The Department of Art inspires and prepares students to excel in the art profession, including the fine and applied arts, art history, and art teaching fields, and also expands the educational experiences of non-majors.
The general objectives of graduate study in art include: (1) the refinement of technical skills in chosen studio areas; (2) the development of a critical understanding of one’s own art in its historical, theoretical, and conceptual context; and (3) the mastery of communication skills both in practice and in teaching. These objectives are achieved through a close working relationship among students and faculty, wherein a student may pursue a course of study designed for his or her particular educational goals.
Programs of Graduate Work
Master of Arts in Art
The Department of Art offers general programs in studio art leading to the Master of Art degree. The graduate curriculum includes painting, sculpture, photography, drawing, ceramics, and mixed and multi-media art. The University Gallery hosts an annual series of exhibits of interest to the University and the Commerce community. Studio/Fine Arts emphasis areas include ceramics, experimental studies, painting, and sculpture. In photography, facilities are available for both digital color and black and white photography. Students wishing to improve their portfolios, while pursuing graduate degrees in the Studio Arts or Communication Design (new media, art direction, design communications, illustration, and copywriting), may count two upper-level undergraduate courses toward the
master’s degree with prior approval of the Graduate School.
Master of Fine Arts
The MFA program is intended for graduate students both committed to and capable of intensive, advanced study culminating in an individual and self-generated language of expression. MFA students are initially encouraged to explore a broad range of issues meaningful to their work, while simultaneously mastering their technical skills. These explorations may touch upon individual modes of expression, formal elements, experimentation with media and methods, themes and symbols, and relationships among the visual arts and other disciplines. Subsequent courses direct the student toward more mature and self-critical art, leading ultimately to a sustained and coherent body of work which forms the MFA Thesis Exhibit. Students entering the MFA program will select a committee of four members of the graduate art faculty, one of whom (usually the chair) will represent the student’s primary area of concentration within the studio arts. In consultation with the committee, the department head and the graduate coordinator, the student will devise a degree plan based on the primary area of emphasis. This area may be selected from painting, drawing, sculpture, ceramics, mixed and
multi-media art, photography, and communication design areas. The student’s work in the chosen area is complemented by courses in art history, theory, and multimedia. It is expected that the student will gain from this study a sound conceptual and historical understanding of the visual arts, as well as the ability to communicate this understanding in writing and speech.
The New Learning Context
Designed to broaden the student’s education, the New Learning Context is an essential component of the MFA degree. Lasting a full academic term and providing twelve semester hours credit, the New Learning Context encourages the student to seek out new ideas and experiences of benefit to his or her art. A student may choose between two options: (1) The semester away, and (2) The Planned Program Alternative. The first option requires the student to live and work away from Texas A&M University- Commerce. Whether by taking courses at another institution, through extensive traveling, or by living in a major artistic center in the United States or abroad, this option provides experiences invaluable to the student’s artistic and intellectual growth. The second option, for students whose economic or personal circumstances preclude extended travel, allows for similar experiences within the region. An example of the second option would be a planned sequence of visits to museums, galleries and artists’ studios in the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex. Whichever option is selected, the student’s art will be expected both to represent the efforts of a full academic term and to reflect the knowledge and experience gained from the New Learning Context
Masters Programs References
- Complete Information (pdf, 94k)
- Graduate Course Descriptions (pdf, 17k)
- Studio Art Application Forms (pdf, 41k)
- MFA in Visual Communication Program Description (pdf, 238k)
- MFA in Visual Communication Application Procedures (pdf, 118k)