School of Art & Art History UIC at Chicago MFA

Intense, Exhilarating, and Expansive

UIC's MFA degree is an intense, exhilarating, and dynamic program. It is positioned within Chicago’s largest Research Public University and reflects the values of inclusion that public civic institutions are designed to offer. The curriculum is intended to provide a rich theoretical and conceptual background meant to deepen MFA candidates’ studio practice—and to help cultivate vital work within an interdisciplinary context that reflects the global art world. UIC’s School of Art & Art History’s commitment to interweaving artistic praxis with issues of social justice and civic engagement provides an additional framework for the making of art and its impact.  

Community of Artists and Scholars

We are a small and intimate program. Every student has a private studio space on site, in UIC's Art & Exhibition Hall. Because of our size, students receive significant feedback, critique, and support. The manifold viewpoints of the faculty and students at our urban university foster a vigorous intellectual and artistic ecology.  

MFA candidates work with active and committed artists and faculty, develop lasting peer relationships, and also have opportunities to engage in the classroom with the Art Department’s diverse undergraduates. These experiences empower our MFA students to transform themselves—and the world—through their work.

Interdisciplinary Approach

All MFA students are encouraged to fully engage in the School's interdisciplinary program and to explore the social, conceptual, and aesthetic possibilities of art practice. Students work in close conversation with faculty and their peers to create significant work in an array of media, including drawing, painting, photography, moving image, new media arts, performance, and sculpture. The school of Art and Art History offers seminars on the practice and theory of contemporary art and art history. These are another important component to a robust curriculum where students are equally encouraged to fulfill elective requirements in other Departments at the University.

Our interdisciplinary approach allows students from different backgrounds to explore areas and mediums they may not have encountered prior to joining our program. The integration of Advanced Critique courses equally enhances discursive and production skills crucial for an art practice today— and gives students a forum from which to examine and probe distinct ideas through open dialogue. 

Teaching Experience

Students in the MFA  program have the opportunity to gain valuable classroom teaching experience through our teaching practicum program. During their first year they are mentored and guided directly by a faculty member. In their second year MFA students have the ability to teach a class as instructors of record at the 100 level

All MFA students are encouraged to fully engage in the School's interdisciplinary program and to explore the social, conceptual, and aesthetic possibilities of art practice. Students work in close conversation with faculty and their peers to create significant work in an array of media, including drawing, painting, photography, moving image, new media arts, performance, and sculpture. The school of Art and Art History offers seminars on the practice and theory of contemporary art and art history. These are another important component of a robust curriculum where students also have the option to fulfill elective requirements in other departments across the University.

Students in the MFA  program have the opportunity to gain valuable classroom teaching experience through our Teaching Practicum program. During their first year MFA candidates are mentored and guided by a faculty member. In their second year they have the ability to teach a 100-level class as instructors of record.

 

In addition to the Graduate College minimum requirements, students must meet the following program requirements: 

  • Minimum Semester Hours Required: 64.

  • Required Courses: ART 520 Seminar in Contemporary Theory (16 hours); Advanced Studio Critique (16 hours); Advanced Studio (20 hours).

  • Electives: At least 12 hours of graduate-level electives are required.

  • Comprehensive Examination: None.

  • Thesis, Project, or Course-Work-Only Options: Project required. No other options are available.

  • Project: All MFA candidates must present a public exhibition or showing for review. Documentation in the form of a major paper on the project must be presented to the school for archival purposes.

  • Other Requirements: Continuation in the MFA program beyond the second semester requires an evaluation and recommendation of the Graduate Advisory Committee in the student's area.

 

For the current application cycle the deadlines are:

December 15, 2020 for consideration for a fellowship. 

February 15, 2021 for regular application.

The fellowship application deadline is meant to put forward candidates from the pool of early applicants. It is very competitive, and it comes with a hefty funding package. Here are the terms of the award. Applicants to our program have been successful in receiving fellowships, however the Graduate College offers a limited number of these. To learn more about the fellowships and awards that the University offers visit the Graduate College website.

In January, when we select an applicant to continue for the University Fellowship round, they are immediately admitted to the program, but they still have to compete for the fellowship. If someone is not put forth for a fellowship, they are not immediately admitted but their application to the MFA is reviewed after the February 15, 2021 deadline alongside all the other applicants. 

Our non-fellowship MFAs are partially funded during their first year but there are no stipends.

Apply here now