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Let's Get Creative! Visual Arts at Southern Miss

The department offers two distinct degree programs that include a broad range of opportunities for preparation in either traditional or professional career paths. These undergraduate degree tracks are:

  1. Bachelor of Arts (B.A.), a broadly based, traditional arts program offered in general Art studies.
  1. Bachelor of Fine Arts (B.F.A.), professional career preparation in Drawing & Painting, Graphic Design, or Sculpture.

Scholarships are based on portfolio review and area of study.

The University of Southern Mississippi is an accredited, institutional member of the National Association of Schools of Art & Design.

Request info Apply PORTFOLIOS

1facility dedicated to 3D art
3BFA areas of specialization

What Will I Learn?

Students begin their studies in the art foundations program, a first-year experience that includes studio courses in drawing, design, and color theory. Advanced studio courses and courses in art history follow. Courses are oriented toward understanding the creative process, as well as comprehending and developing a personal sense of visual sophistication. Students develop confidence and a strong artistic vocabulary relating to the visual arts as a whole.


Step 1

Apply to the University. For acceptance into the Art and Design programs, apply to the University. 


Step 2

Submit your digital portfolio review. Portfolios are encouraged as part of the admissions and scholarship awarding process.



The USM Art and Design program encourages a portfolio review as part of the admissions and scholarship awarding process. Typically, portfolio reviews are mostly conducted in-person during the Art and Design Open House and/or Open Studios, but due to our Covid-19 response, only digital portfolio reviews are currently being accepted.

Preparing Your Submission 

Digital Portfolio: What do we look for in your a portfolio review submission? We look for both an interest in and commitment to art, as well as skills in drawing and painting from observation/imagination, a sense of color and design, and other creative abilities.

Here are some guidelines for submitting your digital portfolio:

  • Portfolios should include 10-15 images of your work. You may include: drawing and painting from observation/imagination, printmaking, sculptures or other three-dimensional works, ceramics, print, packaging, illustration, typography, web design, identity campaigns (logo design and branding), digital photography, and interactive media/motion graphics.
  • If you have interactive media/motion graphics, please share the URL when submitting the form.
  • File should be saved as a single Adobe PDF document.
  • Include 1-2 images per page: Include title of work and medium used.
  • File should be no larger than 25MB.
  • Please use the following format for the file name: first_lastname_portfolio.pdf.

Recommendation: You will need to submit the contact information of a reference. It can be a visual arts teacher or an employer. You will need their first name, last name, email, title/position, and organization.

Once you submit your application form online, your reference will receive an email on behalf of Southern Miss Art and Design with an online recommendation form for them to submit. Note: You will need to certify that you have permission from your reference to share their email address, so they can be contacted via email by USM to request the recommendation.

Essay: An essay titled “Why I Want to be an Art Major at Southern Miss?”



The USM Art and Design program encourages a portfolio review as part of the admissions and scholarship awarding process.

To ensure scholarship eligibility, visit the GO system

All incoming Art and Design majors are required to purchase the recommended hardware and software necessary for the creating your artwork. Learn more


Faculty Spotlight

Jennifer Torres

Creative Research Scholar of the Year


Jennifer Torres, professor of sculpture and ceramics at Southern Miss, showcased her most recent creative endeavor titled, “Misfit Children: Landscapes and Creatures from the Mind of Jennifer Torres,” at the Tennessee Valley Museum of Art. The exhibition intrigued visitors with the stories each piece had to tell using texture, color, and intentional detail. As the 2020 College of Arts and Sciences Creative Research Scholar of the Year, we sat down with professor Torres to get to know her and learn more about her exhibition and creative process.

Read more


Areas of Study 




Contact Us

School of Performing and Visual Arts
George Hurst Building, Room 106
Hattiesburg, MS 39406 

Hattiesburg Campus

Campus Map




  • Artist
  • Art Educator
  • Historian
  • Graphic/Multimedia Designer
  • Art Gallery Manager
  • Creative Director
  • Jesse McDonald
    2012. SEO Specialist at Geek Powered Studios in Austin.
  • Jared Walters
    2006. Marketing Manager/Burton Computer Resources, web developer for/Communication Arts Company, web communications specialist/Mississippi College.
  • Blake O'Brien
    2016. Working artist with exhibitions in Covington, LA. Dime Magazine Featured Artist.


The Museum of Art/Gallery of Art and Design present a wide range of regional to national exhibitions—providing a forum for education by hosting lectures and gallery talks, workshops, and symposia by leading artists, critics, curators, and historians. 


Museum Tour

The 3-D Arts building is a state-of-the-art facility that includes a ceramics lab, metal shop, and foundry

Building Tour