Juan Travieso, Lonesome George (detail), 2012. Oil and acrylic on canvas.

Master of Fine Arts

Recently ranked one of the top 10 most influential Master of Fine Arts programs in the world, the SMFA Master of Fine Arts (MFA) is both rigorous and highly selective as it prepares you for a career as a professional artist. Artistic innovation and creativity are fundamental qualities that are highly transferable to wider areas of society. The curriculum integrates practical and critical skills across diverse media and disciplines; you'll hone your practice through individual innovation, creative collaborations, informal mentorships and academic discourse. MFA students are enrolled at both SMFA and Tufts University, and graduate in two years with an MFA degree from Tufts.

Key aspects of the program include:

  • A varied curriculum that integrates practical and critical skills across diverse media and disciplines.
  • Professional development including a Contemporary Art Seminar (CAP), graduate group critiques, individual meetings with graduate advisors and the support of Career Services.
  • Teaching opportunities and the ability to apply for outside exhibitions and grants, including SMFA Travel Grants.
  • Colloquia that explore timely ideas in the visual arts and art theory. The spring colloquium, "What Is To Be Done (After Graduation)?," will explore the current state of the art world, with particular attention paid to the dominance of the art market, and to questions of ethics, politics, and responsibility.
  • Distinguished visiting faculty and guest artists.

In this program you will complete 60 credits, including studio, four graduate seminars and two art history and two academic electives at the upper or graduate level at Tufts University. You'll have your own semi-private studio space and access to the School's faculty and equipment. The final thesis exhibition is held at the famed Cyclorama in Boston's South End.

Graduate studio courses are taught at SMFA's Mission Hill Building, 160 St. Alphonsus Street, about a ten minute walk from the main campus.

Degree Requirements

Studio Art

All MFA students register in studio art each semester during years one and two. This represents six three-hour periods (equivalent to two Tufts course credits) of studio art instruction per week and includes the Contemporary Art Practice (CAP) Seminar, class instruction, graduate group critique, colloquium, and studio work. Students complete a total of eight Tufts course credits in studio art and MFA Graduate Seminars. The final exhibition is completed in spring of the second year.

Academics

Academic work consists of four graduate-level courses: two courses in art history and two electives.

Final MFA Exhibition

The MFA Program culminates in a self-curated final exhibition, which includes a statement of the artist's intention and goals and gives students the opportunity to share their work with the wider community at Tufts, SMFA and the greater Boston area. Credit for the exhibition is awarded by the Review Board, which is made up of the student's academic advisor and studio faculty advisor, and one member of the graduate studio faculty from SMFA.

Recommended Course of Study

Year One

Fall
• 8 credits (4 to 6 courses) of studio art including Graduate Cap Seminar, group critique and colloquium
• 1 academic course

Spring
• 8 credits (4 to 6 courses) of studio art including Graduate Elective Seminar, group critique and colloquium
• 1 academic course

• First-year students are reviewed for advancement to year two.

Year Two

Fall
• 8 credits (4 to 6 courses) of studio art including Graduate Elective Seminar, group critique and colloquium
• 1 academic course

Spring
• 8 credits (4 to 6 courses) of studio art including Graduate Elective Seminar, group critique and colloquium 
• 1 academic course

• Second-year students are reviewed for advancement to the final exhibition*.

*Once students complete, or nearly complete, all studio art and academic requirements, the final MFA exhibition can take place.

Master of Fine Arts Program Directors

Mary Ellen Strom, Director, Master of Fine Arts Program (maryellen.strom@smfa.edu)
Lisa Bynoe, Associate Dean of Graduate Programs (lbynoe@smfa.edu)
Jackie Williams, Administrative Coordinator, MFA Graduate Programs (jwilliams@smfa.edu)

Graduate Advisors, School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston 2014-15

Gerry Bergstein, Painting
Fritz Buehner, Sculpture
Maria Magdalena Campos-Pons, Painting
Abigail Child, Film
Mark Cooper, Ceramics
Bonnie Donohue, Photography
Joel Frenzer, Animation
Barbara Gallucci, Sculpture
Jane Gillooly, Film
Nate Harrison, Sound
Patte Loper, Painting
Megan McMillan, Sculpture
Ethan Murrow, Painting
Jennifer Schmidt, Print and Paper
John Schulz, Print and Paper
Jeannie Simms, Photography
Carol Stakenas, Curatorial
Mary Ellen Strom, Video

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