Master of Fine Arts in Art

The 60-unit, three-year Master of Fine Arts in Art degree program at SF State is designed to provide professional competency for the student pursuing a career as an artist including working in public roles. Students are accepted into the program in the following areas of discipline: Ceramics, Conceptual and Information Arts, New Practices, Painting and Drawing, Photography, Printmaking, Sculpture, or Textiles.

While affiliation with a single area of concentration is the norm, a broad approach to art-making and the development of a coherent, informed understanding of issues relevant to many forms of expression is encouraged throughout the program. The emphasis of New Practices is available to students who work across media.

Studio related seminars and individually supervised tutorials form the core of the program. Special seminars in adjunct academic fields complement the studio focus of the program. Approximately two-thirds of the program is dedicated to studio and one-third to academically related courses. While all students can expect to experience a similar range of studio, seminar and tutorial classes, individual paths through the program are worked out through consultation with a graduate adviser.

Admission to the program is highly competitive and it is not possible to admit all fully qualified individuals.

More Information

Application Procedures

Applications for the Master of Fine Arts in Art program are accepted November 1 through January 15 for admission the following fall semester. Late applications will not be accepted.

Applicants are required to file two separate applications, one to the Division of Graduate Studies, and one to the Department of Art — applicants who do not complete both requirements cannot be considered for admission.

Step 1: Apply to the Division of Graduate Studies

Admission procedures and eligibility requirements are available from the Division of Graduate Studies and SF State Bulletin (Catalog):

Apply to Graduate Studies

Step 2: Apply to the Department of Art

Department application requirements include:

  • An undergraduate art degree or equivalent preparatory degree, with three units of contemporary art history taken within the last five years. If the applicant does not complete this upon admission to the program, enrollment in a contemporary art history class during the first semester is required.
  • A 3.0 grade point average in the last 60 units completed in undergraduate degree.
  • A completed Department of Art M.F.A. Admissions Application
  • Official or unofficial transcripts from all institutions of higher learning attended. These must be included in your application package. (The department‘s transcript requirements are in addition to the official transcripts required in the application to the University.) Note that transcripts will not be forwarded to the Art Department from the Graduate Admissions Office and vice versa.
  • One copy of your current resume/CV.
  • Statement of Purpose describing your interests and background in art, reasons for pursuing the M.F.A. degree, and reasons for selecting San Francisco State University.
  • Three letters of recommendation from individuals qualified to testify to your capabilities and readiness to enter graduate study in art. The three letters should be signed, sealed and included with all other application materials.
  • Creative work portfolio.
  • Apply to the Department of Art

Transfer of Credit for Previous Graduate Work

All transfer of credit must be approved on a course-by-course basis by a Graduate Advisor, the Graduate Coordinator, and the Office of Graduate Studies. This transfer should be arranged before the first semester of graduate studies begins.

A maximum of 12 units total may be transferred towards credit for the MFA degree.

  • A student previously enrolled in any accredited MFA program may transfer up to 12 units from that program.
  • A student who has taken graduate courses in an unclassified post-baccalaureate status may transfer no more than six units in studio, and six units of other, creditable, coursework, for a total of 12 units.
  • A student who has accrued credits both as an enrolled candidate in an accredited MFA program and taken courses in an unclassified
    post-baccalaureate status may transfer no more than 12 units total.

Program Requirements and Curriculum

For graduates, the normal load during spring and fall is from nine to twelve units per semester and seven units during the summer. For international students immigration regulations require a minimum academic load of twelve units for undergraduates and eight units for graduates for spring, fall and summer semesters.

Additional details about the Master of Fine Arts in Art are available from the SF State Bulletin (Catalog).

Disciplines

Students are accepted into the program in the following disciplines: Ceramics, Conceptual and Information Arts, New Practices, Painting and Drawing, Photography, Printmaking, Sculpture, or Textiles.

Recommended 3-year Program

First Year

Fall Semester

  • ART 700: Seminar in Art Theory & Criticism 3 units, Academic Credit * (Note)
  • ART 704: Seminar in Art, 3units, Studio Credit, taken every semester
  • Studio Elective, 3 units, Studio Credit
  • Academic Elective, 3 units, Academic Credit

Semester Total: 12

Spring Semester

  • ART 704: Seminar in Art, 3 units, Studio Credit, taken every semester
  • ART 705: Seminar in Art History, 3 units, Academic Credit, must be taken this semester
  • Academic Elective, 3 units, Academic Credit

Semester Total: 9

Second Year

Fall Semester

  • ART 704: Seminar in Art, 3 units, Studio Credit, taken every semester
  • ART 780: Visiting Artist Studio, 3 units, Studio Credit
  • ART 850: Directed Experience in Public Roles, 3 units, Academic Credit

Semester Total: 9

Spring Semester

  • ART 704: Seminar in Art, 3 units, Studio Credit, taken every semester
  • ART 780: Visiting Artist Studio, 3 units, Studio Credit
  • Academic Elective, 3 units, Academic Credit
  • Studio Elective, 3 units, Studio Credit

Semester Total: 12

Third Year

Fall Semester

  • ART 704: Seminar in Art, 3 units, Studio Credit, taken every semester
  • ART 882: Tutorial, 3 units, Studio Credit
  • ART 890: Creative Work Research, 3 units, Studio Credit

Spring Semester

  • ART 704: Seminar in Art, 3 units, Studio Credit, taken every semester
  • ART 882: Tutorial, 3 units, Studio Credit
  • ART 894: Creative Work Project, 3 units, Studio Credit

Semester Total: 9

Cumulative Total: 60

Note: ART 700 is mandatory for First Year MFA Students

Fees and Expenses

Resident

  • Estimated Per Semester Resident Tuition and Fees: $3,858.00
  • Estimated 2-year Resident Tuition and Fees: $15,432.00

Nonresident (U.S. and International)

In addition to the estimated regular tuition and registration fees listed above, nonresidents of the State of California must pay an additional $372 per unit (or fraction) for nonresident tuition fee. The total nonresident tuition fee paid per term will be determined by the number of units taken.

  • Estimated Per Semester Nonresident Tuition and Fees: $7,206.00
  • Estimated 2-year Nonresident Tuition and Fees: $28,824.00

Schedule of Tuition and Fees

Mailing address

Department of Art
c/o San Francisco State University
1600 Holloway Ave
San Francisco, CA 94132