Dec 12, 2018  
2018-2019 Governors State University Academic Catalog 
    
2018-2019 Governors State University Academic Catalog

Art, M.F.A.


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The Masters in Fine Arts in Studio Art is administered through the Division of Arts & Letters, and offers a concentrated multi-media studio focus on developing professional art makers.

The graduate program in fine art stresses intellectual curiosity, self-discipline, and technical proficiency in the art studio. With course work in painting, printmaking, photography, digital imaging, sculp­ture, graphic design or ceramics, the art studio student is directed to become a mature artist in command of multiple mediums that highlight expression of an individual artistic voice.

The graduate art program enables students either to become practicing artists or to achieve a level of scholarship that can help them to be both art scholars and professional educators. Trained innovators and creative thinkers, fine art majors find ever expanding use of their arts education in contempo­rary life. The employment and entrepreneurial outlook for artists continues to be strong.

Courses in art history support the research of the Fine Arts major and treat art objects as historical documents related in subject, style, technique, and material to other works of art. They further explore analysis through interpretation of their context and purpose. Art history courses range from contemporary international and regional artistic expressions to those of ancient America, Africa, and Asia.

Students are encouraged to develop perception and imagi­nation, combined with an awareness of visual elements, principles of design, artistic statement, and criticism. Professional display, public presentation, and sound research skills culminate in the thesis exhibit and written support document.

Program Objectives:

The Masters of Fine Art in Studio Art, MFASA, is a terminal degree for working artists and scholars. The curriculum is designed to provide students with tools in theory, criticism, and practice so that they hold mastery over the studio art field. In order to provide a framework to ensure a consistent set of expectations across media, the MFASA program has a set of five program outcomes. Courses within the major will address one or more of the following program outcomes:

  1. Create a body of professional-level work demonstrating personal vision, rigor, and a cohesiveness in a style that is worthy of a professional gallery.
  2. Exhibit the ability conceptualize creative problems and execute solutions while choosing the appropriate techniques/materials and making quality aesthetic choices.
  3. Recognize the influence of western/non-western art history and contemporary art on their artworks.
  4. Critically analyze artworks by describing, analyzing compositions, interpreting content, and judging results.
  5. Communicate research professionally using effective visual, oral, and written presentation skills.
Admission to the Program

Special Admission Requirements:

In addition to meeting university criteria, applicants must submit the following to artportfolio@govst.edu (Email with attached files not to exceed 10MB):

  1. A digital portfolio of 20 artworks completed in the last 5 years, highlighting technical proficiency, independent research, and artistic voice. Pdf, Jpeg, Jpg,or Powerpoint accepted. A link to personal portfolio website may also be included.
  2. A 1000-word written proposal that outlines academic and career goals with support­ing rationale and plan of study.

Students will not be admitted to the major until the portfolio and written proposal, reflecting potential for graduate work, have been approved by the graduate faculty review committee.

An undergraduate degree in Art is highly recommended, BFA preferred. An exceptional portfolio of work or post-baccalaureate certificate can prove proficiency in the field if an undergraduate degree is not held. Supplemental courses to fill in art foundations deficiencies may be required based on Graduate Program Coordinator recommendation.  The GRE is not required.

University Graduate Admission Requirements:

Persons are eligible for admission as a degree seeking student if they:

  • Have earned (or will earn by the term they wish to enroll) a bachelors, masters or doctoral degree or its equivalent from a regionally accredited college or university or who have international transcripts that have been reviewed by an appropriate agency for equivalency.
  • Were in good standing at the last institution attended.
  • Have satisfied collegial and /or major criteria, if applicable, for graduate study in a specific major.

All applicants must complete and submit a graduate application form to the Office of Admissions and to the graduate program as required, ensuring that official transcript or other official documents indicating the achievement of the criteria described in A.3. are submitted prior to the admission/credential deadline for the term in which enrollment is desired.

Graduation Requirements:

Consistent with university policy, students must meet all university requirements for a master's degree.  In addition, students must complete required and major elective courses with a "C" or better. Upon completion of coursework, the student must present a thesis exhibit, a written thesis document, and an oral defense of thesis materials with a faculty committee.

Degree Requirements


Students must meet all university requirements for a master's degree.

Required Courses (36 Hours)


  • ART - 6820 Graduate Art Seminar 1 (3) *
  • ART - 7820 Graduate Art Seminar 2 (3) *
  • ART - 8820 Graduate Art Seminar 3 (3) *
  • ART - 8990 Graduate Thesis/Project (1-3) *
  • ART - 6800 Internship (3)
  • Take 3 courses at 6000 level or higher as an Art History Elective (Total - 9 credit hours)
  • * Take each course twice to earn 6 credit hours for each.

  • Internship

    The internship is intended to create a mentoring relationship outside the University at the approval of the student's advisor. Internships can be coordinated with any art related business, gallery, museum, or professional working artist at the discretion of the advisor. The internship can be completed regionally, nationally, or internationally. The student is to seek out their own internship and coordinate with their advisor and their intended mentor as to the obligations and to achieve success within the internship. The internship is to be approximately 90 hours in length.

    Thesis Requirement

    The final two semesters the student prepares a one-person exhibition of a consistent body of work, in the student's area of interest accompanied by documentation of the work and development within a written thesis.

    Thesis Exhibition

    Upon recommendation of the Graduate Thesis Committee, the student presents a one-person thesis exhibition of artwork centering on the student's area of concentration and executed during their graduate studies at GSU. The exhibition does not have to be located on campus but it is desired. The exhibition is not a retrospect of every artwork created while a candidate but rather a consistent body of work revolving around an artist statement, research, and singular theme.

Electives (24 Hours)


Select 15 hours from courses within media emphasis and 9 hours outside of media emphasis, preferably 3 as a non-art elective. Media include: Painting/Drawing, Photography, Printmaking, Sculpture, Digital Imaging, Graphic Design, and Ceramics.

Non-Art Elective

The student is requested to take one 3 credit course that is neither an Art or Art History course. The student should consult with their advisor for approval about coursework that would be pertinent to their body of work or development as a professional artist. Examples could be courses in Writing, Business, Theater, or Psychology.

Total - 60 Hours


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