CE Core Curriculum Certificate

Due to COVID-19 restrictions, the CE Core Curriculum Certificate will not be available for application until further notice. 

Please see the CE Online Course Catalog to register for individual classes.

If you're new to art, interested in taking classes but unsure of your direction, or returning to art after a long absence, the CE Core Curriculum Certificate is designed for you!  Composed courses in drawing, painting, sculpture, and printmaking, with additional electives in your areas of interest, this structured curriculum provides a firm foundation across fine arts disciplines.  The program culminates with an individual study program designed to promote independent thought and personal interest.  The CE Core Curriculum Certificate will help you discover your creative voice and move forward in your art-making through a focus on observational skills, a variety 0f materials and techniques, and personal expression.

Program Overview

  • Students must apply and be accepted to the CE Core Curriculum Certificate program.  See How to Apply below.
  • Critiques and meetings with an assigned faculty adviser are scheduled at regular intervals, based on the rate of completed courses.  It is recommended that students meet with their assigned advisors at the start of the program and near the end of each semester of courses taken for review of work and/or recommendations for next course registration.
  • All courses must be taken for credit, which entails assessment for a grade based on attendance, participation, and quality of work.  Grading requirements vary by course/instructor.  Credits will appear on PAFA transcripts, available upon request. 
  • A limit of 3 previously completed CE course(s) may be transferred, upon review and approval of the CE Director.  Courses must have been completed within 2 years of the Certificate application date and must have been taken for credit to be applied.
  • Courses need not be taken in successive semesters or in a prescribed order.  It is recommended that students complete at least one drawing course before enrolling in any painting or sculpture requirements.  Students may enroll in one or multiple courses in a given semester but should consider that outside classwork may be additionally required.
  • Students may substitute CE required courses with similar PAFA BFA courses through the Open Academy.  Students who have been accepted to the CE Certificate programs may waive the New Student application requirements for their Open Academy course application; basic request form and portfolio images only are needed.  See Open Academy for details.
  • CE Certificate students must complete their Certificate course of study within 5 years of their semester start date.  Resuming Certificate course requirements after this time limit will require reinstatement into the program by application and fee.

Certificate Program Completion Requirements

  1. A portfolio review/critique by a faculty advisor/committee
  2. A signed Certificate Credit Fulfillment Form, acknowledging the completion of all program requirements
  3. 10 digital images of artwork


Tuition is charged on a per-course/-program basis, which is assessed based on classroom contact hours.  Students must pay the for-credit tuition rate in order to be assessed for a grade and fulfill Certificate enrollment requirements.

  • 30 contact hours = $525 for 1.0 undergraduate credit
  • 36 contact hours = $625 for 1.0 undergraduate credit
  • 45 contact hours = $950 for 1.5 undergraduate credits
  • Open Academy (BFA/Post Baccalaureate classes, 45+ contact hours) = $2,000 for 1.5 undergraduate credits / $4,000 for 3.0 undergraduate credits

Tuition varies for Master Classes, the Studio/Critique Program, independent courses of study, and other special programs used to fulfill program requirements.  Additional lab/materials fees may apply.  PAFA Friend-level and above membership discounts apply to regular CE classes and Master Classes (Studio/Critique Program and Open Academy classes not included)

Course tuition must be paid in full at the time of enrollment in each course.

How to Apply

Apply Now

Application is currently unavailable for Fall 2020.  Please check back by December 1 for Spring 2021 availability.

Application Requirements

  • A completed online CE Certificate Application (see instructions below).  Students will be allowed to select faculty advisor preferences.
  • Personal statement (1 – 2 paragraphs explaining your artistic experience and/or why you would like to enroll in the CE Core Curriculum Certificate).
  • A portfolio of 3 – 5 artwork images (JPEG format preferred).  Your portfolio should consist of recent work demonstrating your interests and abilities in any media or subject matter.  A smartphone camera is typically sufficient to photograph artwork.
  • A high school/GED transcript may be requested to verify enrollment eligibility.

Directions for Online Application via SlideRoom: 

  • Click Apply Now button above to go to SlideRoom
  • "Login" to an already existing account, or “Sign Up” to make a SlideRoom account.  (SlideRoom is a free service.)  Be sure that your contact information for your new or existing SlideRoom account is updated and correct, as it will be used to contact you and to register you for classes.
  • If creating a new account, open the email that was automatically sent to you and click on the activation link.  Log in to your new account.
  • Select "CE Certificate Programs" from the Directory (application currently unavailable).
  • Complete the form requirements.  Upload your personal statement and your portfolio images.  The Core Curriculum application requires only 3 - 5 images
  • Review and submit your application.  Once submitted, it cannot be altered.  Logout when finished.  Be sure to make note of your SlideRoom login information:  you can use this account for future SlideRoom applications at PAFA and other participating institutions. 

Students will be notified of acceptance decisions via email from the Continuing Education Programs office.  Please add the domain @pafa.edu to your Address Book or Contacts to be sure to receive your acceptance decision and other important program information.

For questions, contact PAFA’s Continuing Education Programs Office at 215-972-7632 or continuinged@pafa.edu.

Required Courses

View/search for the required CE courses below via the online catalog.  Students may substitute similar courses from the BFA program through PAFA’s Open Academy.

Drawing (2)

  • An introductory-level class, such as Drawing Fundamentals, Beginning Drawing: The Portrait, Renaissance Drawing Techniques, or Cast Drawing
  • A second-level class, such as Intermediate Drawing, Mixed Media Drawing, Life Drawing, Portrait Drawing, or Pastel Drawing

Painting (2)

  • An introductory-level class, such as Beginning Painting, Still Life Painting (beginning level), or Elementary Figure Drawing and Painting
  • A color- or techniques-focused course such as Basic Color, Color for Painters, any color theory or mixing course, Oil Painting Tools & Techniques, Oil Painting Materials & Techniques

Sculpture (1)

  • Any sculpture course
    Recommended for beginners:  A clay-modeling course such as Terra Cotta Sculpture or Figure and Portrait Modeling, or any available fundamentals/survey course

Printmaking (1)

  • Any printmaking course
    Recommended for beginners:  Woodcut and Relief Printmaking,  Screenprinting, Monotype, or any available fundamentals/survey course

Elective Courses (2)

Two additional courses that advance your interests: 

  • Any more advanced drawing or painting class(es), and/or
  • Any additional course(s) in sculpture or printmaking

Self-Directed Study

One of the following self-directed study options required, with the purpose of producing self-motivated work that promotes the student’s artistic goals.  Major components of this program requirement are independent studio work and critical review.  Prices vary according to contact hours and program amenities.     

  • The Summer Studio/Critique Program
    This six-week, 4.0-credit program confers a private PAFA studio and weekly individual critiques from a stellar ensemble of nationally and internationally known artists, including members of PAFA’s acclaimed faculty.  While students work with critics during the program to shape their progress, students fulfilling their independent study requirement with this program must first contact their faculty advisor and CE Director for suitability and and to draft projected studio goals.
  • Independent study with faculty advisor
    Independent study courses may involve participation in a CE course for work from a model or use of facilities.  Independent study proposals must be drafted in conjunction with the student’s faculty advisor and approved by the CE office.  Proposals must be submitted in writing in advance, no later than two weeks prior to the first day of the CE semester.  Independent study course tuition is commensurate with a 1.0-credit, 36-contact-hour CE course.  Independent study courses must be comprised of the following:
    • 3 critiques with faculty adviser
    • 1 comprehensive project or multiple individual artworks/studies (to be determined in conjunction with, and approved by, the faculty advisor)
    • Written essay, statement or research paper (to be determined in conjunction with, and approved by, the faculty advisor)
  • The PAFA Atelier:  Drawing and Painting
    This CE course offers instructed class time with the opportunity to work from life models or other subject matter, independent work sessions, and multiple critiques from the instructor and guest critics.  Students must work with the instructor to generate expectations and requirements, including number of artworks/studies and a written requirement, to merit a grade (see independent study requirements above).  Course details and availability vary by semester.
  • An approved Open Academy course
    Open Academy course selection must be made in consultation with the student’s faculty advisor and CE office, and the application is subject to approval by the course’s instructor.  A project proposal and written component may be required if not already part of the course structure (see independent study requirements above).

Faculty Advisors

A faculty advisor will be assigned upon admission to the CE Certificate program.  Students have the option to request advisors in order of preference when applying.

  • Phyllis Laver (drawing)
  • Doug Martenson (drawing, painting)
  • Jill Rupinski (drawing, painting)
  • Frederic Kaplan (drawing, painting)
  • James Toogood (painting - watercolor)
  • Steve Nocella (sculpture)
  • Colleen O’Donnell (sculpture)
  • Lisa Hamilton (printmaking)
  • Tony Rosati (printmaking)
  • Ron Wyffels (printmaking)


CE Certificate students are subject to the same expectations and rules as regular CE students, with regard to registration deadlines, credit requirements, withdrawal and refund procedures, classroom and campus policies, and rules of conduct.  View Continuing Education's registration and policy information here.  

Students completing Certificate requirements with Open Academy classes must adhere to the policies and procedures for application and participation, as defined here.

Contact Continuing Education

Thank you for your interest in PAFA's CE programs. Join our community of dedicated artists of all ages and skill levels:  Continuing Education offers exceptional studio art classes and workshops for beginner to advanced artists outside of PAFA's degree programs, available to both museum members and the general public.

Telephone: (215) 972–7632