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For full consideration, submit all application materials by:

  • February 1 to be considered for fall admission and assistantship
  • April 1 for summer or fall admission
  • October 1 for spring admission


  • Undergraduate Degree with 2.5 GPA overall, 3.0 GPA in major

Note destination of materials due to both the Graduate Admissions Office and the SFA School of Art. Please direct any question to the School of Art Graduate Advisor.

Submit to the Graduate School:

  • Complete online application
  • Official transcript from the institution granting the undergraduate degree and any previous graduate work
  • Application fee

Submit to the School of Art Office:

  • Transcripts (unofficial) of all undergraduate and any previous graduate work
  • Three recommendation forms, at least one of which must be from a practicing professional and/or major professor in an art related field
  • Autobiographical sketch / career goals (no more than two pages)
  • Portfolio of artwork in digital form (disk, thumb drive, online link or online folder):
    • For 2D and 3D art include examples of 20 works as image files
    • For 4D art include 5-10 media files or links

Application Assessment

The Graduate Advisor and/or the Director of the School of Art will review application materials.

Portfolios will be reviewed by the Graduate Portfolio Review Committee and the head of the applicant’s area of major concentration, if that area is not represented on the Committee. The quality of the student’s work is the most important factor in admission; GPA and recommendation forms are the other criteria.

Time Limit

The M.A. is a 36 credit hour degree normally completed in two years. Students must complete the requirements for the M.A. degree within four years of admission to the program.

Students may apply directly to the M.F.A. in Studio Art without an M.A. Refer to M.F.A. Degree information on this website.

Graduate Advising

Graduate students are responsible to know University and School of Art policies and procedures and to keep track of their progress through the program. To assist students in this endeavor, the School of Art’s graduate advisor will provide guidance and instruction and work with the director of the School of Art and the graduate faculty to maintain records and review the students’ progress.

Prior to registering for courses each semester, new and returning graduate students are to meet with the Graduate Advisor.

Graduate students are expected to contribute to the cultural life of the School of Art and participate in its activities. Graduate students are role models for their undergraduate counterparts and should conduct themselves accordingly by taking a leadership role in attending School of Art events (such as gallery openings, guest presentations) and by actively participating in special programs (workshops, symposia, etc.).

Graduate Assistantships

Graduate Assistantships and Teaching Assistantships are awarded on a competitive basis. Applications should be sent to the School of Art Graduate Advisor.

Application Deadline is February 1 for the following academic year.

Full time graduate enrollment at SFA is:

  • 9 hours per semester during Fall and Spring terms
  • 6 semesters total during Maymester, Summer I and Summer II

Graduate Assistants may choose to take a reduced course load of during a GA/TA funded semester (6 hours in Fall or Spring, 3 hours total over the course of Maymester, Summer I and Summer II). This is not considered full time for the university or for most financial aid. Please check with funders directly before taking a reduced course load.


Incoming students must take at least one three-hour upper level course with a major professor of their first area of concentration in their first semester.

Description of Courses

  • ARTS 5391 is a required art history course exploring the history of ideas and theories of modern art.
  • ARTS 5330 / 5331 are required studio seminar courses that are team-taught.
  • ARTS 5385 / 5386 are courses of independent study with a professor—approval of the instructor, the director, and the dean is required before registration.
  • ARTS 5394 is a professional practices course appropriate for those students seeking to enter the profession as academics or those seeking careers as professional artists outside of academia.
  • ARTS 5397 is a special topics course conducted as a class rather than independent study; with approval of the Graduate Advisor, these classes are taken where appropriate.

Course Distribution

At least 12 hours of studio coursework must be taken in 5330 / 5331 courses for the M.A. degree, and no more than 6 hours in any one semester.

Hours: Description:
12 hrs. Studio major courses (including 5330/5331, 5385/5386 or 5397)
9 hrs. 5000-level art history courses (3 hours must be in 5391)
6 hrs. Studio minor courses (including 5330/5331, 5385/5386 or 5397)
9 hrs. Studio elective courses (including 5330/5331, 5385/5386 or 5397)
36 hrs.

Review Boards

All Studio Art graduate students are required to participate in Review Boards at the end of their first and second semesters at SFA. This is an opportunity to receive wider faculty feedback on artwork and progress in the program.

Written Comprehensive Examination

  • The exam is given by the fourth week of the fall and spring semesters. The exam is not offered during summer sessions.
  • The exam consists of a set of studio discipline specific questions prepared by each faculty member in charge of a studio area. The exam is graded by that faculty member and two others chosen by the faculty member.
  • Each part of the exam will be evaluated High Pass, Pass or Fail.
  • Students may take the exam a maximum of three times. Not completing the exam counts as one time / sitting.
  • Passing the exam is a condition for receiving the M.A. degree.
  • M.A. candidates should request a Studio Exam Study Guide from the faculty member in charge of their main studio area of concentration.

M.A. Exhibition

Each M.A. candidate is required to mount a public exhibition of their work, accompanied by an artist’s statement, at the conclusion of the final semester of coursework. Coursework is considered preparatory for the exhibition. The M.A. degree is granted on the strength of the M.A. Exhibition as determined by a majority Art graduate faculty vote.

This show will serve as the M.F.A. Candidacy exhibition for M.A. students who wish to continue on to the M.F.A. Program. For these students, the art graduate faculty will cast two separate votes based on the strength of the show to award the M.A. Degree and admission into the M.F.A. program. Such students must submit an Application for MFA Candidacy Exhibition signed by the major professor before their exhibition. The 36 credit hours of the M.A. will apply toward 60 credit hours required by the M.F.A. degree.