First Year Program

uwm first year program

The First Year Program (FYP) is a time of growth and awareness, both intellectually and artistically. In addition to coursework, students gain awareness of the resources and opportunities found within a research university. The program provides a framework and support as new students consider their areas of concentration.

The First Year Program helps students develop and expand their creativity, critical thinking, community engagement, technical skills and awareness of historical and contemporary practice, preparing them for their chosen area of study in Art & Design.

All First Year Program studio courses meet five hours per week for intensive hands-on work, one-on-one instruction and critiques in small studio communities of 16-24 students. Studio homework and research will also be a part of the experience. Coursework is project-based. Assignments and demonstrations are designed to give all students specific skill sets and awareness.

Our instructors are active professionals in their fields. They help to guide new Art & Design students in developing the language used to talk about, write about, see, and create art. Their mentorship of students begins in the first year, but continues throughout the student’s time at Peck School of the Arts and beyond graduation. First Year Program instructors and staff are also available to help students gain additional creative experiences, individualized guidance and mentoring about university and community resources, internships and other pre-professional opportunities through the Art & Design First Year office as well as through programming and instructor office hours.

Declared Art & Design Majors and Minors in the First Year Program receive priority registration for Art & Design courses. Students enter their chosen area of study after completing 27 credits with at least a 2.5 grade point average. The 27 credits include 15 First Year Program credits plus 12 academic credits (this includes the university Math and English requirements).

Further information
Josie Osborne
Director, First Year Program
Art Building, Rm 316

Events & Opportunities

In addition to many events and opportunities taking place on and off campus, (exhibitions, Artist Now! visiting artist presentations, and workshops), the First Year Program in Art & Design provides a series of events to specifically help new students become more familiar with majors, faculty, facilities, local and regional resources, and opportunities including:

  • New Student Welcome Event – First Friday of Fall Semester, 11AM, Art Center Lecture Hall
  • Pre-Registration for Spring Art Classes Mid-Fall Semester
  • Studio Tours for First Year Program and Transfer Students
    Wed/Thur in mid-October, 12:30PM–3PM, Mainstage Theatre Lobby
  • Advisathon – Mon/Tue before Thanksgiving
  • FYP Outstanding Student Scholarships First Year Art & Design declared majors currently enrolled in First Year Program courses may be nominated by instructors for demonstrating strong work and leadership. Students are eligible to receive PSOA specific scholarships after filling out the general scholarship application and a supplemental department application (if applicable) by logging in to the Panther Scholarship Portal found on the UWM scholarship page. Students must also have a declared major in Art & Design, Dance, Film, Music, or Theatre. For more information please read the Panther Portal FAQ.
  • FYP Exhibition – early April, Union Art Gallery
  • Test Drive! – Experience upper level Art & Design courses the first week in March.

Required Courses

Courses consist of 15 credits/5 courses designed to support one another conceptually and technically.

In the spring semester of their first year a student may register for a 200 level studio course, provided that they have completed or are concurrently registered for the prerequisite.

The remaining 12 credits in the first year are taken outside in academic subjects of the student’s choice but also including the University’s English and math requirements.

Once a student has fulfilled all of the requirements outlined above, they may officially declare a major within the Art & Design degree.

Course Title Credits
Art 101 Basic Drawing I 3
Art 118 Digital Arts: Culture, Theory, Practice 3
Art 106 Art Survey 3
Art 108 2D Concepts 3
Art 109 3D Concepts 3
200 Level Art & Design Studio Course Variable 3

In their spring semester students may choose a 200 Level Intro Studio Course of their choice (with prerequisite satisfied).

The remaining 12 credits are selected in other academic subjects. Once a student has fulfilled all of the requirements outlined above, they may officially declare an area of concentration within the Art & Design degree.

Advanced Placement Portfolio and International Baccalaureate Diploma Credits

Students who have successfully completed high school level art Advance Placement  or International Baccalaureate Diploma program may qualify for college level credits.

Advanced Placement Portfolio  – AP Art Students who receive a final score of 3 or higher qualify for 3 credits of Art & Design elective credits toward their degree. If a student earned a 4 or 5 on their AP Art Portfolio they may make an appointment with the Director of First Year Program to have an in-person portfolio review (actual work and digital images of Breadth portfolio) for consideration of First Year Program course substitution. It is recommended that this portfolio review take place at least two weeks prior to the start of Fall semester classes.

International Baccalaureate  (IB) Diploma Program – Incoming students who have completed IB certificates in Art/Visual and earned a score of 4 or above on higher level examinations will receive 3 Art & Design elective credits towards their degree. Those students who have earned a confirmed score of 6 or 7 may make an appointment with the Director of the First Year Program in Art & Design for a portfolio review to determine whether the IB credits will count toward a specific First Year Program course substitution. It is recommended that this portfolio review take place at least two weeks prior to the start of Fall semester classes.