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The MFA Program 


The MFA program is Interdisciplinary in its approach and grads work with all faculty in the program among seven studio areas: 


The MFA program is designed to take three years. Graduate Students spend their first two years taking an interdisciplinary graduate seminar comprised of first and second year grad students, and take electives in the Department of Visual Art and University. They also work independently with faculty in their chosen discipline and within the Department of Visual Art, Spencer Museum of Art, and Affiliated Faculty. After the successful completion of two reviews (first and second year), third year students spend their entire third year on their thesis work. 


Students in the MFA program receive generous private/semi-private studios appropriate to their work for the entire duration of the program. In addition to their individual studios, Graduate Students have access to the entire Department of Visual Art facility including equipment, tools, staff resources, workspaces, computer production labs, and shops. Graduate Students also have access to the resources of a major research university including libraries, the Spencer Museum of Art, the Biodiversity Institute, and various research labs.  


The Faculty 

Faculty in the MFA program are working artists with international practices. Faculty in the program exhibit their work all over the world, and are present in important collections around the world including the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, the Art Institute of Chicago, and the Victoria & Albert Museum. Graduate Students build strong and lasting relationships with faculty that continue well beyond the end of graduate school. 

Faculty work with a range of students regardless of discipline or material interests. All faculty participate as critics in the interdisciplinary graduate seminar Graduate students select any faculty they want from the department for their thesis committees, and often include outside members. 


Students are exposed to visiting critics from the Hashinger Hall Artists-in-Residence Program. These residents bring new perspectives, courses, and conversations into the mix, and develop relationships with grad students that last beyond the residency. The residents also hold an exhibition in the art and design gallery, which brings their work back into the space for conversation. In 2020 we started a brand new residency in collaboration with the Earth, Energy and Environment Center to host another artist who is focused on the Interest between science/ecology and art. 


In addition to these residents, every semester a new visiting critic is brought to graduate seminar to conduct formal crits with all of the first and second year graduate students. Generally these critics are curators or artists in the region, who maintain contact with our graduate students after their time at KU.  Others are temporary members of the community who leave and become contacts for our grad students when they leave. Through these critiques, students experience a range of perspectives outside of the Faculty in the department of Visual Art. During Graduate Seminar, students also get to experience our bi-annual BlitzCritz, where they receive rapid fire studio visits with curators, artists and gallerists in the region. 


Students are also exposed to tons of visiting artists that come through the program to speak and to give critiques to our grad students. Notable visiting artists include: Edgar Heap of Birds, Shana Moulton, Ann Hamilton, R. Luke Dubois, Vanessa German, Michael Rees, Annie Lapin, Claudia Casarino, Sylvie Fortin, Debora and Jason Bernagozzi, Eric Souther, and many more.


Graduate Students in the MFA program go on to be artists, receive prestigious awards and residencies, and receive tenure-track and visiting positions. 

Contact Information








Graduate Academic Advisor


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