College of Fine Arts Art

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We offer a M.F.A. in:

Program Purposes

The M.F.A. is designed for mature graduate students who desire to teach at the college/university level and/or for those individuals who wish to pursue a career as a professional artist. We emphasize individual artistic development by granting the students extended studio time for reflection and contemplation of their personal artwork while offering critical input from faculty experience. In addition, teaching and research assistantships, seminars and visiting artist workshops provide other professional skill-based experiences.


Applications for the graduate program are only accepted for admittance during the fall semester and must be received annually by February 1.

Candidates for the M.F.A. program must apply through the Graduate School and meet University requirements as well as the following Department of Art requirements:

  1. The applicant must hold a baccalaureate degree, preferably a B.F.A. degree or its equivalent based upon experience and proof of technical and aesthetic abilities.
  2. Applicants must submit information in the following areas for review:
    • Portfolio containing 20 digital images of artwork. Fifteen images must focus on the major studio area of application and five images must demonstrate drawing abilities. Please include a numbered slide identification sheet.
    • Each digital image must be in jpeg format set for maximum resolution to compliment your work (CDs with PowerPoint presentations are acceptable). All images and presentation modes must be compatible with both Mac and PC formats.
    • Current professional resume.
    • Artist statement supporting the applicant's work.
    • Statement of purpose in which the applicant expresses interests, intentions, and expectations for wanting to attend graduate school generally, and more specifically, the M.F.A. program at the University of South Dakota.
    • Three letters of recommendation from professionals associated with the applicant's work and abilities.
    • Two official transcripts from each accredited institution.
    • Graduate Application for Admission.
    • Application fee of $35.00.
    • Application for Assistantship, if desired.
    • International Students must also add the following:
      • TOEFL Scores in the Test of English as Foreign Language. A minimum score of 550 is required for entrance into The University of South Dakota.
      • Declaration/Certification of Finances.
      • Translated transcripts.
  3. Finalists in the applicant review process will receive a phone interview as part of the review process. Following the review, students will receive a letter stating if they are accepted or unaccepted into the M.F.A. program.

Completion of Degree Program Requirements

The Master of Fine Arts degree program is a 60 credit hour terminal degree that involves a 3 years of residential intensive study. In addition to meeting all the graduation requirements of the Graduate School, M.F.A. candidates must satisfy all degree program requirements, including the passing of a preliminary oral examination, presentation of a comprehensive thesis exhibition, completion of a final oral examination, and the passing of the written ACAT Art Exit Exam. Required coursework consists of the following:

  • Art History, 9 credits
  • Folio Preparation, 2 credits
  • Emphasis Area Studio Focus, 32 credits
  • Non-Art Electives, 3 credits
  • Art Studio Electives, 8 credits
  • Graduate Seminars, 6 credits

For more details, please see the Art M.F.A. Requirements.

Personal Attention

faculty Faculty mentoring through close, personal attention is one of the keys to our program's success.