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MFA in Studio Art


The nationally ranked Master of Fine Art program in Studio Art (60 unit, terminal degree) combines conceptual, technical, and critical thinking skills that enable students to gain a deeper understanding of their own artistic ideas and vision. Graduate students complete 30 units in studio art courses: 2D Painting and Printmaking, 3D, Photography or Visual Communications, 18 units in elective coursework, and 18 units of Art history.

We follow the National Association of Schools of Art and Design guidelines in determining our outcomes and in planning the graduate curriculum. The NASAD accreditation reviews assess the outcomes on a regular basis, through an on-site, external review process and yearly report updates. Our Academic Program Reviews serve a similar function with internal UA reviews every seven years.



Expected Learning Outcomes: 

1. A thorough understanding of current contemporary concepts, critical theory, and art historical contexts.

2. To hone critical perceptions and language to effectively communicate as arts professionals.

3. Technical studio skills and strategies to produce successful materializations of their ideas.

4. Exit the program with a high caliber body of work for entry into the professional field.

Assessment Activities: 

Assessment Tool #1

Outcomes #1 & 2 are measured by faculty through written research papers, exam scores in Art History and Theory coursework, and studio critiques at the end of each semester.

Assessment Tool #2

Measures for outcomes #2 and 3: In the first semester of their second year, each student must pass a Candidacy Review. This presentation of work involves all faculty members in their division voting on advancement. After passing their Candidacy Reviews, each graduate forms a Thesis Committee, comprised of 3-5 faculty that meet twice a semester for their remaining three semsters leading up to their Orals Thesis defense and final exhibition.

Assessment Tool #3

The final orals thesis defense occurs after the final exhibition has been installed in the UA Museum of Art and the Joseph Gross Gallery. The MFA exhibition is a requirement and the successful completion of the program is demonstrated by the quality of the work on display. Outcomes #1, 2, 3, 4 are measured by passing the Oral's Thesis Defense and Final Exhibition criteria.

Use of Assessment Tools #1, #2, #3:

Studio Art graduate faculty meet regularly to discuss student performance within the MFA program and serve as members of interdisciplinary Studio Art, Art History + Art & Visual Culture Education faculty on thesis committees. All MFA candidates must pass the Oral's Thesis Defense exam in conjunction with their thesis exhibition.

Findings and Changes:

Recommendations from the APR and NASAD program reviews called for adding more stand alone graduate level courses for master's and doctorate students, as opposed to co-convened 400/500 level courses. The school's changes in the overall graduate curriculum reflects those concerns. The program has also instated mandatory thesis 1 + 2 committee reviews each semester for students enrolled in ART 680 Thesis units leading to their graduate exhibition. The faculty acknowledge the increasingly interdisciplinary practices involved in contemporary art-making, and are planning more collaborative, project-based courses to fill this need.

Course Modifications- ART 544: Digital Photography + ART 549: Graduate Video

New Courses:

  • ART 548A: Discovering Place
  • ART 562D: Animation II
  • ART 562E: Letterpress & the Multiple
  • ART 567B: Visual Narrative and the Artist's Book
  • ART 642: Interdisciplinary Studio Critique
  • ART 696a: Contemporary Art: Concepts & Issues
Microsoft Office document icon 1st Year Grad Review.doc23 KB
Updated date: Wed, 12/02/2015 - 10:52