MFA in Studio Art

Total units required for the MFA: 60

Program Description

The Master of Fine Arts degree is a two-year 60-unit, multi-disciplinary and interdisciplinary program in the visual arts with studies in ceramics, drawing, painting, new media art, printmaking and sculpture. This professional terminal degree offers opportunities for solo and group exhibition, curatorial collaboration, exhibition catalogue production and written thesis. The curriculum encourages an integration of art theory, art history and art studio practice. Students will be expected to demonstrate an advanced level of professional studio competence developed through a significant body of work that is contextualized in contemporary culture. Special emphasis is placed on the development of individuality, depth, and professional competence in both art technique and concepts. 

The program prepares students to enter the Fine Arts profession by providing experiences with intensive and immersive study, exhibition of their work and community and professional engagement. The program also offers assistantship opportunities in teaching, art technician work and gallery operations. For a more complete list of possible professions attached to the MFA see Career Possibilities in Art

Admission Requirements 

Admission as a classified graduate student in Studio Art requires: 

  • a BFA or BA in Art or its *equivalent, including 12 units in Art History; 
  • a minimum 2.5 overall GPA 
  • a minimum 3.0 GPA in Art courses 
  • approval by Studio Art faculty review of other submitted materials (see Admission Procedures below); and 
  • English language proficiency: International students must pass TOEFL - minimum of 80 IBT, IELTS - minimum of 7.0 Band Score, PTE Academic Score: 65

*Equivalent- BA in Studio Art

1.In the liberal arts studio art major, normally at least 20% of the total credits are in studio courses, and at least 5% are in art/design history. Total required work in the visual arts normally equals 30-45% of the curriculum. 

2.The curriculum should aim primarily toward breadth of experience and understanding rather than professional specialization. The primary objective of such training is not necessarily preparation for a career in art or design. 

Upon graduation from BA or BFA, students must demonstrate: 

  • A developed visual sensitivity. 
  • The technical skills, perceptual development, and understanding of principles of visual organization sufficient to achieve basic visual communication and expression in one or more media. 
  • The ability to make workable connections between concept and media. 
  • Some familiarity with the works and intentions of major artists/designers and movements of the past and the present, both in the Western and non-Western worlds. 
  • An understanding of the nature of contemporary thinking on art and design. 

Admission Procedures 

Applicants must complete a University application and a separate Art Departmental application by the posted application deadline dates for the term applying. 

  • Graduate Studies (university) application submitted online via Cal State Apply by Graduate Studies deadline.
  • Art Department application submitted via SlideRoom (refer to Art Department website) that includes the following:
  • Art Department application form 
  • Essay of intent addressing listed content on site
  • 3 letters of recommendation from previous faculty or art professionals
  • Official transcripts of all colleges attended 
  • Twenty images or appropriate format of work (time-based images or documentation, video, audio etc.) 

For additional admissions information please visit the Office of Graduate Studies website.

Minimum GPA Requirement

Minimum Cumulative GPA: 3.0

Advancement to Candidacy 

Each student must file an application for Advancement to Candidacy, indicating a proposed program of graduate study. This procedure should begin as soon as the classified graduate student has:

  • removed any deficiencies; 
  • completed at least 30 units of 200-level courses in the graduate program with a minimum 3.0 GPA; 
  • taken the Writing Placement for Graduate Students (WPG) or taken a Graduate Writing Intensive (GWI) course in their discipline within the first three semesters of coursework at Sacramento State or secured approval for a WPG waiver; and 
  • secured approval from the studio art faculty, based on a formal presentation of the student’s work. 

Advancement to Candidacy forms are available on the Office of Graduate Studies website. The student fills out the form after planning a degree program in consultation with Art Department Graduate Coordinator. The completed form is then returned to the Office of Graduate Studies for approval. Note: Advancement to Candidacy may be attempted only twice.

Final Review

During the semester when the student expects to complete 60 units, the student should consult with the Graduate Coordinator and the student's advisor in order to determine the details (such as the number of pieces and manner of presentation) of the final review, which is a culminating exhibition of student work. Note: Final reviews may be attempted only twice.


Program Requirements

Basic Core Courses (18 Units)
ART 206Art Theory and Criticism 3
ART 212Contemporary Art3
ART 222AGraduate Seminar 13
ART 222BGraduate Seminar 23
ART 222CGraduate Seminar 33
ART 222DGraduate Seminar 43
Studio Core Courses (18 Units)
ART 201AMentored Individual Studio Practice 13
ART 201BMentored Individual Studio Practice 23
ART 201CMentored Individual Studio Practice 33
ART 207Graduate Studio and Critique3
ART 208Intensive Graduate Studio and Critique6
Elective Courses (9 Units)
Select 9 units from the following: 19
Teaching Practicum 2, 3
Advanced Drawing
Figure Drawing
Advanced Watercolor
Life Painting
Painting and Drawing in the Field
Collage and Assemblage
Intermediate Printmaking
Advanced Silkscreen
3D Computer Modeling
Digital Printmaking
Advanced Printmaking Studio
Video Art
Advanced Ceramics
Hand-Built Ceramic Techniques
Figure Sculpture
Advanced Sculpture
Installation and Performance Art
Special Problems 3
Instructional Design 2
Photography in the Field
Alternative Photographic Processes
Elective Graduate Studio Courses (9 Units)
Select 9 units from the following:9
Graduate Studio and Critique
Intensive Graduate Studio and Critique
Culminating Requirement (6 Units)
ART 500ACulminating Experience Thesis 43
ART 500BCulminating Experience Exhibition 53
Total Units60

Six units of the nine units may be selected from any university undergraduate (upper-division only) course or graduate course with faculty approval.


EDTE 280B and ART 231 are part of the teaching option and will satisfy 6 of the 9 elective units.


Open only to graduate art students competent to carry on individual work; admission requires approval of the faculty member who will direct the work and of the Department Chair via signed petition form.


ART 500A is a written thesis requirement and is taken with studio advisor.


ART 500B is the final exhibition requirement taken with Graduate Coordinator.