About This Degree
The master of fine arts, the preferred degree, is a three-year, 60-credit terminal degree in the visual arts field, the equivalent of PhD programs in other fields. The program is selective and highly competitive, with only a small number of openings each year.
Prospective students must exhibit both academic excellence and a well-developed personal artistic vision.
What You Will Learn
Because the program is so selective, students pursuing the MFA have individual attention from professors and are able to customize their studies to fit their artistic goals. The MFA program is designed to allow students to mature to a level of professional competence in the making of art. Students are also encouraged to exhibit their work. There are several venues on campus for this purpose, but students are also commonly invited to exhibit in national and international shows.
Students choose an area of specialization, where they have unique opportunities to develop artistic growth through rigorous studio practice. In photography, students benefit from a strong tradition of wet darkroom processes and 19th century photo processes, and also a full range of digital photo equipment and techniques. Students studying ceramics work with a variety of kilns and equipment, including the Train Kiln, which was developed at USU and is used all over the world. The graphic design program has strengths in human/computer interface design and also a partnership with the Huntsman School of Business called Design Thinking. In drawing and painting, students develop strong visual skills and understanding of the historical context of painting. All students have generous studio space and time to focus on their work.
The Art Department has more study abroad programs than any other department on campus, and graduate students are able to study each year in places across the world, including Switzerland, Korea, Scotland, and Germany. The program also has a longstanding tradition of hosting visiting artists from across the country and the world.
In this emphasis, students are acquainted with the technology of ceramic materials and the firing processes to aid them in developing sound craftsmanship. Additionally, students receive inspiration and instruction from the ceramics collection of the Nora Eccles Harrison Museum on campus, numerous ceramics exhibitions, and visiting guest artists.
Drawing and Painting:
This emphasis includes the two-dimensional study of form and space, as well as the exploration of drawing and painting media, graphic elements, and visual dynamics.
Students in graphic design complete a variety of courses that involve working with symbols, trademarks, typography, layout, and all formats of print and publication design. Illustration, digital imaging, motion graphics, animation, and interactive media are also part of the graphic design curriculum.
Rooted in fine art and documentary traditions and guided in our belief in photography’s critical role in contemporary culture, the USU Photo MFA invites students to develop thoughtful visual practices marked by rigor, empathy, and community engagement. Candidates incorporate a range of techniques–from 19th-cen. processes to digital technologies–and are supported through generous resources including private studios and professional equipment. Competitive assistantships allow students to serve as TA’s in year 1 and teach their own courses in years 2-3.
Printmaking covers the process of creating prints with an element of originality, rather than just a photographic reproduction of the painting. It can be done by etching, woodcut, silk screen, lino cut, etc.
Students in the sculpture emphasis investigate specific problems involving technical, aesthetic, and conceptual considerations of sculptures. Students will also develop their own direction based on their experience with form, materials, and techniques, and their understanding of traditional concerns and contemporary issues.
The interior design program gives students a knowledge base of traditional aesthetics and historical precedent emphasizing a strong foundation based on the study of art and design.
Career And Outcomes
Students graduating with an MFA generally go on to work as studio artists in their respective fields. Students may also pursue careers as teachers in higher education, a field in which graduates of the program have historically high placement.
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