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Bulletin Archive

This archived information is dated to the 2009-10 academic year only and may no longer be current.

For currently applicable policies and information, see the current Stanford Bulletin.

Master of Fine Arts in Art Practice (Studio)

University requirements for the M.F.A. are described in the "Graduate Degrees" section of this bulletin.



The applicant must have a B.A., B.F.A, or B.S. from an accredited school. It is expected that the applicant will have a strong background in art practice, either an undergraduate degree or at least three years of independent studio practice. Applications and portfolios for the Art Practice program must be received by January 12, 2010. Students accepted to the program are admitted for the beginning of the following Autumn Quarter. No applicants for mid-year entrance are considered.

Portfolio Specifications: We prefer that your portfolio be in the form of CD-ROM or DVD, or other electronic media. If absolutely necessary, you may submit twenty slides preloaded into a standard Kodak Carousel. We do not view original works at this stage of the process. Please see the department website at for specific portfolio requirements.


Fields of study for the M.F.A. degree are offered in Painting, Sculpture, New Genres, or Photography.


  1. Residency: Completing a minimum of two years (six quarters) of graduate work in residence at Stanford.
  2. Units: Completing 48 units of study. Students must discuss their programs of study with the department's student services administrator to ensure that the most favorable registration arrangement is made.
  3. Seminar Requirement: Six quarters (36 units) of the Master's Project, which includes two weekly seminars (the Object Seminar and the Concept Seminar) and Studio Practice, which is an individual tutorial with a selected member of the faculty. In addition, three courses of academic electives (12 units) are required in the first year. These courses can be chosen from a large variety of disciplines in consultation with the Director of Graduate Studies.
  4. Faculty Reviews: The student is expected to pass three faculty reviews: (1) at the end of the first quarter (anyone judged to be making inadequate progress is placed on probation and requires an additional review at the end of the second quarter), (2) at the end of the third quarter, and (3) at the time of the M.F.A. exhibition. The purpose of these reviews is to evaluate development and to assess the progress of the student.
  5. Thesis: During the fifth quarter in the program, students must write a thesis paper addressing the development of their work over the two-year period at Stanford. Participation in the M.F.A. exhibition at the end of the year is required.
  6. Graduate Student Teaching: Regardless of their source of funding, students are required to assist with the department's teaching program for a minimum of eight hours per week over the period of six quarters; the particulars of this assignment are at the department's convenience.

The studio faculty reserves the right to make use of graduate paintings, sculptures, and photographs in exhibitions serving the interests of the graduate program.

Graduate students must remain in residence at Stanford for the duration of the program.

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