Department of Art & DesignMFA PROGRAM

The 60 credit hour MFA program is based on intensive studio practice at an advanced level in the following areas: Ceramics, Drawing, Extended Media, Fibers, Graphic Design, Jewelry & Metals, Painting, Photography, Printmaking, and Sculpture.

Please visit the website for more information about the available programs.

Program of Study Description:

Students admitted to the MFA program will take courses in studio, seminar, and art history.  Studio courses are taught by faculty who head areas of study such as painting, graphic design or sculpture and most students take repeated courses within the area of focus.  Students are encouraged to explore additional areas of interest that can aid in the development of work.  Cross-disciplinary work is supported by the faculty.


Independent Study courses or courses within an area such as Graduate Painting are tailored to the student’s research.  These courses have assignments typically negotiated between the faculty and the student and reflect the student’s progress within the program.  For example, a first-year student will explore various techniques and media, whereas, a third-year student will create work for their MFA Thesis exhibition.  The number of projects produced, size, scope, etc. will also vary by the student and the faculty teaching the course. 


Graduate courses may be stacked with undergraduate courses and are dual listed in the schedule.  These classes are structured.  Students are expected to execute graduate level work and are subject to additional requirements as defined by the instructor.  Many Special Topics studio courses and Art History courses fall into this category.  Attendance is mandatory on designated days. 


Seminar courses such as Methods of Research fulfill the Research Requirement.  This course is completed during the first or second year and is offered during the Spring semester only.  This class will prepare students to research topics that relate to their work and to write Thesis documents.  Attendance is mandatory on designated days.    


The Thesis course is a combination of work produced and a written document.  The student will install an MFA exhibition showcasing their research and will write a paper using the format from the School of Graduate Studies.  A faculty committee will evaluate the exhibition and the Thesis paper before awarding the MFA degree. 


The graduate elective course may be taken in studio, art history, or outside the Department.  All courses must be graduate level.


Program of Study

Graduate Studio Courses

42 credits

Art History Graduate Courses

9 credits

Research Requirement

3 credits


3 credits

Graduate Elective Course

3 credits


60 credits

Prospective Students


In order to be accepted into the MFA program, students must complete the application through the School of Graduate Studies and submit a portfolio to the Department of Art & Design using Slideroom (portal is available September 15-Feb 1).  Applications are reviewed once a year, and new students begin studies in the fall.  

After reviewing the information online, feel free to contact faculty members directly about specific areas of study.  Please visit the Department of Art & Design and the School of Graduate Studies to apply or for additional information.

Graduate students are eligible for funding through tuition scholarships or graduate assistantships.  Graduate Assistantships cover tuition, fees, and provide a monthly stipend in exchange for hours worked.  Tuition Scholarships cover tuition only for hours worked.  Both GA and TS students are responsible for additional University fees.  A cost estimator of tuition and fees is available at:


International students are required to fulfill the test of English as a Foreign Language or TOEFL .  This requirement must be satisfied in order for  applications to be considered.  Guidelines for international student applications can be found at:


Additional information for international students can be found through ETSU’s International Programs and Services website.

Background image from work by Shanna Glawson