University at Buffalo
Department of


Art & Design

Art History

Visual Studies

MFA Overview

M.F.A. Application Deadline: February 1, 2016

MFA in Studio

The ART M.F.A. is a full-time, two-year 60-credit art and design program that promotes freedom of creative inquiry and production. Research that redefines parameters and confronts contemporary issues is encouraged. Unique abilities and potential are developed in a community of students and faculty engaged in intensive discourse, investigation, and production of challenging new work. Critical interactions with resident faculty, visiting artists, designers and critics form the core of graduate level involvement. MFA students each work with three graduate faculty who serve on their Thesis Advisory Committee. Individually and collectively, the members of this committee are responsible for critical analysis of the student’s progress. The degree culminates in an MFA thesis exhibition or alternative public presentation, a written thesis research paper, and an oral defense. Other requirements include seminars, courses in critical theory, art history and academic electives. The program is rigorous, requiring a serious work ethic and the ability to chart a course of personal development.

Students have private or semi-private secure studios with 24-7 access and may use all departmental facilities and communal labs. Shared labs support photography (digital and black-and-white non-silver), print media (lithography, intaglio, screen, digital, relief and letterpress), sculpture (full wood and metal shops, bronze foundry and digital lab with laser cutter), graphic design, video/sound recording and editing, electronics/physical computing, specialized digital output, painting, installation, performance, drawing and biological art. All studios and labs have wireless high-speed connections.

M.F.A. in Studio, Emerging Practices Focus

A joint M.F.A. venture with the Department of Media Study focusing on Emerging Practices (EP) is committed to exploring the interdisciplinary space between emerging technologies and the arts. EP students are focused on exploring the technical, tactical, cultural and communicative potential of emerging technologies such as interactive multimedia, electronic installation, networked telematic communication, robotics, biotechnology and algorithmic image synthesis.

Typically, artists and art/media programs are defined by the media forms they employ. However, we choose not to define practice based on a medium in favor of a broader strategy of techno-cultural investigation that continuously re-defines its object as well as its methods.

Students interested in this joint effort apply to either the Art or Media Study M.F.A. program, noting in their cover letters their interest in the Emerging Practices area of study. Upon acceptance, to Media Study or Art students will be able to take courses, utilize labs and facilities, and work with EP faculty in either department.

Emerging Practices Website

Seminars and Academics

In addition to graduate research and project supervision, Visual Studies seminars provide the M.F.A. student with a context for both art practice and current trends in visual arts and design. During the two year residential graduate program, academic requirements include: Introduction to Critical Theory and a critique-based Graduate Seminar in the fall semester. In addition to this, 12 credits of academic electives (seminars in Art History or Visual Studies) and 3 credits of an open elective are required.

Visiting artists and critics

Lectures and critiques by visiting artists and designers, visits to area collections and alternative spaces, including day trips to area galleries, can be scheduled.

202 Center for the Arts, North Campus
Buffalo, New York 14260-6010
(716) 645-6878
(716) 645-6970 fax
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