Mar 02, 2024  
2017-2018 Graduate Catalog 
2017-2018 Graduate Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Art, Studio Art, M.F.A.

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Application and Portfolio Deadlines

M.F.A. and M.A. in Studio Art

  • Fall Semester: January 19, 2018

M.A. in Art Education

  • Summer Semester: Rolling admission

Applications received after the deadline, or applications that are incomplete as of the deadline, may not receive full consideration.

Degrees and Concentrations

The School of Art, Design and Art History offers the Master of Fine Arts degree in studio art and the Master of Arts in art history, art education and studio art.


The mission for the Master of Fine Arts Program is to challenge and support independently motivated artists in their intellectual, philosophical and artistic development. The graduate program encourages life-long learning, career success and community involvement.

Goals and Objectives

  • To provide a safe, healthy and well-equipped studio environment promoting the development of each candidate’s creative life.
  • To offer study in collaboration with an exemplary faculty who challenge candidates to develop artistic skills demonstrating a professional competence.
  • To advance each candidate’s ability to articulate a personal aesthetic, philosophical and conceptual mode of individual inquiry.
  • To equip candidates with a deepened knowledge of artistic history and culture as it relates to their chosen area(s) of artistic pursuit.
  • To graduate candidates who have a heightened awareness of contemporary issues and who are prepared to develop an artistic career beyond the university as engaged and productive members of their communities.

Application Requirements

In addition to the requirements of The Graduate School, applicants must meet additional qualifications established by the School of Art, Design and Art History. Three letters of recommendation, a portfolio of the applicant’s artwork, an artist’s statement, transcripts of undergraduate degree work and a personal statement addressing the applicant’s purpose in pursuing graduate studio work must be submitted as an indication of preparation for graduate study. The portfolio must consist of 10–15 examples of the applicant’s work in digital format. The applicant for the Master of Fine Arts program must have at least half of the artwork in the portfolio in the intended area of emphasis. This portfolio must be submitted online to the School of Art, Design and Art History for examination before action on an application for graduate admission takes place.

Program Requirements

The Master of Fine Arts degree is considered the professional and terminal degree in studio art. The degree requires a minimum of 60 credit hours. In addition to the general admission requirements, the prospective graduate student in the Master of Fine Arts program must have an undergraduate degree with a minimum of 33 credit hours in studio art and nine credit hours in art history. The art history hours must include six hours surveying the history of Western art and three hours in upper-level art history.

The Master of Fine Arts degree in studio art is awarded for a high level of professional competence. The student will select an emphasis from the following studio areas: ceramics, intermedia, fiber, metals, painting and drawing, photography, or sculpture.

The minimum requirement for the Master of Fine Arts degree in studio art is 60 hours of graduate credit including 39 credit hours of studio art, 12-18 of which must be in the area of emphasis (ceramics, intermedia, metals, painting and drawing, fiber, photography or sculpture), 12 in Graduate Studio, and six in Thesis Research; 12 credit hours in art history, with a minimum of three in ARTH 572. Modern Art Since 1945 , and three credits of non-Western recommended; and three credit hours in Contemporary Art Theory.

A Master of Fine Arts candidacy review will be held after 18 credit hours have been completed to determine whether the student’s growth and potential merit continuation in the Master of Fine Arts program. At the end of each semester, graduate faculty will participate in an open graduate review of the student’s work where each student will formally present his/her work to the graduate faculty, graduate students and any others in attendance for discussion. An assigned committee of graduate faculty will write a formal evaluation for each student.

During the last two semesters of the program of study, the Master of Fine Arts candidate will enroll in ART 700. Thesis Research . By the end of the final semester, the student must complete a thesis exhibition, a gallery talk, and a thesis monograph clarifying the student’s work, its development, and its cultural and historical references. The monograph must be formatted to suit The Graduate School thesis guidelines and deadlines and must have images of the thesis exhibition inserted. A digital copy will be kept in the school archives. An oral comprehensive examination, generally in conjunction with the exhibition and closely related to the monograph, must also be completed.

Up to 30 hours of graduate credit from James Madison University, or nine hours of graduate credit from other accredited institutions, may be accepted toward the Master of Fine Arts degree if a) the credits were earned within the last six years, b) the student received a grade of “B” or better, c) the transfer credit is from an institution offering a comparable degree, and d) the student submits this request with the application to The Graduate School and the application is supported by transcripts and portfolio of artwork from the courses taken at other institutions. No more than nine hours of transfer credit will be accepted in the student’s area of concentration.

Master of Fine Arts Requirements

Minimum Requirements

Total: 60 Credit Hours

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