The MFA curriculum at Penn pairs graduate students with a diverse faculty that span the disciplines of visual art. Students extend their conceptual strategies while inventing and then refining hybridized forms of traditional art making methods. In addition to seminars within the department, graduate students are encouraged to pursue topics of science and the humanities through an immense selection of courses throughout the university.
The Penn MFA program is fluid. In addition to studio and seminar courses, graduate students select expert-led workshops. The workshops vary in focus from very technical subjects such as digital fabrication or new casting technologies, to seminar topics such as issues of photography in painting. Several workshops are introduced each semester, allowing for a responsive curriculum that advances the individualized projects of the graduate students.
Each year students in the program present public lectures and exhibitions, preparing them for an independent career in the arts that successfully reaches multiple audiences. Teaching Assistantships are offered to all incoming students; those with a sustained desire to teach participate in a program where they propose a syllabus and teach a foundation level studio course at Penn.
The MFA program annually awards students with opportunities to participate in a wide range of fully funded residency programs at the American Academy in Rome, The Vermont Studio Center, the Frank Mohr Instituut in the Netherlands, the Lugoland Project in Lugo, Italy, and upon acceptance, the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture.