picture of Union Grove Gallery

Department of Art & Art History

frequently asked questions

Isn’t UAH just an engineering school?

No—in fact the College of Liberal Arts awarded 20.7% of the undergraduate degrees at UAH in 2009, with engineering and business at 24% and 23% respectively. Furthermore, with approximately 160 majors, we are the fastest growing department in liberal arts, producing the 2nd largest number of graduates in 2009.


My parents are worried about me making a living with an art degree, what should I tell them?

Most people are not aware of the many careers available in the arts: Advertising needs art directors, designers and photographers as do publishing, fashion, retail, architecture, industry, and more. Artists work in law enforcement, entertainment, and education. They may work as fine craft people, making jewelry, one-of-a-kind furnishings, or doing interior decoration like murals, mosaics and custom paint finishes. They become fabricators who design and build theme parks, exhibition spaces and dioramas. The art world itself has a number of fantastic career paths including museum work, public arts administration, working as a dealer, in an auction house, or as a gallery owner or curator. Furthermore, at UAH art studies are part of an overall liberal arts education that teaches students how to write, communicate, think critically and solve problems.

“A liberal arts degree has enormous value — and it offers a level of career freedom unlike any other course of study. To an employer, it provides an underlying set of skills that can be molded and shaped to deliver value even when the nature of a job (or the work itself) changes.”
—Michele Menegay Marion, Business and Communications Consultant


How do I apply to UAH?


How do I get financial aid?

Everyone should fill out a FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid)—

even if you think you do not qualify for need-based assistance or don’t plan to take out loans. Why? Because MANY OF THE MERIT BASED SCHOLARSHIPS REQUIRE THE FAFSA! Also — you might be surprised — you may qualify for work study or need a loan for unexpected expenses during your time as a student. Remember, you must renew this form every year.

In addition to The FAFSA, fill out an application for scholarships.

To sign in to this application you will need either:

— your banner ID and Pin, OR

— your “charger ID“ (which is the first part of your UAH email, and your password)

If you don’t have either of these, you can register as a new user with your email address.

The online application for scholarships form asks for:

— Your high school and college activities and honors, professional and volunteer experience, and other questions to determine what you might be eligible for.

— A brief essay, “Describe your general and scholastic interests, career goals, and how UAH will help you meet your goals.” This essay is important, make it brief but thorough!

— Electronic copies of two letters of recommendation— one from an academic, and one from a non-academic source.

— Any additional documents you wish the Scholarship Committee to review (resumes, certificates of merit, award letters, employment verification form, etc.)

If you are a veteran, need vocational rehabilitation or have an employer that provides tuition assistance you may be eligible for more aid.

You can find abundant information at http://finaid.uah.edu/ or visit the Financial Aid Office in the University Center, Room 212.


What about campus housing?

UAH has many options for living on campus; check out http://housing.uah.edu/ for more info.


How can I get a copy of the catalog?

The catalog is available online at http://catalog.uah.edu/


What classes do I need to take?

Students majoring in art need to take

- general education courses
view catalog

- plus, for studio art
view catalog

- or art history
view catalog


Do I need a minor?

Yes, students in the College of Liberal Arts are required to take a minor. Students majoring in Studio Art may choose to minor in Art History, and vice versa. Students with an interest in graphic design may want to take the Web Minor. Many art students choose to minor in other areas. Minors are offered in all major fields of study. Minors are offered in Theater, Global Studies, Classical Studies, Women’s Studies as well as the Web Minor.


I am a non-major. Can I take art classes as electives?

Anyone may take ARS 160: Introduction to Drawing, ARS 123: 2D Design, ARS 140: 3D Design or ARS 250: Digital Photography. If you are interested in taking other courses, contact the department to find out about prerequisites and availability.


What is the Web Minor? Can I take it without being an art major?

The Minor is an interdisciplinary program in web development with an emphasis on web design and management. It combines courses in graphic arts, IS (Information Systems), marketing, and technical writing. You do not have to be an art major to take it. In fact, many students majoring in Computer Sciences, Marketing and Communications choose to take the Minor.


How and when do I register?

Registration dates are listed on the available academic calendars,. Keep in mind that you should talk to your advisor prior to registration, and that until you complete a POS (Program of Study) you MUST speak to your advisor for an access code that allows you to register.

Be sure to register as early as possible as classes fill quickly—you don't have to pay until classes begin.

All students need two things to register:

a User ID and a PIN.

Some students will also need a Registration Access Code (sometimes known as an "alternate PIN").

The User ID:

is your student ID from your ID card. This is an "A" followed by an 8-digit number.


is a six-digit number. If you have never changed it, it should be either the last six digits of your SSN or your birth date in mmddyy format. No one in the Art Department has any way of looking up or changing your PIN; the system does not allow us to do so. If you do not know your PIN, try one of the suggestions above. If that does not work, contact Charger Central.


Once you have these two things, log in to Banner at http://register.uah.edu/. Click on "Enter Banner Self Service," then "Enter Secure Area." Fill in the blanks and click "Login".

Registration Access Code

When you try to register for classes, the system may ask for your "Registration Access Code." Your Registration Access Code will change every semester until you complete your Program of Study (POS).

Liberal Arts students with a POS should not need a Registration Access Code. If you have tried to register and the system requested your Registration Access Code, see Frank Bell, Liberal Arts Advisor, in Morton Hall 216. If Mr. Bell is unavailable, you may see Dr. Lillian Joyce, Art Department Chair, in 160-E Wilson Hall. If Charger Central has told you that you need a Registration Access Code, do not believe them without checking. Go ahead and try to register for your classes. If Banner then says you need a Registration Access Code, you can believe that.

If you have a faculty advisor and have signed a POS, go to the chair for your code, and so that we can find out the status of your POS.

Please do not ask Frank Bell or Dr. Joyce to look it up unless Banner has requested it this semester. The process of looking up Registration Access Codes is time-consuming.


You have been sent an email with the name and office hours of your assigned art faculty advisor. Please consult with that professor if you need help deciding what classes to take.

— adapted from instructions by the fabulous Dr. Don Bowyer, Chair of the UAH Music Department.

For more information on specific course requirements, contact the department:


Who is my advisor, what’s a POS, and how do I get one?

Your general education advisor in Liberal Arts is Frank Bell bellf@email.uah.edu. He can help you with transfer credits and get you started on your first semester of classes, and help you declare your major and minor. If you are unsure about your minor, go ahead and select one; it’s easy to change if needed. Once you have declared a major—You are ready to initiate a POS (Program of Study) through Liberal Arts Advisor Amy Mack amy.mack@uah.edu.

Once the POS has been started, it goes to us. When we receive a POS, based on your interests, Dr. Joyce assigns one of the faculty as your advisor, and we send an email to your UAH account. If you have initiated a POS but not received an email, check with Marylyn Coffey at 256-824-6114 or one of your professors, and we will track it down.

The next step is to schedule a time to meet with your advisor, who will review the POS with you and make sure that you know what classes you need. After you have met with your art advisor and completed the POS, you will no longer need an access code to register BUT it is a good idea to meet with your advisor prior to registration every time. Your advisor will have an idea of how frequently courses are offered, what classes would be interesting or benefit you the most, and what courses will best suit your personal career goals. Your advisor is also there for you if you have questions, are struggling in a class, or need help navigating the system.

We value our students and that is why your advisor is a professor. Use him or her as a resource and mentor!


I am a transfer student—do I need to start a POS, etc?

Yes, in fact some transfer students don’t realize their initial meeting with Amy Mack or Frank Bell to review transfer credits is not starting a POS! Be sure and follow the steps above so we can be sure you are on the right track.


What classes are available next semester?

Class schedules are available at http://www.uah.edu/cgi-bin/schedule.pl


Are there special requirements to graduate with an art degree?

Yes, in order for our students to be ready for the next step in their careers, be it graduate study, entering the work world or establishing a studio practice, each student must complete either a Graphic Design Portfolio Review, senior exhibition, or for art history majors, a senior thesis. A faculty committee meets with each student to review and evaluate his or her exit work.

When should I start thinking about my exit work?

You should begin planning for your exit work about a year and a half before your graduation date. You will need to pick a faculty sponsor to assist you with your portfolio, show or paper. If you are unsure whom you want to work with, talk to your advisor.


All the art organizations sound cool—how do I join?

The student art club is open to all students—just email the faculty sponsor, Professor Johnson at johnsok1@uah.edu, and ask to be added to the group’s ANGEL page. That way you can keep up with meeting times and activities. PDF (Professional Design Forum) is for those interested in graphic design and advertising, and offers networking opportunities. It is sponsored by Professor Jones. Contact him at joneskt@uah.edu to find out about meeting times, dues and club events. Kappa Pi is an honor fraternity, and is by invitation only. Dr. Stewart at stewartd@uah.edu can fill you in on the requirements for membership.


How can I get on the mailing list?

It’s easy—just send an email with your name, address, and email to art@uah.edu


I want to donate to the department. What do I do?

Support from friends and alumni is very important to our program. We appreciate gifts to provide critical financial support for talented individual students through scholarships and awards, or to support all of our students with needed supplies, equipment and activities through donations to the department’s foundation account. All gifts are tax deductible. Please contact our department chair Dr.Lillian Joyce at 256-824-6114 or joycel@uah.edu to discuss how you might support the department.


I’ve hear the BFA requires a portfolio review, what is that all about?

Students who are interested in pursuing a BFA do have to apply for the program, but not until they are rising juniors and have completed 5 art classes. However, it is important to go ahead and get a “pre-BFA” program of study, so that you can be sure to get the right general education and lower level classes. When you do apply for the program you will show five samples of your work: a drawing, a three dimensional piece, something with color, and two additional works of your own choosing. Students applying also complete a short essay, and must have an over all GPA of 2.0 or above and at least a 2.5 in the major. If a student does not pass the portfolio review the first time, they can apply again the next semester. Students who do not pass the portfolio review may still purse a BA in studio art.


Which studio degree (BA, BFA) is best for me?

As you decide on a degree program, think about your educational goals. Students who prefer a wide breadth of studio practice, and who want to have a minor outside the Art Department should choose the BA program. The BA is a good choice for people who want to pursue a graduate degree in Art Education, who are interested in working in arts administration, gallery management or other arts businesses. For students who plan to pursue a graduate degree in studio art, or who hope to begin exhibiting professionally straight out of school the BFA may be a better choice. With the BFA students spend more hours in studio classes, focus in depth in a particular studio area, and have the art history minor built into the degree. Because there are MORE general education classes in the BA, it is probably best for “undecided” students to start as Pre-BFA so that they do not take more GER classes than they need. It is easy to switch to the BA later, but students should decide by the time they are juniors.


Hey! My question isn’t on this list!

Never fear, if you have a question we haven’t covered, or you need more information, just give us a call at 256-824-6114, or email us at art@uah.edu.