Master of Fine Arts degree

The Department of Art and Design offers the Master of Fine Arts degree. The degree program consists of a minimum of sixty (60) hours of graduate work and is structured accordingly.

Graduate School Requirements

  1. Maintain a 3.0 GPA throughout the MFA program
  2. Complete the degree requirements within 6 years

Degree Requirements

  1. 34 semester credit hours, studio major (to include terminal thesis project of 16 credit hours).
  2. 16 semester credit hours of Art History and Concepts—at least two “in-house” art history courses must be taken. A maximum of seven (7) hours of Readings in Art History is all that is allowed.
  3. 10 semester credit hours in studio art other than the major area.

Areas of Major Studio Concentration:

MFA (Printmaking)
MFA (Sculpture)
MFA (Photography)
MFA (Drawing)
MFA (Painting)
MFA (Ceramics)
MFA (Graphic Design)
MFA (Inter-media)


General Admissions Policy:

The applicant must have a Bachelor’s degree with a major in Art from an accredited institution and have completed a minimum of 36 semester credit hours in art on the undergraduate level. Deficiencies must be completed before candidate is allowed to proceed to the M.F.A. degree program. A minimum of 10 hours in a studio concentration on the undergraduate level must be completed before the student is considered a major on the graduate level.

Transfer Credits

If a student desires to have graduate credit transferred from another college or university, he/she must realize that a maximum of nine (9) credit hours only may be transferred and that these hours must be justified by portfolio or research paper review. In addition, the graduate student must contact the Department of Art and Design regarding departmental requirements relating to the transfer credits. Candidates may request that graduate credit earned in other institutions of recognized standing be accepted for degree requirements subject to the departmental limits on transfer credit and approved by the Graduate Dean. Under no circumstances can a course be transferred to the graduate program until an official transcript for the course has been received in the Graduate School. Only graduate courses used on a degree program will be added to the Fort Hays State University transcript. The degree courses are transferred the semester of graduation. No course may be transferred for which validation will be required because of time limits.

  1. It is expected the applicant have a 3.0 (B) average on the last 60 hours of undergraduate work.
  2. Provide an official undergraduate transcript and an application of admission to the Graduate School.
  3. Submit three letters of recommendation from people who are, or have been associated with the applicant as an artist (e.g. instructors, colleagues, etc.).
  4. Submit a statement of purpose concerning motivation in seeking the degree. The student must indicate what his/her concentrations will be.
  5. Submit 20 images of his/her work. Each image must be properly identified with the artist’s name, title, medium, date and size of work. Images should include: 10 works from the major concentration and 10 works from other areas of art. Include an image identification sheet, numbered to correspond with the images. There will be no waivers of image portfolios.
  6. Submit a resume including exhibition record and professional employment.

The M.F.A. Admissions Committee will review all applications, and at its discretion, may require completion of particular courses to remove deficiencies in undergraduate training. Such courses would be requirements in addition to the minimum required for the graduate degree. The M.F.A. Admissions Committee will make a recommendation about admission to the Graduate Dean, who makes the decision regarding admission. No decision will be announced over the phone.


The M.F.A. candidate must spend two semesters in residency. Summer school is considered as fulfilling the residency requirement.

M.A. Degree:

A graduate with an M.A. degree from Fort Hays State may apply up to a total of 36 credit hours toward the M.F.A., subject to the approval of the major professor and the student’s graduate committee at the time of filing the degree program. Consideration will be given to the date of the conferring of the M.A. degree in determining the number of credit hours acceptable.

Progress Reviews:

Admission to the M.F.A. degree program does not guarantee graduation or that the student will be awarded a degree. He/she may be dropped from the enrollment or held in attendance beyond the customary two to three years if his/her progress does not measure up to the standards of the Department of Art and Design. Incompletes are not viewed as satisfactory progress. Courses must be completed before enrollments are allowed in subsequent program courses.

There will be a minimum of three reviews conducted by the candidate’s graduate committee to determine graduate progress: First Review, Preliminary Oral Examination, and the Final Oral Examination.

First Review:

The student should complete at least 9 hours of graduate credit but no more than 12 hours before they will be required to have their First Review. The major professor has the option to invite relevant faculty. The committee will exercise one of three options:

  1. Continuation in the program without interruption.
  2. A semester of probation with a second review at the end of that period.
  3. Termination in the program.

Preliminary Oral Examination

The Preliminary Oral Examination is to be held mid-way through the program after completion of approximately 30 semester hours. This exam should be done prior to enrolling in thesis hours. The student’s graduate committee will conduct this exam and make one of the following decisions:

  1. Continuation in the program without interruption.
  2. A semester of probation with a second review at the end of that period.
  3. Termination in the program.

Final Oral Examination:

Following the opening of the thesis exhibition, the graduate committee will meet for the oral examination over the thesis project. Upon the committee’s approval and recommendation, the candidate will be allowed to graduate with the terminal M.F.A. degree, provided all other degree requirements have been fulfilled.

Admission to Candidacy and Filing of Program:

Admission to candidacy means the following conditions have been met. The student has:

  1. Had all deficiencies successfully removed.
  2. Demonstrated satisfactory achievement in course work presented for admission to candidacy with at least a 3.0 grade point average.
  3. Received recommended candidacy approval from the graduate committee.
  4. Presented a thesis project approved by the major professor.
  5. Filed in the Graduate School a degree program worked out at the recommendation of the major professor and approved by the Graduate Dean.

Change of Major or Minor:

If a graduate student decides to change their major, he/she must reapply to the Department of Art and Design and the Graduate Admissions Committee by submitting images in their new area of concentration. If the student’s request is approved, the student must realize the need to restructure his or her program, if one has been formally established, which may result in additional requirements and time required to complete the degree program.


An appropriate advisor will be assigned to each M.F.A. candidate and is determined by the studio major indicated on the application of admission. This advisor works with the student throughout his/her graduate study.

Graduate Program:

The course work for the M.F.A. degree must follow a structured plan as determined by the student and his/her major professor. The program must meet the Department of Art and Design’s requirements and must be approved by the major professor and the Graduate Dean.

Graduate Committee:

The graduate committee of the candidate is selected through advising the student and must be composed of the advisor as chair, two additional faculty members from the Department of Art and Design and one campus graduate faculty member outside the department. The chair of the department may be considered an ex-officio member of all graduate committees but may be an active member upon the request of the student. The student must personally invite all faculty members to serve on the graduate committee and keep the committee informed of progress.

Graduate Assistantships:

The department offers a limited number of graduate assistantships. Applications are available from the Graduate School and are due in that office March 1st of each year. Announcement of awards are made by May 1st of each year. In the first year of graduate study, the graduate assistant must enroll in no less than six (6) and no more than twelve (12) graduate hours per semester. Graduate assistantships are limited to two years; however, a student may take more than three years to complete the degree.

Intent to Graduate:

The Graduate School has specific deadlines for filing the “Intent to Graduate.” The student who plans to graduate at the end of a given semester or summer term must file an “Intent to Graduate” at the time of enrollment or before the deadline given in the academic calendar for that semester or summer term. The student must be admitted to candidacy before being eligible to file an “Intent to Graduate.” In the event the student does not graduate after filing an “Intent to Graduate,” a new form must be completed before the deadline for the semester or summer term in which the student next plans to complete requirements.

Written Comprehensive Examination:

Each applicant for a M.F.A. degree must pass satisfactorily a written comprehensive examination over Philosophy of Creativity, Art History, and the student’s major concentration. The student must sign up for the examination in the Graduate School.

The Philosophy of Creativity and Art History components of the written comprehensive are included in the Concepts of Art Seminar. The studio concentration component is completed in the semester of the Thesis exhibition.

Thesis 899 and Thesis Exhibition

The graduate student will enroll in a terminal creative thesis project totaling at least 16 credit hours. The advisor will work with the student in developing the thesis project. The graduate thesis exhibition will be scheduled with the major professor’s approval.

The thesis title must be submitted to the Graduate School on a specific date designated by that office. The students should check the academic calendar each semester for that date when planning the thesis project exhibition.

The candidate for the M.F.A. degree will present the thesis project in a formal exhibition, at which time the final oral examination will take place. The major professor reserves the privilege of selecting at least one piece of work from the candidate’s exhibition. This work will become a part of the university’s permanent collection.

Thesis Catalog:

In addition to the thesis exhibition, the candidate will design and publish a catalog of the exhibition. This will include photographs of work, a resume, and a statement made by the candidate. The minimum number of catalogs required is two (2) catalogs for the Graduate School, and twenty-five (25) for the Department of Art and Design. The cost for this catalog is the student’s responsibility.