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Herron School of Art and Design


Degree Programs
MFA in Visual Art

The Master of Fine Arts in Visual Art is a 60-credit hour program of study that provides students with an in-depth, professional-level understanding of visual art planning, production, and presentation. Students may pursue one of six emphasis areas for this program: Ceramics, Furniture Design, Painting/Drawing, Photography/Intermedia, Printmaking, or Sculpture. The program consists of a systematic sequence of educational opportunities for students to gain fluency in the practices and issues involved in creating original works of visual art and developing their careers within contemporary society. The Master of Fine Arts degree is recognized by the art and design professions as the terminal degree in the studio arts.

The objectives of the program are: (1) to create coursework and experiences in which students examine and learn to shape the formal, thematic, theoretical, social, cultural, cognitive, and technological aspects of visual art; (2) to develop university and community based collaborations that facilitate learning and research opportunities; (3) to provide opportunities for developing leadership in the professional practice of visual art and to prepare graduates for a range of specialized careers, from university-level teaching to creative entrepreneurship to employment by urban arts organizations to work as independent artists; (4) to foster an exploration of visual art as an intellectual and experimental practice that is rooted in a specific time and place; (5) to engage students in studio activity that is placed in a professional context, from making work to its presentation, installation, marketing, and critical analysis; and (6) to provide students with the intellectual flexibility to research, plan, design, fabricate, and complete work utilizing a variety of processes in a variety of settings for a variety of purposes.

To complete the degree, students are required to present a final, substantial body of original art in an exhibition (or other significant public presentation of a major body of work), documentation of the exhibition, and completion of a written thesis, all demonstrating professional-quality achievement. The thesis project is a culmination of the graduate experience in which students develop professional expertise in their field as active studio artists including professional practice and research.

Areas of Emphasis

• Ceramics

• Furniture Design

• Painting and Drawing

• Photography and Intermedia

• Printmaking

• Sculpture

MFA Thesis Advisory Committee

The MFA Thesis Advisory Committee will provide regular, systematic feedback to the graduate student about her/his development of professional-level skills, cognitive development, specific assessment of the body of artwork being created, and will provide guidance for the thesis project/exhibition and written thesis statement.

1. Each graduate student in the MFA in Visual Art program will be assigned an academic advisor. The academic advisor will be a full-time faculty member from the student's area of studio emphasis and will oversee all aspects of tracking the student's progress through all phases of the curriculum. The academic advisor will also serve as Chair of the graduate student's MFA Thesis Advisory Committee. Students are assigned academic advisors at the start of the program. Academic advisors are appointed by the Chair of Fine Arts and Associate Dean.

2. The full committee should be formed immediately after the completion of a student's first 15 credit hours applicable to the degree. The selection is made by the student with the approval of the Chair of the Advisory Committee. Students must complete the MFA Advisory Committee Membership Form and obtain the signatures of all faculty on the committee. The form must be submitted to the Associate Dean.

3. The Thesis Advisory Committee is comprised of:

• ACADEMIC ADVISOR/CHAIR: A full-time, tenure-track or tenured Herron faculty member from the grad student's major area of emphasis.

• COMMITTEE MEMBER: A full-time Herron faculty member who is NOT from the area of emphasis. Selected by the grad student working in consultation with his/her academic advisor.

• COMMITTEE MEMBER: A full-time Herron faculty member who can be from the area of emphasis or not, selected by the grad student working in consultation with his/her academic advisor.

• OPTIONAL COMMITTEE MEMBER: An optional fourth member of the Graduate Advisory Committee may be someone from another academic unit at IUPUI /or/ from the professional field. Selected by the grad student working in consultation with his/her academic advisor.

4. The committee will meet with the student a minimum of three times during the course of study to complete the degree in order to advise and make recommendations on the student's development. The student must pass all three reviews in order to remain eligible for continuation in the program and completion of the degree requirements. The reviews will take place at the following times:

a. At the completion of 30 credit hours (midpoint): Consists of a committee review.

b. At the completion of 45 credits hours: Consists of a committee review. Certifies student is ready to complete work for final exhibition/project. Approves plans for culminating Thesis exhibition/project. Advice on written thesis statement.

c. The Final Review consist of acceptance of the graduate student's culminating Thesis project (an exhibition of artwork completed as the final culminating body of work /or/ a substantial public art project completed as the final culminating project) and written thesis at the completion of the full 60-credits required for the degree.

Grade Requirements

Only grades of a minimum of "C" will count towards the completion of the MFA degree. Only a minimum of a "B" grade will count in courses in the student's major area of studio emphasis. Each graduate student must maintain an overall minimum g.p.a. of 3.0 to remain in the MFA program. A minimum grade of "B+" must be achieved in the course "Studio Emphasis IV: Thesis Exhibit/Project."

Note: Additional information about policies and procedures, including further information about the MFA Advisory Committee, the review process, and the MFA Culminating Experience, is available in the MFA Handbook, provided to each entering graduate student in the MFA in Visual Art and Public Life program.

Additional policies

Students should consult the MFA Graduate Student Handbook given to them at orientation for additional policies, procedures, documents, and forms.

Last Updated: December 2013