Master of Fine Arts - Art

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 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 and the Graduate College.

60 credit hours are required to complete the Degree in Master 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.

Degree Requirements

  1. Three credits of Art 721 (first semester)
  2. Three credits of Art 737 Theory & Criticism (second semester; may be repeated)
  3. Six credits of Art History, Theory or Directed Readings
  4. Art 777 (Theses project, final semester)
  5. The remaining forty-­four credits needed for graduation will be determined by advisement of the candidate’s committee chair (Six of these credits need to be taken during Summer term).

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 words minimum artist statement must be presented to the department during the exhibition for permanent record.

Learning Objectives

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:

  • Identify and interpret major works of global art from prehistory to the present.
  • Demonstrate proficiency in the utilization of a range of processes that encompass each student’s chosen area of concentration.
  • Produce a successful package of professional materials and documents, including an artist’s statement and portfolio.
  • Competently present and discuss own artistic works and practices.
  • Demonstrate a critical awareness of one’s own works within a larger context of contemporary art, design, theory, and practices.
  • Exhibit a selection of representative works in a public gallery or other cultural venue.
  • Exhibit a high level of professionalism.

Career Possibilities

It is expected that the thesis work establishes a serious and independent foundation 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 firm s contributing to city/environmental activities and film industries.

Graduate Catalog

The graduate catalog is the official repository of the graduate program requirements, and Graduate College policies.

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