The Master of Fine Arts (MFA) in Visual Art program provides a dynamic, experimental environment that supports the production of original creative work while challenging the conventional and habitual. Students explore a wide spectrum of media, production methods and distribution strategies and learn to balance making with the generation of ideas. It is a two-year, critically engaged studio practice program with myriad opportunities for collaboration, cross-disciplinary work and research. The program promotes a rigorous exchange of ideas within a tight-knit community.
The program is an open landscape for the emerging artist — one that reflects the dynamic cultural shifts, global perspectives and evolving technologies that shape today's complex art world. While investigating their roles and responsibilities as artists, students challenge traditional hierarchies and embrace new forms of aesthetic thinking that include socially engaged and situated practices, site-responsive work, post-studio production, de-skilling and DIY/maker movements.
Graduate seminars provide contemporary and historical contexts for art making, while a thesis seminar supports students in their writing and the development of their ideas. Through a combination of self-directed study, studio critiques, visiting artist reviews and research, students build a sophisticated awareness of the cultural conversations of our time.
MFA in Visual Art
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 12 credits each semester). Students have three calendar years from the date of first registration to complete the degree. Individual programs are arranged with the program chair. Graduate students work with faculty advisers according to their areas of interest within the Sam Fox School and the university at large.
In order to earn the MFA in Visual Art — the terminal professional degree in studio art — students must complete the following requirements:
|Art/Art History*/Academic Electives||9|
Students must complete a total of 42 units of Graduate Studio (9 credits each semester during the first year; 12 credits each semester during the second year) as well as two seminars in contemporary practice (3 credits each) during the first year. During their last semester, students take a 3-credit thesis seminar. The culminating event of the graduate program requires students to present, defend and document a thesis exhibition.
Electives may be taken from art, art history, and academic courses:
- Art electives introduce students to the intellectual and conceptual issues and production methods of a broad array of practices that complement and expand the student's area of study. First-year students must take all art electives at the 500 level; second-year students must take all art electives at the 600 level.
- * A combined total of 18 units of undergraduate and graduate art history course work is required for the degree. To earn graduate-level credit as a matriculated student, courses in the Department of Art History and Archaeology must be taken at the 300 level or higher.
- Academic electives must be taken at the 400 or 500 level to earn graduate credit.
Students may not register for courses in University College.