Twin Cities campus
 
Twin Cities Campus

Art M.F.A.

Art Department
College of Liberal Arts
Link to a list of faculty for this program.
Contact Information
Department of Art, E201 Regis Center for Art, 405 21st Avenue S, Minneapolis, MN 55455 (612-625-8096; fax: 612-625-7881).
  • Program Type: Master's
  • Requirements for this program are current for Spring 2023
  • Length of program in credits: 64
  • This program does not require summer semesters for timely completion.
  • Degree: Master of Fine Arts
Along with the program-specific requirements listed below, please read the General Information section of this website for requirements that apply to all major fields.
The MFA program places major emphasis on creative artistic work of high quality. It promotes not only the conceptual and technical education of the professional artist in their artistic practice, encouraging critical inquiry, excellence, and an understanding of the history of art, but also an experimental approach toward each media. The following four areas of study are available: Drawing, Painting, and Printmaking; Sculpture and Ceramics; Photography and Moving Images; Interdisciplinary Art and Social Practice. The MFA is considered a terminal degree in the field of fine arts and is typically the degree required to teach at the college or university level.
Program Delivery
  • via classroom (the majority of instruction is face-to-face)
Prerequisites for Admission
The preferred undergraduate GPA for admittance to the program is 3.00.
Special Application Requirements:
Admission to the MFA program is highly competitive. In addition to meeting the University's application requirements, students applying to the program must demonstrate a high degree of capability and commitment in their artistic portfolio and in their statements of artistic and academic intent. Applicants must submit a portfolio electronically with documentation of artwork completed in the three years prior to admission. Instructions for submitting the portfolio and supplemental materials including three letters of recommendation may be found at the department's website: www.art.umn.edu Students are admitted for fall semester only.
International applicants must submit score(s) from one of the following tests:
  • TOEFL
    • Internet Based - Total Score: 79
    • Internet Based - Writing Score: 21
    • Internet Based - Reading Score: 19
    • Paper Based - Total Score: 550
  • IELTS
    • Total Score: 6.5
  • MELAB
    • Final score: 80
Key to test abbreviations (TOEFL, IELTS, MELAB).
For an online application or for more information about graduate education admissions, see the General Information section of this website.
Program Requirements
Plan B: Plan B requires 58 major credits and 6 credits outside the major. The final exam is oral. A capstone project is required.
Capstone Project:The capstone project comprises participation in the University’s Katherine E. Nash Gallery MFA thesis exhibition and a supporting paper.
This program may be completed with a minor.
Use of 4xxx courses toward program requirements is permitted under certain conditions with adviser approval.
A minimum GPA of 2.80 is required for students to remain in good standing.
At least 2 semesters must be completed before filing a Degree Program Form.
The MFA is a 3-year, full-time program, that provides studio space for the three consecutive years for the pursuit of artistic research.
Seminar Courses (9 credits)
Take the following courses. ARTS 8402 must be taken fall of Year 1; Take ARTS 8403 Spring of Year 2; ARTS 8404 must be taken fall of Year 3.
ARTS 8402 - Theoretical Constructions in Contemporary Art (3.0 cr)
ARTS 8403 - MFA Professional Practices and Teaching Pedagogy (3.0 cr)
ARTS 8404 - MFA Thesis Research + Writing (3.0 cr)
MFA Critique Seminars (9 credits)
Take ARTS 8410 fall of Year 1, spring of Year 1, and fall of Year 2.
ARTS 8410 - MFA Critique Seminar (3.0 cr)
Studio Credits (24 credits)
Select credits from the following in consultation with the advisor. ARTS 8420 can be repeated.
ARTS 5110 - Advanced Drawing (4.0 cr)
ARTS 5120 - Advanced Painting (4.0 cr)
ARTS 5140 - Advanced Printmaking (4.0 cr)
ARTS 5230 - Advanced Art + Sound (4.0 cr)
ARTS 5250 - Art + Performance (4.0 cr)
ARTS 5260 - Art + Interdisciplinary Collaborations (3.0 cr)
ARTS 5610 - New Media: Making Art Interactive (4.0 cr)
ARTS 5710 - Advanced Photography and Moving Image Projects (4.0 cr)
ARTS 5750 - Advanced Narrative Digital Filmmaking (4.0 cr)
ARTS 5760 - Experimental Film and Video (4.0 cr)
ARTS 5770 - Animation (4.0 cr)
ARTS 5780 - Advanced Super 8 and 16 MM Filmmaking (4.0 cr)
ARTS 5810 - Advanced Ceramics (4.0 cr)
ARTS 5850 - Advanced Foundry and Metal Sculpture (4.0 cr)
ARTS 5860 - Advanced Sculpture (4.0 cr)
ARTS 5890 - 3D Modeling and Digital Fabrication (4.0 cr)
ARTS 8420 - MFA Studio (1.0-6.0 cr)
GCC 5013 - Making Sense of Climate Change - Science, Art, and Agency [CIV] (3.0 cr)
Outside Coursework (6 credits)
Select at least 6 credits of art theory or art history coursework, in consultation with the advisor, from the following. Other courses may be substituted with prior approval from the director of graduate studies.
ARTH 5xxx
Creative Thesis (16 credits)
Take 8 credits each semester of Year 3 in consultation with the advisor.
ARTS 8450 - MFA Creative Thesis (1.0-9.0 cr)
 
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ARTS 8402 - Theoretical Constructions in Contemporary Art
Credits: 3.0 [max 3.0]
Typically offered: Every Fall & Spring
Structure for examining and understanding current critical practice. Evaluation and questions about assumptions of theory in context of current artistic production.
ARTS 8403 - MFA Professional Practices and Teaching Pedagogy
Credits: 3.0 [max 3.0]
Grading Basis: A-F only
Typically offered: Every Spring
This course is intended to provide a context for developing a career as an artist and explore how to create a sustainable artistic practice. This course will also explore issues in contemporary arts education through multiple approaches and best practices in teaching pedagogy. A primary goal of the course is to provide the Department of Art graduate instructors with an opportunity develop teaching skills before entering the classroom, access to UMN teaching resources and important information regarding expectations of University of Minnesota instructors and courses. Through visiting artist presentations, as well as those by professionals in arts administration, non-profits, established and non-traditional galleries, curators, critics, and recent art graduates, we will also examine the rich ecology of the arts in the Twin Cities community. We will also explore how to navigate the arts terrain successfully as an artist.
ARTS 8404 - MFA Thesis Research + Writing
Credits: 3.0 [max 3.0]
Grading Basis: A-F only
Typically offered: Every Fall
This workshop aims to facilitate the writing process of the MFA Thesis Supporting Paper for third-year graduate students. In accordance with the MFA advisory manual, students are challenged to articulate their creative investigations and processes as well as philosophical and critical perspectives developed throughout their course of study. By the time third-year reviews take place in December, students are expected to have a full-length draft of their text (15 pages, double-spaced, 12-point type) that names relevant reference points of the work, historical and contemporary art influences, a bibliography, and completes the requirements laid out in the MFA Advising Manual.
ARTS 8410 - MFA Critique Seminar
Credits: 3.0 [max 12.0]
Grading Basis: A-F only
Typically offered: Every Fall & Spring
Taken for three semesters during the first and second year of the program, the MFA Critique Seminar provides candidates with an intellectual community and critical forum in which they may test, temper, and enlarge the ideas that underlie their artistic goals. The seminar will meet weekly to critique, in rotation, the work-in-progress of all candidates. The cross-disciplinary nature of the conversation is meant to foster the widest possible dialogue among artists, encourage divergent thinking and discourage the easy acceptance of received notions. The seminar will also include, critiques, and discussions with visiting artists, curators, etc.
ARTS 5110 - Advanced Drawing
Credits: 4.0 [max 16.0]
Typically offered: Every Fall & Spring
This studio course provides students the opportunity to investigate individual ideas and work on self-guided projects within a communal learning environment. Students will be encouraged to develop and execute their ideas with skill and clarity. Through a consideration of diverse materials and practices, students will develop a proficiency in the language of contemporary drawing. This rigorous course is designed to assist students in making connections between their own work and larger global themes and issues. Students will develop their own artistic style and think deeply about their own form, content, process, and context. Group and individual critiques, class discussions, field trips, reviewing the work of other artists and readings will supplement studio work. Students are expected to spend time working on their projects outside of scheduled class time. prereq: Art major and ARTS 3110
ARTS 5120 - Advanced Painting
Credits: 4.0 [max 16.0]
Typically offered: Every Fall & Spring
This studio course provides students the opportunity to investigate individual ideas and work on self-guided projects within a communal learning environment. Students will be encouraged to develop and execute their ideas with skillfulness and clarity. Through a consideration of diverse materials and practices, students will develop a proficiency in the language of contemporary painting. This rigorous course is designed to assist students make connections between their own work and larger global themes and issues. Students will develop their own artistic style and think deeply about their own form, content, process, and context. Group and individual critiques, field trips, reviewing the work of other artists and readings will supplement studio work. Students are expected to spend time working on their paintings outside of scheduled class time. prereq: ARTS 3120 and ARTS major
ARTS 5140 - Advanced Printmaking
Credits: 4.0 [max 16.0]
Typically offered: Every Fall & Spring
This course engages deeply with print media to understand the processes technically and conceptually. Students hone their skills with in-depth demonstrations that can include intaglio, lithography, monoprinting, relief, and screen printing. Contemporary visiting artists who engage with print as their primary media offer inspiration for students' development, as do visits to local collections to view and discuss prints from the past 600 years. Students develop their own voice and a community with their peers as they build skills in the printmaking studios. They explore their relationships with the media as they learn about concepts of how the multiple has functioned historically, politically and as a tool for activism. Through readings, lectures, discussions, and making, the course explores print?s contemporary iterations to combine digital and hand processes and even work across media to morph into sculptural, printstallation, or public projects. prereq: ARTS 3130
ARTS 5230 - Advanced Art + Sound
Credits: 4.0 [max 12.0]
Typically offered: Every Fall & Spring
Sound art practice/theory. Emphasizes individual creative projects using sound as primary material. History of experimental sound art from early 20th century to present. Critiques, readings, writing, public presentations. prereq: ARTS major and 3605 or 3230
ARTS 5250 - Art + Performance
Credits: 4.0 [max 12.0]
Course Equivalencies: ArtS 3250/ArtS 5250
Typically offered: Periodic Fall & Spring
Studio practice in performance art and installation; investigation of historical and contemporary methods and concepts of interdisciplinary expression. Development of personal imagery. Prereq: ARTS major
ARTS 5260 - Art + Interdisciplinary Collaborations
Credits: 3.0 [max 9.0]
Typically offered: Every Fall & Spring
Interdisciplinary, collaborative artist teams explore modes of creative expression at intersections of the arts. Students collaborate to co-author/produce works of art for pubic presentation. Emphazes integration of media arts with visual art, music, dance, and theater to produce interdisciplinary/collaborative art. prereq: Upper-division undergraduate or graduate student in art, creative writing, dance, music or theater.
ARTS 5610 - New Media: Making Art Interactive
Credits: 4.0 [max 12.0]
Typically offered: Periodic Fall & Spring
Conceptual/aesthetic development with digital, interactive art. Experimental approaches to interactive technologies. Projects with responsive/tangible media. Theory/history of new media. prereq: 3601 or instr consent
ARTS 5710 - Advanced Photography and Moving Image Projects
Credits: 4.0 [max 16.0]
Typically offered: Every Fall & Spring
In this class, students have the opportunity to deepen and expand their creative practice, conceptual and technical skills they have developed so far in Photography and/or Moving Image. The class is structured around two individual, advanced projects of the student's choice over the course of the semester. The first body of work will be presented in an exhibition or installation. Students will learn skills in developing a project all the way through to sharing it with the public. They will develop skills in preparing and mounting an exhibition. They will have the chance to reflect on their exhibited works in order to develop their second, smaller project, which launches from, rethinks, or is an entirely different direction from the first. To this end, all types of digital, analog photographic, film and video media, and installation are welcome and any mix thereof. The class includes studio time, image lectures, discussions, critique, selected readings, field trips, demonstrations determined by the class needs, one-to-one meetings and visiting artists. In this advanced class, students use the cameras, tools and methods necessary for their work and their ideas. prereq: previously completed a 3XXX course in Photography or Moving Images.
ARTS 5750 - Advanced Narrative Digital Filmmaking
Credits: 4.0 [max 12.0]
Course Equivalencies: ArtS 3750/ArtS 5750
Typically offered: Periodic Fall & Spring
The class approaches Filmmaking as an art form and is designed to heighten students' awareness of the variety of ways narratives can be constructed and developed through moving images and sound. Students will spend the semester making an original short fictional narrative or documentary film which they shoot and edit. Through development, pre-production, production, and post-production processes, students work with original ideas and material to discover alternative ways of telling their stories. The first section of the class is dedicated to developing their ideas, studying scene design, character development, and various forms of narrative filmmaking that they will use to write a short original screenplay. The second section of the class is dedicated to pre-production and production, including planning for and shooting their screenplay and applying innovative cinematography and audio techniques to tell their stories in image and sound. The last section of the class is devoted to post-production, including editing video and audio and finishing the film. When editing, students will edit various versions of scenes to explore interesting and unplanned changes in tone and flow in their films. Finally, students will finish their films and participate in an end-of-semester public screening. Prerequisite: 3750 or Graduate Student
ARTS 5760 - Experimental Film and Video
Credits: 4.0 [max 12.0]
Course Equivalencies: ArtS 3760/ArtS 5760
Typically offered: Periodic Fall & Spring
Experimental moving image practice is increasingly prevalent within contemporary art and cinema. This class is designed to heighten your awareness and experience of the variety of ways feeling and perception can be explored through moving images and sound. We will step beyond traditional narrative structures and conventions of camera use to explore the spiritual, conceptual, and emotional potential of the medium. There will be individual and collaborative group work on elements of film production - character design, location and scene design, writing, improvisational and scripted acting and shooting, camera and sound recording tools and techniques, editing, and post-production. The class will include screenings, readings and discussion of experimental films from the inception of the avant-garde through the most contemporary experimental work being produced today. You will explore the visual and aural experience of moving image and sound through a variety of alternative shooting, recording, editing and interdisciplinary installation and presentation options. Students begin the semester by developing a film concept and planning production. Working individually and collaboratively, you will then shoot the film and complete a preliminary edit. Through critiques and further editing and shooting, you will work, re-work, and start over with your material to discover unplanned changes in tone, flow, experience, and meaning. Students need to provide their own portable drive and 1-2 SD cards for each class, and may choose to purchase their own subscription to Adobe Creative Cloud if they wish to use their own computer. Prerequisite: ARTS major, ARTS 1704
ARTS 5770 - Animation
Credits: 4.0 [max 12.0]
Course Equivalencies: ArtS 3770/ArtS 5770
Typically offered: Periodic Fall & Spring
In this course, students will be introduced to a variety of techniques of digital animation. Through short exercises and longer projects, students gain experience with digital 2D animation in Photoshop and After Effects as well as 3D animation in Maya. Through practice and application, students explore the tools and methods of animation. The course begins with focused exercises and culminates in an independent project. Classes consist of demonstrations, independent work time, historical and contemporary animation screenings, in-progress and final critiques, and self-assessments. This course strives to further the student?s knowledge, skills, and artistic achievement in animation. This is a class for undergraduate (3770) and graduate (5770) students of varied experience and skills, and the outcomes above are evaluated on progress and participation. All students successfully completing the class will have created one, in?depth, short animation and several short animation exercises. They will leave the class with a working knowledge of Photoshop, Maya, and other animation skills and techniques. prereq: ARTS 3770 or Instructor Consent
ARTS 5780 - Advanced Super 8 and 16 MM Filmmaking
Credits: 4.0 [max 8.0]
Course Equivalencies: ArtS 3780/ArtS 5780
Grading Basis: A-F or Aud
Typically offered: Periodic Fall & Spring
Feel the film whirring through the camera, get your hands wet in the darkroom, and hear the click-click of the projector. Revisit the origins of moving image and how it evolved into your mobile device and contemporary practice. This course will explore the medium of Super 8 filmmaking in the tradition of the experimental and avant ­garde. We will focus on the physicality of the film stock, the basic mechanics of the camera and projector, and how these elements translate into a visual language and aesthetic. Students will learn how to shoot, process, edit, splice, project, and transfer their own super 8 films. This course will balance the technical, conceptual, and historical aspects of small­ gauge or amateur analog filmmaking, and address what it means to work in this medium at the beginning of the 21st century. The course will include presentations, readings, and discussions on contemporary and historical artists in the medium, as well as film screenings and lectures. Classroom visits by artists and field trips will also provide an informed context for the primary course objective. prereq: Art major
ARTS 5810 - Advanced Ceramics
Credits: 4.0 [max 16.0]
Typically offered: Every Fall & Spring
Are you interested in creating a compelling body of ceramic work that prepares you to embark on a solid professional path into the visual arts with an emphasis on ceramic material? Advanced Ceramics is a course that facilitates self-directed learning and project development. With your experiences in Introduction to Ceramics, and Intermediate Ceramic Sculpture and Wheel Throwing, this course will facilitate the development of independent, disciplined studio practice. Your instructor will encourage you to elevate and expand conceptual and creative ideas, methods, and modes of visual communication in the realm of ceramics. Engaging in robust studio practice, scholarly research, meaningful peer engagement, and mentorship from your instructor will support the development of independent projects. Your independent projects will culminate in a professional body of work revealing quality craftsmanship, visual unity, and compelling aesthetics to support BFA/BA exhibition/capstone goals. Overall, this course will prepare you with professional skills as a visual artist to sustain after graduation for ongoing professional studio practice, creative growth, and self-evaluation in the ceramic discipline. prereq: ARTS major and ARTS 1801, ARTS 3820 or ARTS 3830
ARTS 5850 - Advanced Foundry and Metal Sculpture
Credits: 4.0 [max 12.0]
Course Equivalencies: ArtS 3850/ArtS 5850
Typically offered: Every Fall & Spring
Are you interested in participating in a human tradition that is at least 8,000 years old? In this course, you will collaborate with the elements: earth, water, wind and fire to create artwork using different mold techniques for casting metal and pouring bronze and aluminum. Using studio practices, we will investigate the historical and contemporary methods and concepts of mold making and casting metal. Metal casting processes are by nature a social act. In this course, please be ready to help each other, whether by helping brainstorm ideas, helping preparing materials, cleaning areas, or giving a hand to lift something? this is all part of the making process and our shared learning experience in the foundry. prereq: Art major
ARTS 5860 - Advanced Sculpture
Credits: 4.0 [max 12.0]
Typically offered: Every Fall & Spring
This advanced Sculpture course is a self-motivated and self-directed studio class to help you develop and maintain a personal studio practice. The structure of this studio course provides space for in-depth research, idea development, individual exploration, experimentation, play and critical feedback. Prereq: ARTS major and ARTS 3860
ARTS 5890 - 3D Modeling and Digital Fabrication
Credits: 4.0 [max 12.0]
Course Equivalencies: ArtS 3890/ArtS 5890
Typically offered: Every Spring
In this class, students will learn the basic skills of computer drafting and 3D modeling as it relates to digital fabrication and the generation of objects using the Department of Art's XYZ Lab. Instruction includes drafting in Adobe Illustrator and Rhino, modeling in Rhino and by means of digital imaging, transfer of files and object fabrication using laser cutters, a 3-axis CNC router, 3D printers and vinyl cutter. This class is intended for art majors and non-art majors interested in building skills in prototyping, iteration and digital design and fabrication. While there is no prerequisite, basic drafting or Adobe Illustrator skills are highly encouraged. prereq: ARTS major
ARTS 8420 - MFA Studio
Credits: 1.0 -6.0 [max 36.0]
Grading Basis: A-F only
Typically offered: Every Fall & Spring
This graduate level directed study offers students the opportunity to work with individual faculty. Students arrange regular meetings and develop a proposal for the semester, which is approved by the instructor. Prior to registration, the student must contact the faculty member with whom they hope to work.
GCC 5013 - Making Sense of Climate Change - Science, Art, and Agency (CIV)
Credits: 3.0 [max 3.0]
Course Equivalencies: GCC 3013/GCC 5013
Grading Basis: A-F only
Typically offered: Periodic Fall & Spring
The overarching theme of the course is the role of artistic/humanistic ways of knowing as tools for making sense and meaning in the face of "grand challenges." Our culture tends to privilege science, and to isolate it from the "purposive" disciplines--arts and humanities--that help humanity ask and answer difficult questions about what should be done about our grand challenges. In this course, we will examine climate change science, with a particular focus on how climate change is expected to affect key ecological systems such as forests and farms and resources for vital biodiversity such as pollinators. We will study the work of artists who have responded to climate change science through their artistic practice to make sense and meaning of climate change. Finally, students create collaborative public art projects that will become part of local community festivals/events late in the semester. This is a Grand Challenge Curriculum course.
ARTS 8450 - MFA Creative Thesis
Credits: 1.0 -9.0 [max 18.0]
Grading Basis: A-F only
Typically offered: Every Fall & Spring
Research/studio work in preparation for thesis exhibition. Third year students are required to complete 18 cr. of this course in their final year. Prior to registration, the student must contact the faculty member with whom they hope to work.