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Fine Arts Studio master of fine arts degree

Elizabeth Kronfield, Professor, Graduate Director

Program overview

The MFA in fine arts studio is a rigorous two-year program comprised of major studio courses chosen from painting, sculpture, non-toxic printmaking, and expanded forms. The program also includes studio electives in areas such as film, ceramics, photography, industrial design, and glass in addition to theory, and contemporary art history. A thesis is required.

The program is committed to collaboration and interdisciplinary approaches both within the four major fine arts areas of study and the entire College of Art and Design. The program's structure allows for personal growth, experimentation, collaboration, and unique, non-discipline specific results to occur in the thesis. Courses are meant to concentrate on creative visual work while also thinking about making and sustaining a dialogue.


Fine arts studio, MFA degree, typical course sequence

Course Sem. Cr. Hrs.
First Year
ARTH-605 Thinking About Making: The Practice of Art in a Global Society 3
STAR-702 Fine Art Research 3
STAR-714 Ideation and Series 3
STAR-706 Business Practices 3
  Fine Arts Studio Major Courses* 15
  Art History (Contemporary) Course† 3
  CIAS Studio Elective 3
Second Year
STAR-790 Research and Thesis 4
STAR-890 Research and Thesis 6
  Fine Arts Studio Major Courses 9
  CIAS Studio Elective 3
  Free Electives 6
Total Semester Credit Hours 61

* Students may choose any combination of the following fine arts studio major courses: Painting (FNAS-603), Non-toxic Printmaking (FNAS-602), Sculpture (FNAS-604), or Expanded Forms (FNAS-601).

† Art history (contemporary) courses may be selected from any graduate level art history course offered by CIAS or the College of Liberal Arts in which the major content of the course reflects the study of art since World War I.

Admission requirements

To be considered for admission to the MFA program in fine arts studio, candidates must fulfill the following requirements:

  • Complete a graduate application.
  • Hold a baccalaureate degree (or equivalent) from an accredited university or college of fine arts.
  • Submit a portfolio containing a cohesive body of artwork that demonstrates both technical skill and visualization of conceptual thought. (Refer to Portfolio Requirements for more information.)
  • Submit official transcripts (in English) of all previously completed undergraduate and graduate course work.
  • Submit a personal statement of educational objectives, including why the candidates is interested in earning an MFA, the selection of RIT for the MFA degree, and professional goals to be achieved.
  • Submit an artist’s statement explaining the intention behind the portfolio.
  • Submit a current resume or curriculum vitae.
  • Submit two letters of recommendation from academic or professional sources.
  • International applicants whose native language is not English must submit scores from the TOEFL, IELTS, or PTE. A minimum TOEFL score of 80 (internet-based) is required. A minimum IELTS score of 6.5 is required. The English language test score requirement is waived for native speakers of English or for those submitting transcripts from degrees earned at American institutions.

Effective fall 2013, RIT converted its academic calendar from quarters to semesters.
View this program's information from the retired quarter calendar

Quarter Curriculum - For Reference Only

Effective fall 2013, RIT converted its academic calendar from quarters to semesters. The following content has been made available as reference only. Currently matriculated students who began their academic programs in quarters should consult their academic adviser for guidance and course selection.

Program overview

The MFA program in fine arts studio offers intensive study in painting, printmaking, sculpture, new forms, and related media, leading to mastery in the fine arts field on a professional level. Students will explore advanced techniques in painting, sculpture, new forms, and non-toxic printmaking. These may be pursued singly and combined, or brought together with nontraditional media to create new forms. Faculty guidance focuses upon research strategies that support sequential studio production, leading to individual solutions.

Critical discussion is developed from the traditions of fine art and contemporary directions in our culture. These contemporary and historical concepts stimulate and provoke the development of an individual approach to expression. Along with engaging in critical dialogues, students progress toward the production of a body of work and a report for the master’s thesis.

Gallery r, an art gallery in downtown Rochester operated by School of Art students, helps solidify the learning experience by bringing the work of students to the greater Rochester community.


Semester conversion
Effective fall 2013, RIT will convert its academic calendar from quarters to semesters. Each program and its associated courses have been sent to the New York State Department of Education for approval of the semester plan. For reference, the following charts illustrate the typical course sequence for this program in both quarters and semesters. Students should consult their graduate program adviser with questions regarding planning and course selection.

Fine arts studio, MFA degree, typical course sequence (quarters)

Course Qtr. Cr. Hrs.
First Year
2039-715 Thinking About Making 3
2021-872 Business Practices 3
2037-790 Forms of Inquiry 2
2021-780 Fine Art Studio Graduate I: Painting, Printmaking Sculpture, or New Forms 18
2021-890 Fine Art Studio Thesis 3
  Studio/Open Electives 12
  Humanities 8
Second Year
  Fine Art Studio Graduate II: Painting, Printmaking Sculpture, or New Forms 12
2021-890 Fine Art Studio Thesis 11
  Studio/Open Electives 18
Total Quarter Credit Hours 90

Fine arts studio, MFA degree, typical course sequence (semesters), effective fall 2013

Course Sem. Cr. Hrs.
First Year
  Fine Art Studio Major Courses 15
ARTH-601 Forms of Inquiry 3
  Art History Course 3
FNAS-702 Fine Art Research 3
ARTH-605 Thinking About Making 3
  Open Elective 3
  Studio Elective 3
Second Year
  Fine Art Studio Major Courses 9
FNAS-606 Business Practices 3
  Studio Elective 3
FNAS-890 Research and Thesis 10
  Open Elective 3
Total Semester Credit Hours 61