MFA in Studio Art and Design

The Department of Art + Design, endowed as the Hite Institute of Art + Design, offers a Master of Fine Arts (MFA) in Studio Art and Design with a 60-credit hour curriculum, structured according to guidelines established by the College Art Association of America (CAA), that is professionally compliant with rigorous evaluation standards, quality and variety of courses, and a faculty mentoring structure that will ensure students accomplish the program objectives and graduate prepared to function effectively and meaningfully in a multicultural and global economy.

The program is selective to allow students generous access to faculty who will give them individual attention, respect their direction, and challenge them to explore new avenues of artistic discovery. Courses are offered in ceramics, drawing, fibers, glass, painting, photography, printmaking, sculpture, mixed media, and new media, and, under the guidance of a faculty mentor, students may choose to focus in one medium or to explore and combine a variety of media. The program also encourages a multidisciplinary approach that challenges students to develop their creative practice in relation to cultural, social, philosophical, and ethical concerns while providing a broad perspective on art and social roles.

Students in the program benefit from the Hite Institute’s substantial resources, including multiple galleries on campus and in downtown Louisville, partnerships with local art museums and galleries, and an active speaker and colloquia schedule featuring internationally recognized artists, prominent curators, and gallery directors. Students will interact with the wider arts community by participating in the university's collaboration with local and regional museums and cultural institutions. Joint projects and internship programs with these organizations strengthen ties between the university and the community and give students unique opportunities to participate in civic life.

All MFA students receive a scholarship or a teaching assistantship.

Admission Requirements:
Successful applicants will have a superior academic background and a strong commitment to art. MFA students are expected to have a thorough understanding of the principles of form, proficiency in various media and technical skills, as well as a fluency in language and discourse in the historic and contemporary contexts.

The minimum requirement for admission is an undergraduate degree in studio art from an accredited college or university with a minimum of 48 credit hours of undergraduate work in studio courses and 12 credit hours in art history courses. A BFA in Studio Art is recommended. Applicants must have a minimum undergraduate grade point average of 3.0 on a 4.0 scale. Applicants must present a portfolio of work that shows technical and conceptual competency and demonstrates the promise necessary to succeed.

Students who do not meet the minimum credit requirements in undergraduate-level courses (such as those who have completed a BA rather than a BFA degree) will be required to address any deficiencies by taking undergraduate courses before admission to the program. These courses will not count toward the requirements for the MFA degree. Students must maintain a 3.0 GPA in all coursework, including undergraduate courses taken to remove deficiencies.

Applicants to the MFA program must fulfill the general admission requirements of the College of Arts & Sciences. To meet A&S requirements applicants must hold a bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution with a grade point average of 3.0 on a 4.0 scale, and have completed an undergraduate major or the equivalent in the intended field of study. For more information about the application procedures, see: Admission To the MFA Program

Application Deadline: February 15. 

Inside studio room of new MFA buidling

Application Process

Step 1: Apply to UofL Graduate Admissions:
All applicants must submit
an Application for Graduate Admission to the University of Louisville (including a $65 application processing fee, all transcripts, recommendations, and other relevant materials). Link to UofL Graduate Admissions.

Step 2: Apply to the Hite Art Institute:
All applicants must submit the departmental MFA Application for Admission via SlideRoom. Access the online Slideroom Application Portal here:

For questions about our graduate program in Studio Art and Design, please email Ying Kit Chan, Professor and Director of Graduate Studies for Studio Art.

Questions about the application process? Please contact Theresa Berbet, Coordinator of Academic Services, at

International students must fulfill additional requirements.

For further information, visit the University of Louisville Website at  or contact the Office of Graduate Admissions at 502.852.3101.


MFA Studio room and artworks



The MFA program requires a minimum total of 60 credits (31 of which must be at the 600 level):

Requirement Credits
Studio Art 21-24 credits
Studio Art Practice [ART 690, 3 semesters, 3 credits each] 9 credits
Art History and Art Theory Courses  9 credits
Cultural Studies Electives outside the Department  6 credits
Graduate Seminar (ART 600, first semester) 3 credits
M.F.A. Seminar (ART 689, third semester) 3 credits
Teaching, Internships/Service Learning, Professional Development 3-6 credits
M.F.A. Thesis Project 3 credits
Total 60 credits

 The MFA program is available as either a 3-year or an optional 2-year accelerated program. 

  1. Upon entering the MFA program, the student may choose to follow either the three-year program or the two-year accelerated program and will select an advisor/mentor with whom he/she/they will develop a plan of study. In consultation with this mentor, the student will select courses that follow this plan and ensure timely progress toward graduation. The instructor of each course will evaluate the student’s level of achievement and progress in that particular class. Additionally, the student’s progress will be reviewed and evaluated in each of the two required seminar courses. Each student’s faculty mentor will, on a regular basis, review the progress of the students they are supervising and provide the information necessary for the Director of Graduate Studies for Studio Art to provide an annual review for the Graduate School. 
  2. Mid-Curriculum Reviews: For students enrolled in the three-year program, upon completion of the first year and a minimum of 18 credit hours, and again upon completion of the second year and a minimum of 36 credit hours, the student will undergo an MFA review where their progress will be evaluated by a committee comprised of a minimum of three members of the faculty. The MFA student’s faculty mentor will serve as chair of the committee. Students enrolled in the two-year program will undergo the above MFA review upon completion of the first year and a minimum of 30 credit hours. Students who receive a favorable evaluation will be allowed to continue in the program and prepare a body of artwork for their thesis exhibition. Students who do not pass an MFA Review will be re-evaluated in the following semester. Students who receive two unsatisfactory evaluations may be recommended for dismissal. 
  3. Each MFA candidate will work closely with his/her/their mentor to develop a body of work for thesis and exhibition. During the last semester of study, the student must demonstrate artistic accomplishments through a thesis exhibition, a written thesis, and a final oral exam. The thesis committee will evaluate the student’s achievement and successful completion of the MFA program.

    Satisfactory progress toward the degree requires successfully performing of a number of activities, including regular enrollment in graduate courses, consistent satisfaction of course requirements within given time limits, and maintenance of an appropriate grade point average (minimum 3.0).

    MFA Faculty

    Faculty members are available to mentor MFA students in their areas of expertise:

    • Tiffany Calvert:  painting, drawing
    • Mary Carothers:  photography, public art, sculpture, installation
    • Ying Kit Chan:  drawing, painting, printmaking, mixed media, art and social justice, contemporary theory and practice, art and philosophy
    • Mitch Eckert:  photography, history of photography, photographic theory, digital arts, still life, sculpture
    • Scott Massey:  sculpture, theory/fabrication–moldmaking, casting, welding; installation, performance, earthwork, contemporary theory and practice
    • Mark Priest:  painting, drawing
    • Ché Rhodes:  glass, contemporary art theory and practice
    • Rachel Singel:  printmaking, intaglio, relief, screen printing, lithography, digital printmaking  
    • TBD: ceramics, sculptural ceramics, ceramic vessels, ceramic history
    • TBD: fiber, textile

    Students may select up to three faculty members as their mentor in order of preference (e.g. 1, 2, 3) on the departmental application (via SlideRoom). Applicants are advised to contact the selected faculty member(s) to discuss their artwork and interest in the MFA program. Information about each faculty member can be found on our faculty web page

    To Apply: 
    For more information about MFA admissions and application, visit: Admission to the MFA Program.

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