MFA Curriculum

sidebar students fine art

Credit Requirements

60 Total Credits

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: Audit any MCAD undergraduate courses that relate to your area of interest.
  • Research Initiative: Complete a research study during your course of study.

Studio Critique Seminar

9 credits

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 dialog among students of all media about the content, context, intent, and meaning of their art.

Liberal Arts Seminar

12 credits

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

Optional, not for credit

This seminar prepares graduate students for a career in art and design education. It 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.

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