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Visual & Performing Arts

The Visual & Performing Arts Majors

Art and Art History

Graphic Design



The Visual & Performing Arts Major in Art and Art History

The Major in Art and Art History provides students with a broad-based education in the arts. The Major includes general history courses in art (i.e. painting, sculpture, architecture and related media), as well as courses in music, film, photography and theatre, plus studio experience.

After completing required courses in Methodology and Art Literature, students can select a more specific program of study focused on one era or period in art history (e.g. the Renaissance, the Baroque/Classic, the Romantic, the 19th and early 20th Centuries, and the Modern). To gain a more comprehensive and informed view of their chosen period, students will complete a combination of courses in art, music, film, photography, theatre and literature appropriate to their selected period. Students are also required to take two semesters of a foreign language (preferably one suitable to their chosen period of study) and attend cultural events on a regular basis.

The Senior Seminar with Thesis capstone course provides students with the opportunity to combine the various strands of their coursework in the arts. Upon completion of his or her degree, the student will be expected to have achieved the following learning goals:

  • Identify and distinguish among cultural, regional, and personal artistic styles
  • Recognize the relationships that exist between works of art and their historical and cultural contexts
  • Analyze and discuss orally and in writing—with precision and clarity—qualities of a given work of art or architecture
  • Critically analyze and discuss artwork, scholarly essays, and articles significant to the field
  • Employ research tools and mechanics appropriate to the writing of research papers required by the discipline of Art and Art History

View Art and Art History Major Requirements


The Visual & Performing Arts Major in Graphic Design

The Graphic Design Major at Merrimack College offers students a rich blend of art and design history, together with diverse opportunities to develop their artistic and creative expression in both design and the studio arts. Students receive a strong foundation in design thinking, theory, process and practice, along with a background in the Liberal Arts. The program challenges students to learn through research, critical questioning, problem analysis, and the methodologies of the design industry. Students also develop an understanding and working knowledge of current industry-standard technical skills.

The Graphic Design curriculum helps students build their knowledge, year by year, through courses of increasing complexity, as well as internships and opportunities for real-world design practice. Upon completion of his or her degree, the student will be expected to have achieved the following learning goals:

  • Understands and performs various types of research (infusing their senior capstone research project with focused knowledge)
  • Writes for varied applications
  • Understands and utilizes successful collaborative skills, both online and in-person
  • Is self-motivated and can manage creative projects
  • Employs a variety of creative processes in developing ideas for critical analysis via critique
  • Feels comfortable making oral presentations to students, professors, and outside clients
  • Understands how to brand and market themselves and their work
  • Is confident in their knowledge of all industry software, hardware, and social media
  • Is accountable, responsible, and ethical in their work

Graphic Design Major Requirements


The Visual & Performing Arts Major in Theatre

Based on a Liberal Arts foundation, the Theatre Arts Major at Merrimack College provides students with a variety of core courses in the theatrical arts including history and criticism, literature, performance, directing, design, management and technical production. Students gain a well-rounded and broad understanding of the field of theatre studies. 

The Theatre Arts Major at Merrimack is designed to prepare students for graduate school or professional careers in theatre-related professions. The Major also provides students with practical experience in managing an arts organization. In its diverse academic and production offerings, the Theatre Arts Major encourages students to strive for high degrees of excellence and professionalism. It also provides students with group-oriented problem-solving opportunities that encourage research, collaboration and cooperation, while also encouraging self-exploration, self-discipline, and creative expression. The Theatre Arts Major prepares and encourages students to embrace theatrical art as an effective and necessary form of human inquiry, exploration, and critique. It also promotes greater awareness of and appreciation for the role, function, and value of theatre in society. Upon completion of the Theatre Arts major, the student will be able to:

  • Integrate knowledge of the origins and development of theatre and drama into a historically informed understanding of critical and creative work
  • Demonstrate the ability to analyze plays perceptively and evaluate scripts and theatre productions critically
  • Apply research skills (under faculty direction) to conceive and/or execute a final project in acting, directing, criticism, playwriting or design
  • Demonstrate the ability to engage in the collaborative communication and processes necessary for the production of theatre
  • Demonstrate familiarity with postgraduate training and/or work opportunities and apply the learning from the specific areas of acting, directing, design, and production to projects within and beyond the discipline

Theatre Arts Major Requirements


Please contact:
Laura Moore Pruett
Chair of Visual and Performing Arts 
Associate Professor, Music