Samford’s School of the Arts is pioneering the most effective methods to prepare students for a lifetime of creative contribution. Our new approach is designed for the next generation of learners and leaders. The Catalyst curriculum symbolizes the heart of an arts education. The intent of our new curriculum is to facilitate an environment that allows students to illuminate truth, acquire knowledge and discover their passion and purpose.

5 Themes

The Catalyst experience is characterized by five themes:


Students plot their own trajectories and challenge themselves in the pursuit of excellence. We aim to develop vibrant, independent thinkers who are energized by complex challenges that require novel solutions.


Students solve real-world problems through experiential learning both inside and outside the classroom. In conjunction with partners in the community and around the globe, we facilitate senior Catalyst projects, which are opportunities for students to develop and execute professional-level projects for actual clients and audiences.


Students participate in interdisciplinary projects that foster innovation, communication skills, and diversity of thought to provide a more holistic education. Our six core classes encourage crossover between the arts majors with team-based learning. Artists, actors, dancers, and musicians join forces to push boundaries and produce professional-quality solutions, designs, and performances.


Through practical internships, specialized workshops and off-campus opportunities, students cultivate an entrepreneurial mindset and gain valuable business insight. Our program gives students the industry specific knowledge they need, including how to audition, network, negotiate, etc., so that upon graduation, they’re prepared to navigate their professional fields.


Students discover their individual callings and their roles in society. We encourage students to explore their faith, use their talent in the service of others and seek a higher vocational purpose in their art form.

Catalyst student group on mission

6 Core Classes

The Catalyst curriculum includes a framework of six core classes:

Introduction to the Arts

This first-year course serves as the introduction to the School of the Arts and to concepts related to creating an artistic community, artistic awareness, personal worldview, and general success in college. This course is theoretical in nature to get students thinking right away.

Professionalism in the Arts

This first-year course continues the conversation started in SOA 101, but focuses on specific Divisions. It is practical in nature, so students will learn a lot of things directly applicable to their area.

Arts Perspective

This second-year course is designed to continue the conversation started in first year and explore the language and application of “arts” across the disciplines. Meaningful conversations will take place and students will develop a deeper understanding of the creative imagination in a dynamic interaction with society.

Creative Investigation

This third-year course explores the various investigative methods artists use to create their work. Students will examine how professional artists use investigation as part of their creative process and practice entrepreneurial thinking.

Creative Investigation in Practice

This third-year course examines ideas related to the creative process, artistic production, entrepreneurial thinking and collaboration in order to fully prepare them for their senior projects.

Catalyst Senior Project

In this final-semester, capstone project, students will utilize their learned skills to implement a major project for public display. These projects will allow students to dream bigger, go deeper, and begin creating professional-level work while still at Samford. Student’s will be encouraged to collaborate across disciplines, seek opportunities off campus, and work with professionals in their fields as they complete their projects.

Female dancers performing on stage