MFA students register for 300 credits (three courses at 100 credits each) per quarter. A total of 1800 credits, or eighteen courses, is required for the degree.

The basic requirements for the MFA are listed below:

1. Graduate Studio Project (9 Courses / 900 Credit Hours)

Students receive course credit for time spent in their studio developing their work. As part of this requirement students will present work to faculty and students for critique regularly throughout the year. Students register for at least 100 credit hours of Graduate Studio Project (ARTV 40000) per quarter, and may register for up to 300 hours per quarter provided that they are on track for meeting their other course requirements (see Graduate Seminars and Electives).

2. Graduate Seminars (3 Courses / 300 Credit Hours)

In order to provide a core of common intellectual experience, all students are required to take three quarters of the Graduate Seminar in Visual Arts (ARTV 39200) during their first year. The content of these seminars varies with instructors, but may focus on many different issues in contemporary theory and criticism.

3. Electives (6 Courses / 600 Credit Hours)

Students are required to take six graduate-level electives. At least three of the six electives must either be academic (i.e. non-studio based) or originate in departments outside of DoVA.  DoVA’s course offerings can be found on the Graduate Announcements.  You may also consult the websites of other departments in the Humanities Division or other divisions to view their course offerings. 

4. Thesis Presentation

In the fall quarter of the second year each student will work with a committee of two faculty members who will assist in the preparation of the thesis work. In the final quarter of the program each degree candidate presents studio work in an MFA exhibition. In addition to this exhibition, students will be expected to submit a short but focused written abstract of their work.

5. Standards Of Performance

Each graduate student must maintain high standards of engagement and achievement in studio and academic performance, including evidence of substantial growth in their work.

For additional information, please email: dova@uchicago.edu.

Click here to watch interviews with the faculty about the Department of Visual Arts at the University of Chicago.