The Master of Fine Arts degree is a comprehensive three-year program designed to guide Candidates toward expertise in studio art and design practices, aesthetics, and scholarly inquiry while expanding proficiency in art history, criticism, and theory. In addition, Candidates have opportunities to acquire experience in classroom instruction and pedagogy, professional development, and gallery practices.
The MFA is a distinguished terminal degree that prepares Candidates to excel as professional practicing artists in a global context and in careers in higher education.
Student Learning Outcomes
- Demonstrate depth and breadth of knowledge of the key critical and theoretical frameworks that pertain to their discipline(s) and area(s) of concentration and research;
- Engage with and analyze their own work within these frameworks;
- Demonstrate knowledge of theory, methodologies, and discursive vocabularies in a disciplinary or interdisciplinary context relative to their proposed thesis exhibition or project;
- Apply their knowledge in the discipline and concentration(s) of choice, media, and techniques to create a thesis project or exhibition that explores the contextual framework as related to their research and creative scholarship;
- Articulate ways in which the combination of their scholarly inquiry, practice, and thesis project or exhibition and written thesis are a part of and contribute to the fields of contemporary Studio Art and Design during applicable critiques, public presentation, and oral defense.
Candidates must have completed at least 6 semester hours of upper-division undergraduate course work in a field or the specific course prerequisite to enroll in 5000-level courses in that field. Additional undergraduate prerequisite course work may be required by the specific graduate program.
Transfer of Credit
Subject to the recommendation of the graduate faculty and a portfolio review, Candidates may have up to 15 semester hours (not including exhibition) of graduate credit applied to the Master of Fine Arts program. The credits must have been earned as degree-eligible post-baccalaureate work. Credit that is more than ten years old will not be counted toward the MFA degree.
For Additional Information
Center for the Arts (CA), Room 105
phone: (361) 825-2317
Department of Art, Unit 5721, College of Liberal Arts
Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi
6300 Ocean Drive
Corpus Christi, Texas 78412-5721
In addition to meeting university criteria for admission to graduate studies, an applicant must meet the following requirements for admission to the MFA program:
- Earned Bachelor of Fine Arts degree, earned bachelor’s degree relative to Graphic Design, or earned graduate degree in art from an institution accredited by one of the six regional accrediting associations.
- Earned at least 15 hours of upper-level Studio Art or Graphic Design course work.
- Submit a completed Graduate School Admission application via the College of Graduate Studies website.
- Submit a 300-500 word typed essay written by the applicant, explaining their interest and objectives for graduate studies via the College of Graduate Studies website.
- Provide three letters of recommendation from faculty or persons familiar with the applicant’s interest and ability in art via the College of Graduate Studies website.
- Provide (20) examples of applicant’s artwork via current submission requirements and/or via email to the Department of Art & Design Graduate Coordinator including title, media, dimensions, and year for each artwork (jpg image files, 1920 pixels on the longest side, at least 150 dpi).
A Candidate wishing to enroll in graduate courses as a non-degree seeking student must first submit a letter requesting admission from the Department of Art & Design faculty, a portfolio representing their art work and a 300-500 word essay. The faculty of the Department of Art & Design will review all applications for admission and will consider the applicant’s transcripts, essay, letters of recommendation, and portfolio. College graduates who do not meet the above admission requirements may petition to enter the MFA program by conditional admission. The faculty reserves the right to interview Candidates seeking conditional admission to the program. Candidates who have been conditionally admitted will have their first 9 semester hours of course work critiqued by the graduate faculty to determine whether they qualify to continue in the program.
The deadline to apply for the MFA in Studio Art is listed on the Department of Art & Design Website.
- Program Requirements
- Exit Requirements
- Exit Requirements for the MFA in Studio Art Program with a concentration in Ceramics, Painting and Drawing, Photography, Printmaking, Sculpture, or Interdisciplinary Art program
- Exit Requirements for the MFA in Studio Art with a concentration in Graphic Design with separate tracks in Professional Practices or Academic Appointment
Candidates must complete 60 semester hours in art with a minimum 3.0 GPA. No more than two grades of C earned at this university will be accepted as credit for this degree.
MFA Studio Art Program Requirements with a concentration in Ceramics, Painting and Drawing, Photography, Printmaking, Sculpture, or Interdisciplinary Art
|Art History/Theory & Methods/Research Topics||12|
|MFA Project and Thesis||6|
|Total Credit Hours||60|
The distribution of credit hour requirements is as follows:
|Select an area of concentration:||36|
|Concentration in Ceramics, Painting and Drawing, Photography, Printmaking, or Sculpture|
Select 18 semester hours focused on a primary concentration in one discipline 1,2
Select up to 9 semester hours of Studio Art electives in concentration area
Select at least 9 semester hours of Studio Art electives outside of concentration area
|Concentration in Interdisciplinary Art|
Select 36 semester hours in Studio Art or Design courses in any Studio Art program area across the department 1,2
|Art History/Theory & Methods/Research Topics|
|ARTS 5392||Art Theory and Methods||3|
|ARTS 5393||Seminar in Art History and Aesthetics||3|
|Research topics 3|
|ARTS 5393||Seminar in Art History and Aesthetics (research topic)||3|
|ARTS 5394||Directed Research (research topic)||3|
|ARTS 5191||Graduate Professional Practices Seminar (repeat 3 times) 4||3|
|ARTS 5192||Graduate Critique Seminar (repeat 3 times) 5||3|
|MFA Project and Thesis|
|ARTS 5398||MFA Project||3|
|ARTS 5395||MFA Thesis||3|
Enrollment in Graphic Design is subject to the approval of the Graphic Design faculty. If deemed necessary, the faculty may require the Candidate complete up to 9 hours of leveling coursework as a prerequisite to enrollment
Up to 6 semester hours can be completed in graduate level creative-based courses beyond the Department of Art & Design in consultation between the Graduate Coordinator and area of concentration faculty, or Thesis Committee.
Graduate level research-based course beyond the Department of Art & Design in consultation with Graduate Coordinator (see MFA Handbook for list of options)
This seminar covers professional development and academic pedagogy.
1 semester hour course taken each Fall - Candidates from all three years are enrolled
This course supports preparation for the first year review, second-year review, and Oral Defense.
1 semester hour course taken each spring - Candidates from all three years are enrolled together
MFA in Studio Art with a concentration in Graphic Design with separate tracks in Professional Practices or Academic Appointment
|Art History/Theory & Methods||6|
|MFA Project and Thesis||12|
|Total Credit Hours||60|
The distribution of requirements is seen in the following outline:
|Select 30 semester hours of Graphic Design in area of concentration||30|
|MFA Studio in Art: Graphic Design|
|Select 6 semester hours of Graduate Teaching Assistant Practicum in area of concentration||6|
|Graduate Teaching Assistant Practicum|
|Select 6 semester hours of graduate electives||6|
|Art History/Theory & Methods|
|ARTS 5392||Art Theory and Methods 1||3|
|ARTS 5393||Seminar in Art History and Aesthetics 1||3|
|MFA Project and Thesis|
|ARTS 5398||MFA Project||6|
|ARTS 5395||MFA Thesis||6|
The 6 semester hours can both be in Art History and Criticism courses with varying topics.
First-Year Review and Second-Year Review
The Department of Art & Design faculty will review each candidate’s work following completion of 20 semester hours or the first year of graduate study, and following completion of 40 semester hours or the second year of graduate study before permitting advancement toward completion of an MFA Project and MFA Thesis.
In addition to meeting the university requirement of a 3.0 GPA or greater, candidates for the MFA in Studio Art must meet the following exit requirements according to concentration and emphasis of the candidate’s respective degree plan.
Upon approval of advancement toward an MFA Project and MFA Thesis via the Second-Year Review process, it is the MFA Candidate’s responsibility to adhere to forms and deadlines required by the College of Graduate Studies.
The MFA Project and MFA Thesis is graded on a credit/noncredit basis. Candidates who fail to complete the exit requirements during the semester with begiven an “IP” (In Progress) until the Thesis and Project are completed.
After the exit requirements are submitted to the Candidate’s thesis committee for review, the Candidate will “pass,” or “fail.” The Thesis Committee will administer a comprehensive Oral Defense of the Candidate’s final MFA Thesis and MFA Project before the degree can be conferred. A failed Defense may be repeated once. A second failure will result in dismissal from the program.
Exit Requirements for the MFA in Studio Art Program with a concentration in Ceramics, Painting and Drawing, Photography, Printmaking, Sculpture, or Interdisciplinary Art program
The MFA Project (ARTS 5398 MFA Project (3 sch)) concentrates on the creation and execution of creative scholarship as related to the Candidate’s discipline, concentration area(s), and research. The creation and execution of those criteria require the following:
- Planning meeting with Director of University Galleries and Galleries Manager one semester prior to Exhibition
- Completion of MFA Exhibition Proposal the semester prior to Exhibition
- All communication, advertisement, and marketing leading up to the Exhibition in cooperation with CLA Events Specialist and TAMU-CC Marketing and Communications Department
- Installation of artwork
- Posted artist statement and labels
- Oral Defense scheduled within the exhibition dates structured with a minimum of 3 rounds of questions posed by members of the Thesis Committee
- Deinstallation of artwork
- Cleanup/repairs necessary to gallery/exhibition space
The MFA Thesis (ARTS 5395 MFA Thesis (3 sch)) concentrates on research and writing in creative scholarship as related to the Candidate’s discipline, concentration area(s), and research. The Thesis must include the following:
- 5,000-7,000-word written Thesis (exclusive of apparatus)
- Discussion of subject matter
- Discussion of techniques used
- Historical, theoretical, philosophical, and contemporary context for the project
- Bibliography formatted according to The Chicago Manual of Style
- Photographic documentation of the MFA Project Exhibition
- List of Figures
- Institutionally mandated front matter
- A bound copy submitted to the Mary and Jeff Bell Library, as per institutional mandate
- A bound copy and digital copy of the written Thesis and Exhibition documentation submitted to the Graduate Coordinator
Exit Requirements for the MFA in Studio Art with a concentration in Graphic Design with separate tracks in Professional Practices or Academic Appointment
The MFA Project and MFA Thesis in Graphic Design is completed over the course of two semesters. Typically, a Candidate will enroll in three semester hours of MFA Project (ARTS 5398 MFA Project (3 sch)) and three semester hours of MFA Thesis (ARTS 5395 MFA Thesis (3 sch)) during the fall semester. The Candidate would then complete their exit requirements during the spring semester by enrolling in three semester hours of MFA Project (ARTS 5398 MFA Project (3 sch)) and three semester hours of MFA Thesis (ARTS 5395 MFA Thesis (3 sch)).
MFA in Studio Art with a concentration in Graphic Design track in Professional Practices
A multi-media campaign project (ARTS 5398 MFA Project (3 sch)) for their client of choice will be presented in a professional format as either a bound printed deck or digital website, to include:
- Campaign Overview
- Client Research
- Creative Strategy
- Implementation Strategy
- Creative Development
- Asset Development
- Future Exploration
- Additional Considerations Unique to Project
- Public Presentation and Oral Defense of Final Project
A 5,000-7,000-word written Thesis (ARTS 5395 MFA Thesis (3 sch)) will serve as the foundational context for the Candidate’s multi-media campaign, to be developed for their client of choice. It will discuss applicable research that supports their proposed design solutions, consider the client’s market and category competitive analyses, review target audience behaviors and demographics, and defend technical and conceptual methodologies of the proposed campaign content.
MFA in Studio Art with a concentration in Graphic Design track in Academic Appointment
The Candidate’s MFA Project (ARTS 5398 MFA Project (3 sch)) will demonstrate advanced critical thinking in analyzing industry history, theory, criticism, and practices to support their research. The Candidate will present and defend their final Project during a scheduled public Defense. Additionally, the Candidate will adapt their self-promotional materials for application to positions in Education to include a Teaching Philosophy, Statement of Research, and Student Work samples under the department’s Portfolio and Professional Practices Course.
A written Thesis (ARTS 5395 MFA Thesis (3 sch)) suitable for publication as outlined by the Candidate’s Thesis Committee.
A graduate seminar devoted to professional practices, in a contemporary context, for artistic production and academic pedagogy in Studio Art. Professional practices covered may include but are not limited to development of artist statements, teaching philosophy statements, curriculum vitae, websites, and application dossiers for galleries, grants, and residencies along with the investigation into non-profit organizations, the role of the arts in civic economic development, and curatorial practices for a range of arts institutions from artist-run to museums. This course receives one hour of credit per semester. The course may be repeated three times for credit .
An interdisciplinary graduate seminar in Studio Art devoted to the critique of artistic production in a contemporary cultural context. This course consists of structured peer-centered critiques. Students will become adept in both the language of critique and critique structures. Works are examined in an interdisciplinary context allowing students to comprehend their work through multiple perspectives while also providing opportunities for cross-disciplinary collaboration. This course receives one hour of credit per semester. The course may be repeated three times for credit.
Current trends and approaches in art with emphasis on contemporary processes and techniques in studio work. May be repeated when topics vary. Offered on sufficient demand.
Individual study and direction in ceramics.
Individual study and direction in drawing.
Individual study and direction in graphic design.
Individual study and direction in painting.
Individual study and direction in photography.
Individual study and direction in printmaking.
Individual study and direction in sculpture.
An interdisciplinary fine art graduate seminar devoted to the analysis of artistic production in a contemporary cultural context, consisting of peer-centered critiques. Students will become adept in both the language and structures of critique. In addition to graduate level artistic production, students will conduct research and present scholarly articles relevant to their work for class discussion. Works are examined in an interdisciplinary context allowing students to comprehend their studio practice through multiple perspectives and opportunities for cross-disciplinary collaboration.
Various thematic discussions and projects pertaining to studio work under the guidance of a studio faculty member, and possible guest lecturers and artists.
The course will cover key developments in the evolution of art historiography, aesthetic theory and methods. Students will be engaged in discussions related to the practice of art history from an historiographical perspective and will conduct verbal and written analyses in connection with primary and secondary sources derived from canonical scholarship. The course will include discussion of theoretical and methodological texts from antiquity and the Middle Ages, to the early Modern period, the Enlightenment, the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, to postmodernity and the contemporary era. These analyses will consider notions of aesthetics, historiography, deconstruction, authorship, various modes of identity formation, and globalization. Students will become proficient in a wide range of aesthetic, historiographical, theoretical, and methodological practices related to fine arts disciplines.
Study in specific areas of art history and aesthetics. May be repeated when topics vary.
This course entails a faculty-led research project as related to selected Studio Art and Design topics, focused on reading and writing. Students will conduct research utilizing relevant archival material and databases along with direct contact with contemporary artists, art historians, critics, curators, and other cultural professionals as appropriate. Students can enroll in this course in any semester within the MFA program with the approval of the graduate student's thesis committee. The course is offered during any semester upon request by the student and with the consent of the instructor.
This course concentrates on research and writing in creative scholarship as related to the Candidate's discipline, concentration area(s), and research. The MFA Candidate is responsible for a written Thesis that provides textual support for their Exhibition or Project, executed under the MFA Project course. Candidates can enroll with the approval of the Thesis Committee. A specific syllabus for the Candidate's chosen discipline and concentration(s) will be provided to them under this course. This syllabus is a binding contract between Professor and the MFA Candidate. It is the Candidate's responsibility to thoroughly read and understand all rules, expectations and guidelines.
A carefully planned special study on an academic topic not offered as part of the regular graduate curriculum. Directed Individual Study (DIS) is a tutorial, directed and evaluated by a member of the graduate art faculty. Enrollment is restricted to graduate students who have demonstrated both academic ability and the capacity for independent work. Complete applications must be filed and approved by a committee of the graduate art faculty and the Dean of Liberal Arts in advance of registration.
Practical training in instruction for MFA graduate students under the declared Graphic Design discipline. This course is designed for graduate students to assist an assigned program faculty mentor and their undergraduate students. As a practicum course, the graduate student will spend the majority of their time in the classroom when class is in session. The graduate student, in the role of lead instructor, is expected to deliver course content and lectures designed by the program faculty mentor and to assist undergraduate course students in obtaining course learning objectives.
This course concentrates on creation and execution in creative scholarship as related to the MFA Candidate's discipline, concentration area(s), and research. Candidates can enroll with approval of their Thesis Committee. A specific syllabus for the Candidate's chosen discipline and concentration(s) will be provided to them under this course.
Study of the functions of galleries and museums: curating, preparation, grantsmanship, crating, documentation, and publicity. Visits to galleries and museums will be made around South Texas as well as Houston.