As you work toward your future dream career here at Moore, you’ll also distinguish yourself from the competition thanks to the skills you’ll learn in our Creative & Critical Studies program.

Every Moore student takes Creative & Critical Studies classes, so you'll learn in community with your peers while engaging your curiosity about the broader world of art and design. Creative & Critical courses will also fuel your imagination and inform your studio work, expanding your knowledge of interdisciplinary practices, building your cross-cultural awareness, and strengthening your academic skills. You’ll also develop new vocabulary to describe your work to audiences, and sharpen your ability to discuss and research art and ideas, making you a better communicator and collaborator—and a more marketable artist!

New in 2023: Every Moore student will take our newest course, Gender, Race, Class and Power in their sophomore year! This unique interdisciplinary class focuses on these intersecting forces and how they play out in various cultures and historical moments/movements. Topics will vary from class to class, with a consistent emphasis on diversity, equity, inclusion and access, as well as decolonization.


Creative & Critical Studies classes run parallel to the work you do in your major. You’ll learn from award-winning faculty and investigate a wide world of ideas through research, dialogue and writing, with a focus on multiculturalism. You’ll also learn how to critique the media you consume, and discuss issues that artists and designers encounter in a competitive marketplace.

In your first year, art history courses and writing workshops will be sources of endless inspiration. In your second year, you’ll learn about modern and contemporary art and explore cultures beyond the Western canon. Junior and senior-level electives are interdisciplinary and designed to challenge you to pursue your own unique interests—everything from creative writing to the economics of starting a small business.

Creative & Critical Studies classes will inspire you and inform your studio work! In addition to conversations about labor, race, class, and civics, literature readings and writing workshops will help you become a more effective communicator. You will examine major forces in global cultures, both past and present, which shape our world, and consider issues that artists and designers—especially historically marginalized artists and designers— may encounter in a competitive marketplace.

For students enrolled in the academic track of our Visionary Honors Program, Creative & Critical Studies Honors seminars and studios translate to a unique learning experience and shared community.


All students in Creative & Critical Studies classes take field trips to museums, galleries, and theaters, and get exciting opportunities to connect with prominent artists, writers, and designers.

PLUS: You'll have access to Adobe Express, which allows you to curate visual and written content in response to class assignments. You and your faculty will use this platform to track your progress as a researcher and writer, creating an accessible, personalized, and informed learning experience. 

Creative & Critical Studies Curriculum

All students take these courses during their time at Moore.

First-Year Class

You'll investigate current themes and issues in art and design and read works in a variety of genres—including literature, journal articles and online writing—and dialogue with them in your own writing. This class offers a workshop environment and emphasizes ongoing revision and peer feedback as a means of exploring relationships between writer and audience. You will have the opportunity to practice a variety of forms and discourses throughout the semester as you develop writing skills and learn rhetorical strategies that are foundational to any career in art and design.

First-Year Class

This introductory course to the history of art employs thematic, contextual and critical approaches to interpreting images and understanding contemporary critical discourses about art. Students will examine art from the earliest human civilizations through the medieval period and investigate cross-cultural themes of social identity, constructions of the body and the use of art as public signifier. At the same time, students will address the interaction of art and technology, considering the topics of artistic practice from the development of fiber arts and architecture to the invention of writing, coinage and the concept of the multiple.

First-Year Class

This course provides each student with the opportunity to pursue sustained research in an area of their own interest, guided by a conceptual framework determined by the class with the instructor. Exploring a single question related to a relevant topic in culture or literature, students will engage independently in their own process of inquiry as they study, evaluate, analyze and synthesize source materials and learn how to incorporate them effectively in their own writing. Students will also examine issues of context and ethics in both academic and professional writing as they become artists and designers who write with integrity.

First-Year Class

This course explores the concept of what it meant to be "modern" in Western culture, from its inception in the 14th century through its escalating importance by the mid-19th century. Students will examine the agents and engines of artistic and social change, as well as shifting perspectives on the role of artists in society. Tracing the means by which artistic styles and ideas increasingly crossed national boundaries as global communication became progressively more possible, we will consider the rapid expansion of new technologies, and the emergence of the artist as prophet, celebrity and social critic.

Second-Year Class

This course is designed to introduce students to the wider world of cultural production beyond the Western emphasis of other core art history courses. We turn to the field of visual/cultural anthropology to offer models for ways to decenter the West as the primary prism of attention. In line with this more contemporary way of thinking about the complexities of multiculturalism, the focus will be on cultural contexts. Course focus will cover all aspects of visible culture: the built environment, ritual and ceremonial performance, dance, art and material culture. The specific focus for each semester will be determined by the direction of individual faculty interests and expertise.

Second-Year Class

This special topics course investigates the intersecting forces of gender, race, class, and power in relation to a historical event, theoretical framework, or cultural phenomenon. The course emphasizes critical analysis, historical contextualization, and interdisciplinary connections. Topics and instructors may vary per semester. 

Second-Year Class

This course examines decisive moments and issues from the history of art in the 20th and 21st centuries to provide students with a critical understanding of emerging practices in modern and postmodern art. A wide range of media and artistic strategies is explored through thematic weekly topics that ground recent art in its historical, intellectual, political and social context, while also addressing important aspects of its curatorial display and reception. The course incorporates art criticism and critical theory to frame modern and postmodern art within broad aesthetic and intellectual traditions, ensuring that students can effectively discuss, critique and review contemporary art.

Second-Year Class

This special topics course investigates the intersecting forces of gender, race, class, and power in relation to a historical event, theoretical framework, or cultural phenomenon. The course emphasizes critical analysis, historical contextualization, and interdisciplinary connections. Topics and instructors may vary per semester.

Creative & Critical Studies Electives

Below is a sample list of electives Moore students can take in their junior and senior years, which will satisfy curricular requirements and provide tons of space to be creative!

This course traces fantasy as subject and strategy in the visual arts from 1850 to the present. Beginning with a close examination of paintings, literary illustrations, pulp magazines and book covers from the 1840s through the mid-20th century, the course pivots to a study of how post-war culture, the emergence of a globalized postmodern condition and its associative technological innovations re-shaped and evolved the potential of fantasy narratives, settings and characters in the visual arts. Close readings of modern literary theory, beginning with J.R.R. Tolkien’s foundational ideas on subcreation and Primary and Secondary Worlds outlined in "On Fairy Stories," will open a critical discussion of how artists exploit character traits, settings and world building to revise, re-interpret and overcome strongly rooted stereotypes and tropes while challenging real world social and political issues. Recent cultural and intellectual histories such as the psychedelic movement, rising critiques of gender and race (and inclusion more broadly), and the potential of virtual reality technologies and the posthuman will provide tools to critique and analyze the persistent and diversifying role and power of fantasy subject matter to the human condition.

Maya Angelou said, "There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you." Share your stories with the world! This class teaches the craft of story building and narrative construction. Students learn the essential components, approaches and techniques that convey entertaining and unforgettable narratives to audiences including plot design, character development, world building and story techniques such as foreshadowing, misdirection, exposition, metaphor, cliffhanger, theme, flashback/forward, time jumps, etc. The skills and knowledge gained in this course can be applied to a variety of media: film and screenwriting, animation and game design, creative writing, illustrations and graphic novels, social media, promotional videos, trailers, etc.

This course introduces students to the basic concepts required for understanding entrepreneurship. Students will learn entrepreneurial practices that are fundamental for successfully starting and maintaining a new business: developing a market feasibility study for a new business concept; assessing risk; creating viable opportunities; identifying and assembling the resources to start a new business. This class includes guest speakers with entrepreneurial experience in the art world. Students will also read case studies for analysis and participate in activities that demonstrate and prepare them for what it is like to be an entrepreneur in the working world.

Afrofuturism is "a social movement and cultural aesthetic movement in literature, music, art, film and philosophy, featuring futuristic or science fiction themes which incorporate elements of black history and culture." This writing-intensive literature course introduces students to significant literary works, presenting central themes from literary history while focusing on the continued development of students' own writing and oral presentation skills. Afrofuturism combines liberation theory and speculative thinking to transform limitations of reality and to create new worlds of one's own design. A core reading list of literary works in mythology and definitive texts in Afrofuturism will inform students weekly writings and shape final projects in storytelling and "universe" design. Class explorations in film, gaming and virtual reality narratives serve to expand student knowledge of diverse expressions and applications of world-building and to deepen their understanding of mythic literacy.

Creative Writing: Fiction is structured as a workshop in which students write and revise their own fictional prose and give feedback to their peer writers. Creative experiments will be assigned throughout the semester as practice and inspiration. The class will also read fiction by major modern and contemporary writers in a variety of genres and discuss authors' various approaches to style, narrative strategy and the writing process.

Visual Poetries functions as a workshop in which students write their own poetry while examining the work of a variety of modern and contemporary poets. Readings focus on poems that emphasize visual elements, including imagist, symbolist, concrete and "language" poetry, and explore how poetry takes inspiration from other forms of art such as painting, graphic design and illustration. Students consider how each poet makes use of the page as a material canvas and how the placement of words, punctuation and white space affects the meaning of a poem. Creative experiments assigned throughout the semester will help each student write, design and present their own brand of visual poetry. Based on the scope of a student's project or level of study, there may be additional costs for materials and supplies.  

Students read and engage a range of children’s literature, focusing on the craft and capacities of the text. How can we develop engaging characters, a good story, effective pacing and distinctive voice through writing? Through a range of assignments, students will practice the craft of children’s book writing and prepare to bring that writing into relation with visual illustrations.

In this interdisciplinary course, students will engage in studio art projects and creative writing exercises that explore the materiality of queer experience. These projects will span a range of formats and materials and be informed by critical readings and discussions that explore the social, cultural and historical contexts of queer identities and experiences. Through this approach, students will develop a nuanced understanding of the ways in which queer identities are constructed, represented and contested through various materials and media. They will pay particular attention to the speculative nature of this representation, exploring art and writing that seeks to abstract and bend our understanding of queer creative production and performance.

Curriculum by Major

Each BFA program has curriculum tailored to support your growth artistically, and to expand your knowledge in Creative & Critical Studies. To see the full program curriculum for each major: