A message from the department chair

With eight full-time professors and over twenty adjunct instructors, the Department of Fine, Digital, and Performing Arts offers several excellent programs in both the performing and visual arts. Our courses cover everything from acting on stage to creating concept art for video games to graphic design and much more.

All of our degrees are designed to align with what is happening in industries, so we help you to not only enrich your life with the arts but also to pursue careers in the arts. Some of the programs our department offers include:

Game Design

The Game Design program has been nationally recognized and ranked as one of the best programs in the country. In this major, you learn about the gaming industry and the various art-related roles offered in this field. Beginning with a foundation in design, we teach you about the software and tools common to the industry as well as how to utilize those tools, and your creativity, to create art and designs for video games.

Graphic Design

The Graphic Design program has placed many of its graduates in high-end design positions in the region and beyond. Students are grounded in foundational design, color, and type principles as well as key softwares standard in the design industry.

Concept Art and Illustration

The Illustration major emphasizes traditional drawing and painting techniques as well as the application of the latest digital media. Students learn conceptual skills and professional practices while developing their individual style. These techniques and styles are then applied to produce illustrations suitable for the gaming/entertainment, advertising, publishing, and editorial industries.

Studio Arts

This major is designed to provide maximum flexibility for students wishing to explore diverse forms of media. With more than half of the studio courses as studio art electives, students can focus on course sequences that best fit their own artistic and professional goals.

Musical Theatre

Students in this program refine their music, dance, vocal, and acting skills to attain the performance levels required for professional auditions or admission into a graduate program. Student have many opportunities to audition and perform in SSU productions as well.

Art Education

This degree prepares students to teach all levels of art in K12 schools. Students gain a broad art instruction in various media both traditional and digital.

Minors and more

To complement the various majors, students can add minors in subjects that broaden their experiences and skillsets. Options include sound design, drawing, ceramics, and many others.


Program details


As you can see, Shawnee State University is a great place to pursue your artistic interests. If you have any questions about our programs, department, or SSU, please connect with me, and I will be happy to help.

Kind regards,

Michael Barnhart

Department Chair