M.F.A. Advisory Committee, Curriculum, and Requirements

M.F.A. Advisory Committee

Each M.F.A. student selects a three-member advisory committee, composed of an advisor of record from the Department of Art's graduate faculty, and two additional members, also members of the Cornell graduate faculty. One of these members must be from the Department of Art's graduate faculty; the other may be from outside the department.

In the first semester of study, the director of graduate studies will assign the student a temporary advisory committee. By the end of the first semester, the student may select an advisor of record and two members fitting the above requirements. In addition to the required members, the student may add other graduate faculty from Cornell. All members of the M.F.A. advisory committee must be members of the graduate faculty.


The M.F.A. curriculum is flexible enough to accommodate the needs of individual students and enable them to take advantage of Cornell's vast opportunities and resources. Students may enroll in classes in any field of study offered at the university at the graduate level. Students complete a minimum of 15 credits each term, including 9 credits in required studio work and 3 credits in a required graduate art seminar.

Graduate Art Seminar

The Graduate Seminar is an integral component of the M.F.A. curriculum which addresses the range of contemporary art practice and its cultural contexts as an intellectual field of study. The purpose of the seminar is to generate an ongoing engagement with informed and committed discourse, one which parallels developments in the student's creative work. For this four-semester sequence of classes, topics may include art practice as a form of cultural identity and political agency; post-colonial critique and nonwestern conditions and contexts; contemporary subjectivities under recent historical conditions; rethinking forms and media in dialogue with history; and the status of exhibition and technology in society.


Earning an M.F.A. degree requires four terms of full-time study and a minimum of 60 credits. Transfer credit for graduate work done elsewhere or during the summer session is not applicable toward these requirements. 

In addition, in the final semester, students produce a written artist statement and present a thesis exhibition of the studio work completed during their residency. In the spring semester, gallery space is provided for a graduate group exhibition in New York City.

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