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MFA Fine Arts Curriculum

All programs’ curricula are developed in response to Program Learning Outcomes, which signify what students learn within a degree program or emphasis area. All program learning outcomes respond to overarching Institutional Learning Outcomes. View the MFA program learning outcomes here

Show All First Year Course Descriptions
Fall - First Year (Show All)
Course Course Number Credits
Special Topics in Art History AHCS575A 2
Special Topics in Art History

This two-semester course sequence focuses on the history of modern and contemporary art. Starting in the 1880s with the advent of Modernism, students in the first semester investigate the movements and artists active up to the late 1950s and Abstract Expressionism. The second semester starts in the 1960s with the development of Conceptualism and POP Art and proceeds to the present. Projects around the utilization of historic precedents are a part of this course.

Graduate Critique GRAD610 3
Graduate Critique

Part of the two year course sequence GRAD610 / GRAD611 / GRAD710 / GRAD711.

In this two-year course sequence, all graduate students, regardless of media, discuss common issues of studio practice. The course provides an in-depth discussion and investigation of how an artist’s work is perceived as a public statement, and how one’s work exists in the world.

Graduate Studio I GRAD620 4
Graduate Studio I

Part of the course sequence GRAD620 / GRAD621 / GRAD720 / GRAD721.

This two-year course sequence focuses on each individual student’s practice, specifically directed toward aesthetic and technical issues arising out of their work. Students meet with a number of individual instructors on an independent basis, as they have work or issues prepared for discussion.

Critical Theory and Practice I LIBS650 3
Critical Theory and Practice I

The in-depth examination of a critical or theoretical text focuses on contemporary issues in art, philosophy, politics, or criticism.

Electives * 3
Electives

Please see your department for available electives.

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Spring - First Year (Show All)
Course Course Number Credits
Special Topics in Art History AHCS575A 2
Special Topics in Art History

This two-semester course sequence focuses on the history of modern and contemporary art. Starting in the 1880s with the advent of Modernism, students in the first semester investigate the movements and artists active up to the late 1950s and Abstract Expressionism. The second semester starts in the 1960s with the development of Conceptualism and POP Art and proceeds to the present. Projects around the utilization of historic precedents are a part of this course.

Graduate Critique GRAD611 3
Graduate Critique

Part of the two year course sequence GRAD610 / GRAD611 / GRAD710 / GRAD711.

In this two-year course sequence, all graduate students, regardless of media, discuss common issues of studio practice. The course provides an in-depth discussion and investigation of how an artist’s work is perceived as a public statement, and how one’s work exists in the world.

Graduate Studio II GRAD621 4
Graduate Studio II

Part of the course sequence GRAD620 / GRAD621 / GRAD720 / GRAD721.

This two-year course sequence focuses on each individual student’s practice, specifically directed toward aesthetic and technical issues arising out of their work. Students meet with a number of individual instructors on an independent basis, as they have work or issues prepared for discussion.

Critical Theory and Practice II LIBS651 3
Critical Theory and Practice II

The in-depth examination of a critical or theoretical text focuses on contemporary issues in art, philosophy, politics, or criticism.

Electives * 3
Electives

Please see your department for available electives.

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Show All Second Year Course Descriptions
Fall - Second Year (Show All)
Course Course Number Credits
Special Topics AHCS575 2
Special Topics

Please see your department for details.

Graduate Critique GRAD710 3
Graduate Critique

Part of the two year course sequence GRAD610 / GRAD611 / GRAD710 / GRAD711.

In this two-year course sequence, all graduate students, regardless of media, discuss common issues of studio practice. The course provides an in-depth discussion and investigation of how an artist’s work is perceived as a public statement, and how one’s work exists in the world.

Graduate Studio III GRAD720 4
Graduate Studio III

Part of the course sequence GRAD620 / GRAD621 / GRAD720 / GRAD721.

This two-year course sequence focuses on each individual student’s practice, specifically directed toward aesthetic and technical issues arising out of their work. Students meet with a number of individual instructors on an independent basis, as they have work or issues prepared for discussion.

Professional Practices GRAD774 1
Professional Practices

A seminar in which the intricacies, idiosyncrasies, and responsibilities of the professional artist are discussed and deconstructed. (Fall semester).

Thesis I LIBS774 3
Thesis I

This course encourages and trains students to write a thesis about their own work through the development of the requisite critical writing skills that will serve them in the future when applying for grants as well as preparing them for the literary demands of an artist’s career.

Electives * 2
Electives

Please see your department for available electives.

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Spring - Second Year (Show All)
Course Course Number Credits
Special Topics AHCS575 2
Special Topics

Please see your department for details.

Graduate Critique GRAD711 3
Graduate Critique

Part of the two year course sequence GRAD610 / GRAD611 / GRAD710 / GRAD711.

In this two-year course sequence, all graduate students, regardless of media, discuss common issues of studio practice. The course provides an in-depth discussion and investigation of how an artist’s work is perceived as a public statement, and how one’s work exists in the world.

Graduate Studio IV GRAD721 4
Graduate Studio IV

Part of the course sequence GRAD620 / GRAD621 / GRAD720 / GRAD721.

This two-year course sequence focuses on each individual student’s practice, specifically directed toward aesthetic and technical issues arising out of their work. Students meet with a number of individual instructors on an independent basis, as they have work or issues prepared for discussion.

Exhibition Preparation GRAD775 1
Exhibition Preparation

Each student in the final year works on the organization, planning, and installation of MFA exhibitions. The course focuses on exhibition psychology, design, and documentation. Additionally, the professional practices needed for well-planned entry into the art world are discussed. (Spring semester).

Thesis II LIBS775 3
Thesis II

This course encourages and trains students to write a thesis about their own work through the development of the requisite critical writing skills that will serve them in the future when applying for grants as well as preparing them for the literary demands of an artist’s career.

Electives * 2
Electives

Please see your department for available electives.

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* In addition to Independent Studies, electives may be taken from the offerings of Fine Arts, Liberal Arts and Sciences, and other departments with department approval.


The curriculum displayed is meant to provide an overview of the current semester’s offerings in this department; it does not represent all degree requirements for the Major or Area of Emphasis. These can be found in each student’s Course Catalog (identified by the year in which one would have entered the college as a Foundation student), which can be found here. If you have questions regarding your specific curricular requirements and/or Course Catalog, please contact Academic Advisement Coordinator Carrie Malcom at cmalcom@otis.edu or (310) 846-2550.