As you work toward your future career here at Moore, our Liberal Arts classes will help make you a more marketable artist or designer. You’ll sharpen your abilities to write and discuss ideas, and develop the vocabulary to describe your own art and the work of others, to a variety of audiences.

What will your Liberal Arts journey look like at Moore? In your first and second-year classes, you’ll learn from our expert faculty how to investigate a wide world of ideas and to critically discuss those concepts through dialogue and writing. Junior and senior-level electives will challenge you to pursue your own unique interests—everything from creative writing to the economics of starting a small business. Art history courses are paired with classes in the Writing Program during the first year, and with world history courses in the second.

The things you learn in Liberal Arts classes will fuel your imagination and inform your studio work! In addition to classroom discussions about labor, race, class, and civics, literature readings and writing workshops will help you become a more effective communicator. Upper-level Liberal Arts electives are interdisciplinary and designed to relate directly to your major. Also, we hope you love field trips! Get ready to open up new creative possibilities with visits to museums, galleries and theaters.

These classes will prepare you to examine major forces in world cultures, both past and present, which shape our postmodern world, and will invite to consider options and issues that artists and designers—women and nonbinary artists and designers, especially— may encounter in a competitive marketplace. For students enrolled in the academic track of our Visionary Honors Program, Liberal Arts honors seminars and studios will translate to a unique learning experience.

Plus, every student taking Liberal Arts classes gets access to Adobe Spark, 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.

Liberal Arts Curriculum

Course Requirements for All Students

In this course you will investigate current themes and issues in art and design as you 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.

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.

This introductory course to the history of art employs thematic, contextual and critical approaches to interpreting images and understanding contemporary critical discourses about art. While examining art from the earliest human civilizations through the medieval period, we will investigate cross-cultural themes of social identity, constructions of the body and the use of art as public signifier. At the same time, we will also 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.

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. We 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.

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.

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.

This course traces the development of our species while exploring how humans think about themselves and their existence. Evolution, myth, the growth of civilizations, the emergence of religion and philosophy and the rise of the West will be studied in the context of the development of communication, media and theory. The goal of this course is to increase critical consciousness and awareness of the main strands of interpretation in human history.

Beginning with a close study of 1914–1945, a period of intense and painful transformation, this course examines the recent social, political and cultural roots of the present moment. In order to foster reflexive understanding, this class examines major interdisciplinary topics in recent history ranging from globalization and transnationalism to the human rights movement, the crisis of the West and the impact of technology. Students will develop their ability to critically engage with existing narratives and to create their own useful and thoughtful interpretations based on an understanding of the wide diversity of human points of view and experiences, as well as a sense of emergent trends.


Required course for Art Education, Photography and Film & Digital Cinema majors. Offered every spring semester. Satisfies: Art History Emphasis and Art History Minor requirements as well as Art History/Liberal Arts Elective requirement.

We will trace the development of art history as a discipline, while also providing an overview of the significant philosophical and critical theories that have influenced aesthetic debates in relation to the field. Kant’s ideas of the Beautiful and the Sublime, Hegel’s dialectic, Winckelmann’s promotion of the Antique, Marxism, Adorno’s critique of the Culture Industry, Gombrich’s approach to art and illusion, and Lacan’s notion of the Gaze will be explored. Students will also engage actively with various methodologies that influence the interpretation of works of art and past cultural history, including biography, formalism, iconography, semiotics, structuralism, post-structuralism, deconstruction, colonialism/postcolonialism and feminism/postfeminism, through the work of Benjamin, Bryson, Derrida, Faludi, Foucault, Fry, Kristeva, Merleau-Ponty, Panofsky, Vasari and Wollflin (among others). Based on the scope of a student's project or level of study, there may be additional costs for materials and supplies. 

Required course for Interior Design and Graphic Design majors. Offered every spring semester.

This course will survey the history of applied arts and industrial design from the 18th century to the present day. It will investigate the historical, technological, social and commercial contexts in which designers manufacture and produce their work. We will look closely at the aesthetic decisions and contributions made by design artists. To this end, we will consider household objects, packaging, mass media, graphic design, illustration, architecture and interiors. Weekly readings will illuminate some of the major and current theoretical issues in design studies such as fine arts vs. applied arts, the gendering of design, and elitism vs. mass consumption. We will chart a course for design studies that is separate from yet relating to overarching trends in the fine arts. Students will gain a broad knowledge of the history of design and will have the opportunity to focus their assignments on their specific areas of study and interest. Based on the scope of a student’s project or level of study, there may be additional costs for materials and supplies.

Required course for Fashion Design majors. Offered every spring semester.

This course explores the theoretical frameworks and multiple methodologies that have been applied to the study and interpretation of apparel. Over the course of the semester, we will trace the historical development of fashion systems and fashion theory. We will read key texts in fashion studies to reflect critically on how we define fashion in different historical and cultural contexts. Using textual, visual and material sources, we will examine historical representations of dress, the politics of dress, fashion and the body, and consumption and modernity. Our approach will be interdisciplinary, embracing history, anthropology, art and literature.

Offered once per year or every other year.

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.

Offered once per year or every other year.

Students will 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.

Offered once per year or every other year.

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.

Satisfies: Humanities/Liberal Arts Elective requirement.

Creative Writing 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. Based on the scope of a student's project or level of study, there may be additional costs for materials and supplies. Satisfies: Humanities/Liberal Arts Elective requirement.

Offered every semester. Satisfies: Business Minor requirement/Liberal Arts Elective requirement.

What image comes to mind when you hear the word "business"? Some people think of office suites and giant corporations while others think of the stores they frequent as customers, and still others think of their jobs or of simply making money. Business drives the economic pulse of every nation. Whether you decide to start your own business, work for a small firm or gallery, or sign on with a large company, your achievement will depend on your ability to understand business. This course examines today's business environment, introduces business terminology, and discusses business strategies that allow individuals and companies to compete in the contemporary marketplace. Based on the scope of a student's project or level of study, there may be additional costs for materials and supplies. 

Curriculum by Major

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