Studio Art and Design (MFA)
The Department of Art and Design, endowed as the Hite Institute of Art and Design, offers a Master of Fine Arts (MFA) in Studio Art and Design with a 60 credit hour curriculum, structured according to guidelines established by the College Art Association of America (CAA), that is professionally compliant with rigorous evaluation standards, quality and variety of courses, and a faculty mentoring structure that will ensure students accomplish the program objectives and graduate prepared to function effectively and meaningfully in a multicultural and global economy.
The program is selective to allow students generous access to faculty who will give them individual attention, respect their direction, and challenge them to explore new avenues of artistic discovery. Courses are offered in ceramics, drawing, fibers, glass, painting, photography, printmaking, sculpture, mixed media, and new media, and, under the guidance of a faculty mentor, students may choose to focus in one medium or to explore and combine a variety of media. The program also encourages a multidisciplinary approach that challenges students to develop their creative practice in relation to cultural, social, philosophical, and ethical concerns while providing a broad perspective on art and social roles.
Students in the program benefit from the Hite Institute’s substantial resources, including multiple galleries on campus and in downtown Louisville, partnerships with local art museums and galleries, and an active speaker and colloquia schedule featuring internationally recognized artists, prominent curators, and gallery directors. Students will interact with the wider arts community by participating in the university's collaboration with local and regional museums and cultural institutions. Joint projects and internship programs with these organizations strengthen ties between the university and the community and give students unique opportunities to participate in civic life.
All MFA students receive a scholarship or a teaching assistantship.
Successful applicants will have a superior academic background and a strong commitment to art. MFA students are expected to have a thorough understanding of the principles of form, proficiency in various media and technical skills, as well as a fluency in language and discourse in the historic and contemporary contexts.
The minimum requirement for admission is an undergraduate degree in studio art from an accredited college or university with a minimum of 48 credit hours of undergraduate work in studio courses and twelve (12) credit hours in art history courses. A BFA in Studio Art is recommended. Applicants must have a minimum undergraduate grade point average of 3.0 on a 4.0 scale. Applicants must present a portfolio of work which shows technical and conceptual competency and demonstrates the promise necessary to succeed.
Students who do not meet the minimum credit requirements in undergraduate level courses (such as those who have completed a BA rather than a BFA degree) will be required to address any deficiencies by taking undergraduate courses before admitted to the program. These courses will not count toward the requirements for the MFA degree. Students must maintain a 3.0 GPA in all coursework, including undergraduate courses taken to remove deficiencies.
- Applicants to the MFA program must fulfill the general admission requirements of the College of Arts and Sciences. To meet the College of Arts and Sciences requirements applicants must hold a bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution with a grade point average of 3.0 on a 4.0 scale and have completed an undergraduate major or the equivalent in the intended field of study.
- Applicants must submit the following to the Graduate School:
- An online Graduate Application
- An application processing fee
- At least two letters of recommendation specific to the program
- Official transcripts of all college work.
- The GRE is not required for application to the MFA program. However, qll applicants for whom English is a second language must also submit official TOEFL scores of 79 or higher on the internet-based test, 213 or higher on the computer-based test. English proficiency can also be met by submitting official IELTS scores of at least 6.5 overall band score from the academic module exam or official Duolingo overall score of 105. Students holding a bachelor's or advanced degree from an accredited institution in the United States may be exempt from this requirement.
- In addition, applicants must have completed a minimum of 48 credit hours of undergraduate work in studio art courses and twelve (12) credit hours in art history courses.
- Applicants must submit the following additional materials directly to the Hite Institute of Art & Design, Department of Art & Design, via SlideRoom ($10 fee). Access the online Slideroom Application Portal here: hite.slideroom.com/:
- A portfolio of 20 images that demonstrates competence in conceptual and technical skills;
- An Artist’s Statement relevant to the submitted artwork of no more than 500 words;
- A Statement of Intent of no more than 500 words detailing the applicant’s educational and professional goals in the field of Art and Design;
- A resume (no longer than two pages).
The MFA program requires a minimum total of 60 credit hours (31 credit hours must be at the 600 level).
Upon entering the MFA program, the student may choose to follow either the three-year program or the two-year accelerated program and will select an advisor/mentor with whom he/she/they will develop a plan of study. In consultation with this mentor, the student will select courses that follow this plan and ensure timely progress toward graduation. The instructor of each course will evaluate the student’s level of achievement and progress in that particular class. Additionally, the student’s progress will be reviewed and evaluated in each of the two required seminar courses. Each student’s faculty mentor will, on a regular basis, review the progress of the students they are supervising and provide the information necessary for the Director of Graduate Studies for Studio Art to provide an annual review for the Graduate School.
For students enrolled in the three-year program, upon completion of the first year and a minimum of 18 credit hours, and again upon completion of the second year and a minimum of 36 credit hours, the student will undergo an MFA review where their progress will be evaluated by a committee comprised of a minimum of three members of the faculty. The MFA student’s faculty mentor will serve as chair of the committee. Students enrolled in the two-year program will undergo the above MFA review upon completion of the first year and a minimum of 30 credit hours. Students who receive a favorable evaluation will be allowed to continue in the program and prepare a body of artwork for their thesis exhibition. Students who do not pass an MFA Review will be re-evaluated in the following semester. Students who receive two unsatisfactory evaluations may be recommended for dismissal.
Each MFA candidate will work closely with his/her/their mentor to develop a body of work for thesis and exhibition. During the last semester of study, the student must demonstrate artistic accomplishments through a thesis exhibition, a written thesis, and a final oral exam. The thesis committee will evaluate the student’s achievement and successful completion of the MFA program.
|Graduate Seminar Requirements||6|
|Graduate Seminar (first semester)|
|MFA Seminar (third semester)|
|Teaching, Internship/Service Learning, Professional Development||3-6|
|Teaching Seminar (second semester, prior to receipt of a GTA)|
|Teaching Practicum (third semester, taken after receipt of a GTA)|
|Internship in Studio Art / Service Learning (second semester) 1|
|Professional Development (second semester)|
|Studio Art Practice 2||9|
|ART 690 MFA Projects (second semester)|
|ART 690 MFA Projects (third semester)|
|ART 690 MFA Projects (fourth semester)|
|Studio Art Courses 3||21-24|
|ART 500/600 level|
|Art History and Art Theory Courses 4||9|
|Theories & Methods in the Visual Arts (first semester)|
ARTH 500/600 level
500/600 level elective
|Cultural Studies electives outside the Department||6|
TWO (2) 500/600 level electives outside the department (Outside department electives must be determined in consultation with mentor)
|MFA Thesis Project||3|
|MFA Thesis Project|
|Minimum Total Hours||60|
Satisfactory progress toward the degree requires successfully performing a number of activities, including regular enrollment in graduate courses, a consistent satisfaction of course requirements within given time limits, and maintenance of an appropriate grade point average (minimum 3.0).
Students who do not choose to teach select two (2) credit hours of ART 698 instead of ART 696 in their second semester and take a three (3) credit hour studio course in place of ART 697 in their third semester.
ART 690 is required in the second, third, and fourth semesters.
Students who choose not to teach select a three (3) credit hour studio course in place of ART 697 in their third semester.
A minimum of six (6) hours must be in Art History (ARTH). ARTH 642 is required and must be taken in the first semester. The ARTH elective may be taken online or at another university with the department chair's approval.