The MFA program brings together the practice and history of art and design, as well as the theoretical and historical study of visual culture in its wider context. Faculty mentor students as they develop their potential through intensive discourse, investigation of new techniques and materials, and the production of challenging work.
Our goal in the MFA program is to prepare leaders who are ready to meet the challenges and opportunities of cultural production, whether it is pursuing a professional studio practice, entering the job market in the cultural sector, or pursuing a career in academia.
Coursework consists of a mixture of critical theory, studio courses, art history and academic electives. Critiques, presentations, readings, and discussions with resident faculty, visiting artists, designers and critics come together to form graduate level study. Graduate students meet regularly with a committee of three faculty members, in addition to other faculty, to shape their research and progress. The second-year culminates in a thesis exhibition or alternative public presentation and a written thesis defense.
The MFA is a rigorous 60 credit, two–year residency program; no part-time study is allowed. The program requires a strong work ethic, personal development of artistic practice and freedom of creative inquiry and production. All graduate students receive their own studio space and 24-hour access to all labs in any media. Hallmarks of our program include nationally and internationally renowned faculty, visiting artists and a progressive philosophy that encourages cross-disciplinary pursuits in the context of a large AAU research institution.
The MFA program enrolls between 20 - 24 students at any given time insuring a high level of contact with a dedicated and professionally diverse group of faculty. Students are supported by the broad range of faculty research interests. These areas include (but are not limited to): biological arts, drawing, emerging media, graphic design, installation, performance art, painting, photography, print media, sculpture, tactical media, activism, curatorial practices. The Art Resource Center/ARC, an extension of the UB Libraries, supports all art department and Visual Studies programs.
In addition to the above, each semester Teaching Assistants are required to register for one credit of ART 598, Supervised Teaching. These credits do not count towards the 60 credits required for the MFA degree.