The MFA coursework requires eleven credit units of Graduate Studio and eight credit units of electives. Of the eight elective courses, two must be graduate seminars, two must be outside of the Fine Arts Department, the remaining four courses may be taken either in the department or anywhere in the university. Each graduate student works with the faculty to select courses that will support the thesis research. Additional requirements for the MFA degree include the presentation of a thesis slide presentation at the Institute of Contemporary Art, a thesis exhibition, and the submission of a thesis statement and portfolio.
Each semester the requirement for Graduate Studio includes individual critiques with visiting artists, faculty and critics, attending visiting artist lectures and workshops, public lectures, student-led critiques, as well as the mid-term and final reviews. Students participate in exhibitions throughout the year.
The Graduate Seminars are intensive topical or single discipline-based courses. We encourage the MFA students to use these courses to advance their thinking in their disciplines, or to take a course in an unfamiliar or new topic in order to augment their approach.
Fine Arts Elective Courses
The Fine-Arts elective courses play a critical role in allowing MFA students to expand their thinking and approach to studio techniques.
PennDesign Elective Courses
A selection of interdisciplinary courses in the School of Design extend the focus of the MFA program to the disciplines of Architecture, Landscape Architecture, City and Regional planning, and Historic Preservation.
University Elective Courses
MFA students are encouraged to take courses outside of the School of Design