The Master of Fine Arts (MFA) in Illustration & Visual Culture program explores the idea of illustration authorship by combining studio practice in illustration with curatorial training in visual and material culture. This program is ideal for illustrators, designers and those interested in working with popular visual matter of the modern period to discover how it was made and by whom, who it was for, and how it remains relevant today.
This is a two-year residential program. Graduates of the program will be prepared to work as author-artists of graphic novels and picture books; professors of illustration; critical writers on popular culture; and curatorial staff in museums, libraries and auction houses.
The program is built on the strengths and expertise of the Sam Fox School’s illustration and design faculty as well as the vast visual culture resources of Washington University, including the D.B. Dowd Modern Graphic History Library, a preeminent site for studying the history and culture of American illustration.
MFA in Illustration & Visual Culture
The Graduate School of Art subscribes to the standards for the MFA degree as set forth by the College Art Association of America (CAA) and the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD).
The residence requirement for the MFA degree is at least two academic years of full-time study (minimum of 12 credits each semester). Students have three calendar years from the date of first registration to complete the degree.
The MFA in Illustration & Visual Culture program combines studio work in illustration and cartooning with the academic study of visual and material culture, and it places an emphasis on popular print and hands-on curatorial training in partnership with the Olin Library Special Collections staff. Individual programs of study are arranged with faculty advisers according to the student's area of interest.
In order to earn the MFA in Illustration & Visual Culture, students must complete the following requirements:
|Visual Culture History & Theory||12|
|Hands-On Archival Work||9-12|
The two-year program can be organized as follows:
|Course||Fall Units||Spring Units|
|Illustration Studio 1: Drawing and Voice (ART 561)||6||—|
|The Illustrated Periodical (ART 571)||3||—|
|Special Collections: Practice & Purpose (ART 573)||3||—|
|Academic or Studio Elective||3||—|
|Illustration Studio 2: Artist, Author, Audience||—||6|
|Literatures of Drawing||—||3|
|Comics and Cartooning: A Survey||—||3|
|Modern Graphic History Practicuum||—||3|
|Illustration & Visual Culture Thesis Studio 1||9||—|
|Readings in Visual and Material Culture||3||—|
|Curatorial Practice or Academic or Studio Elective||3||—|
|Illustration & Visual Culture Thesis Studio 2||—||9|
|Academic or Studio Elective||—||3|
- Academic electives must be taken at the 400 or 500 level to earn graduate credit, with the exception of courses in the Department of Art History and Archaeology, which must be taken at the 300 level or higher.
- Studio electives introduce students to the intellectual and conceptual issues and production methods of an array of practices that complement and expand the student's area of study. First-year MFA students must take studio electives at the 500 level; second-year students must take all art electives at the 600 level.
Students may not register for courses in University College.