Fine Arts, Visual Studies

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Graduate programs

Master of Fine Arts, Visual Studies

Sarah Williams, Graduate Program Director
Brick City, room 201 (327 W. Mill St)
Phone: (417) 837-5785

Program description

Advanced study in Visual Arts and Design with an emphasis placed on the student’s individual research. The curriculum is specifically designed to be flexible to meet the individual research needs within contemporary, traditional and interdisciplinary approaches and media. The Department of Art and Design offers a wide range of facilities including graduate studios.

A variety of students with differing backgrounds and research interests is considered an important factor in the development of a scholarship community with an interest in developing original research.

Admission requirements

Admission requires approval of a departmental entrance committee who will examine the applicant’s potential for further professional success in Visual Art and/or Design and the ability of the department to support the applicant’s stated path of study. For priority consideration deadlines, contact the department office.

Admission to the program is based on the following:

  1. A bachelor’s degree with extensive preparation in the Visual Arts or Design and at least 9 hours in art history, art theory/criticism, or a related discipline (other options exist, see notation below);
  2. A completed Missouri State University Graduate Application; and
  3. The following materials must be submitted:
  • portfolio should document an original body of work that demonstrates technical acuity and a clear conceptual direction for potential graduate level research presented in an appropriate digital format (pdf is preferred for still images);
  • information list for each work in the portfolio including title, dimensions, materials, and year created;
  • a 300 to 800-word statement describing the reasons and goals behind the applicant’s interest in graduate study and the direction of intended research;
  • contact information (name, phone number, and email) of three professional references who can speak of the applicant’s academic achievements and potential;
  • a completed Graduate Assistantship Application if prospective student would like to be considered for this award (submitted directly to the Art and Design department).

Applicants will be notified by mail once their application is complete. Students who do not meet requirement 1 listed above, but show high promise, may be admitted conditionally. Conditions for such admission may require additional coursework.

Degree Requirements (Minimum of 60 hours)

A minimum of 60 hours of coursework is required, ordinarily distributed over six semesters and three years.

Core Courses
Course Code Course Title Credit Hours
ART 692 Art and Theory 3 hrs
ART 699 Exploratory Graduate Studio 3-9 hrs
ART 701 Directed Graduate Studio I 3 hrs
ART 702 Directed Graduate Studio II 3 hrs
ART 703 Directed Graduate Studio III 3 hrs
ART 704 Directed Graduate Studio IV 3 hrs
ART 705 Interdisciplinary Graduate Critique 12 hrs
ART 710 Professional Practices 3 hrs
ART 798 Graduate Interdisciplinary Seminar 6 hrs
ART 799 Graduate Studio Thesis 12 hrs
ART 797 Teaching Practicum 0-3 hrs
  Approved Elective 0-3 hrs

In addition to the above, select 3-6 hours from the following Art History courses:

Course Code Course Title Credit Hours
ART 671 Islamic Art 3 hrs
ART 672 Medieval Art 3 hrs
ART 675 Art of the Renaissance 3 hrs
ART 676 Women in Art 3 hrs
ART 678 Baroque Art 3 hrs
ART 680 Modern Art 3 hrs
ART 684 Contemporary Art 3 hrs
ART 685 Art of Mesoamerica 3 hrs
ART 686 Art of Africa 3 hrs
ART 687 Art of the Americas 3 hrs

Students are encouraged to incorporate coursework from other departments in the university as appropriate to their research. Courses that could be considered as substitutes for ART 699 and an art history elective, pending advisor approval, are listed below. Note that prerequisites may apply. Other courses could be considered on an individual basis, pending Graduate Coordinator approval.

Course Code Course Title Credit Hours
MED 661 Sound Mixing 3 hrs
MED 662
MED 697
Digital Filmmaking Capstone
Advanced Studies in Media
3 hrs
MED 681 Media Ethics and Law 3 hrs
MED 670
MED 680
Film Theory
Media in Politics
3 hrs
Additional degree requirements

A student’s Program of Study is subject to the approval of the Graduate Coordinator in consultation with the major professor or faculty from the area of directed research. Additional coursework may be required to accommodate undergraduate deficiencies.

A probationary review will be conducted at the end of the third semester (during ART 703) evaluating a student’s progress toward his or her thesis development and a unified body of work. A less than satisfactory review could result in dismissal or additional coursework with a follow up review to assess progress.

The thesis requirement consists of the following:

  1. the graduate exhibition/presentation of a substantial and accomplished body of original works of art of design during the final semester of the student’s program;
  2. a written document pertaining to the work exhibited/presented, the character of which is determined by the area of study;
  3. a final oral examination will be taken when the student has completed the program of study and the graduate exhibition/presentation, and a copy of the written document has been distributed to each member of the supervisory committee;
  4. approved documentation of the graduate exhibition/presentation is to be submitted for the record to be kept by the Art and Design department.

For the awarding of the MFA degree, the following is required:

  1. satisfactory completion of all coursework (no grades lower than a “C-” in any graduate course);
  2. thesis requirements, as above;
  3. positive recommendation by the thesis committee.