Sophomore Seminar

Sophomore Seminar Background

Sophomore Seminar (SOPHSEM 2900) is an interdisciplinary studio seminar course that is focused on mentoring by core SAIC faculty, cultivating conceptual focus in the developing work, expanding critique skills, and visualizing a unique curricular pathway. Students will engage in activities such as extensive interdisciplinary critiques, self-reflective writing about their practice, individual and small-group advising sessions with their faculty, development of a self-designed curricular plan, and documentation of a project from sketch to advanced stage, thinking about creative decision-making and process.


Sophomore Seminar Course Description

What are the concerns that drive one's creative practice? How does one set the terms for its future development? Sophomore Seminar offers strategies for students to explore, reflect upon, and connect common themes and interests in the development of an emerging creative practice that will serve as the basis of their ongoing studies at SAIC and beyond. Students will examine historical and contemporary influences and contextualize their work in relation to the diverse art-worlds of the 21st Century. Readings, screenings, and field trips will vary each semester. Presentations by visiting artists and guest speakers will provide the opportunity for students to hear unique perspectives on sustaining a creative practice. One-on-one meetings with faculty will provide students with individualized mentorship throughout the semester. During interdisciplinary critiques, students will explore a variety of formats and tools to analyze work and provide peer feedback. The class mid-term project asks students to imagine a plan for their creative life and devise a self-directed course of study for their time at school. The course concludes with an assignment asking students to develop and document a project or body of work demonstrating how the interplay of ideas, technical skills, and formal concerns evolve through iteration, experimentation and revision.


Each section of Sophomore Seminar is intended to be interdisciplinary in that students with various material interests could take any of the sections and be engaged by the class conversation and critique. However, at SAIC, instructors teach to their strengths and interests, thus readings and writing assignments may reflect a faculty member’s discipline or departmental affiliation. Some faculty title their Sophomore Seminar courses descriptively and creatively, to signal the particular course focus to potential students, and also provide their own brief topic description, in addition to the Sophomore Seminar course description.

Students wishing to locate a faculty mentor within their particular area of study are advised to examine faculty bios and topic descriptions online in order to select a Sophomore Seminar course that best meets their identified goals and objectives.


Sophomore Seminar: Course Learning Goals

At the conclusion of the Sophomore Seminar course, students will be able to: 

  1. Present self-motivated work of an iterative nature that demonstrates conceptual focus and technical ability as well as the beginning of a personal direction. 
  2. Communicate a rationale for a self-designed curricular pathway for the third and fourth year at SAIC as well as a post-graduation goal. 
  3. Participate in a rigorous critique process in the art and design context that integrates peer-to-peer analysis as well as faculty to student feedback. 
  4. Demonstrate the ability to think, speak, and write clearly and effectively especially in regards to the developing body of creative work. 
  5. Display an empathetic capacity to respect, understand, and evaluate work made by a wide variety of artists pursuing creative expression in a broad array of disciplines. 

The information below updates twice a week--it is possible that changes may occur between updates. Up-to-the-minute information for enrolled students can always be found at PeopleSoft Self-Service.