The low-residency Master of Fine Arts (MFA) in Studio Art at the University of the Arts is a highly selective professional graduate program that imparts a tradition of artistic and academic excellence through a unique, low-residency format. You’ll complete your MFA in a year-round program both on- and off-campus. Through participation in an immersive eight-week campus-based summer semester, you'll be able to take advantage of all the mentoring, instruction and facilities we have to offer. The fall and spring semesters are dedicated to independent study designed by you and supported by our faculty and mentors, either through personal meetings or distance learning.

[The University of the Arts' MFA Studio Art program is not accepting applications for the Summer semester.]

The low-residency Master of Fine Arts (MFA) in Studio Art at the University of the Arts is a highly selective professional graduate program that imparts a tradition of artistic and academic excellence through a distinctive pedagogical lens. This advanced focus carries the foundational and expansive concept of curator and critic as a vanguard. Conceived and implemented by the program’s director, Professor Cynthia Nourse Thompson, the two-and-a-half year sequence is designated into divergent modules allowing for independent and collective initiation, commitment and realization. The educational concept of curator and critic is vibrant, experimental and independently malleable — bestowing a complexity of academic and applied acumen on those seeking to foster their artistic voice and vision. Both a fully immersed campus experience and an independent study experience are provided. Benefits of the low-residency program include the flexibility to continue working while completing degree requirements and moreover, the opportunity to engage with a variety of renowned artists and curators.

 

Students work with distinguished and accomplished faculty from a variety of disciplines. Students not only interact with their studio faculty, but are inspired and encouraged by the teaching artists around them. Artists serving as mentors have included Wardell Milan, James Siena, Carson Fox, David Humphrey and Jonathan VanDyke.

Additionally, students benefit from the lectures, workshops and critiques of visiting artists, curators, gallery directors, critics and historians on a national and international level. Many of these include curators and critics Chad Alligood, assistant curator of Special Projects at Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art; Alice Gray Stites, chief curator of 21c Museum Hotels; and visiting artists Anthony Goicolea, Jennie C. Jones, Chie Fueki, Alison Elizabeth Taylor, Dan Walsh, Garth Johnson, Michelle Grabner and Zoe Strauss.

Wednesday, June 27 | Connelly Auditorium, Terra Hall 211 S. Broad Street, floor 8
11:00am - 12:00pm
Fred Tomaselli

Tuesday, July 3 | CBS
11:00am - 12:00pm
Robin F. Williams

Wednesday, July 11 | CBS
11:00am - 12:00pm
Diana al -Hadid

Tuesday, July 17 | CBS
11:00am - 12:00pm
Vivian Chiu

Wednesday, July 18 | CBS
11:00am - 12:00pm
Alyson Shotz

Wednesday, July 25 | CBS
11:00am - 12:00pm
Carmen Hermo, Assistant Curator, Elizabeth A. Sackler Center for Feminist Art at the Brooklyn Museum

Wednesday, August 1 | CBS
11:00am - 12:00pm
Johanna Burton, Keith Haring Director and Curator of Education and Public Engagement at the New Museum, Her most recent exhibition: Trigger: Gender as a tool and a weapon

Wednesday, August 8 | Connelly Auditorium, Terra Hall 211 S. Broad Street, floor 8
11:00am - 12:00pm
Zoe Buckman

Applicants should note the low-residency programs are year-round and require three annual eight-week, on-campus summer residences as well as off-campus independent study during the Fall and Spring semesters. These programs extend over two and a half years culminating in a thesis exhibition following completion of the third Fall semester. Accepted MFA students must begin their studies in the Summer Semester. 

Philosophy
The low-residency model is uniquely crafted and includes an integrated studio program coupled with a professional practice writing component to best prepare graduates for real-world experiences in a creative discipline. The program maintains a commitment to research, chronology and the critical theory of the fine and liberal arts and their interconnectivity to the practice of art making; the possession of fluent academic discourse and written proficiency; the artist as a catalyst through multi-dimensional forms and narratives; and an oath to the professional artist’s tradition of a master of the skills, technologies and social responsibilities of the fine arts reinterpreted in contemporary platforms.

Students in the Studio Art program experience a truly fluid classroom, one that seamlessly flows from classrooms and studio spaces during the summer residency into independent studio, writing and research projects during the fall and spring semesters. Although each student independently designs fall and spring projects, constant contact with faculty is maintained while the student is not on campus, through personal meetings and conversations. The student’s growth is monitored through written evaluations, critiques and an on-campus critique at the end of each semester.

Sample Curriculum:

Total Credits: 60
Duration: 2.5 years, full-time

Year One

Summer
Graduate Drawing (3c)
Major Studio I (6c)
Graduate Seminar: Visual Culture Studies (3c)

Year Two

SUMMER
Major Studio II (6c)
Studio Topics (3c)
Graduate Seminar: Contemporary Topics in Art and Design (3c)

Fall
Independent Studio I (3c)
Independent Writing Project I (1.5c)

FALL
Thesis Writing Project I (1.5c)
Thesis Preparation I (3c)

SPRING
Independent Studio II (3c)
Independent Writing Project II(1.5c)

SPRING
Thesis Writing Project II (1.5c)
Thesis Preparation II (3c)

Year Three

SUMMER
Professional Practices (3c)
Major Studio III (6c)
University Seminar: Criticism (3c)
 

FALL
MFA Thesis Exhibition (6c)


For more information, including specific course descriptions, please the department's website and the course catalogue. 

 

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