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Programs: Graduate Degrees: M.F.A. in Studio Art

Admissions

For full consideration, submit all application materials by:

  • February 1 to be considered for fall admission and assistantship
  • April 1 for summer or fall admission
  • October 1 for spring admission

Required:

  • Undergraduate Degree with 2.5 GPA overall, 3.0 GPA in major

Note destination of materials due to both the Graduate Admissions Office and the SFA School of Art.

Please direct any question to the School of Art Graduate Advisor.

Submit to the Graduate School:

  • Complete online application
  • Official transcript from the institution granting the undergraduate degree and any previous graduate work
  • Application fee

Submit to the School of Art Office:

  • Transcripts (unofficial) of all undergraduate and any previous graduate work
  • Three recommendation forms, at least one of which must be from a practicing professional and/or major professor in an art related field
  • Autobiographical sketch / career goals (no more than two pages)
  • Portfolio of artwork in digital form (disk, thumb drive, online link or online folder)
    • For 2D and 3D art include examples of 20 works as image files
    • For 4D art include 5-10 media files or links

Assessment

Application Assessment

The Graduate Advisor and/or the Director of the School of Art will review application materials.

Portfolios will be reviewed by the Graduate Portfolio Review Committee and the head of the applicant’s area of major concentration, if that area is not represented on the Committee. The quality of the student’s work is the most important factor in admission; GPA and recommendation forms are the other criteria.

M.F.A. Applicants with an M.A. in Studio Art from SFA

For students progressing from the M.A. in Studio Art at SFA to the M.F.A., the M.A. Candidacy Exhibition will also serve as the M.F.A. Candidacy exhibition/portfolio. An additional portfolio is not required. For these students, the art graduate faculty will cast two separate votes based on the strength of the show to award the M.A. Degree and admission into the M.F.A. program. Such students must submit an Application for MFA Candidacy Exhibition signed by the major professor before their exhibition. The 36 credit hours of the M.A. will apply toward 60 credit hours required by the M.F.A. degree.

M.F.A. Applicants with an M.A. in Studio Art from another institution

Students accepted into the M.F.A. program who hold an M.A. degree in studio art from another institution must present a M.F.A. candidacy exhibition with artist’s statement at the end of the first semester of residence at SFA. This exhibition will be held instead of a Review Board for the first semester. Approval of the candidacy show by a majority vote of the Art graduate faculty is required to continue in the M.F.A. program. Such students must submit an Application for MFA Candidacy Exhibition signed by the major professor before their exhibition. The 36 credit hours of the M.A. will apply toward 60 credit hours required by the M.F.A. degree.

Time Limit

Students may apply directly to the M.F.A. in Studio Art without an M.A.

The M.F.A. is a 60 credit hour degree normally completed in three years. Students must complete the requirements for the M.F.A. degree within six years of admission to the program.

Students who hold an M.A. in Studio Art can expect to complete the M.F.A. in three semesters, as their M.A. coursework will apply toward the M.F.A.

Graduate Advising

Graduate students are responsible to know University and School of Art policies and procedures and to keep track of their progress through the program. To assist students in this endeavor, the School of Art’s graduate advisor will provide guidance and instruction and work with the director of the School of Art and the graduate faculty to maintain records and review the students’ progress.

Prior to registering for courses each semester, new and returning graduate students are to meet with the Graduate Advisor. Graduate students are expected to contribute to the cultural life of the School of Art and participate in its activities. Graduate students are role models for their undergraduate counterparts and should conduct themselves accordingly by taking a leadership role in attending School of Art events (such as gallery openings, guest presentations) and by actively participating in special programs (workshops, symposia, etc.).

Graduate Assistantships

Graduate Assistantships and Teaching Assistantships are awarded on a competitive basis. Applications should be sent to the School of Art Graduate Advisor.

Application Deadline is February 1 for the following academic year.

Full time graduate enrollment at SFA is:

  • 9 hours per semester during Fall and Spring terms
  • 6 semesters total during Maymester, Summer I and Summer II

Graduate Assistants may choose to take a reduced course load of during a GA/TA funded semester (6 hours in Fall or Spring, 3 hours total over the course of Maymester, Summer I and Summer II). This is not considered full time for the university or for most financial aid. Please check with funders directly before taking a reduced course load.

Curriculum

Incoming students must take at least one three-hour upper level course with a major professor of their first area of concentration in their first semester.

Description of Courses

  • ART 501 is a required art history course exploring the history of ideas and theories of modern art.
  • ART 530 / 531 are required studio seminar courses that are team-taught.
  • ART 575 / 576 are courses of independent study with a professor—approval of the instructor, the director, and the dean is required before registration.
  • ART 594 is a professional practices course appropriate for those students seeking to enter the profession as academics or those seeking careers as professional artists outside of academia.
  • ART 597 is a special topics course conducted as a class rather than independent study; with approval of the Graduate Advisor, these classes are taken where appropriate.

Course Distribution

At least 18 hours of studio coursework must be taken in 530 / 531 courses for the M.F.A. degree, and no more than 6 hours in any one semester. This total includes and 530/531 courses taken as an M.A. at SFA. Students with an M.A. in Art from another institution are required to take a minimum of 9 hours in the 530/531 courses.

Hours: Description:
15 hrs. Studio major courses (including 530/531, 575/576 or 597)
15 hrs. 500-level art history courses (3 hours must be in 501)
9 hrs. Studio minor courses (including 530/531, 575/576 or 597)
15 hrs. Studio elective courses (including 530/531, 575/576 or 597)
6 hrs. ART 591 M.F.A. Thesis Exhibition
60 hrs.

In addition to the above course work, students are required to pass a Written Comprehensive Examination and mount a successful M.F.A. Thesis Exhibition. Coursework is considered preparatory for the exhibition. The M.F.A. degree is granted on the strength of the M.F.A. Exhibition as determined by a majority Art graduate faculty vote.

Review Boards

All Studio Art graduate students are required to participate in Review Boards at the end of their first and second semesters at SFA. This is an opportunity to receive wider faculty feedback on artwork and progress in the program.

M.F.A. Candidacy Exhibition

Each M.F.A. candidate is required to mount a public exhibition of their work, accompanied by an artist’s statement, by the end of their third semester. Permission to continue toward the M.F.A. degree is granted on the strength of this exhibition as determined by a majority Art graduate faculty vote.

For students entering the program with an M.A. in Art from another institution, this exhibition is required at the end of the first semester at SFA.

Each student must submit an Application for MFA Candidacy Exhibition signed by their major area professor before the exhibition is scheduled.

Written Comprehensive Examination

  • The exam is given by the fourth week of the fall and spring semesters. The exam is not offered during summer sessions.
  • M.F.A. candidates should request a Studio Exam Study Guide from the faculty member in charge of their main studio area of concentration prior to scheduling the exam.
  • The exam consists of a set of studio discipline specific questions prepared by each faculty member in charge of a studio area. The exam is graded by that faculty member and two others chosen by the faculty member.
  • Each part of the exam will be evaluated High Pass, Pass or Fail.
  • Students may take the exam a maximum of three times. Not completing the exam counts as one time / sitting.
  • Passing the exam is a condition for receiving the M.F.A. degree. M.F.A.
  • Candidates who hold an M.A. in Studio Art are exempt from this requirement.

M.F.A. Public Talk, Thesis Exhibition Defense

At the culmination of their studies, each M.F.A. candidate is required to present a public talk and mount an M.F.A. Thesis Exhibition accompanied by a Support Document. The M.F.A. degree is granted on the strength of the Thesis Exhibition and Support Document as determined by the Thesis Committee.

Student must choose a Thesis Director, develop an Exhibition Proposal and secure Thesis Committee members well in advance of their exhibition. Students may enroll in the required 6 Thesis hours only after Committee Members have signed the Thesis Exhibition Proposal and it is approved by the School of Art Director.

Public Talk

In a Public Talk each M.F.A. Candidate will demonstrate critical analysis of their thesis work in a digital presentation. The talk should include an introduction, statement of purpose, background, and working methods as related to the images shown.

  • Time: 20-30 minutes presentation, followed by 5-10 minutes for general audience questions, followed by 5-10 minutes for faculty questions.
  • A majority vote by Art graduate faculty in attendance is required for a candidate to proceed with their exhibition.
  • The candidate is limited to three attempts to present a successful talk.
  • The time and venue of the presentation will be chosen in consultation with the Thesis Director and the candidate within the first two weeks of the semester of the thesis exhibition.
  • It is the candidate’s responsibility to publicize the event.
  • Attendance at these presentations is a required component of 530/531 coursework.

Thesis Exhibition and Support Document

MFA Candidates are required to mount a successful M.F.A. Thesis Exhibition and complete a Support Document to accompany the exhibition. Coursework is considered preparatory for the exhibition. The M.F.A. degree is granted on the strength of the M.F.A. Exhibition as determined by a Thesis committee.

Thesis Defense

The four-member Thesis Committee (Thesis Director, two Studio Art Committee Members, and one external Committee Member chosen by the School of Art Director) conduct a 45-60 minute examination of the Candidate referencing the thesis art works and the support document at the location of the exhibition.

Required forms and support document format requirements can be found on the Forms page of the Graduate School under: Exhibition Completion.