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 2018
  • 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 master of fine arts 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 areas of concentration are available: ceramics, drawing and painting, photography, printmaking, sculpture, and experimental and media arts. The MFA is considered the 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 M.F.A. 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: Students are admitted for fall semester only.
International applicants must submit score(s) from one of the following tests:
    • Internet Based - Total Score: 79
    • Internet Based - Writing Score: 21
    • Internet Based - Reading Score: 19
    • Paper Based - Total Score: 550
    • Total Score: 6.5
    • 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:Candidates demonstrate their visual research accomplishments through participation in the MFA thesis exhibition in the Katherine E. Nash Gallery, a supporting paper, and a final oral examination.
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 program requires a total of 64 credits. It is typically a three-year program and studio space is provided for a maximum of three consecutive years for the pursuit of appropriate artistic research. MFA candidates plan programs with their advisors with approval of the director of graduate studies. The program requires all coursework be completed by the end of the second year of the program. Students who will teach during their time in the MFA program will be required to register for the 1-credit MFA teaching colloquium prior to a graduate teaching appointment. In the third year of the MFA program, candidates are required to register for 9 ARTS 8990 credits per semester and a 1-credit writing workshop in the fall. Candidates must be reviewed annually for progress through the program. At the end of the final year, candidates demonstrate their artistic research accomplishments through participation in the MFA thesis exhibition held in the Katherine E. Nash Gallery, a supporting paper, and a final oral examination.
Seminar Courses
Take the following courses for a total of 6 credits:
ARTS 8404 - MFA Thesis Research + Writing (3.0 cr)
ARTS 8403 - MFA Professional Practices and Teaching Pedagogy (3.0 cr)
MFA Critique Seminar
Take ARTS 8410 in the fall of 1st year, the fall of 2nd year, and the spring of 2nd year, for a total of 9 credits.
Take 9 or more credit(s) from the following:
· ARTS 8410 - MFA Critique Seminar (3.0 cr)
Studio Credits
ARTS 8420 and 8450 can be repeated multiple times for credit.
Take 24 or more credit(s) from the following:
· ARTS 8420 - MFA Studio (1.0-6.0 cr)
Take 16 or more credit(s) from the following:
· ARTS 8450 - MFA Creative Thesis (1.0-9.0 cr)
Theoretical Constructions of Contemporary Art
ARTS 8402 - Theoretical Constructions in Contemporary Art (3.0 cr)
Art Theory or Art History Electives
Take at least 6 credits from outside art to fulfill the art theory or art history course requirements. Courses can be selected from the following departments, or in consultation with the advisor and director of graduate studies.
Take 6 or more credit(s) from the following:
· ARTH 5xxx
· ARTH 8xxx
· THE 5xxx
· THE 8xxx
· ADES 5xxx
· ADES 8xxx
· APST 5xxx
· APST 8xxx
· ARCH 5xxx
· ARCH 8xxx
· DES 5xxx
· DES 8xxx
· GDES 5xxx
· GDES 8xxx
· HSG 5xxx
· HSG 8xxx
· IDES 5xxx
· IDES 8xxx
· LA 5xxx
· LA 8xxx
· MST 5xxx
· MST 8xxx
· RM 5xxx
· RM 8xxx
· CSCL 5xxx
· CSCL 8xxx
More program views..
View college catalog(s):
· College of Liberal Arts

View future requirement(s):
· Fall 2018

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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 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 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 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.
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.
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.