Conceptual Information Arts 
B. A. Requirements for Admission and Graduation

Students major in Art with an emphasis in CIA.  Students are required to meet all the requirements for the CIA emphasis, the art major and general requirements for the BA from SFSU.  To be admitted to the area, one must meet all the general requirements for the University and demonstrate an interest in pursuing studies compatible with the area's emphasis. The program focuses on experimental art inquires in the intersection of culture and technology.  The program does not emphasize vocational training in commercial design or multimedia design (although many students do go on to achieve leadership positions in relevant industries.)

For up to date details about grad requirements in art see art department web site 

Conceptual/Information Arts Emphasis Requirements 

Introductory Level  
Art 410  & 412 

Intermediate Level (taken after completion of 410, 412)  
At least three Art 511 courses selected from the rotatting set of offerings 

Advanced Level  
Art 610 (advanced projects seminar)  
Art 612 (internship)  
(taken after completion of art 410, 412 and at least one 511 course)  

Art Department Requirements 

Art History (12 units) 
4 courses - at least 2 must be upper level (300+)
One must be 20-21th century course and one must be non-Western

Selections are from a rotating selection of Art History courses given each semester such as:

  • History of New Media
  • The Artist in the 20th Century: Cultures in Collision, Cultures in Fusion 
  • Queer Art History
  • History of Architecture
  • Art of South Asia, India,Pakistan Sri Lanka, Nepal
  • Western Art Special Areas selected from: 
    • Spanish Art-Case Studies of selected artists
    • Women and Art: The 20th Century 
    • Art in the 80s: The Post-Modern Dilemma 
    • History of Photography 
    • Dada and Surrealism 
    • American Painting and Sculpture: 1940 to the Present 
  • Note this list is subject to change so check with ArtOffice for current offerings.

(Under very special circumstances CIA majors may be allowed to count 1 course outside of art as meeting these requirements - for example, BECA, Design or Cinema.)

CIA emphasis (21 units) 

Courses include 410,412, three 511s, 610, & 612 

 Studio Electives (12 units) 

4 hands-on  studio courses in any art forms -- at least 2 must be upper level (300+) (with special arrangements CIA majors may be allowed to count 1 or 2 courses outside of art as meeting these requirements - for example, DAI, Music or Cinema) 

Art Production (1 unit) 

1 practicum course in which student undertakes activities that help in running the program - for example tutoring students, lab monitor, maintenance of the CIA reading room. 

University Requirements 

- Minimum of 120 semester units. - Thirty (30) units must be earned in residence at SFSU. Twenty-four (24) of these units must be upper division courses and twelve (12) of these units (upper division or lower division) must be in the major. 

-Upper Division Units Requirement - Minimum of 40 upper division units (courses numbered 300-699 at SFSU). Twenty-four (24) of these units must be completed at SFSU, nine (9) of which must be completed in General Education,Segment III. 

- General Education: Students must meet Level I II, and III requirements in addition to other math, English, government, and other requirements. 

** note this subject to change - 
For more details, see the university bulletin website.

Notes on Transfering into CIA

We are often asked what previous courses will transfer.  Here is an overview.  The CIA faculty will be glad to go over  previous courses to give a detailed assessment.

--------Art Major:

We have a bit more control in this area because the art department makes the assessments of previous courses.  There are some general principles you should be aware of:   Many SFSU requirements break into lower and upper level.  Upper level courses are intermediate and advanced courses - that is, with numbers of 300+.  By definition any course taken at a junior college cannot qualify as upper level.  If you have been at a 4 year college or university, then it is possible some of your advanced courses may qualify.  Also,  if many courses transfer, you still need to watch other general requirements - eg a minimum requirement for courses taken at sfsu, etc.  (check the catalog).

CIA majors get a degree in the art with an emphasis in CIA.  They need to meet the general art requirements.

4 art history courses (2 lower and 2 upper).  Many transfers can easily bring in the 2 lower level art history courses if they have taken any at other institutions.  Advanced art history sometimes qualify but watch the 20-21st century and non-European requirements.

4 studio electives (2 lower and 2 upper).  These are hands-on courses in any traditional or new media art forms.  Many transfers can easily bring in the 2 lower level courses (and sometimes the advanced) if they have taken relevant courses at other institutions.

7 studio courses in the CIA emphasis (all upper level).  These are more difficult to transfer because we find that courses taken in other institutions match rarely what we do in the CIA.  Even if people have taken new media courses they are usually quite different in conceptual orientation, even if they use the same media tools.  Also the courses in the emphasis are the place we get to work with students.  Thus, it is rare that these requirements can be met by transfer credits.  Note, however, that new media courses taken elsewhere can often meet the studio elective requirements.

-----------General Education

SFSU has a full general education requirement.  Many California junior colleges explicitly focus on helping students meet these.  We in the art department have less to say about these transfers.  The registrar will often prepare an evaluation of your general ed status as part of admission to sfsu.  There are 3 levels to GE requirements.

Level 1 - basic math, writing, speaking, critical thinking, government.  Transfers have often met these.

Level 2 -  3 courses each  in :  Humanities/art, science, social science.  There is a list of courses that meet these. Transfers often have met some of these.  Even if the registrar says some courses will not transfer, you would have the option of petitioning, taking courses by examination etc.

Level 3 - 3 courses drawn from specific clusters.  focused on advanaced integrated, interdisciplinary study.  It is unlikely you will be able to meet these by transfer.

  Revised: 2.2012
- This page created by Stephen Wilson, Professor Conceptual/Information Arts Program, Art Department, SFSU (  
- More information about the Conceptual Information Arts program is available at (