MFA in Art, Concentration in Studio Art

Master of Fine Arts degree in Art with Concentration in Studio Art

Our MFA degree in Studio Art is designed to foster both interdisciplinary and discipline-specific dialogue by engaging students in a set of core department-wide requirements, interdisciplinary opportunities, and discipline- specific courses and curricular “tracks.”

Within the MFA degree in Studio Art students develop a personalized program of study within established curricular parameters, and with the consultation and approval of the student’s faculty committee. Students develop a more personalized program of study within curricular tracks reflecting the School of Art’s varied programs in Ceramics, Drawing and Painting, Fiber, Graphic Design, Illustration/Animation, Metal, Photography, Printmaking, Sculpture/4D, and Wood.


Our MFA with Concentration in Studio Art is centered on the following goals for student learning outcomes:

  1. Independently develop a significant and ongoing body of work in response to a range of challenges, and produce a culminating professional exhibition focusing on an aspect of studio art or design.
  2. Integrate the student’s creative practice or area(s) of specialization with historical knowledge and current issues from relevant disciplines.
  3. Demonstrate an awareness of current developments in the student’s field of specialization, and develop work that contributes to the expansion and evolution of that field.
  4. Articulate artist statements effectively and produce a written document that successfully functions as a companion to the student’s culminating exhibition.
  5. Communicate clearly and effectively in written and verbal forms to the art and/or design communities, the public, and in teaching situations.
  6. Utilize advanced technological capabilities for creation, distribution, documentation, and/or preservation of works.
  7. Demonstrate a basic knowledge of bibliographic and information resources associated with the major field(s) of study.

Average Duration

The MFA Degree structure is designed based upon a 6-semester (3-year) model, though it can be completed in fewer or more semesters.

MFA Core requirements and MFA Tracks

All MFA students take a core of 21 units of graduate coursework in the School of Art.

  • 3 units of graduate-level Art History
  • 12 units of ART 694 (Graduate Studies: Directed Studio) taken with members of student’s Project Committee, beginning in the second semester (the student must continue to enroll in 3 units of ART694 until they enroll in Art 699 in their last semester)
  • 6 units of ART 699 (Graduate Studies: MFA Project) taken in the final semester with members of the student’s Project Committee

In addition to the MFA Core requirements, each MFA student takes 39 additional approved units according to the discipline-based tracks into which students are admitted. NOTE: All 597 numbered courses are studio-oriented variable-topic graduate critique courses with specific topic and structure varying from term to term. All courses listed in the tracks are 3-unit courses. Tracks include: Ceramics; Drawing and Painting; Fiber; Illustration/Animation; Metal; Photography; Printmaking; Sculpture/4D; Graphic Design; and Wood.

  • 12 units from ART 597 with letter designation appropriate to the program or track
  • 6 units from any ART 597
  • 3 units from ART 681 or 683 (Seminar in Theory/Criticism, or Image as Text, dependent on track)
  • 3 units from ART 685 or 684 (Writing for Artists or Professional Practices for Visual Communication, dependent on track)
  • 15 units approved graduate-level or upper-division coursework, elective coursework

Advancement to Candidacy is contingent upon approval of work shown as part of the advancement exhibition, as well as meeting requirements of a conditional acceptance.

At least 42 units, or 70% of the 60 required units must be in 500/600 levels, taken at CSULB. Transfer units are allowed on a case-by-case basis. Additional information, expectations, recommendations and guidelines for each track are included in the "School of Art Graduate Guidelines" given to each student accepted into the MFA Studio Art Concentration.