The Department of Visual Art offers graduate programs leading to the Master of Fine Arts degree in studio art. Concentrations include ceramics, drawing and painting, expanded media, metalsmithing and jewelry, printmaking, sculpture, and textiles and fibers. The MFA degree in the Department of Visual Art is a terminal professional studio degree. The program’s goals are to develop each student’s critical thinking and studio skills so that they have the necessary tools and experience to pursue a career as a studio artist and to otherwise participate in the creative community both on a regional and national level.  

The University of Kansas is a member of the National Association of Schools of Art and Design. The entrance and graduation requirements in this catalog conform to the published guidelines of those organizations.

Admission to Graduate Studies

An applicant seeking to pursue graduate study in the College may be admitted as either a degree-seeking or non-degree seeking student. Policies and procedures of Graduate Studies govern the process of Graduate admission. These may be found in the Graduate Studies section of the online catalog.

Please consult the Departments & Programs section of the online catalog for information regarding program-specific admissions criteria and requirements. Special admissions requirements pertain to Interdisciplinary Studies degrees, which may be found in the Graduate Studies section of the online catalog.

Graduate Admission - M.F.A.

To be admitted, students must have undergraduate backgrounds judged by the graduate faculty to be appropriate preparation for the specific specialization selected for graduate study. A strong preference exists for applicants whose undergraduate backgrounds are in visual art.

Departmental faculty selection and review committees evaluate each applicant’s transcripts, portfolios, and letters of recommendation to determine their qualifications for admission. The committees expect applicants to have the B.F.A. degree or equivalent experience. In general, committees expect applicants to present about 70 hours of undergraduate credit in studio or related professional courses including about 36 hours of studio credit in a major area, to have maintained an undergraduate overall grade-point average of 3.0 on a 4.0 scale and in the proposed major, and to have had a minimum of 9 hours of credit in art history. The department encourages full-time residence.

Application to the program is competitive, by permission of the Kansas Board of Regents application for admission to graduate programs in Visual Art may be refused if available instructional space does not allow for addition of more students.  More information about materials and deadlines is available on the Department of Visual Art admissions page.

Submit your application and fee online

  • 1 official transcript of all college and university coursework,
  • statement of purpose,
  • 3 letters of recommendation,
  • digital portfolio,
  • printed image index,
  • application form for financial aid,
  • statement of financial resources (international students) and
  • Non-native English speakers must demonstrate proof of English proficiency. Please see Graduate policy on English Proficiency for more information

M.F.A. in Visual Art Degree Requirements

Concentrations in Ceramics, Drawing and Painting, Expanded Media, Fibers, Metalsmithing and Jewelry, Printmaking, and Sculpture

The graduate program consists of 60 semester hours of graduate credit, including thesis exhibition, in courses approved by the graduate director and the graduate thesis committee. A student may concentrate in one or more specializations. When the student has completed 2 semesters, the faculty selection and review committee reviews the student’s work. The graduate director gives the student a written assessment of progress, signed by the committee. At the end of the third semester, the same committee conducts a thesis review that determines whether the student is prepared to begin thesis work, needs additional coursework, or is to be dropped from the program.

Upon approval by the review committee, the candidate begins work toward the thesis. Students not receiving approval may continue to work toward the next review unless denied by the committee. A student who is approved for thesis work may enroll in Thesis in Art. Before thesis enrollment, the student selects a graduate thesis committee consisting of 3 members of the graduate art faculty. The committee advises the student, conducts regularly scheduled reviews of the work, and determines whether the requirements for the thesis have been completed. The graduate director must approve the membership of the graduate thesis committee.

The final departmental requirements are

  • A thesis exhibition of the student’s work,
  • An oral examination, and
  • A thesis folio of the exhibition.

The thesis folio includes a statement written by the candidate concerning the work and a visual record of the exhibition. The department reserves the option of selecting and retaining one example of each graduate student’s work. Upon enrolling, the student automatically accepts these requirements and conditions.

Required Courses
Studio or general electives6
Graduate-level academic electives9