Studio Arts M.F.A.
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. This is a rigorous program as it leads to the terminal degree in the fine arts. 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, themesand 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. In addition to the MFA Thesis Exhibit, there is a required written "Thesis Statement."
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. The student’s studio research area is complemented by required courses in art history, as well as seminars and courses in 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. To successfully complete this course of study, it is essential that students acquire the ability to clearly articulate visual concepts and place their own research in a historical context.
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
Students will participate in critiques at mid-‐term and at the end of each long semester. Students who fail to pass a critique or fail, in the judgment of a duly constituted departmental committee, to meet the expectations of the field can be suspended from the program. Students must pass a critique for candidacy after their second semester or in the semester of their 30th hour (whichever comes first). The candidacy review will include an exhibit supported by a written thesis statement. Students who fail their candidacy may still pursue the The Master of Arts in Studio Art or leave the program without receiving a degree.