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MFA in Studio Art - Program Overview

The UNLV/MFA in the College of Fine Arts is a research-based program that uses a tutorial and seminar system as the primary basis for teaching. This means graduate students come in direct contact with faculty whose personal work is focused in a variety of media. At the same time that graduate students are encouraged to investigate new mediums and explore interdisciplinary options, they are also exposed to an experience-rich environment and guided through an exploration of the creative process The possibilities for interaction with established artists are increased by a visiting artists and artist in residence program. MFA candidates are encouraged to establish and articulate their own creative and productive values. Each student is provided with individual studio space. There are a number of graduate assistantships available to assist and support students in their pursuit of the Master of Fine Arts degree. In addition, the UNLV studio art program is placed in a unique geographical position, which creates unlimited aesthetic opportunities minutes from the surrounding desert and the Las Vegas Strip.

The MFA Program, which is a part of the UNLV Graduate College, and fully accredited by The National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD), is jointly administered by the Art Department’s Graduate Coordinator and the Graduate College.

60 credit hours are required to complete the Degree in Masters of Fine Arts in Art. MFA candidates must be full-time students and are required to enroll in a minimum of 9 credits per semester. After completing 3 semesters or thirty credit hours in the program, the candidates submit their work in the form of a midway exhibition to the Graduate Committee for evaluation. A successful midway exhibition is a prerequisite for continuing in the program. The capstone of the UNLV MFA in Art is a solo graduation exhibition accompanied by a thesis, a thesis examination.

NOTE: Any UNLV Art Department graduate BA/BFA interested in applying to our MFA program would need to delay submiting applicaiton with minimum of two (2) years after graduation.

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Thesis Exhibition/Oral Examination

The thesis is an exhibition of the student’s work done specifically to meet this requirement. The thesis exhibition must have the approval of the student’s committee. After advancement to candidacy, students must complete a comprehensive project consisting of an exhibition of a representative body of creative work and an artist statement (2,000-word minimum) regarding the intent and underlying conceptualization.

The final examination is oral and covers the intent and underlying conception of the student’s comprehensive project. This examination is prepared and conducted by the student’s graduate committee and the outside committee member. A CD of work in the exhibition along with two copies of the 2,000 word minimum artist statement must be presented to the department during the exhibition for permanent record.

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Learning Outcomes

MFA students in studio art will be able to continue developing their creative research activities, gain knowledge in contemporary issues in art practice and theory and to sustain themselves personally, economically and professionally.
Upon completion of the MFA in studio art, students should be able to:
A. Identify and interpret major works of global art from prehistory to the present.
B. Demonstrate proficiency in the utilization of a range of processes that encompass each student’s chosen area concentration.
C. Produce a successful package of professional materials and documents, including an artist’s statement and portfolio.
D. Competently present and discuss own artistic works and practices.
E. Demonstrate a critical awareness of one’s own works within a larger context of contemporary art, design, theory, and practices.
F. Exhibit a selection of representative works in a public gallery or other cultural venue.
G.To be able to hold the teaching position in various academic graduate programs in the country.

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Career Options

It is expected that the thesis work establishes a serious and independent premises and makes an original contribution to the field of art. The UNLV/MFA in studio art is interested in developing individuals who have the potential of sustaining themselves subjectively through their creative work and ideas. This creative work may manifest itself not only through exhibiting work in galleries and museums but also in related fields as: curatorial positions in galleries/museums, design institutions, architectural firms contributing to city/environmental activities and film industries.


Degree Requirements

1. Three credits of Art 700 (Visiting Artists Lecture Series/Artists in Residence (AIR)) (Can be repeateded up to 9 credits)

2. Six credits of Art 721 (One credit taken each semester for 3 years starting the Fall of 2014)

3. Three credits of Art 737 Theory & Criticism (Second semester and can be repeated)

4. Six credits of Art History, Theory or Directed Readings

5. Three credits of Art 777 (Theses project, final semester)

6. The remaining 39 credits needed for graduation will be determined by advisement of the candidate’s committee chair.

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Year 1 - Degree Requirements

Fall Semester

Art 721 Graduate Faculty Studio (One credit)
Art 700 Visiting Artists Lecture Series
Art 710 with faculty in area of study
Art History, (Choose from Art 688, Art 677, Art since 1945 (if needed))

Spring Semester

Art 721 Graduate Faculty Studio (One credit)
Art 737 Theory & Criticism
Art 710 Graduate Studio with faculty in area of study
Art 710 Graduate Studio / or Art 700 AIR (Artists in Residence)

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Year 2 - Degree Requirements

Fall Semester

***Three member committee selection in the beginning of the semester (By September 20th)

Art 721 Graduate Faculty Studio (One credit)
Art 710 with faculty in area of study
Art 710 with faculty in area of study
Art History, (Art 688, Art 677, Art since 1945 (if needed))

Spring Semester

Art 721 Graduate Faculty Studio (One credit)
Art History (Choose from Art 688, Art 677: Art since 1945, Art 747 Directed Reading, Art 737: Theory and Criticism)
Art 720 Graduate Projects With Chair of Committee
Art 720 Graduate Project with member of committee

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Year 3 - Degree Requirements

Fall Semester

***Selection of outside committee member (graduate status)

Art 721 Graduate Faculty Studio (One credit)
Art History (directed readings/thesis paper) (if needed)
Art 720 Graduate Projects with chair of committee
Art 720 Graduate Projects with member of committee

***Thesis paper due December

Spring Semester

Art 721 Graduate Faculty Studio (One credit)
Art 720 Graduate Projects with member of committee
Art 720 Graduate Projects with member of committee
Art 777 Graduate Exhibition with Graduate Coordinator

***Thesis Exhibition

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University of Nevada, Las Vegas
| School of Fine Arts | Department of Art | MFA Program