In this fine arts master's degree, you’ll explore the role of contemporary art through painting, printmaking, sculpture, and expanded forms.
The MFA in fine arts studio is a rigorous two-year program comprised of major studio courses; studio electives such as glass, ceramics, film, and photography; theory and research seminars; as well as thesis credits.
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.
Performing and Fine Arts
Typical Job Titles
Greeting Card Artist
Art Exhibit Coordinator
Art Director (book, editorial)
Painting Unfamiliar Objects
Below is thesis work by YeaSeul Lee ’20 MFA (Fine Arts Studio):
Laural Hartman’s ’20 MFA (Fine Arts Studio) thesis is an exploration of a lack of environmental and situational accessibility and how it differs from her hearing counterparts through installation that...
Fine Arts Studio, MFA degree, typical course sequence
Sem. Cr. Hrs.
Technology in the Studio
Students will be introduced to three-dimensional modeling software and visualization its application in creating art. Three-dimensional modeling techniques will be used to visualize student ideas. In addition to modeling, this course will introduce lighting principles that will provide guidelines for presenting work. A variety of simulated materials will allow students to explore color, pattern, texture, opacity, and other surface characteristics. Students will construct their “virtual sketches” using traditional methods, 3D printing output, or a hybrid of both.
Studio Art Research
Graduate students prepare for the written component of the thesis through practice with research, critical judgment, and development of outlines and essays. Contemporary art issues are clarified through discussion and readings in art history, art criticism, artist statements and interviews.
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.
Major Studio Courses*
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.
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.
Research and Thesis
In this first of two thesis courses students will choose their committee members and work with them to finalize and approve a thesis proposal while beginning the thesis body of work. Through several mandatory meetings faculty advisors will give feedback on writing, direction and visual studio work produced in preparation for the thesis exhibition.
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.
Major Studio Courses*
Total Semester Credit Hours
* Students may choose any combination of the following major studio courses: Painting (PAIT-601), Printmaking (PRNT-601), Sculpture (SCUL-601), or Expanded Forms (SCUL-611).
To be considered for admission to the MFA program in fine arts studio, candidates must fulfill the following requirements:
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 Graduate 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.
RIT graduate programs are among the best in the nation, according to the U.S. News annual statistical survey of graduate programs. RIT master’s degree programs in engineering, business and fine arts feature in the U.S. News & World Report 2021 edition of Best Graduate Schools, released in March, including the first specialty ranking of the university’s business analytics master’s program.
The Mark and Maureen Davitt Graduate Education Endowed Scholarship was established with a $500,000 gift to RIT by Mark and Maureen Davitt to help graduates from the Rochester City School District pursue advanced degrees.