Graduate Program: Curriculum


The Department of Visual Arts (DOVA) a department within the Humanities Division at the University of Chicago, and situated in The Reva and David Logan Center for the Arts at the University of Chicago, is proud to offer a Masters of Fine Arts.

This MFA program is distinguished in its focused attention on understanding how the pluralism of today’s art making practices relate to one another, and also by its attention to creating conversations that bridge between DOVA and other areas of study at the University of Chicago. Our faculty members are diverse in their interests and at different points in their careers. All are committed teachers engaged in a lively and sustained dialogue within the department, and also deeply engaged with their own work.

Our students work in sculpture, photography, painting, installation, performance, video and new media. We admit students to the program based on the quality of the portfolio, and we take into account the level of interest and capacity in engaging this interdisciplinary program within a university environment. We focus on working with our students to develop their work and enabling them to leave the University with the tools to support a lifetime of art making. As part of this process we encourage students to explore not only the artistic issues pertinent to their work, but also the theoretical, social and historical issues that intersect and bracket it.

The MFA is a two-year program (six quarters), comprised of 18 courses. Many of these course credits are earned through the development of individual work in conversation with the faculty.

First and second year students work together to articulate their work and to sharpen their skills of critical thinking and writing. Students come to the program with diverse intellectual, cultural and artistic backgrounds and different art making practices. We all work together to articulate a common language with which to discuss and make art in this critical and supportive community.

As part of the MFA program, DoVA hosts a lively visiting artist program under the auspices of the Open Practice Committee (OPC). In addition The University of Chicago provides an enormously rich intellectual environment full of engaging lectures and workshops in all areas of study. Our students are often interested in events hosted by the Center for Gender Studies, the Center for the Study of Race, Politics, and Culture, the Mass Culture Studies Workshop, the Department of Cinema and Media Studies, and the Department of Art History. 

DOVA has offered a number of faculty led trips to visit museums and galleries outside of Chicago; past trips have included New York City and Beijing. Future classes may visit Los Angeles, New York, or Delhi. Sponsored, faculty-led travel is contingent upon funding. Students have also received competitive grants from UChicagoGRAD for self-organized trips to Detroit and New York.


Graduate Program Guide