Pre-BFA Experience

The first-year experience in the Pre-Bachelor of Fine Arts program guides you as you begin your college career.
In this Section

University of Wisconsin-Stout’s School of Art & Design has six BFA programs, each with its own unique skillsets, courses and career paths. The Pre-BFA program in the School of Art & Design, or SOAD, is required of all first-year students wanting to pursue a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree.

Pre-BFA is not a major, but is the time for you to discover if a BFA is right for you. And FYX is your “first-year experience,” where you can make that decision. FYX welcomes you into the SOAD community, guiding you in your program and career paths and walking you through building your first-year portfolio. SOAD faculty and staff are here for you through FYX - to help you understand and meet acceptance requirements to be admitted into your desired BFA program.

B.F.A. Programs

We offer you a solid foundation in liberal arts, art history and fine arts with a balance of design, theory, conceptual and applied curriculum. 

B.F.A. Animation & Digital Media

B.F.A. Game Design & Development - Art

B.F.A. Graphic Design & Interactive Media

B.F.A. Industrial & Product Design

B.F.A. Interior Design

B.F.A. Studio Art


Photo of Mary Benetti

“Being a part of the SOAD community means growth – for my work and as a person. SOAD supports me when I want to excel in my art and design work or just want a peer to connect with. Professors and students have been there for me when I needed advice and feedback, and I’ve gained a variety of perspectives and insight from our conversations.”

Mary Benetti,
B.F.A. Game Design and Development

School of Art & Design Community

SOAD works hard. We spend a lot of time in the studios and labs. You’ll get to know other Pre-BFA students and join a community of creatives who are just as passionate about art and design as you. All Pre-BFA students take the same FYX classes. The classes transfer across all programs and include:

  • Drawing I and II
  • 2D, 3D and Digital Design Foundations
  • Survey of Art History I and II

We play hard, too. There’s so much to experience with SOAD. Events you can participate in are:

Virtual Guidance

SOAD faculty and staff, campus partners and professionals help guide you through FYX during virtual events held throughout the year. The required sessions provide mentorship in:

  • BFA programs and minors
  • Art and design careers
  • SOAD student organizations
  • Study Abroad opportunities
  • Related majors and programs on campus

Photo of Jonathan Terry drawing

“A portfolio is a great way to reflect on all of your projects in one space. It brings to light your strengths and shows areas which may need improvement. From day one, students should be thinking about their future portfolio. It is key to your upcoming career.”

Payton Thesing,
B.F.A. Graphic Design and Interactive Media

Build Your FYX Portfolio

All students interested in pursuing a BFA degree are welcome in the Pre-BFA program. You do not need a portfolio to start. You build your FYX portfolio while taking your first-year classes. Your portfolio will have a maximum of 12 high-quality images representing your original artwork.

What artwork do I submit in my FYX portfolio?

  • 3-4 drawings from Drawing I and II
  • 3-4 items from 2D and 3D courses
  • 3-4 items of your choice, with emphasis on work related to desired major

Acceptance into the Pre-BFA and BFA Program

Your acceptance into UW-Stout automatically enters you into the Pre-BFA program that you choose on your application. Pre-BFA students apply for their desired BFA program at the end of their second semester of FYX to be accepted into the program and begin their studies the following semester.

What do I need to get accepted into my BFA program?

  • A 2.0 or higher UW-Stout cumulative GPA.
  • A grade of C or better for all art, art history and design courses.
  • Your FYX portfolio.
  • A personal essay of 300-500 words about how your Foundations work represents your preparedness for your intended major

You have two opportunities to apply for acceptance into your BFA program. We’re here to help guide you along the way.

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