The Master of Fine Arts (MFA) degree is designed as the professional degree for the fine artist, designer, and media artist. It is the mission of the program to provide the MFA candidate with a rigorous environment in which to focus on professional goals and artistic excellence. An important aspect of this environment is the creation of a community of peers and mentors all pursuing the enhancement of imagination through the creation and interpretation of meaningful work. Faculty members have substantial professional and educational backgrounds and are dedicated to the highest standards of artistic endeavor. The MFA is offered as a three-year, full-time program, or as a five-year, part-time degree program for the working professional. Students choose from offerings that include computer art and animation, painting, printmaking, sculpture, and digital sculpture, ceramics, photography, graphic media, and furniture design. Fully equipped studios in all areas provide the resources necessary for the actualization of a wide range of two-dimensional, three-dimensional, and time-based work.
In addition to the University’s admission requirements:
- Minimum of 60 credits in studio arts, 12 credits in art history or art criticism, including at least 3 credits in contemporary or twentieth-century art. Those applicants who do not have such experience may be required to take undergraduate courses in these areas before formally beginning the graduate degree. In certain cases where an applicant has a number of years of professional art activity, the committee, based on the qualitative evaluation of the work and the sponsorship of a faculty member, can grant admission.
- Cumulative grade point average of no less than 2.75 on 4.00 scale.
- A portfolio which demonstrates a level of artistic achievement that implies a developed ability for advanced study in visual art. This portfolio must be submitted directly to the visual arts graduate program director for committee review. The portfolio should consist of a folder of twenty images on a cross-platform CD or DVD. Images must be accompanied by a separate hardcopy list designating title of piece, date, medium, and size (when appropriate).
- A 500-word statement of intent that must discuss aesthetic interests, cite historical and contemporary influences on the work and indicate career goals.
- Resume documenting the chronology of all educational and work experience, including art experience, teaching experience, grants, honors, awards, exhibitions, and publications.
- Art Department information form.
- Two letters of recommendation.
- 60 credits of graduate study
In addition to the completion of the MFA course requirements of 60 credits, each candidate must create and present a thesis project, which is a body of work created specifically for this thesis under the supervision of a thesis advisor and which is not a summary of earlier work. The thesis project is accompanied by a written corollary document. The choice of medium, the balance of written and creative work, and the manner of presentation must have the prior approval of the graduate review committee. The graduate review committee bases the final awarding of the MFA degree on the evaluation and acceptance of the final thesis project, the written corollary, the thesis presentation, and the required documentation of the project. The art department reserves the right to hold student works for the purpose of exhibitions for up to two years.
Structure of the Program
The MFA curriculum is comprised of nine required core courses: two semesters of Graduate Interdisciplinary Forum, two semesters of Studio Practice and Critique I and II, three semesters of Art History and Contemporary Studies (two required, one elective), and culminates with two semesters of the capstone Graduate Thesis I and II. At the heart of the program are the 33 credits of studio electives which are made up of media-specific studio courses, independent studies, and internships that provide a study in and development of expertise in specific media.