Academic Catalog

Art (M.F.A.)

Eligibility

The applicant must hold a Bachelor of Fine Arts (B.F.A.) degree or another degree and equivalent course work and/or experience. The M.F.A. degree program demands superior qualification, potential, and commitment as an artist. These requirements can be obtained from the Graduate Officer of the department: graduateartanddesign@wayne.edu.

Note: The Graduate Record Examination (GRE) is not required for admission.

Admission Requirements

Admission to the Master of Fine Arts program is an online process. Admission to this program is contingent upon admission to the Graduate School. Admission to the Graduate School means only that the applicant has satisfied the academic standards required for general University Graduate admission. 

The applicant must hold a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree or another degree and equivalent course work. Admission by the Graduate School of the University means only that the applicant has satisfied the academic standards required for general admission. Final admission to the Master of Fine Arts program is determined by the department and based on the following ranked criteria.

  • Artist Statement
  • CV/Resume
  • Image List
  • 20 Images (specific criteria must be met)
  • 3 Letters of Recommendation
  • Link to Work or Time-Based Media (Optional)
  • Statement of Intent
  • Personal Interview

The final admission decision rests with the department’s faculty admissions committee.

Admission to the Master of Fine Arts degree program is possible by the following three methods.

  • Direct Admission with the BFA - If the applicant is of clearly superior quality and preparation, direct admission is possible. However, applicants are often initially placed in the M. A. program. At the earliest appropriate time, transfer to the M. F. A. program may be recommended.
  • Direct Admission with the MA Degree - Any individuals having already completed the M.A. degree in art (a studio discipline) may apply directly for admission to the M.F.A. program. An admission committee will determine qualifications and admissibility.
  • Transfer from the WSU MA Program - Once in the M.A. program, the student is eligible for transfer to the M.F.A. at his/her/their first review (12 credits) or second review (24 credits). If, at either of these reviews, the faculty review committee determines that the work is approaching M.F.A. level, an invitation will be issued to meet the larger M.F.A. admission committee. If admitted, it is possible to transfer up to 15 credit hours of M.A. studio course work; the number of transfer credits accepted is at the discretion of the student’s M.F.A. admissions committee. (Art History credits transfer automatically, as does the M.A. Seminar- -the student then must take the MFA 2 Seminar). As with the M.A. program, direct M.F.A. admission is a two-part process. The applicant must apply to the Graduate School of the University and the Department of Art & Art History.

Admission by the Graduate School means only that the applicant has satisfied the academic standards required for general graduate admission. The final decision rests with the department’s faculty admission committee.

Composition of Faculty (Admissions Committee)

Admissions committees are composed of three (3) full-time faculty minimum. Admission offers begin with a simple majority of positive votes from committee members. A positive vote should be understood as an agreement to serve as a graduate committee member. 

Application Procedure

At the time of application, the prospective student must submit a portfolio of twenty (20) images of recent work, a list or descriptions of images, a statement of intent, a curriculum vita (CV), and three (3) letters of recommendation through the application upload process. These are examined by the faculty admissions committee, along with the applicant’s academic record, in order to make a preliminary admissions decision. If this decision is positive, a formal admissions interview may be scheduled, except in cases where distance makes it impossible. The applicant will be informed as to the date and place for the meeting.

If an admissions interview is scheduled, the applicant should expect to present 10–20 actual examples of his/her/their recent work (unless this is not feasible due to size). The applicant should expect to speak and to answer questions concerning his/her/their work, experience and plans for graduate study. The interview normally is scheduled for approximately 45 minutes.

The admissions committee will make one of the following decisions.

  • ADMIT TO MFA:  Note: any applicant transferring from the WSU M.A. program will be informed as to whether he/she/they will be permitted to transfer credits and, if so, how many.
  • ADMIT TO MA:  The faculty admissions committee determines whether the M.A. program is a more appropriate place for the applicant to begin graduate studies. Once in the M.A. program, a student can again apply for admission to the M.F.A.
  • DO NOT ADMIT:  The applicant lacks sufficient preparation for the program.

Advisor

At the time of admission the student will be assigned an initial Advisor by the admissions committee. The student selects a permanent Advisor during his/her/their first semester; both the initial and permanent advisors must agree to the student’s selection. The Advisor will explain the program and help the student plan the course of study. It is the student’s responsibility to know the program and to maintain close contact with the Advisor, in order to keep him/her/them informed as to the student’s progress.

Studio Space

The department ordinarily provides individual studio spaces to all M.F.A. students.  These are assigned on the basis of seniority, area concentration, and space availability.  Since graduation provides a constant turnover of studios, anyone desiring to upgrade his/her/their assignment may do so by requesting, in writing, a new studio.  These requests should be addressed to the Graduate Officer.  If, in the opinion of the faculty, a student is not sufficiently utilizing his/her/their studio, a request to vacate may be made.  Such a request can be appealed to the department's Graduate Committee in Art.

Transfer of Credits

No credits can be transferred to the M.F.A. program at the time of admission from any M.A. program outside of WSU. A maximum of 15 credits can be transferred from the WSU M.A. program to the M.F.A. program; the number of transfer credits accepted is at the discretion of the  applicant’s admissions committee. Once enrolled in the M.F.A. program, a student may petition the department’s Graduate Committee in Art to accept up to three (3) credits from educational institutions outside of WSU. The student must submit a formal request, signed by his/her/their advisor, and a copy of the transcripts for the coursework credits requested to the Graduate Committee in Art.

Credit by Examination

No credits toward graduate degrees may be obtained by examination.

Role of the MFA Advisor

The Advisor's responsibilities are to explain the program and help the student plan his/her/their course of study. Aspects of the Advisor’s role include the following points.

The Advisor must:

  • Be in the area of concentration desired by the student;
  • Be appointed by the student’s admissions committee (change of advisor must be approved by a student’s current and requested advisor);
  • Approve a student’s list of review committee members each semester (student must submit a list to the advisor), sending the list to the area coordinator, who sends the list on to the graduate officer;
  • Approve changes in a student’s review committee, sending the list to the area coordinator, who sends the list on to the graduate officer;
  • Moderate a student’s reviews (including time-keeping for each section of the review);
  • Approve a student’s plan of work;
  • Approve any electives that the student seeks to take outside of the department;
  • Approve a student’s course schedule each semester.

It is also the student’s responsibility to know the program and to maintain close contact with the advisor, in order to keep him/her/them informed as to the student’s progress.

Spring / Summer Semester

No M.F.A. coursework is formally offered during the Spring/Summer semester. However, some courses with graduate level credit are occasionally available in the Spring/Summer term. Any M.F.A. student who might consider enrolling in such courses should first check with his/her/their advisor.

Graduate Advising

The student must meet with his/her/their Advisor every semester to review, plan, and approve the student’s course of studies. If desired, the Graduate Officer is also available for advising.

Extensions

The Master of Fine Arts program must be completed in three academic years. Any M.F.A. student wishing to extend his/her/their program beyond this limit must obtain permission from the Graduate Committee in Art. If a student should drop out for a period longer than one semester, he/she/they must seek reinstatement, also from the Graduate Committee in Art. That committee may require a special admissions meeting with the student prior to the resumption of work.

Financial Aid and Scholarships

For information concerning all available financial aid and scholarships, please consult the WSU Financial Aid office. Applications for graduate teaching assistantships (GTAs) are available through the department office.

Program Requirements

The Master of Fine Arts degree is offered under the following option:

Plan A: Sixty credits in art, including a thesis exhibition held in final semester.

Plan A must be completed within three years. A minimum of sixty credits in art should include twenty credits of Graduate Hours, nine credits of Graduate Seminar, nine credits of Graduate Studio, twelve credits in electives, six credits in art history (one of which is to be contemporary art), and four credits of MFA Thesis. All course work must be completed in accordance with the regulations of the Graduate School and the College of Fine, Performing, and Communication Arts.

Candidacy: After twelve credits have been completed, a Plan of Work must be signed by the faculty advisor and submitted to the Department Graduate Officer. An applicant becomes a degree candidate only upon recommendation by the graduate review committee.

Full-time attendance is required in the program which requires a minimum of four semesters of study, excluding the summer term. All M.F.A. candidates must also meet the following requirements:

  1. Final Review - The student must receive a satisfactory review (S, passing) for the review in their final semester. This review will be held at the student’s thesis exhibition. 

  2. Thesis Exhibition - As a degree requirement, the M.F.A. student must present a final thesis exhibition prior to graduation. All M.F.A. exhibitions are to be held in the WSU Community Art Gallery during the Winter term. The design, presentation, and publicity for the show is done in conjunction with other graduating candidates. The Graduate Officer and the Exhibitions Curator are available to assist with the exhibition.

  3. Image Portfolio - Prior to graduation, the candidate must provide his/her advisor with a portfolio of 20 images of works executed during graduate studies including images of the thesis exhibition. Images are due by the end of the student’s final semester. 

  4. Written Thesis Document - The student will produce a thesis, essay, book, or other writing to accompany their thesis exhibition in consultation with their advisor. The writing should be a minimum of eight pages (4000 words) in length. The writing is due by the end of the student’s final semester. 

This program provides the student with the opportunity for intensive work toward personal artistic goals. The entire graduate staff is available to the student for consultation and instruction.

Plan of Work (POW)

All graduate students begin their work as Masters Applicants. After 12 credits have been completed successfully (B average or better) a Plan of Work is filed with the College of Fine, Performing and Communication Arts. If approved, the student’s status is changed to Masters Candidate. The Plan of Work lists courses taken and projects the remainder of the program and anticipated length of the program. Failure to submit the Plan of Work during the semester in which the student registers for his/her/their 12th credit may result in an academic “hold” which will prevent further registration. The University strongly enforces this policy, so the student must not neglect this procedure. The Plan of Work is done in conjunction with the Advisor. The Plan of Work must be signed by the student’s Advisor, who then forwards the Plan of Work to the Graduate Officer. If the student wishes to change his/her/their course of study after the Plan of Work has been filed, another Plan of Work with the “Change of P.O.W.” line marked should be filed. The Plan of Work is available online or in the art department office. Any deviations from this course of study requires the approval of the faculty Graduate Committee of the Department. Such requests should be addressed in writing to the Graduate Officer. 

Reviews

The M.F.A. student must meet with a faculty review committee each semester of study. By the 8th week prior to each semester’s review, the student must have had a studio visit with each member of his/her/their committee (i.e., the student meets with committee members individually to discuss his/her/their work). Reviews are usually held in the 12th or 13th week of each semester with the dates varying each term. The Graduate Calendar, available in the Department office will list the exact dates for each academic year. (The Final Review is held in the 8th week to facilitate College and University graduation deadlines.)

Composition of the Faculty Admission Committee  

Admissions committees are composed of three (3) full-time faculty minimum Admission offers begin with a simple majority of positive votes from committee members. A positive vote should be understood as an agreement to serve as a graduate committee member. Graduate advisors must be drawn from the student's primary discipline.  

Composition of the MFA Review Committee

For the students first semester the Graduate Student Review Committee will be comprised of the members of the student’s Admission Committee and their first semester advisor will be selected from that Committee. The student should select a permanent committee by 14th week of their first semester, with agreement from the newly selected faculty and formal approval from the student’s current advisor and graduate officer. The advisor must align with the student’s primary discipline. In the case of Interdisciplinary Art focus, a student may choose to work with any full-time faculty member within the department. Graduate Student Review Committees are composed of three (3) full-time faculty minimum.

MFA Progress Review

The initial Progress Review takes place during a student’s first term in the MFA program and is not a graded review. The student presents to their MFA committee members and a visiting artist or critic the culmination of all work created during the fall semester, (then the 3rd and 5th semesters) including any written material/research projectsThe student receives a written summary of the review and an evaluation by committee as: S Satisfactory (pass/fail), U Unsatisfactory (pass/fail).   Pass/Fail, attendance and participation is considered Pass (S). This review is a 0 credit hour gateway.

MFA Assessment Review

In the winter semester, the student formally presents to their MFA committee members the culmination of all work created during the course of the year, including any written material/research projects. A 500-word artist statement is required and must be submitted to committee members one week prior to reviews. The student is evaluated by committee as: Pass (S) /Pass with Warning (S) /Move to MA program (U)/Dismissal from program (U) (S Satisfactory, U Unsatisfactory). The Assessment Review will also serve as the Department of Art and Art History MFA program assessment. The 6th semester review serves as the final review, and will be held at the student’s thesis exhibition. The student must receive a satisfactory review (S, passing) for the review in their final semester.

Changes in the Review Committee

The student may add or replace one faculty member per term with the support of his/her/their Graduate Advisor. Following the students first semesterrequests for graduate committee adjustments should made to the Graduate Officer by the 3rd week of the term. Committee membership may also be adjusted ​according to faculty schedules and assignments.

Visiting Artist/Critic

Each semester, the Department’s Faculty Graduate Committee in Art invites to campus a visiting artist/critic specifically to serve on graduate reviews. This individual attends all M.F.A. reviews and serves without a vote. Recommendations for visiting artist/critic are made to the committee by faculty and graduate students.

Procedures

Reviews are normally one hour in length. The student may choose to have an open review with other M.F.A. students attending or a closed review with only the review committee. The schedule is prepared by the Graduate Officer, in consultation with the various concentrations. The schedule is distributed and posted several weeks in advance. The following format is followed for reviews.

  1. Opening Statement (10 minutes): The student should prepare a brief presentation about the works under review, focusing on those issues that he/she/they wish(es) the committee to address.
  2. Discussion Period (up to 30 minutes): An open discussion, moderated by the Advisor, addressing the works under review and focusing on the issues raised by the student during the opening statement.
  3. Formal Action (10 minutes): Following the discussion, the student will be requested to leave the room so that the committee can discuss and vote a formal action.
  4. Feedback (10 minutes): The student is invited back to rejoin the review and will be apprised of the action taken. The following is a list of formal actions that can be taken by the review committee.
  5. Pass: Work is approved. Consistent level of quality is being maintained.
  6. Pass With Warning: Work is only satisfactory. The possibility of a Hold or Dismiss exists.
  7. Hold: Work is unsatisfactory. The student may not register for further course work but should instead concentrate on bringing his/her/their work up to a satisfactory level. A repeat review will be scheduled for the following semester to determine continuance or dismissal.
  8. Return to the Masters of Art Program: Though acceptable, the work is not at the M.F.A. level. The accumulated degree credits may be applied to the M.A. degree.
  9. Dismiss: Work is failing. Graduate candidacy and status is revoked.

All actions of a review committee may be appealed in writing to the Graduate Committee in Art. This committee, in conjunction with the Department Chair, may overrule a Review Committee. The student is to receive a copy of the committee’s review summary. The student is encouraged to follow-up with committee members after the review for more discussion. The student has the right of access to his/her/their graduate files. Students are welcome to review 8000-level grades and the written summary of their reviews.

Graduation Requirements

When registering for their final semester, the student must File for Degree at the University Graduation Office. The student must file prior to the first day of classes of her/his/their final semester. Once the student has filed for a degree, the student is then a Candidate for Graduation.

  1. Final Exhibition (Designate Plan A on the Plan of Work) - As a degree requirement, the M.F.A. student must present a final thesis exhibition prior to graduation. All M.F.A. exhibitions are to be held in the WSU Community Art Gallery during the Winter term. The design, presentation, and publicity for the show is done in conjunction with other graduating candidates. The Graduate Officer and the Exhibitions Curator are available to assist with the exhibition. The M.F.A. student must write an expanded artist’s statement, in consultation with the Advisor. The statement will accompany the thesis show. The student will document the exhibition with digital images and submit these along with other selected images from his/her/their graduate career to the Graduate Officer (see no. 3, below).
  2. Final Review - This summary review is held at the student's thesis exhibition.
  3. Image Portfolio - Prior to graduation, the candidate must provide his/her/their advisor with a portfolio of twenty images total, including works executed during graduate studies and the thesis exhibition.  The images become part of the permanent collection in the Department’s visual resource center. The portfolio is due in the Department office no later than two weeks after a student’s final exhibition.

Disciplines

  • Ceramics  
  • Digital Art  
  • Drawing  
  • Fashion Design  
  • Fibers  
  • Graphic Design  
  • Industrial Design 
  • Interior Design 
  • Metalsmithing  
  • Painting  
  • Photography  
  • Printmaking  
  • Sculpture

Course List

Select from the following: 

Graduate Seminar9
Graduate Seminar
Graduate Studio9
Graduate Studio
Art History6
5000-level or above contemporary art and 5000-level or above elective. (See list below.)
Graduate Hours20
Graduate Hours
MFA Thesis4
Electives12
MFA Progress Review0
MFA Progress Review
MFA Assessment Review0
MFA Assessment Review
Total Credits60

Art History Elective Courses

Art History electives select from:
Hellenistic Art
Ancient Rome
Classical Greek Art
Roman Painting and Sculpture
The Ancient City of Athens
Art and Architecture in the High Middle Ages
Early Renaissance in Italy
High Renaissance and Mannerism in Italy
Art of Renaissance Venice
Special Topics
20th Century or Contemporary Art History select from:
Performance Art of the Americas
Trends in Nineteenth Century Art
Modernism: Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries
Twentieth Century Art
Art 1900-1945
Gender and Race in Visual Culture
Topics in Twentieth-Century Art
Museum Practicum
Seminar
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