A typical two-year, 60 credit-hour program of study:

Fall, Semester 1 (14 credit hours)

  • (ARTS 700) Graduate Seminar/Critique (3 credit hours)
  • (ARTS 710) Graduate Studio (5 credit hours)
  • (ARTS 798) MFA Graduate Group Critique (3 credit hours)
  • Graduate Art History/ Elective (400-level or above, 3 credit hours)

Spring, Semester 2 (16 credit hours)

  • (ARTS 700) Graduate Seminar/Critique (3 credit hours)
  • (ARTS 701) Studio TA Practicum (3 credit hours)
  • (ARTS 710) Graduate Studio (5 credit hours)
  • (ARTS 720) Qualifying Review (2 credit hours)
  • (ARTS 798) MFA Graduate Group Critique (3 credit hours)

Fall, Semester 3 (16 credit hours)

  • (ARTS 700) Graduate Seminar/Critique (3 credit hours)
  • (ARTS 710) Graduate Studio (7 credit hours)
  • (ARTS 798) MFA Graduate Group Critique (3 credit hours)
  • Graduate Art History/Elective (400-level or above, 3 credit hours)

Spring, Semester 4 (14 credit hours)

  • (ARTS 700) Graduate Seminar/Critique (3 credit hours)
  • (ARTS 710) Graduate Studio (5 credit hours)
  • (ARTS 798) MFA Graduate Group Critique (3 credit hours)
  • (ARTS 992) Graduate Thesis (3 credit hours)

MFA Graduate Students receive the following grades for all of the above courses: H=high pass, P=pass, L=low pass. MFA students are asked to leave the program if they receive two L grades.

Graduate Seminar/Critique

The academic component of the MFA program is designed to complement the art-making process. The program operates under the philosophy that the decision to pursue and teach art in an academic context carries an attendant responsibility to develop the verbal and written skills necessary to articulate the themes represented by the artist. To refine those skills, students participate each semester in a Graduate Seminar/Critique conducted alternately by faculty members and the Artist in Residence. This seminar provides a forum in which students can explore and debate contemporary critical themes pertaining to art, including social, cultural, political, and aesthetic issues. Through the involvement of the Artists in Residence, the seminar also allows students to interact with accomplished, successful artists working in a variety of media and contexts. While it is up to each faculty member how to teach these seminars, we encourage them to balance theory and practice, critique and discussion.

Elective Courses

MFA students must take 6 credit hours of electives. Three of these credits must be in Art History. The remaining credits may be in Art History or other fields related to the student’s interests.

Teaching Fellowships

UNC-Chapel Hill takes its teaching mission very seriously. MFA candidates who wish to be considered for competitive Teaching Fellowships in their second year are required to have 18 hours in residence at UNC-Chapel Hill and must complete the Department of Art’s Teaching Training. If your application is accepted and you have met the requirements, you may be awarded a TF for your 3rd and 4th semesters of the program. You will have FULL responsibility for an undergraduate course, usually at the basic level of your field (i.e.: Basic Photo, Basic Drawing, etc.)

Graduate Thesis Exhibition

At the end of the final semester, MFA students exhibit in the Ackland Art Museum the thesis work they have executed under the direction of their Thesis Committee. The Ackland offers the best gallery and lobby space in the museum for the MFA Exhibition and provides announcement cards and press releases.

Each student writes a Thesis Statement to accompany the artwork exhibited, earning three hours of course credit. Students orally defend their work at the time of the exhibition. After passing the oral defense, each student submits a copy of her/his Thesis Statement to the Department of Art, along with slides and photographic documentation of the thesis work. This document becomes a part of the permanent collection of the Sloane Art Library.