Master of Fine Arts

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The MCAD MFA program is a community of makers, thinkers, theorists, researchers, and creative professionals working in a mentor-based, interdisciplinary environment. Throughout the two year program, our diverse student body—one with a robust international presence—explores and fulfills social, cultural, and professional needs, as well as entrepreneurial opportunities stretching across art and design practices.

Students may pursue creative work in the fields of graphic design, printmaking, paper and book arts, painting, photography, illustration, sculpture, drawing, animation, interactive media, filmmaking, comic arts, furniture design, and installation art.

Most credits
 are earned through one-on-one work with a faculty mentor. Additionally, students take critique and liberal arts seminars and have the option to pursue internships and a range of engaging educational opportunities. The final year culminates in a capstone thesis exhibition and paper. Combined, this advanced degree affords artists and designers many career opportunities in studio work, as well as the option of teaching.

View the work of 2013 graduates in the MFA Thesis Exhibition Catalog.

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Credit Requirements


STUDIO CORE: 39 credits

Earned under the guidance of your mentor, this core curriculum culminates in a Thesis Exhibition prior to graduation. Studio Core contracts may include any of the following:

Studio Tutorial:
Independent study under the guidance of your mentor.

Undergraduate Coursework:
MFA candidates may audit any MCAD undergraduate courses that relate to their area of interest.

Research Initiative:
You must complete a research study during your course of study.


In the Studio Seminar, you will meet in cross-disciplinary groups to discuss your studio work. These seminars offer an exciting opportunity to blur the distinctions between disciplines by facilitating a dialogue among students of all media about the content, context, intent, and meaning of their art.


Theories of Art and Design:
The aim of this seminar is to give students a solid grounding in the critical concepts that inform modern and contemporary art. Topics to be addressed include the rise of "aesthetic experience," expressionism, formalism, key issues in postmodernist theory, and "relational aesthetics."

Topics in Contemporary Art and Design:
This seminar focuses on a current topic in contemporary art and design and includes readings in journals and visiting exhibitions. Special emphasis is given to points of thematic overlap between art and design. Students produce an original research paper. Topics are chosen by the instructor, and have recently included "Mistaken Identities," "Cyborgs," "Word and Image," and "The Body."

A Life in Art/Thesis Draft:
For those entering their final year of MFA work, this seminar provides an opportunity to conduct advanced research in relation to the thesis exhibition. This includes contextualizing the work, developing a thesis, and writing a first draft of the thesis paper.

Graduate Teaching Seminar

The Graduate Teaching Seminar prepares graduate students for a career in art and design education. This optional seminar has two components: a two-week intensive summer course and one semester-long teaching assistantship under the guidance of an MCAD faculty member.

During the summer seminar, MFA students study general teaching theory, course planning, resources, classroom and course management, critique methodology, and community teaching models.

For the teaching assistantship, students are paired with a full-time faculty member teaching in a related discipline area. Throughout the semester, the MFA candidate is expected to present projects, lead critiques and assist in grading. Additionally, graduate students will meet regularly to discuss their teaching experiences, share ideas and study professional practices, such as writing an effective resume and preparing for job interviews.