Sculpture Degree

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What is Sculpture?

Sculpture is a field of study within the visual arts operating in three dimensions.  Sculpture is one of the plastic arts which somewhat belies its name.  Plastic arts involves the manipulation or moulding as seen in ceramics and sculpture along with visual arts such as film, painting, photography.  In the early days of sculpture, artists would carve or model materials using wood, metal, stone, and ceramics.  Since Modernism, artists have been free to use a variety of processes and materials that can include carving, welding, modelling, casting, and molding.

Top Sculpture Degrees

Artists interested in the sculpting discipline can earn a graduate or undergraduate degree in this field of study from a number of colleges and universities across the country.  Students have the ability to choose from direct and indirect degree programs to learn about this field of study.  A direct degree program is a path that places its focus on sculpting.  An indirect program, on the other hand, teaches core skills needed to pursue a career in sculpting but includes other disciplines of study such as painting, illustration, drawing, design, etc.  To help students make the most of their higher education studies, we have assembled a summary of the most popular degree programs below to review.

Sculpture Bachelor Degrees

A bachelor degree in sculpting is an educational track that combines the study of art and expression with humanities.  Many universities and colleges integrate a liberal arts education to help students develop a keen sense of self along with an integrative set of reasoning skills.  Liberal arts classes built into an art degree may include sociology, creative writing, psychology, English composition, history, communications, and economics.  Degrees in sculpting are most often conferred as a Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA).

Core classes you may find in a BFA sculpting program will be modified from college to college.  A list of commonly used courses is included for your reference below to provide an understanding of popular classes you make take in this degree pathway.

  • Form and Structure
  • Plaster and Casting Techniques
  • Direct Paint
  • Advanced Still Life
  • Metal Studio
  • Illustration
  • Spatial Orientation
  • Portrait
  • Large Figure
  • Wood Studio
  • Life Painting
  • Twentieth Century Art
  • Ecorche
  • Digital Arts
  • Animals
  • Mixed Media
  • Carving
  • Advanced Cast Studies
  • Figure Composition
  • Digital Imaging
  • Contemporary Art
  • Studio Projects
  • Interpretative Figure Drawing

Sculpture Master Degrees

Master degrees in sculpting are graduate level degrees that are typically conferred as a Master of Fine Arts (MFA).  The MFA program will provide students with a rigorous, transformative immersion in contemporary art-making.  Students will be surrounded by expert teaching staff, students, artists, speakers, community members, and critics to help elongate learning in this domain.  Graduate students will be encouraged to learn to create and express themselves through a variety of mediums given the array of media.  Learning will take place in class, studio, seminars, field trips, critiques, and visiting artist lectures.  The culmination of an MFA program will typically include an approved body of work that constitutes a thesis project.

Educational Requirements of Sculptors

In terms of educational requirements, Sculpture degree holders will have typically studied the following courses while in college:

Top Skills and Abilities of a Sculptor

  • Active Learning — Develop a growth mindset, continue learning and striving to understand more and more about the world around us to creature heuristics about solving complex issues and critical decisions
  • Critical Thinking — The ability to leverage emotion, logic, and reasoning to arrive at solutions or creative alternatives to problems
  • Communication — The ability to hear, speak, read, write, and articulate ideas and artistic needs in an effective manner
  • Originality — Creating novel and unusual ideas about a given approach to artwork or unrelated situations and to creatively solve problems using creative means
  • Fluency of Ideas — Holding a number of ideas about a topic concurrently prior to the problem-solving stage
  • Visualization — Using your mind’s eye to see something as it may be and not necessarily how it is presented in its current form
  • Arm-Hand Steadiness — A steady, reliable hand and arm will help bring ideas artists have in their mind to life in creative ways
  • Visual Color Discrimination — Utilizing colors, shades, brightness, and textures to accentuate or deemphasize key pieces of a project
  • Finger Dexterity — Utilizing fingers to shape, collect, grasp, manipulate, order, and assemble a variety of small and large objects
  • Manual Dexterity — Concurrently moving hands and arms in a predictable manner to manipulate, disassemble, or gather objects
  • Reasoning — Utilizing both inductive reasoning and deductive reasoning to solve problems at hand and synthesize information effectively
  • Information Ordering — Arranging objects and actions in a recognizable pattern given a set of determined rules and operations
  • Oral Expression — The ability to communicate information and ideas in speaking so others will understand

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Employment Information & Sculpting Specialization

For students that earn a college degree in Sculpture, there are several fields of specialization that one can pursue.  The options range from artist, middle school teachers, high school teachers, postsecondary teachers, researcher, curriculum designer, historian, and author to name a few possible career tracks.

Job Growth, Salary, and Related Art Fields

The job growth in the greater Sculpture domain are steady for the foreseeable future.  For example, the rate of job growth for college professors is expected to rise 13% through 2024 and high school teachers a 7% growth rate is expected during the same period.  Given the broad nature of the Sculpture degree, compensation after graduation can vary greatly from career field to career field given prior experience and geographic location.  Related fields include teaching, curriculum design, research, genomics, author, and journalist.

Additional Resources for Sculptors

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Career Summary: Sculpture Major




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