students looking at art in gallery

MFA in Studio Art

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This is a fast-paced, full-time, studio-intensive interdisciplinary degree program that takes full advantage of the university’s physical, technical and intellectual resources. Students can choose to work in-depth in a particular discipline or across any of our five areas: Painting & Drawing, Photography & Media, Print, Sculpture & Extended Media, and Transmedia (video / performance / digital media).

Our program has developed an interdisciplinary environment of high expectation: self-motivation, intellectual capacity, and responsibility. Our faculty find these conditions best promote an artist’s ability to develop work of the greatest consequence. Within our well-equipped facilities, students explore the various disciplines’ parameters, depths, and overlaps, discovering applications for new and traditional modes of expression while simultaneously examining links between art and the world.

The MFA program is a vital community of diverse and engaged artists. Professionally active faculty, knowledgeable technical staff, a dynamic visiting artist and critic program, and the tremendous research facilities housed at The University of Texas at Austin foster the program’s creative community.

Program Handbook

Thesis Exhibitions and Catalogues

A Second Helping: 2023 MFA Thesis Exhibition
Painted Hooves: 2022 MFA Thesis Exhibition | Catalog
small refusals: 2021 MFA Thesis Exhibition | Catalog
_____: Revisited: 2020 MFA Thesis Exhibition | Catalog
Hero Ready: 2019 MFA Thesis Exhibition | Catalog


Graduate Advisor
Eric McMaster, Associate Professor of Practice

View Studio Art faculty and graduate students.


The 60-credit-hour MFA in Studio Art is a two-year, full-time course of study.

Coursework Requirements

  • 32-35 credits of Studio Art in a combination of group critique classes (ART 480) and committee independent studies (ART 481)

  • 12 credits in seminar courses:
    ART 482T – Topics Seminar in Studio Art
    ART 484F – First-Year Seminar
    ART 498P – Professional Practices

  • 3 credits in Art History

  • 3-6 credits of electives to be selected from campus-wide courses, chosen with Graduate Advisor approval.

  • 3 credits in ART 398R – Master’s Portfolio Report

  • 4 credits in ART 498S – Master’s Exhibition

Total: 60 Credit Hours

Course Descriptions

ART 480
Group Critique in Studio Art
Group critiques of student artwork organized under the leadership of the instructor accompanied by regular individual studio visits between the instructor and each student. May be repeated for credit.

ART 481
Graduate Committee Study
Art production to be reviewed and analyzed by student’s graduate committee. May be repeated for credit.

ART 482T
Topics Seminar in Studio Art
Addresses topics and issues in contemporary art. Uses lectures, readings, guest presentations, discussions, and writings to articulate and discuss the production and reception of culture. Three lecture hours a week for one semester. May be repeated for credit when topics vary.

ART 484F
MFA First-Year Seminar
This class orients first-semester students, provides entrée to various facilities on campus, develops critiquing skills, defines effective studio habits, and facilitates meetings with individual studio faculty members. Taken in first year.

ART 498P
Professional Practices for Fine Artists
Designed to help fine art students via lectures, guest specialists, field trips and readings to understand and prepare effective strategies for entering various aspects of the art world. Taken in second year.

ART 398R
Master’s Portfolio Report
A written interpretation of the artwork created during the graduate program, addressing concepts, motivations and influences. The document includes photographic documentation of major works. Taken in second year.

ART 498S
Master’s Exhibition
A professional presentation of the thesis exhibition in which significant work from each student is displayed in a professional venue. The exhibition is curated by the instructor with students collaborating in all aspects of its execution. Taken in second year.

Critique Committees and Reviews

Students (in consultation with the Graduate Advisor) create a 3- or 4-person Critique Committee of graduate Studio Art faculty with whom the work is reviewed at the end of each semester in a Committee Review.

In addition to the 60-credit course of study, at the end of each semester MFA candidates meet for a review of their work with their Critique Committee. These reviews consist of a presentation of the student’s work from that semester, a verbal and written presentation by the student, and a question-and-answer period led by their Critique Committee. The first and third reviews (first and third semesters) take place the week after classes end. These are private reviews composed of the student and her/his committee members. The mid-program review is considered the candidacy review; the student must pass this review to move into the second and final year of study to begin work on her/his thesis exhibition. Scheduled at the end of the second semester, this review is open to Studio Art grads and faculty as observers and participants. The fourth and final review is private, taking place in the gallery at the thesis exhibition. All reviews must be passed in order to progress and eventually complete the MFA program.


File the FAFSA ASAP!

Graduate students from the U.S. (citizens and permanent residents) are automatically eligible for Federal Plus loans as independent students and must file the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). However, you should complete the FAFSA even if you don’t intend to take out student loans because doing so may qualify you for need-based funding such as grants and scholarships. Applicants must file the FAFSA by the March 15 priority deadline to be considered for need-based funding.

Applicants should complete the FAFSA as soon as you have submitted your admission application and have filed your federal tax return. You are strongly urged not to wait for notification of admission before filing the FAFSA.


Current tuition for Texas residents and out-of-state and international non-residents, as well as other estimated costs-of-attendance, can be figured using the Cost & Tuition calculator.

The faculty’s goal is to award Tuition Waivers to all out-of-state and international students that forgive the non-resident portion of tuition. Therefore, it is very likely that each admitted student will only be charged resident (in-state) tuition for both years. Accepted non-resident applicants, as well as continuing non-resident students, are automatically considered for this waiver.


All incoming students are automatically considered for fellowship support. No additional application or supporting material is required. Fellowship decisions for continuing students are made each spring after a faculty review of student artwork.

Teaching Assistantships

Teaching Assistants (TAs) provide support to faculty members in classrooms and/or monitor open periods in labs. Some 10- and 20-hour assistantships are available to both incoming and continuing students, and all students are considered for appointment as TAs. 20-hour appointments pay the majority of tuition, a stipend, and high-quality health insurance. Appointments are based on institutional need and available funding, and are made on a semesterly basis (rather than annual).

Other Funding

Information about other sources of funding is available from the Graduate School.

Special Programs and Activities

UT<> RCA Reciprocal Exchange Program

UT<>RCA is our reciprocal exchange program with the Royal College of Art, London (RCA). Each fall, RCA sends one third-semester graduate student to study at UT Austin, and we in turn send one third-semester student to study in London. Studio Art faculty choose the outgoing student based on portfolio materials from their first year. Travel funding, as well as partial attendance and living costs, are covered.

SOMA Summer, Mexico City

Each summer we send one student on full scholarship to SOMA Summer in Mexico City, an eight-week program conducted in English for international artists, curators, critics, and art historians. The program introduces participants to the dynamic art scene of Mexico City through visits to museums, openings, and artists’ studios. Designed to promote intense creative work and open dialogue, the program is built around a series of seminars and workshops led by renowned Mexican and international artists and curators.

Visiting Artists Program

Each fall, as part of the Visiting Artists Program, internationally known artists visit the department to give lectures, conduct seminars, and meet with graduate students for critiques.

Viewpoint Series

Each spring, as part of the 30+ year Viewpoint Series, the department hosts a pair of leading art critics or curators for lectures, critiques, and seminars during three concentrated visits over the course of the semester.

Guest Artist in Print Program (GAPP)

The Guest Artist in Print Program (GAPP) invites contemporary artists working in print media for a one week residency at UT's print shops to develop a new project with the assistance of print faculty and students. In addition to presenting a public lecture, visiting artists directly engage with undergraduate and graduate students through studio visits, workshops, and/or class visits.

Since 1979 GAPP has invited notable contemporary artists such as Luis Camnitzer, Squeak Carnwath, Karl Wirsum, and Judith Linhares to create new work alongside students. This unique program encourages and expands the dialogue about contemporary print and the expanded field at UT while also fostering an invaluable collaborative exchange of ideas, processes, and techniques.

Studio Art Graduate Association (SAGA)

The Studio Art Graduate Association (SAGA) is a student-run organization that serves those in the MFA program by providing opportunities for sharing work with broader audiences, facilitating interdisciplinary collaboration, promoting diversity in the program, and fostering communication with other university and alumni groups.

Summer Residencies

Students may compete for summer residency scholarships to Ox-Bow and the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture.


Graduate students often have opportunities for studio visits and critiques with renown artists brought to the university in conjunction with the Lectures on Art in the Black Diaspora Series, the Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center, The Blanton Museum of Art, and the Landmarks Public Art Program.

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