of visual and 3D vocabulary through hands-on work. Professors emphasize both the traditional values behind the design arts and current trends in the profession as students progress from drawing, to three-dimensional mock-ups and models, to working drawings and prototypes.

A Design Arts major is an introduction to the profession, where students learn vital technical, artistic, design, and communication skills. The first year of the program provides a foundation in Art and Architecture. In the second year, students begin to understand the historical context of the design arts. They receive skill-based exposure to both traditional and state-of-the art techniques for visualization. Through hands-on making, students begin to understand materials and the design possibilities inherent in them.

Third year encourages students to learn various advanced techniques and tools, to further experiment with the elements and principles of 2-D and 3-D design through the critique of historical works and hands-on exercises, and to develop their own sophisticated body of work and an individualized area of study. A semester at CityLAB: Berlin provides enrichment and global perspectives to the course of study.

During fourth year, students learn more about legal and business practices in the profession and undertake projects that emphasize innovation and the ability to refine formal design issues. A capstone project and apprenticeship/ internship provides a practical connection between academic studies and potential career paths.

The School of Architecture + Art fosters a natural and effective mentoring relationship between faculty and students and allows students to develop their own visions as designers. We offer our students the education necessary for the practice of the design arts in their fullest sense:  to design, make, and build in a way that embodies cultural meaning, employs technology wisely, and contributes to the larger community. To this end, we seek to instill in students the core values of comprehensive knowledge, holistic awareness, continual innovation, active cooperation, and ethical responsibility through a balanced curriculum comprising observation, analysis, exploration, iteration, and synthesis, grappling throughout with abstract as well as concrete material, intellectual as well as hands-on experience. 

We endeavor to contribute to the making of meaning and the meaning of making.


Students of the Design Arts Program will:

  • Be respected and recognized for technical competence in the creation of design arts projects
  • Conceptualize and develop ideas imaginatively and accurately in three dimensions
  • Develop material ideas with facility, clarity and rigor
  • Exercise collaborative skills for working across disciplines and in multidisciplinary fields
  • Communicate to both technical and non-technical audiences.
  • Actively engage in continuing education throughout life.
  • Be recognized for their leadership skills and their abilities to work with all people.


Design Arts majors will:

  • Gain a way of thinking, rooted in the iterative, test-and-learn approach to creativity and innovation.
  • Learn to utilize techniques, skills, conventions, and modern digital and hand tools and techniques necessary for professional practice.
  • Be trained in the ethics of the profession and learn to make ethical decisions.  
  • Function as a member of a multidisciplinary team and be able to assume leadership roles on the team.
  • Learn contemporary design production techniques, which blend traditional arts with modern technical expertise, such as computation and computer numeric control machinery.
  • Learn to market what you make by complementing your core study with personal finance/business and general education courses.
  • Graduate ready to compete in multidisciplinary fields with facility, clarity and rigor, after further developing your knowledge in internships with business and industry partners.
Careers for this Major:
  • Fabricator
  • Conservator
  • Shop Manager
  • Design consultant
  • Artist
  • Manufacturing and sales
  • Granite, quarry, and industrial corporations
  • Construction
  • Public and private institutions
  • Academia

The Design Arts program is designed to be accredited by the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD) which establishes national standards for undergraduate and graduate degrees and other credentials for art and design and art/design-related disciplines, and provides assistance to institutions and individuals engaged in artistic, scholarly, educational, and other art/design-related endeavors.

Design Arts (B.S.) – Curriculum Map 2020-2021 Catalog

AP 111 Fundamentals of Architecture4AP 118 Fundamentals of Architecture II4
SA 111 Foundations of Art and Architecture I (General Education Goal 3: Arts/Humanities)3SA 112 Foundations of Art and Architecture II3
EN 101 Composition and Literature I (General Education Goal 1)3EN 102 Composition and Literature II (General Education Goal 1)3
HI 107 The History of Civilization I (General Education Goal 3: History)3General Education Math3
General Education Math3SA 100-Level Elective3
Semester Total Credits16Semester Total Credits16
SA 200-Level Elective3FA 202 History/Theory of Architecture II3
SA 200-Level Elective3Free Elective3
FA 221 History of Visual Arts I: Prehistoric to 13503SA 200-Level Elective3
General Education Lab Science 3-4SA 200-Level Elective3
General Education Literature3General Education Lab Science 4
Semester Total Credits15-16Semester Total Credits16
SA 300-Level Elective3SA 300-Level Elective3
SA 300-Level Elective3FA 250: Berlin: Inventing the Modern City3
FA 250 Topics in Art3FA 250: Urban Landscape Public and Open Space3
MG 230 Personal Financial Literacy3SO 218 Intro to Cultural Competence (General Education: Goal 5)3
Free Elective3Free Elective13
Semester Total Credits15Semester Total Credits15
SA 402 Design Arts Capstone (General Education Capstone)6SA 404 Design Arts Internship6
FA 250 Topics in Art History3FA 250 Topics in Art History3
SA 400 Business of Being an Artist3Free Elective (General Education: Goal 8)3
MG 341 Business Law I (General Education: Goal 6)3 
Semester Total Credits15Semester Total Credits12
Total Credits For This Major: 120-121