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You Won't Just Study image

You Won't Just Study

Our faculty will help you learn and understand how to make meaning.

Academic Studies

Taking it in.

Academic Studies at MECA provides you with knowledge and ideas to draw from in your artwork. The courses span literature, history, philosophy, the social sciences and the natural sciences. Our students say that the classes have made them more aware: conscious of the impact that world events have on art, and sensitive of how their own past affects their work. The things you learn will help you to form opinions and ideas, and translate them into meaningful art.

Liberal Arts courses required in a BFA degree:
10 courses: EN 100 English Composition and EN 105 Introduction to Literature, WH, PL, (2)HU/SS, (2) NS, (2) Any LA course.

The goal of the Liberal Arts curriculum at the Maine College of Art is to provide art students with basic skills in critical thinking, writing and reading and to promote intellectual curiosity. The courses help students understand the cultural, historical, scientific, literary, and philosophical context out of which much creative endeavor arises. Rather than absolute answers, we help students ask ever more difficult questions that will inform their lives as artists. When students leave Maine College of Art, it is our goal that they will be ready to direct their own learning and focus their creative and intellectual gifts in an informed manner.

The Liberal Arts department provides art students with a two-pronged approach that complements their studio education: basic skills in reading, writing, critical thinking, mathematics, and the scientific method along with knowledge in a variety of disciplines, cultures, and chronologies that students can use within their creative practice and as well- rounded, well-informed citizens in the twenty-first century.


  • Faculty
  • Alumni
  • Dana Sawyer

    The only hope for the world of time lies in being constantly drenched in that which lies beyond time.

    Dana Sawyer’s lifelong interest in the nature of consciousness, Tibetan Buddhism, Hindu mysticism, psychedelic experience and alternative philosophies have propelled him around the globe, from Kyoto to Latvia. He travelled to India thirteen times to research the views and practices of Hindu swamis who belonged to a sect descended from . . .Read More

  • Former Faculty Doug Vollmer

    Students who first entered his class fearful of ‘science’ came away with confidence, knowing that . . .

    As a science professor at an arts college, Doug challenged his students not only to think and reason like a scientist, but also to use the visual world as a canvas for interpreting science through the use of art.Read More

  • Assistant Professor in MFA, Julie Poitras Santos

    Assistant Professor in MFA Julie Poitras Santos' site-specific visual practice takes many forms, including . . .

    Assistant Professor in MFA Julie Poitras Santos‘ site-specific visual practice takes many forms, including installations, video, performances and public projects. Much of her recent work uses walking as a means to create community, investigate richly sited ways of knowing, and narrate new territories. This fall, Julie will be . . .Read More

  • Faculty Kate Kaminski

    Kate Kaminski, Adjunct Instructor of Academic Studies, is founder and artistic director of the Bluestocking . . .

    Kate Kaminski, Adjunct Instructor of Academic Studies, is founder and artistic director of the Bluestocking Film Series, recognized by Down East Magazine’s editors in their Best of Maine Culture section. The series was also mentioned in Ann Hornaday’s Summer Preview in The Washington Post, and Marie Claire magazine listed . . .Read More

  • Faculty Steve Halpert

    Steve Halpert, Adjunct Assistant Professor of Academic Studies, has been curating exhibitions at the . . .

    Steve Halpert, Adjunct Assistant Professor of Academic Studies, has been curating exhibitions at the University of New England gallery on the Portland campus for many years. The most recent include two exhibits of vintage and contemporary photography: A Tale of Three Cities: Paris, New York, and Portland, which featured 32 photographers; . . .Read More

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  • Formal

    Students develop their reading and writing skills, and cultivate a personal, original and dynamic voice in writing and speaking. Students gain the ability to discuss the values, beliefs, and cultural productions of societies other than their own. Students have the ability to present ideas clearly, to develop a cogent argument, and to speak with confidence. They use scientific and mathematical methods and principles in a meaningful context, and develop observational skills in the laboratory and through field experiences. Students gain the ability to discuss social and ethical issues related to technological developments in science and develop teamwork skills.

  • Conceptual

    Students gain knowledge of basic principles of Western civilization, with an emphasis on classical antiquity, Christianity, and modern British and American literature. Students gain knowledge of historical and philosophical methodology, including the types of questions historians and philosophers ask and the sources they use. Students have a basic familiarity with worldwide cultural traditions and knowledge in the basic chronology of world and western cultures. Students gain knowledge of the metaphysical and physical dimensions of mathematics, and of scientific theories and methodology. Students explore different theories attempting to answer universal questions (Where do we come from? What are we? What is our place in the world? Where are we going?) in terms of history, philosophy, and science.

  • Technical

    Students competently produce several forms of writing, including a thesis, research paper, book report, critical analysis of literature, argument, and personal essay. Students learn library (book and database) research skills. Students increase their reading comprehension and analytical skills, and use correct academic style (MLA, APA or Chicago) in citing sources and bibliographies. Students use laboratory and field study equipment and apply mathematical concepts and scientific theories to practical and creative laboratory and field projects.


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What do our alumni do?

Statistics from the 2015 Strategic National Arts Alumni project (SNAAP)

Did you know?

55% is the national average for arts alumni that work as professional artists.

45% is the national average for arts alumni that are self employed, independent contractors, or freelance workers.


Work as professional artists


Work as graphic designers, illustrators, or art directors


Founded a business


Work as craft artists


Work as fine artists


Work as art teachers


Pursued an MFA after graduation


Are self-employed, independent contractors or freelance workers


Make art in their personal time


Graduation Rate


Transfer Graduation Rate

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