Studio Art and Design (MFA)

33 MFA Studio Art & Design

Master of Fine Arts in Studio Art and Design
Unit: College of Arts and Sciences (GA)
Department: Fine Arts
Program Website 
Academic Plan Code(s): SAD_MFA

Program Information

The 60-credit hour MFA curriculum is structured according to guidelines established by the College Art Association of America (CAA). The professionally compliant curriculum, rigorous admissions and evaluation standards, quality and variety of courses, and the faculty mentoring structure will ensure that students accomplish the program objectives.

The MFA curriculum is rigorous and professional. The program is highly selective to allow students generous access to program faculty and resources. The graduate faculty provides students with individual attention, respects students’ individual directions, and challenges students to explore new avenues of artistic discovery.

Drawing from the diverse expertise of an outstanding faculty, students in the MFA program may choose to focus in one medium or explore and combine a variety of media. Courses are offered in ceramics, drawing, fibers, glass, painting, photography, printmaking, sculpture, graphic design, mixed media, and new media.

Admission Requirements

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 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.

Application Requirements

  1. 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.
  2. Applicants must submit the following to the Graduate School, Graduate Admissions, at the University of Louisville (
    1. An Application for Graduate School, Graduate Admission
    2. An application processing fee
    3. At least two letters of recommendation specific to the program
    4. And official transcripts of all college work.
    5. The GRE is not required for application to the MFA program. However, applicants for whom English is a second language must submit official TOEFL scores.
    6. In addition, applicants must have completed a minimum of 48 credit hours of undergraduate work in studio art courses and 12 credit hours in art history courses.
  3. Applicants must submit the following additional materials directly to the Hite Art Institute, Department of Fine Arts, via SlideRoom ($10 fee). Access the online Slideroom Application Portal here:
    1. A portfolio of 20 images that demonstrates competence in conceptual and technical skills;
    2. An Artist’s Statement relevant to the submitted artwork of no more than 500 words;
    3. A Statement of Intent of no more than 500 words detailing the applicant’s educational and professional goals in the field of Fine Arts;
    4. A resume (no longer than two pages).

Program Requirements

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 will select an advisor/mentor with whom he/she 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 four 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.

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 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 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.

Required Coursework

Graduate Seminar Requirements
ART 600Graduate Seminar (first semester)1
ART 693MFA Seminar I (second semester)1
ART 694MFA Seminar II (third semester)1
ART 695MFA Seminar III (fourth semester)1
Professional Internships or Service Learning2
Teaching Internship I (to be taken prior to receipt of a GTA)
Teaching Internship II (to be taken after receipt of a GTA)
Internship in Studio Art
Internship in Studio Art
Studio Art Practice 9
ART 690 MFA Projects (first semester)
ART 690 MFA Projects (third semester)
ART 690 MFA Projects (fifth semester)
Studio Art Courses
Art 500/600 level27
Art History, Aesthetics, and Cultural Studies Courses
ARTH 642Theories & Methods of Art History3
ARTH 500/600 level3
500/600 level elective3
500/600 level elective3
Electives outside the Department
500/600 level elective outside the department (Outside department elective must be determined in consultation with mentor3
MFA Thesis Project
ART 699MFA Thesis Project3
Minimum Total Hours60

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).