Master of Fine Arts in Studio Art

The Master of Fine Arts in Studio Art provides rigorous study for students with a strong direction and focus in art and a high level of technical proficiency. The program provides advanced study and practice in preparation for professional careers in studio art or teaching in higher education. Graduates will be prepared to take their place in the visual arts community and make significant contributions to our visual culture. The program focuses on creative studio work, supplemented by art history and theory, professional and critical writing, graduate studio critiques, professional development, studio electives and/or independent study.

Admission to the Program

In addition to the general requirements of the university, specific requirements for admission to classified graduate standing are:

  1. A baccalaureate degree from an accredited institution with a minimum of 30-semester units of upper-division art courses comparable to those required of a major in art at this university. The Art Department determines which courses are comparable.
  2. Completion of a minimum of 14-semester units of upper-division studio art.
  3. Completion of a minimum of 14-semester units in art history; a minimum of 5 should be upper-division units, and at least one course that is equivalent to AH 4250 and/or AH 5250.
  4. A grade point average of 3.0 ("B") or better in all art courses taken.
  5. Admission to the program will additionally be based upon evaluations by the Art Department graduate committee of the following items:
    1. A portfolio displaying a comprehensive body of work with strong technical abilities and potential for a clear direction in graduate study. A portfolio consists of 15 images of the applicant's artwork in the form of a single PDF. The portfolio needs to be accompanied by a typed list of artworks with the applicant's name, and title, medium, size, and date for each artwork.
    2. A 500-word "Statement of Purpose" describing the conceptual and technical aspects of the artwork and the applicant's reason for seeking graduate studies in art. This statement should also demonstrate the applicant's knowledge of historical and contemporary art in relation to their work. This statement should be carefully crafted and will be used to evaluate the student's writing ability and critical thinking skills.
    3. Three letters of recommendation to support the student's application. Letters should be from professionals and/or educators in the field able to assess the student's competence and to make relevant comments on the student's likely success in a graduate art program.

Applicants who have satisfied the general requirements for admission, but who have deficiencies in prerequisite preparation that can be met by specified additional preparation may be admitted to the program with conditionally classified standing. Deficiencies must be made up as early in the program as possible, normally within the first 8 units after conditional admission.

They will be advanced to classified standing when the Art Department graduate coordinator certifies that they have satisfied all appropriate requirements.

Applications to the M.F.A. in Studio Art program are reviewed annually for Fall admission. There are two admission applications, one to the University (primary application) and one to the Art Department (secondary application). The secondary application deadline is January 15. Please note that this may differ from University application deadlines. The secondary application, when the portal is live, can be submitted here:

Contact the Art Department graduate coordinator for further information.

Graduate Teaching Assistantships

Students interested in university teaching are encouraged to apply for a Graduate Teaching Assistantship. This competitive program offers first and second-year students teaching assistant opportunities with professors in the lower-division studio and foundation courses. After the practicum (and ART 6630) is successfully completed, the second and third-year students have the opportunity for a paid position as a Teaching Associate, pending adequate enrollment.

Advancement to Candidacy

Candidacy denotes that the student is fully qualified to complete the final stages of the Master of Fine Arts in Studio Art program and is thus eligible to enroll in ART 6695 Master's Project in Studio Art. To be formally advanced to candidacy, the student must have:

  1. Completed the Writing Requirement for Graduate Candidacy (WRGC) which is the successful completion of ART 6617 with a grade of 'B' or better.
  2. Achieved classified status.
  3. Been accepted by an advisor to supervise the course of study.
  4. Completed, with the approval of the Art Department graduate coordinator, at least 20-semester units of applicable course work at this university, and achieved a minimum grade point average of "B" (3.0) or better.
  5. Successfully completed an advancement review conducted by the Department of Art graduate committee and graduate coordinator.
  6. Filed a program of graduate course work prepared in consultation with the student's advisor and approved by the Art Department graduate coordinator.

Requirements for Graduation

  1. A minimum of 60-semester units of approved graduate-level work, with at least 42 completed at this university.
  2. A GPA of at least 3.0 ("B") in all courses taken to satisfy the Master of Fine Arts degree requirements.
  3. Completion and exhibition of an acceptable project, and submission of a report and documentation of the project approved by the student's graduate committee and the Art Department graduate coordinator.
  4. The Graduation Writing Assessment Requirement is met upon successful completion of the extensive written artist statement that is developed in ART 6630 and that accompanies the Master's Project in ART 6695.
  5. Any general requirements not cited above for graduate degrees and noted in Graduate Degree and Program Requirements.

Degree Requirements (60 units)

(Program Code: STAR)

ART 6604Graduate Studio in Art15
ART 6620Graduate Studio Critique15
ART 6617Graduate Seminar in Critical Theory and Methodology3
ART 6618Graduate Seminar in Contemporary Art Issues and Practices3
ART 6630Graduate Seminar in Professional Practices3
ART 5951Independent Study3
Required Art History Electives (to be approved by the graduate coordinator.)6
Nine units of electives appropriate to the student's goals. Courses may be chosen from upper-division offerings of any department in the university subject to prior approval by the student's area advisor and the Art Department graduate coordinator.9
Culminating Experience3
Total Units60

Culminating Experience (3 units)

ART 6695Master's Project in Studio Art3
Total Units3