Michigan State University
Michigan State University
Department of Art, Art History, and Design
Home > Degrees & Programs > Graduate

A total of 60 credits are required for the degree, at least 30 of which must be in the student’s declared area (ceramics, graphic design, painting, printmaking, sculpture). In addition to studio credits, MFA students also enroll in an MFA seminar courses (9 credits) and art history courses (6 credits). 

During the first semester of the program, MFA students are encouraged to invite faculty members into their studio regularly as they are asked to select a Major Professor and Guidance Committee members by the end of the first semester of residence.  Although the program is structured to allow for flexibility and intensive, self-directed studio hours, there are several important benchmarks that all MFA students must complete. 

Regular Critiques

Graduates are expected to communicate with faculty often and participate in individual and group critiques.  These critiques take many forms and vary depending on discipline.  Sometimes they are quite informal and may include graduates, visiting artists / critics, and faculty members.  

Most areas hold mid-semester and final group critiques that include all graduate students and faculty in the discipline. These are one to two day marathon critiques.  Additional opportunity for feedback comes from the Visiting Artist and Scholar Lecture Series which invited 15 - 20 artists, scholars, and critics to campus each year.  As a graduate student, you are expected to join in studio visits with these visitors. 

Fifteen Credit and Second Year Review

During the semester leading to the completion of 15 degree credits, but not later than the semester leading to the completion of 20 degree credits, MFA students must participate in the 15-Credit Review. This review takes place with the Major Professor and Guidance Committee

During the second year of study MFA students will also participate in a similar review.  The Second Year Review provides students the opportunity to reflect on where they stand in relationship to the third year exhibition and allows for consultation with the Guidance Committee to determine the focus of the thesis work.

Second Year Exhibition Requirement

During the Fall semester of the second year graduate students each mount a solo exhibition in the Department of Art, Art History, and Design galleries located in the Kresge Art Center. 

Final Review and MFA Exhibition

The Final Review will be held during the student’s last semester of enrollment at least one week prior to the scheduled installation of the MFA Exhibition. The Final Review is conducted by the student’s Guidance Committee. The student should be prepared at the time of the review to articulate his/her basic assumptions as an artist; to discuss critically and defend the hypothesis and results of both the art work produced and the written statement; and to discuss his/her work in the context of the history and traditions of the chosen discipline.

Upon successful completion of the Final Review, the Guidance Committee will invite the student to participate in the MFA Exhibition.  Alongside the exhibition, students must submit a written thesis and participate in a series of gallery talks.