The Pennsylvania State University

School of Visual Arts

Master of Fine Arts (in Art)

The Master of Fine Arts, with areas of concentration in ceramics, drawing and painting, graphic design, new media, photography, printmaking, and sculpture is recognized for emphasizing excellence in the study and production of visual art and cultural engagement.  As the art world has changed radically in recent years, so must the training of professional artists. Today's artists must possess not only the skills traditionally associated with studio production, but also must be acutely aware of critical issues in art, shifts within contemporary culture, and developments in the rapidly changing post-industrial age. SoVA's M.F.A. program responds to these developments by encouraging interaction among graduate students and faculty across disciplines within the School, the College of Arts and Architecture, and the University.

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For Frequently Asked Questions about the M.F.A. program and application process, click here.

The School of Visual Arts requires a minimum total of 60 credits for the Master of Fine Arts degree. Not more than 10 credits may be transferred from other accredited graduate institutions. Of the 60 credits required for graduation, candidates are expected to complete the following distribution of credits: 30 credits in a major area of concentration, 12 credits in art history and critical studies, 10 credits in related areas, and 8 credits in graduate seminar.

For M.F.A. candidates, at least 24 credits of the required 60 credits must be at the 500 level. In addition to course work, M.F.A. candidates must pass a candidacy review, which is usually held at the end of the second semester of study, submit an artist's statement, pass the M.F.A. comprehensive oral examination and produce an M.F.A. exhibition and public presentation.

Graduate assistantships and other forms of student aid are described in the STUDENT AID section of the Graduate Bulletin.

Graduate courses carry numbers from 500 to 599 and 800 to 899. Advanced undergraduate courses numbered between 400 and 499 may be used to meet some graduate degree requirements when taken by graduate students. Courses below the 400 level may not. A graduate student may register for or audit these courses in order to make up deficiencies or to fill in gaps in previous education but not to meet requirements for an advanced degree.