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M.F.A. in Art

Degree Requirements: A minimum of 60 term-credit hours of coursework is required. All courses taken in the division must be numbered 5000 or above. A student may be directed by the faculty to take more than this minimum number of credit hours. Thirty-six to 42 credit hours are to be clearly related to the major field of study. Twelve credit hours of graduate-level art history or study in other academic departments are required. Approval for courses outside of art history must be obtained from the graduate adviser. All students participate in the Studio Graduate Seminar (ASAG 6300) each fall term.

Note: Only grades of B- and above may apply toward the degree. Meadows School of the Arts ordinarily will approve no more than six term hours of transferred credit. Petitions for exceptions may be filed with the dean after the student is enrolled at SMU.

Upon entering the graduate program, candidates will be given, by the graduate adviser, a thorough outline of the expectations a graduate student will meet.

  Credit Hours
Graduate Studio Course (ASAG)* 36
ASAG 6300 Graduate Seminar (each fall term)
Art History**  12 
ASAG 6301 M.F.A. Qualifying Exhibition and Exam 
Elective (or additional ASAG course)  
Total Hours 60 

*Courses at or above the 5000 level in individual disciplines may count towards this requirement.

**Study in other academic departments may be substituted. Approval for courses outside of art history must be obtained from the graduate adviser.

Graduate Committees and Critiques

With the exception of the Graduate Seminar and the required coursework in art history, graduate study proceeds primarily through individual tutorials with members of the faculty, guided by a three-person graduate committee. Upon entering the program, a student will be assigned a major professor by the graduate adviser to serve as the chair of the student's committee. The student will also select, in consultation with the major professor, two additional faculty members to serve with the major professor on his or her graduate committee. Graduate committees can change beginning with a student's second or third term. Membership on the graduate committee becomes permanent at the beginning of the student's second year except for substitutions for faculty who are on leave. Upon the return of a committee member who has been on leave, he or she will resume his or her place on the student's committee. The faculty reserves the right to appoint at anytime one faculty member to serve on a student's committee.

This committee will critique the student at least once every month during each term in which he or she is registered for studio credit. These critiques are normally held the first week of each month, and it is the student's responsibility to arrange these critiques. Students will be expected to submit to the committee a brief written statement outlining their intentions and progress at each critique.

Graduate Reviews

At the end of each term, a selection of completed work and ongoing work and a written statement discussing the term's progress will be presented for review to the entire faculty of the division. Continuation in the graduate program is on a term-to-term basis and is determined by the graduate committee with the advice of the faculty at the critique at the end of the term.

Graduation Requirements

With the approval of the graduate committee, each student will participate in the M.F.A. Qualifying Exhibition. The M.F.A. Qualifying Exhibition is a group show of all graduate student candidates wishing to receive their M.F.A. degree. Approval to exhibit must be obtained in the term prior to the exhibition. This approval usually is given at the critique at the end of the prior fall term.

The quality of this exhibition will be the primary determinant of whether the M.F.A. degree will be granted. Once approved for the M.F.A. exhibition, the student must enroll for the ASAG 6301 M.F.A. Qualifying Exhibition and Exam course in the spring term with the chair of his or her graduate committee.

During the period of the graduate exhibition, the entire faculty will interview each student. This examination is to establish that the student's creative work is of sufficient maturity and that his or her general knowledge of critical and historical issues is at the level expected of an M.F.A. candidate. At this time, the student will be expected to present an oral defense or explanation of his or her work, a slide presentation explaining the nature of the creative process involved in producing his or her work, and the following: a written statement related to the issues represented in the work, a photographic record (20 slides) of the work, a résumé and a list of work in the graduate exhibition. This information should be presented in a bound folder. Students may not graduate unless this information is accepted and on file.

If the faculty finds the oral and written review to be unsatisfactory, the student will have the option for a single retake within 10 days of the first review. The student will not be eligible to receive his or her degree after a second failure. This oral review (ASAG 6301) may be repeated the following spring term. Once the exhibition and the faculty examination are accepted and the required materials are turned in, the student will receive his or her degree at the graduation ceremony at the end of the term.

Possession of Work

Meadows School of the Arts is entitled to retain as many as two pieces of work by each student. The intention is to honor the successful candidate and to provide evidence of student success in lieu of the usual formal thesis. These works enter the University Art Collection.

The division also requires submission of a Web page permission sheet allowing the division to display student artwork on the division Web site.

Areas of Study



Undergraduate Studies

Graduate Studies


M.F.A. in Art

Classes (See Catalog)


Faculty and Staff

Graduate Students


Pollock Gallery

Art in Dallas

Travel Opportunities

Student Resources

Student Internships & Collaborations

Visiting Artist Lecture Series

Meadows Academy for Young Artists

Art History

Arts Management and Arts Entrepreneurship

Corporate Communication and Public Affairs

Creative Computation


Film and Media Arts