MFA Summary

Thank you for your interest in the MFA Program in the Department of Art & Art History at SJSU.  The faculty of the Department of Art & Art History are justifiably proud of the accomplishments of our MFA graduates. 

Through its excellent facilities and diverse and well-recognized faculty, the program encourages and enables students to develop their technical studio skills as well as the ability to think creatively and critically about their practice. 

Graduate students take critical seminars and studio classes where their peers and the faculty provide critical feedback about their work. Assigned studios are guaranteed for 5 semesters; these studios and shared spaces provide an environment for focused independent experimentation, and build community that facilitates peer to peer discourse. Exhibition opportunities at several student galleries provide an important aspect of professional preparation for graduates in the program. 

That the MFA program functions within the context of a liberal arts college is perhaps the strongest indicator of the breadth of competence expected of its students. Graduate students in the MFA programs are given elective options in philosophy, history, literature, theater, music, anthropology, and more. Within the Department itself, the approach to learning is highly interdisciplinary.

Faculty routinely share duties across media and disciplines; and the facilities encompass traditional media like ceramics, glass, and darkroom photography to advanced digital methods like VR and CNC fabrication. The faculty is equally broad-based: graduate students are encouraged to develop exposure to as many new approaches as will benefit their progress. All areas share similar admissions processes, curricular structure, advancement, and review processes. 

More information about each degree program can be found on the area websites:



The Art and Art History Department's graduate program application is rolled into SJSU's central Cal State Apply system. Please see the MFA Admissions page for additional information


MFA Graduate Programs Overview

The MFA program is a 60 unit degree. Most students complete the degree in 5-6 semesters.  The coursework consists of graduate seminars, upper division undergraduate studio electives, TAships, and independent studies.   There's a lot of flexibility in terms of the elective courses you take for an MFA in Art. 

Studios are available for 5 semesters.  You are required to install two exhibitions in your 2nd & 3rd years in one of 8 student galleries, but optional exhibition opportunities exist outside of the requirement as well. If you are interested in teaching, we have Teaching Assistant opportunities, as well as a class dedicated to preparing MFAs to teach at the college level. There's also opportunities to teach your own class, but that is dependent on undergraduate enrollment so can't be guaranteed. 



For questions regarding the MFA program please contact the MFA Graduate Coordinator.