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Undergraduate programs

Undergraduate programs embrace a wide range of disciplines and are designed to challenge students to perform at a high level, preparing them for professional careers. A well-rounded curriculum provides students with core courses in foundation studies and general education leading to focused majors that emphasize discipline-specific knowledge, technical and analytical skills, aesthetic sensibility, and the ability to express ideas visually and verbally.

Bachelor of Arts degree

The Bachelor of Arts degree program is a four-year course of study requiring 180 quarter credit hours (equivalent to 120 semester credit hours). The Bachelor of Arts degree begins with foundation studies coursework and a comprehensive general education curriculum that provides a breadth of knowledge for lifelong learning. Students then complete a series of courses in an area of concentration to develop knowledge and skill in a particular discipline. Students are also required to take several free electives to broaden their experience and interests.

Bachelor of Fine Arts degree

The Bachelor of Fine Arts degree program is a four-year course of study requiring 180 quarter credit hours (equivalent to 120 semester credit hours) and incorporating a foundation studies curriculum, general education curriculum, major program curriculum, and electives. The Bachelor of Fine Arts curriculum is designed to focus intently on acquiring knowledge and skill in the arts and design. In the foundation studies curriculum, students explore the fundamental principles, elements, and techniques of art and design. In the general education curriculum, students are exposed to a broad base of knowledge that enables them to think critically and inquisitively about the world around them. In the curriculum of their chosen major, students work toward developing knowledge, skills, and a level of mastery in a specific discipline. Students are required to take electives to broaden their experience and interests.


The SCAD Core of foundation studies and general education courses provides undergraduate students with the essential skills necessary for success at SCAD. Foundation studies courses build visual, conceptual, and creative abilities essential to students’ academic and professional development. General education courses are designed to develop students as critical thinkers by providing an intellectual foundation and breadth of knowledge for lifelong learning.

Foundation studies courses

In foundation studies courses in drawing and design, students explore the fundamentals of visual language, the development of creative solutions, and the art and design of critique. Example foundation studies courses include:

DRAW 100 Drawing I: Form and Space
DRAW 101 Drawing II: Composition and Media
DRAW 200 Life Drawing I
DRAW 206 Drawing for Storyboarding
DSGN 100 Design I: Elements and Organization
DSGN 101 Color: Theory and Application
DSGN 102 Design II: 3D Form and Space
DSGN 115 Creative Thinking Strategies
DSGN 208 Storyboarding Essentials

General education courses

SCAD general education courses offer students an academically rigorous learning experience that provides the intellectual foundation and breadth of knowledge critical for lifelong learning. Through university level coursework, students learn to investigate, interpret, and defend new ideas, and engage mindfully and professionally within complex and diverse communities. Collectively, the SCAD general education program focuses on achievement of six learning outcomes: research, analysis, and synthesis; historical investigation and contextualization; cross-cultural knowledge and engagement; strategic communication; digital fluency; and leadership and professionalism.

All undergraduate students complete a minimum of 55 quarter hours (or at least 11 classes) of general education coursework, including at least one class from each of the following categories: humanities/fine arts, social/behavioral sciences, and mathematics/natural sciences. Students should consult their programs of study for specific curriculum requirements.

Humanities/fine arts

SCAD general education courses categorized as humanities/fine art courses examine works of cultural production within diverse contexts, preparing students to identify, analyze, and describe form, content, function, and meaning. Courses such as Visual Culture in Context: Caves to Cathedrals; Ink to Ideas: Critical Concepts in Literature and Writing; Wonder Women: Feminist Expression in Literature; Music Appreciation; Aesthetics; and Perception, Persona, and Reality: Existential Philosophy satisfy the SCAD humanities/fine arts requirement. While composition, oral communication, and foreign language courses may be included as part of the general education curriculum, they do not satisfy the humanities/fine arts requirement. 

Mathematics/natural sciences

SCAD general education courses categorized as natural sciences/mathematics teach students how to gather and use empirical evidence to analyze, predict, and/or describe phenomena, quantity, structure, space, or time. Courses such as General Anatomy, Introduction to Astronomy, Environmental Science, College Mathematics, Evidence and Inference: The Power of Statistics, The Geometry of Physical Space, and Applied Physics satisfy the SCAD mathematics/natural sciences requirement.

Social/behavioral sciences

SCAD general education courses categorized as social/behavioral science courses emphasize the study of human behavior, identity and development, and the fundamentals of qualitative and quantitative research. Courses such as Introduction to Anthropology; Language, Culture, and Society; The Design of Business; Introduction to Psychology; Psychology of Group Processes, and Introduction to Economics satisfy the SCAD social/behavioral sciences requirement.

Students should complete SCAD Core coursework within their first 90 hours of study. The organization of these courses into a two-year sequence allows students to complete necessary prerequisites for future study and prepares them for the work of the major. Students should consult their success adviser when selecting any general education course to ensure that the course meets the requirements of the program. Similarly, students should contact their faculty adviser when selecting any elective course to ensure the course meets the requirements of the program. Students must meet prerequisites in order to register for any course.

Undergraduate certificate

SCAD offers an undergraduate certificate program in digital publishing, which can be earned in combination with any undergraduate degree, except the B.F.A. in graphic design, the B.A. in visual communication with a concentration in graphic design, or the graphic design minor. Current students may pursue the certificate by contacting their success adviser. Degree-seeking students must complete certificate coursework prior to or within the final quarter of registration in degree coursework. New students may apply for admission to a certificate program by following the undergraduate admission requirements.

Undergraduate double majors

Many of the undergraduate majors offered at SCAD complement each other, and students may choose to earn a double major. With careful course selection and financial planning, students can double major without substantially extending their time to completion. Students who put forth that extra effort gain credentials and expertise that may be invaluable to their careers. In order to double major, undergraduate students must complete all courses unique to each major. Students are not required to take the same course twice, nor must they always take two sets of electives. However, a student may not substitute coursework for one major to serve as coursework in the second major, unless the course is satisfying a free elective or studio elective in the other major program. Students who wish to double major must follow course requirements as listed in the catalog they are following for their primary major.

For information about completing a double major, undergraduate students should consult with a success adviser. Students also should verify that adequate financial aid is available, if needed, to cover the additional time and costs associated with completing coursework above the minimum credit hours required for a bachelor’s degree.

Undergraduate minors

Minors are designed to broaden students’ education and enhance their employment opportunities. Students enrolled in any bachelor’s degree program may elect to declare a minor outside the major field of study. Students may choose to complete more than one minor or combine their minor toward the completion of a double major.

Required courses in the major may count toward a minor; however, a student must complete all courses unique to the minor and major. Students may not substitute major coursework to serve as coursework in their minor, or vice versa, except when the course is satisfying a free elective or studio elective in the major program. The minor may require the student to complete more than the minimum number of quarter hours required for graduation. Thus, students should verify that adequate financial aid is available, if needed, to cover the additional time and cost. For information about completing a minor, students should consult with a success adviser.

In order to receive designation of a minor on their transcript, a student must declare the minor with a success adviser, successfully complete the required credit hours as specified in the minor program of study, and maintain an overall grade-point average of 2.0 in the minor. Some courses have prerequisites that may require additional credits to complete the minor. Consult course descriptions to ascertain prerequisites. A listing of minor programs offered, including descriptions, courses of study and availability at each SCAD location or learning modality, is available online at

Undergraduate mathematics competency requirement

SCAD ensures that all undergraduate students are able to demonstrate fundamental mathematics competency in one of the following ways: by successfully completing one MATH course at SCAD; by presenting proof of a qualifying math score on the SAT (580 or above) or the ACT (24 or above); or by presenting proof of qualifying math scores on Advanced Placement, International Baccalaureate, College-level Examination Program, or other equivalent international examinations as published on the SCAD admission website. These scores may qualify for transfer credit in addition to satisfying the mathematics requirement.

Students who have successfully completed a course at another college or university similar in content and level of instruction to a mathematics course at SCAD may be permitted to transfer that course in satisfaction of the mathematics requirement.

Undergraduate architecture applicants who present SAT math scores lower than 580, ACT math scores lower than 24, or are unable to demonstrate a competency for the study of mathematics and science may be admitted to the architecture program on a provisional basis and must take MATH 101 Intermediate Mathematics. The credit hours earned in MATH 101 may be applied as an undergraduate general education elective. All undergraduate architecture students are required to take MATH 201 Applied Mathematics.

Students who demonstrate math competency with exam scores may take any math or natural science class to satisfy the mathematics/natural sciences general education requirement. Students should consult with their success adviser before registering for any math or science courses to be sure they meet the requirements for their specific program of study.

First Year Experience

First Year Experience is a required, noncredit, extended orientation course for first-year incoming undergraduate students designed to help prepare them for academic success and professional careers. The course provides a discussion-based environment in which students are introduced to university requirements, their responsibility in the learning process, and skills that enable them to identify and efficiently use university resources. In addition, the course addresses topics such as major exploration, academic advisement and registration, career planning, campus technology, and student involvement opportunities.

Incoming first-year students are registered for First Year Experience during their first quarter of enrollment. First-year students are required to successfully complete First Year Experience as a graduation requirement. Students who have transferred to SCAD after attending another institution are not required to complete the course, but may opt to participate in the course to take advantage of the learning opportunities presented. International students who take the ESL placement test and place at or below level six have FYE topics incorporated into their ESL coursework.