The master of fine arts (M.F.A.) degree program in studio arts emphasizes experimentation in the creation of innovative modes of artistic production.

Admission + Portfolio Requirements

Focused on artistic practice while developing essential professional skills and abilities, the program prepares students to succeed in the field of contemporary art.

Whether choosing to work within our nationally recognized disciplines/intensives (ceramics, drawing, jewelry and metalsmithing, painting, printmaking, and sculpture) or across genres, artists can develop a course of study particular to their own self-initiated creative research.

The M.F.A. in studio arts provides students numerous options of study, including seminars that focus on artistic practice, professional practice, and thesis development; critiques that emphasize cross-disciplinary dialogue; and unique, semester-long residency opportunities in Berlin, Germany, and Los Angeles (the Turner Semester) and other study abroad opportunities focused on professional development. Our faculty consists of vital artists of national reputation who maintain an active studio practice.

Discussions in study and critique go beyond the traditional setting; on and off-campus exhibitions and our visiting artists program bring students and faculty together.

Application deadline: February 1 for funding consideration. Studio arts currently does not offer spring admission.

Student Work


Areas of Research

In developing individual practices, students draw upon areas of focus and faculty expertise, including:

Ceramics
Drawing
Jewelry and Metalsmithing
Painting
Print Media and Graphic Art
Sculpture

A student works on his ceramics project.

Ceramics

In ceramics, artists pursue study in pottery, sculpture, tile mosaics, and other areas of interest. Our faculty, facilities, and resources encourage and accommodate experimentation with a variety of traditional and non-traditional approaches. Firing techniques supported in the program include high-fire reduction, oxidation, salt glazing, wood, soda, pit, and raku. We also support an Anagama kiln.

Ceramic art has deep roots in the Syracuse community. The Everson Museum of Art boasts one of the most comprehensive holdings of American ceramic art in the nation. We have an active and varied visiting artist program, a history of curating exhibitions, and an expectation for our graduates of participation in the field on the national and international levels.

Ceramics at the School of Art is nationally recognized for excellence; it was ranked no. 16 among the top 20 ceramics programs in the nation by U.S. News & World Report as part of its 2013 specialty rankings for Best Graduate Schools in Fine Arts.

Two students outside drawing from perspective.

Drawing

Drawing practices in the School of Art seek to redefine the materiality of drawing at a time when digital technologies dominate visual communication. By embracing the representational, abstract, illustrative, and conceptual, the drawing intensive aims to serve as a platform for experimental methods, concepts, and practices while respecting time-honored histories and conventions. The drawing intensive seeks to promote and disseminate drawing research, with emphasis on contemporary practices and theoretical context.

Jewelry and Metalsmithing

Metalsmithing is both an aesthetic and conceptual vehicle. At the graduate level, the relationship between the body and the jewelry, the vessel and the space it occupies, defines, and contains are central to critiques, discussions, and readings. As emerging artists, our graduate students form a strong and supportive community across areas giving each individual a unique experience and education. Our facilities accommodate traditional and nontraditional jewelry and metalsmithing techniques. Graduate students have private or semi-private studios in a building that is also home to art education, ceramics, printmaking, and sculpture.

Our mission is to provide you with the resources and support you need to develop your artistic talents and to understand the forces that drive creative endeavors in today’s increasingly interconnected world. The long history of painting at the School of Art demonstrates a steady and deep commitment to painting, a discipline that is as relevant now as ever. The dichotomies between traditional and contemporary or figurative and non-representational have imploded, and what remains is strong, self-motivated, individual work. The young artists in our painting program represent the global possibilities of what painting can be, whether it embraces tradition or not, whether it be interdisciplinary or multidisciplinary.

A student works on a life-sized, self portrait painting.

Painting

Our painting intensive emphasizes individuality of artistic expression. We encourage you to experiment in new directions and to remain open to innovative ideas and approaches as you develop your own unique style.

You will develop technical skills in painting, drawing, color, and pictorial composition through extensive studio work in oils, acrylics, watercolor, and nontraditional media. Courses in art history and critical studies expose you to concepts of the past and present and heighten your visual and intellectual perceptions.

Our mission is to provide you with the resources and support you need to develop your artistic talents and to understand the forces that drive creative endeavors in today’s increasingly interconnected world. With our internationally known faculty, visiting artists, and speakers, we offer you a wide perspective on the creative process and what it means to be an artist.

The resources we offer include studios that far exceed what many universities provide as well as global programs that include classes in Europe and other key locations in the United States. Our creative classes are complimented by the richness offered by an outstanding and diverse university environment. The painting classes are medium to small in size, with plenty of individual attention, but also with respect for the freedom that students need to find their creative voice.

The painting intensive’s long history at Syracuse demonstrates a steady and deep commitment to painting, a discipline that is as relevant now as ever. The “blank canvas” is both a hurdle and a tabula rasa—perhaps not a blank slate, but a clean slate. If artists today can learn to channel their creative energies effectively, the possibilities for meaningful expression can be enormous. The dichotomies between traditional and contemporary or figurative and non-representational have imploded, and what remains is strong, self-motivated, individual work.

The young artists in our painting intensive represent the global possibilities of what painting can be, whether it embraces tradition or not, whether it be interdisciplinary or multidisciplinary. Our intensive is designed to give you a working knowledge of the history of your practice as well as knowledge of contemporary critical thinking in your field. We recognize that our students are self-driven individuals whose artworks are a testament to the faith they have in their own abilities and the trust they have in the creative process itself.

Two students working on printmaking project.

Print Media and Graphic Art

The print media and graphic art area is a leader in the field of academic printmaking. Mixed media; public artworks; installation; collaboration; and Lake Effect Editions, our professional, in-house publishing entity, contribute to making print media and graphic art well rounded and vibrant.

We have an impressive array of new media tools for the printmaker, and we continue to embrace the needs of those wishing to honor the time-tested methodologies of the field. In our state-of-the-art studios we offer courses in lithography, monotype/monoprint, etching, screenprint, relief, papermaking, letterpress, book arts, and digital printmaking. We also present an annual steamroller printing event in the center of Main Campus.

Students and faculty take group trips to New York City for such events as the International Fine Print Dealers Association Print Fair, and they also attend the Southern Graphics Council International Conference each year. Many of our graduates move to New York City after earning their degree, where they find jobs and internships in the multitude of print studios, workshops, art foundations, art galleries, and museums that the city has to offer.

The print media and graphic art area was ranked no. 19 among the top 20 printmaking programs in the nation by U.S. News & World Report as part of its 2013 specialty rankings for Best Graduate Schools in Fine Arts.

A student works on his sculpture project.

Sculpture

Diversity and interaction are the cornerstones of our internationally recognized sculpture intensive in our studio arts program. Our faculty consists of vital artists of national reputation who maintain an active studio experience.

The outstanding sculpture facilities are comprised of workshop areas for traditional and contemporary applications, including those for metal casting, fabrication, plasma cutting, and welding; wood and stone carving; plaster; resins; plastics; digital fabrication and 3-D printing; and a state-of-the-art wood shop. We also offer ample workspaces for assembly, project spaces dedicated to installation and performance, gallery spaces for student exhibitions, outdoor casting and large-scale fabrication capabilities, and private and semi-private studio spaces for graduate students.

Our sculpture area was ranked no. 20 among the top 20 sculpture programs in the nation by U.S. News & World Report as part of its 2013 specialty rankings for Best Graduate Schools in Fine Arts.


Curriculum

We encourage our students to expand, cross, invert, and transform artistic methods and academic disciplines. This program encourages and supports students as they define and develop new areas of research and practice that challenge conventional notions of art making. Students in School of Art are guided through courses and studio visits as they pursue self-initiated creative research.

The professional development opportunities include graduate residencies in Los Angeles, Berlin, and London, internships, and teaching opportunities.

View the full M.F.A. in studio arts curriculum.

Four seminar classes: 24 credits
Three to six graduate critiques: 18 credits
Six studio intensives / electives: 18 credits
Total Credits: 60
Length of Residency: 2-3 years