MFA Degree Requirements

SFAI's MFA program is intended to be a full-time, four-semester program of study.

Graduate Lecture Series

MFA + MA students must attend the Graduate Lecture Series, which brings noted artists and critics to campus for lectures, discussions, and critiques.

MFA Exhibition

Graduate students must register for MFA Exhibition in their final semester and pay an MFA Exhibition and Graduate Catalogue fee. Please note that there are mandatory MFA Exhibition meetings in both the fall and spring semesters. No credits are awarded, but participation is required for the degree.

MFA Review

During Review Week, each MFA student presents a body of work to a committee consisting of three faculty members drawn from various disciplines. There are two types of reviews: the Intermediate Review, and the Final Review.

The Intermediate Review takes place at the end of the second semester of the MFA program, near the completion of 30 units. The review is an evaluation of whether or not the student is prepared to advance to MFA candidacy. It is an assessment of the development of the student’s ideas and methods throughout the first year of the program and a forum for critical feedback from the student’s committee.

The Final Review takes place at the end of the fourth semester of the MFA program, near completion of 60 units, or at the end of the semester in which the student petitions to graduate. For the Final Review, the student must present an accomplished body of work exhibiting a high standard of creative production. The review—which serves as the student’s thesis presentation and defense—is an assessment of the quality of work and a vote to award, or not, the Master of Fine Arts degree. The MFA Exhibition follows the Final Review and is also required in order to graduate from the program.

Art History

All students must enter the MFA program with six units of art history: three units of modern or contemporary history/theory and three additional art history units. If needed, students may be required to fulfill these prerequisites within their first year of MFA study at SFAI. These prerequisite art history credits will count towards a student’s elective credit.

Tutorial + Critique Seminar

MFA students must enroll in at least one Graduate Tutorial and one Graduate Critique Seminar per semester. No more than two Graduate Tutorials may be scheduled for each semester. Exceptions to this require permission from the Dean of Academic Affairs. No more than two Graduate Critique Seminars may be scheduled for each semester. Exceptions to this require permission from the Dean of Academic Affairs.

Time to complete coursework

MFA students have a maximum of three years to complete the degree. This includes time off for a leave of absence.

MFA students must complete all outstanding coursework by the end of the summer session following participation in the MFA Exhibition.