Metals and Jewelry Design Master of Fine Arts Degree

In this dynamic jewelry master’s degree, you’ll challenge traditional ways of thinking as you design and craft stunning works of art in jewelry and metalsmithing.


Overview

The MFA in metals and jewelry design is a professional degree for practicing artists, craftspeople, or designers who desire to leave a lasting impression on their fields through devotion to their work and the high standards of discipline and artistic ideals. By immersing yourself in soldering, fabrication, stone setting, silversmithing, forging, and casting, this jewelry design degree will develop your knowledge and deepen your experience working with different theories and materials while you are challenged to think unconventionally in order to redefine industry standards.

RIT's Jewelry Master's Degree

The MFA in metals and jewelry design is generally a two-year, full-time degree that involves the presentation of a thesis. You will spend ample time creating work as you strengthen your metals techniques, design fundamentals, and personal expression while also exploring the process of critical analysis of your studio work. You will also gain deep knowledge in gallery administration and operations, and you'll participate in gallery and museum visitations and research.

Jewelry Design Courses

The jewelry design degree provides you with broad exposure to metalworking techniques, expands your knowledge of applied design, strengthens perceptual and philosophical concepts, and develops your individual modes of expression. This sequence leads to a master’s thesis, where you will work with RIT's gallery coordinators and curators to install and exhibit a final body of work you created over the course of the program. You will also learn the business side of art, including portfolio management, pricing, marketing strategies, and public relations–all skills needed by artists who embark on a professional career as a studio artist. 

Studio Residency Program

The School for American Crafts offers a Studio Residency program for students in ceramics, furniture design, glass and metals and jewelry design. Residence positions are limited and are awarded after the review of all applicants’ portfolios, transcripts, and references. An interview is required. Accepted residents are required to register for one independent study credit during each semester of residence.

Accepted residents are expected to be present in their assigned studio during class hours and to contribute up to 10 hours of work per week in the main studio. These work hours are coordinated and overseen by the faculty in the resident's discipline. In exchange, the school will provide workspace, access to facilities, and supportive instruction. The resident is invited to participate in the full range of studio activities.

Participants may be those seeking additional studio experience prior to undergraduate or graduate study, early career professionals, or teachers on leave who wish to work again in an academic studio environment. The faculty in each discipline will make decisions concerning appropriate candidates.

Inquiries should be made to the Studio Residency Program, School for American Crafts, College of Art and Design, Rochester Institute of Technology, 73 Lomb Memorial Drive, Rochester, NY 14623-5603.

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Careers and Experiential Learning

Typical Job Titles

Bench Jeweler Curatorial Intern
Designer Silversmith
Teaching Assistant

Salary and Career Information for Metals and Jewelry Design MFA

Cooperative Education and Internships

What makes an RIT education exceptional? It’s the ability to complete relevant, hands-on career experience. At the graduate level, and paired with an advanced degree, cooperative education and internships give you the unparalleled credentials that truly set you apart. Learn more about graduate co-op and how it provides you with the career experience employers look for in their next top hires.

Co-ops and internships take your knowledge and turn it into know-how. An art and design co-op provides hands-on experience that enables you to apply your artistic capabilities in dynamic professional settings while you make valuable connections between classwork and real-world applications.

Cooperative education, internships, and other experiential learning opportunities are encouraged for graduate students in the MFA in metals and jewelry design.

Featured Work

Featured Profiles

Curriculum for Metals and Jewelry Design MFA

Metals and Jewelry Design, MFA degree, typical course sequence

Course Sem. Cr. Hrs.
First Year
CMTJ-601
Metals and Jewelry Design Graduate Studio
This course covers the advanced aesthetics and techniques in metals and culminating in the Master’s of Fine Arts Thesis. The course is structured on the individual student’s needs, interests and background preparation as they may be determined through faculty counseling. There will be a strengthening of metals techniques, design fundamentals and encouragement of personal expression. The student will be encouraged to evaluate new techniques, materials and concepts. This course is repeatable and leads to the master’s thesis, proposed by the student and approved by the faculty. Lab fee is required. (This class is restricted to students in the METAL-MFA program.) Studio 12 (Fall, Spring).
12
STAR-701
Technology in the Studio
This course will introduce a contemporary technology used by the course instructor in their studio practice. Students will be encouraged to investigate how this technology may be applied in their making process. The subjects offered in the course will vary according to the faculty teaching the class. The course can be taken multiple times with faculty permission. Studio 6 (Fall or Spring).
3
STAR-702
Studio Art Research
This course will prepare graduate students for the written component of the thesis. Course content will cover defining research in the arts, arts based research, research through practice, critical judgment, writing strategically and critically for reflective thinking and scholarly dissemination. At the completion of this course students will be able to write a thesis proposal addressing a research question or direction along with objectives, context, and methods. (Prerequisites: STAR-701 or equivalent course.) Lecture 3 (Spring).
3
STAR-714
Ideation and Series
Creative flow, having an endless stream of ideas, alternatives, and choices for solutions, helps creative work evolve and reach more advanced levels. In this course students develop appropriate skills and strategies to generate ideas and develop them effectively into a cohesive body of work. (Prerequisites: This course is restricted to students in the FNAS-MFA or GLASS-MFA or METAL-MFA or CCER-MFA or WOOD-MFA programs.) Studio 6 (Fall).
3
 
Open Electives
6
 
Professional Elective
3
Second Year
CMTJ-601
Metals and Jewelry Design Graduate Studio
This course covers the advanced aesthetics and techniques in metals and culminating in the Master’s of Fine Arts Thesis. The course is structured on the individual student’s needs, interests and background preparation as they may be determined through faculty counseling. There will be a strengthening of metals techniques, design fundamentals and encouragement of personal expression. The student will be encouraged to evaluate new techniques, materials and concepts. This course is repeatable and leads to the master’s thesis, proposed by the student and approved by the faculty. Lab fee is required. (This class is restricted to students in the METAL-MFA program.) Studio 12 (Fall, Spring).
12
STAR-706
Business Practices for Studio Artists
This class is devoted to business issues that artists must address including portfolio management, pricing and marketing strategies, and public relations for pursuit of a professional career as studio artists. Financial and communication skills are highlighted as are networking skills for the advancement of an artist’s work. (Prerequisites: This course is restricted to students in the FNAS-MFA or GLASS-MFA or METAL-MFA or CCER-MFA or WOOD-MFA programs.) Lecture 3 (Spring).
3
STAR-718
Research Methods and Publication
Students will conduct research appropriate for individual thesis directions, incorporate that research into writing, analyze and review their thesis body of work then produce and publish their written thesis document. (Prerequisites: STAR-702 or equivalent course.) Lecture 3 (Spring).
3
STAR-790
Research and Thesis
This is the first of two courses designed to advance a student towards completion of their thesis. Students will work independently on their approved proposal while meeting on a regular basis with their committee chair. Students are required to meet at least twice with their full committee during the semester. (Prerequisites: STAR-702 or equivalent course.) Thesis (Fall).
3
STAR-890
Thesis
For this final thesis course students continue working with their committee to evaluate work produced, and select the work to be exhibited. In addition, students will work with gallery coordinators and curators to install and exhibit their final body of work. Students are expected to defend their work to the committee through an oral defense and a written document. (Prerequisite: STAR-790 or equivalent course.) Thesis (Spring).
6
 
Open Elective
3
Total Semester Credit Hours
60

Professional Electives

Course
ARTH-600+
Any ARTH-600 level course or above
IDEA-705
Thinking About Making: The Practice of Art in a Global Society
The course seeks to bridge the gap between studio practice and contemporary art history. Course content will explore current work and ask questions about what is art, who is the audience, what is “our” art making practice, and how does that fit within the larger context of the current state of the global art world. How do we measure success and artistic failure? The course emphasizes observation, critical analysis, and written interpretation. Lecture 3 (Fall, Spring).
IDEA-776
College Teaching and Learning
This course will provide students with an introduction to the scholarship of teaching and learning in the university environment. Students will explore a range of perspectives on pedagogical practice, curriculum development and the assessment of learning in a studio, lab and seminar based classroom. Additionally, students will focus on ways that students learn, how learning can be improved, and different methods of conducting research into teaching and learning. Students are expected to write critical papers and essays, develop curriculum resources, and to participate in weekly small and large format discussion groups. Online technology is utilized in addition to lectures, videos, and other forms of media. Lecture 3 (Fall).
STAR-635
Curating and Managing Art Spaces
This course explores the roles of contemporary, traditional, and alternative art spaces through curatorial studies, exhibition evaluation and criticism. Student will consider gallery administration roles and supporting operations, and undertake site visitations and gallery research. Students will organize and install a final exhibition project in an approved exhibition venue. (This class is restricted to degree-seeking graduate students or those with permission from instructor.) Lecture 3 (Fall).
STAR-645
Art Exhibition Critique
This course will explore the role of the art exhibition and its effect on the discourse and practice of art. Course content will focus on: contemporary and historical exhibition studies, individual and group projects. Student will also conduct site visitations and evaluation, and critique work in the context of exhibition. (This class is restricted to degree-seeking graduate students or those with permission from instructor.) Lecture 3 (Fall).
STAR-758
Studio Art Critique
Students will explore the process of critical analysis of studio work. Content will focus on the structure and form of the critique process. They will discuss, defend, and interpret existing studio work as they work towards their thesis. Faculty led critiques will include studio visits for in depth analysis of works in progress. (Prerequisites: This course is restricted to students in the FNAS-MFA or GLASS-MFA or METAL-MFA or CCER-MFA or WOOD-MFA programs.) Lecture 3 (Fall, Spring).

Admission Requirements

To be considered for the MFA program in metals and jewelry design, candidates must fulfill the following requirements:

  • Complete an online graduate application. Refer to Graduate Admission Deadlines and Requirements for information on application deadlines, entry terms, and more.
  • Submit copies of official transcript(s) (in English) of all previously completed undergraduate and graduate course work, including any transfer credit earned.
  • Hold a baccalaureate degree (or US equivalent) from an accredited university or college in a field of arts, sciences, or education.
  • Recommended minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0 (or equivalent).
  • Submit a current resume or curriculum vitae.
  • Two letters of recommendation are required. Refer to Application Instructions and Requirements for additional information.
  • Not all programs require the submission of scores from entrance exams (GMAT or GRE). Please refer to the Graduate Admission Deadlines and Requirements page for more information.
  • Submit a portfolio. Refer to Graduate Portfolio Requirements for more information.
  • Submit a personal statement of educational objectives. Refer to Application Instructions and Requirements for additional information.
  • International applicants whose native language is not English must submit official test scores from the TOEFL, IELTS, or PTE. Students below the minimum requirement may be considered for conditional admission. Refer to Graduate Admission Deadlines and Requirements for additional information on English language requirements. International applicants may be considered for an English test requirement waiver. Refer to the English Language Test Scores section within Graduate Application Materials to review waiver eligibility.

Learn about admissions, cost, and financial aid 

Latest News

  • April 5, 2022

    model walking a runway wearing a black outfit covered in white chains and wires.

    Podcast: Technology In Art 

    Intersections: The RIT Podcast, Ep. 57: In every art course and studio environment at RIT, technology is integral to the delivery of content and production of work. Elizabeth Kronfield, director of the School of Art and School for American Crafts, and Abigail Benkovich, an MFA metals and jewelry design student, discuss how RIT is in a unique position to blur the line between technology and making for students in the College of Art and Design.

  • October 15, 2021

    student walking a runway wearing a piece that features black fabric and white chain-like structures.

    RIT returns to Fashion Week Rochester with remarkable creativity

    After two years away from the runway, RIT metals and jewelry design students and alumni triumphantly returned to Fashion Week Rochester Thursday night with a stunning demonstration of technology, art, and design in the form of self-designed wearable sculpture.