Low-Residency Master of Fine Arts in Studio Art

In the Master of Fine Art in Studio Art program, students will engage in demanding theoretical discourse in a terminal degree program designed for motivated students who can work independently, who desire a flexible structure and who are seeking the challenge and community of an immersive, rigorous program. This low-residency program will focus on independent work, rooted in traditional studio arts but welcoming a wide range of approaches to classic and contemporary art making. The program includes a strong foundation in advanced studio practice, theory and art history. Faculty in Studio Art come from a wide range of experience and purpose in many different media and in an abundance of styles. The faculty also bring connections to galleries and museums and arts industries from around the country and around the world.

Each semester begins with an intensive 8-day residency focused on developing your academic plan, expanding your creative perspective, and learning within a community of artists. The residencies are structured, with high intensity conversations about the production of visual art, designed to help you become a stronger visual artist.

The on-campus residency intensives will allow graduate students to participate in:

  • One-on-one meetings with diverse faculty as well as professionals working in various arts industries from working artists to teachers to curators.
  • Critiques with mentor faculty, cohort peers and arts professionals.
  • Seminars on subjects such as studio practice, the business of art, art history, and theory.
  • Talks, presentations, and exhibitions given by artists working in their respective fields.
  • Workshop participation and teaching opportunities.
  • Seminars, workshops and discussions on career planning.
  • Studio visits.
  • Utilize SOCA studios and studio spaces.
  • The opportunity to connect to their peer cohorts on an intimate level.

During the semester, students create in home studios where they work under the direction of an Artist/Mentor faculty member and an Art Historian. During the semester, students complete a 9 credit studio art project and a 3 credit art history research course in their own studios, using the media and methodology of their choosing.

Upon graduation, students in the Master of Fine Arts in Studio Art will have acquired:

  • A significant body of work that evidences technical and conceptual mastery of chosen art media.
  • Ability to independently create and present a professional portfolio of work that evidences mature artistic discernment and synthesis of relevant information.
  • Recognition of current concerns related to chosen studio practice and how the work addresses those concerns.
  • Ability to present work successfully through written, verbal, and visual communication as supported by a knowledge of bibliographic and information services.
  • Proficiency in advancing works of art through all stages of creation, presentation, documentation and preservation.

Course Details

  • 15 credit hours per semester – 9 credit hours in Studio Art, 3 credit hours Studio Intensive and 3 credit hours of Art History
  • Studio Intensives – 12 credit hours
  • Studio Art Courses – 36 credit hours
  • Art History Coursework – 12 credit hours
  • 60 credit hours total

Admission Requirements

To apply for the Master of Fine Arts in Studio Art program, you must have:

  • An undergraduate degree from an accredited institution
  • Meet basic art history requirements
  • Meet portfolio requirements
  • An undergraduate GPA in art of at least 3.0 on a 4.0 scale

If you do not meet these criteria, you may still be accepted by special permission of the faculty. You will maintain a status of provisional student until full admission criteria are met.

How to Apply

Priority application deadline is April 1st but applications will be accepted until May 1st.

To apply to the Master of Fine Arts in Studio Art program, you must complete the following steps:

  • Complete the online application.
  • Submit official transcripts from all postsecondary institutions attended.
  • Transcripts must be sent directly from the registrar of institution(s) attended.
  • Submit a DD214 form (United States veterans only).
  • Submit a formal essay expressing your goals in pursuing the MFA in Studio Art degree to gradschool@sf.edu.
  • Submit a resume/cv to gradschool@sf.edu.
  • Submit a portfolio of technically and conceptually robust artwork in the form of 20 digital files and an image list to accompany the portfolio with corresponding information for each piece: Title, Media, Year Completed, and Size through Submittable (see below link)
  • Submit three letters of recommendation using our program recommendation form.


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