University at Buffalo
Department of


Art & Design

Art History

Visual Studies

M.F.A. in Studio Art

Byron Rich 1f319110f5752761faf7339762dcdcea 55b9ca6945a07196c130b6fffb448b9f e434ecd8e86d4918218a110a57e67767

The MFA in ART is a full-time, two-year, program that exceeds traditional boundaries between disciplines and encourages cross-disciplinary research. MFA students reconcile scholarly interests with creative action to define a unique and individual practice – a practice that will carry forward beyond graduate study. Individual and group interactions with peers and faculty form the core of the program, supplemented by frequent visits with artists, designers, and scholars from a wide range of disciplines. This is a rigorous program that requires a serious work ethic and the ability to chart a personal course of artistic development.

Enrollment in the M.F.A. program is limited to 22 full-time students. Informal and formal interactions with resident faculty, visiting artists, designers, critics and peers form the core of graduate level involvement.

Studios and Facilities

Students have private or semi-private studios and access to 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, electronic/physical computing, painting, drawing, performance and biological art. All studios and labs have wireless high-speed connections.
> Read about Art facilities, labs, and other resources

Scholarships and Financial Aid

The Department of Art has generous financial aid options such as Teaching Assistantship (TA) Scholarship Awards. TA Scholarship Awards are designed to attract and support graduate students who have exceptional academic and artistic merit. TAs receive a stipend equal to about $14,000 per academic year and also receive a full tuition scholarship.
> Apply Now

Department of Art Speaker Series

Fall lecture series features renowned artists, critics and curators. Students have the opportunity to conduct individual studio visits. Past visitors have included Ryan Trecartin, Catherine Opie, Lyle Ashton Harris, Karen Finley, Douglas Crimp, The Yes Men, Xu Bing, Maurizio Cattelan, Claire Pentecost, Mel Chin, Stan Douglas, Trevor Paglan, William Pope L., Michelle Grabner and Jens Hoffman.
> Current Speaker Series Lineup

Interdisciplinary Research Opportunities

Beijing Graduate Exchange Program is a cross-cultural collaborative program offering graduate students residencies with the Academy of Arts & Design at Tsinghua University in Beijing.

Coalesce Center for Biological Arts  is a hybrid studio laboratory facility for artists and designers. It is dedicated to enabling hands-on creative engagement with tools and technologies of the life sciences.

Emerging Practices is a joint MFA venture between the Department of Art and the Department of Media Study. It focuses on 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 media, electronic installation, robotics, biotechnology and algorithmic image synthesis.

Technē Institute for Arts and Emerging Technologies is a hub for experimental art that sponsors annual symposia and artist workshops.

Humanities Institute provides a forum for cross discipline scholarship through faculty and student research fellowships, lectures, conferences and publications.

M.F.A. Program Plan

The M.F.A. program is 2 years /60 credits (15 credits per semester over 4 semesters).

This is an interdisciplinary program therefore without concentration specific requirements.

Year 1


  • ART 509 Graduate Seminar I (3 credits) Fall semester only
  • VS 521 Intro to Critical Theory (3 credits) Fall semester only
  • Academic elective (3 credits)
  • ART 599 Studio electives (6 credits) and/or studio course


  • ART 599 Studio electives (9 credits) and/or studio course
  • Academic electives (6 credits)

Year 2


  • ART 510 Graduate Seminar II (3 credits) Fall semester only
  • ART 699 Studio electives (6 credits) and/or studio course
  • Academic electives (3 credits)
  • ART 690 Graduate Project Supervision (3 credits) Register with chair of thesis committee


  • ART 699 Studio electives (6 credits) and/or studio course
  • Open elective-studio or academic (3 credits)
  • ART 690 Graduate Project Supervision (3 credits) Register with chair of thesis committee

This program is suggested and does not need to be strictly followed as long as all program requirements are met. In the sample shown, students take 2 academic electives in the spring semester of their first year and by doing so the final semester of study is freed up for complete immersion in the studio /thesis project. Alternatively, students may wish to divide the 4 academic electives evenly across 4 semesters, or some other variation.

Supervised Teaching Requirement for Teaching Assistants

In addition to the above, each semester Teaching Assistants are required to register for one credit of ART 598, Supervised Teaching. These credits do not count towards the 60 credits required for the M.F.A. degree.

Frequency of Graduate Course Offerings

As is typical of most graduate programs, studio and academic courses rotate over a one-year or two-year cycle. Required courses are offered at least once per year in the Fall semester. Graduate level studio courses are offered on alternate semesters.

The following is a list of courses taught over the past few years and planned for the near future:

Required courses are offered at least once per year. Most graduate level studio courses are offered on alternate semesters. Most academic seminars rotate over a one-year or two-year cycle.

Graduate Level Visual Studies Courses

Studio Courses (LAB)
  • ART 509/510 Graduate Seminar 1&2 (F)
  • ART 525 Interactive Computer Art (varies)
  • ART 547 History of Graphic Design (F)
  • ART 562 Installation: Urban Space (F)
  • ART 589 Real Space Electronic Art (Sp)
  • ART 573 Performative Action (Sp)
  • VS 575 Science, Culture, Media
  • Tutorials (Independent Studio Research- Labs)
  • ART 599 First Year Graduate Research /tutorial 1-6 credits
  • ART 699 Second Year Graduate Research
  • ART 666 Art Internship (tutorial)
  • ART 690 Graduate Project Supervision
Academic Courses
  • VS 500 Topics in Visual Studies past and present courses include:
  • VS 500 Documentary Photography
  • VS 500 Warhol
  • VS 500 Postwar Postmodern
  • VS 500 Art, Sex and the Sixties
  • VS 500 Image & Gender
  • VS 501 Introduction to Visual Studies
  • VS 505 Tactics of Praxis
  • AHI 508 Studies in Ancient Art
  • VS 521 Introduction to Critical Theory (F)
  • AHI 522 Studies in Italian Renaissance Art
  • AHI 548 History of Photography (F)
  • VS 550 Art and Psychoanalysis
  • VS 579 The Revolutionary Sublime
  • VS 580 Discourse and Deconstruction
  • ART 589 Real Space Electronic Art (F)
  • AHI 590 Methods of Art History (F)
  • VS 590 Theories of Montage
  • VS 587 Vision, Space and Power
  • VS 594 Wiemar Theory
  • VS 595 Independent Study/ Advanced Reading
  • AHI 598 Museum Internship
  • AHI 599 Independent Study
  • VS 695 Advanced Research
  • VS 700 Ph.D. Thesis Guidance
  • AHI 661 Graduate Research (Art History / M.A. Thesis Guidance)
  • VS 598 M.A. Thesis Guidance (Visual Studies)
  • VS 700 Ph.D. Thesis Guidance (Visual Studies)

A Sampling of Recommended Graduate Seminars at UB:

(See individual department websites for course descriptions)

American Studies
  • AMS 500 Politics of Image: Race, Body and Aesthetics in Latin America
  • AMS 500 Feminist Studies
  • AMS 500 Contemporary Critical Theory: Biopolitics, Necropolitics and the
Management of the Body
  • AMS 503/504 Topics in Cultural History 1 and 2
  • AMS 520 Politics of Urban Space
  • AMS 540 Caribbean Thought
  • AMS 560 Black Aesthetics
  • APY575 Ethnography and Personal Narrative
  • AHC 519 Contemporary Theory
  • AHC 523 Gender, Architecture and Urban Space
  • AHC 564 Behavior and Space
  • AHC 579 Sustainable Design
  • AHC 590/598 Junk Culture
  • AHC 590/598 In-Between Architecture and Landscape
  • AHC 590/598 The Social Nature of Architecture
Caribbean Research Center
  • CRC 515 Caribbean Arts
  • CRC 596 Contemporary Art
  • CRC 601 Cuban Film and Insularity
  • CRC 608 Contemporary Sculpture
Comparative Literature
  • COL 726 The Romantic Sublime
  • COL 731 Politics of Beauty
  • ENG 586 Digital Humanities: Networks, Objects, Games
  • ENG 605 Media Curating
  • ENG 648 Psychoanalytic Criticism
  • ENG 648 Kiarostami/ Corbin/ Lacan
  • ENG 653 Critical Theory: Representing Human Rights
  • ENG 653 Critical Theory: Foucault and Co.
  • ENG 653 Critical Theory: Queer Theory
  • ENG 680 Word and Image
  • ENG 683 American Film History
  • ENG 680 Fieldwork Methodology
  • ENG 685 Narrative Voice
  • ENG 685 Documentary Praxis
  • ENG 699 Ethnopoetics
Gender Studies
  • GGS 518 Readings in Feminist Studies
  • GGS 591 Writing Women’s Bodies
  • GGS 661 Gender in the Humanities: Modes of Interpretation
  • HIS 551 Intellectual in America
  • HIS 556 History of the Book
Media Studies

Note: Some DMS courses are labs (studio) others are academics

  • DMS 505 Ethnographic Media
  • DMS 512 Film Theory
  • DMS 515 Wearable Media
  • DMS 523 Programming Graphics
  • DMS 543 Media Robotics 1: Physical Computing
  • DMS 548 Game Studies Colloquium
  • DMS 555 Access New York
  • DMS 566 Network Landscapes
  • DMS 612 Video Analysis
  • PHI 544 Aesthetics
  • PHI 589 Contemporary Philosophy
  • PHI 637 Biotethics
  • PHI 698 Simone de Beauvoir
  • TH 620 Theatre and Performance Scholarship
  • TH 610 Theatre and Performance Research

M.F.A. in Studio Art Faculty:

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