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About the MFA Program

Hunter’s ideal location in Manhattan offers students and faculty many sources of intellectual, cultural, and creative activity.  In New York, as nowhere else, the student has access to the changing ideas and forms of contemporary art.  This is crucial to the achievement of our educational goal: to develop professional artists capable of continued growth once they leave the relatively structured university environment.

The program is designed to offer broad training for artists in the development of critical and analytical visual thinking as it relates to their work.  In this programmatic context all students are encouraged to develop their own art through constant peer contact in the studios, individual work with faculty tutors, critical seminars focusing on student work, and classes in the theory, criticism and history of art.  In addition, many artists, curators, critics and historians are invited to meet with students.

PROGRAM OF STUDY & DEPARTMENT POLICY DEGREE REQUIREMENTS 

Candidates must complete 48 credits, distributed as follows: 24 credits in the student’s area of concentration (including the 6 credit MFA Project Course), 9 -15 credits of studio electives (exclusive of area of concentration), and 9 -15 credits of art history electives. It is advisable to take Theory and Criticism (ART H 734) in the first year.

AREA OF CONCENTRATION

Each candidate for the MFA degree is admitted in a single area of concentration in studio art: painting, sculpture, printmaking / drawing / works on paper, photography, clay and casting, or combined media. Students are required to take tutorials with three different faculty members and, when possible, seminars with three other faculty members. Each student must present in their final semester an MFA project in their area of concentration. They must obtain sponsorship for their MFA Project from a full-time faculty member with whom they have established close rapport.

RESIDENCY

A full-time student will complete the MFA program in two years. As of spring 2007, there is a three year time limit for completing the program.

STUDIOS

Graduate studio space is available for all matriculated graduate students at the Master of Fine Arts Building at 205 Hudson Street (near Canal). In the building, there are several common workshop areas including a woodworking shop, a metal shop, clay studio, computer lab and a black and white and color photo darkrooms. There are designated used for group critiques as well as one space designated for a drawing studio. The building has a loading dock and freight elevators, allowing for the easy entry of bulky or large materials for making art. The building, which is for workspace only, is accessible to students seven days a week from 8 AM to 12 midnight throughout the year. All studio critique seminars are held at the MFA Building. All studio tutorials are scheduled to meet at students’ studios in the MFA Building. Students are required to maintain a studio and work at the MFA Building throughout their residency.

GALLERIES

The Hunter Galleries are comprised of two exhibition spaces: 

The Bertha & Karl Leubsdorf Art Gallery (Ground Floor of the West Building) Professionally organized exhibitions that extend and support the educational programs of the Art Department of Hunter College.

The MFA Gallery (450 West 41st Street, Ground Floor) A space of 12,000 sq. ft. renovated by graduate students and faculty. The entire exhibition program maximizes student and faculty participation in order to expand the parameters of the graduate programs in both fine arts and art history. Alumni are also encouraged to participate in gallery programs.

LECTURE SERIES

The regular curriculum is supplemented by a monthly lecture series which provides a forum for the presentation of ideas by artists, critics, historians and faculty members. Attendance at these lectures is considered important for all students and is required for all students prior to completion of the Mid-Program Review. There are also additional lectures provided by the Zabar Visiting Artist Program, and the MFA Student Organization (MFASO).

MID-PROGRAM REVIEW

Students are required to submit all the work completed since matriculation for the Mid-Program Review. The review is scheduled in the last weeks of the semester in which the student is taking their second tutorial and seminar and prior to completing 24 credits. This review is attended by all full-time faculty. Students must pass the Mid-Program Review in order to continue in the program. The Review is seen as an accountability feature, linking critical appraisal of student work to the opportunity to tailor the Program to the perceived needs of each student at a point roughly halfway through the Program.

COMMUNITY SERVICE

Before successful completion of the Mid-Program Review, each student is asked to participate in community service at the MFA Building for one semester. This tradition was initiated by the first MFA students who were instrumental in making the building serviceable by cleaning, building and painting walls. Assignments for community service may include work in the studios or the MFA Gallery, and should also include assisting the MFA Project students in mounting their MFA Project exhibition. The suggested participation is 20 hours of such community work and will be coordinated by Tim Laun.

MFA PROJECT

The MFA Project is the final requirement for completion of the degree. A full-time member of the faculty must sponsor an MFA project and students must secure a faculty sponsor prior to the final semester. The culmination of the MFA project is a formal group exhibition with catalogue in which the students present their work, and a thesis statement of four to ten pages about their work. The exhibition takes place in the MFA Gallery at 450 West 41st Street. Each individual MFA Project must be approved by the MFA Faculty Committee as well as by each student’s faculty sponsor.

TRANSFER OF CREDITS

Up to 12 credits may be transferred from other accredited graduate programs with the approval of the MFA Faculty Committee. Generally, credits in the area of concentration will not be accepted. Students wishing to receive credit for electives taken in areas other than art must apply for permission from the Graduate Advisor prior to registering for such courses.

CHANGE IN AREA OF CONCENTRATION

Students wishing to change their area of concentration should apply to the MFA Faculty Committee by sending three to six slides/images and a letter of intent. Most importantly, the student should ask two full-time faculty members to notify the Committee, in writing, that they endorse the proposed change in the area of concentration. Students successful in changing their area of concentration may be required to take additional courses or resubmit to a mid-program review in their new area of concentration. Normally, changes in the area of concentration are formalized at the time of the mid-program review.

INCOMPLETES

Students receiving incomplete grades in seminar or tutorial will not be allowed to register for a subsequent semester unless the incomplete has been corrected. Incompletes in Art History and Studio electives are the responsibility of the student. Such incompletes may not be carried forward more than one semester and must be removed prior to registration for the final thesis MFA Project.

LEAVE OF ABSENCE

Students may apply to the MFA Faculty Committee for a leave of absence for up to one year. The one or two semesters that the student is on leave do not count towards the three year time limit for completing the MFA degree. Leaves are approved only for documented illness, maternity, military service, or other unusual circumstances. Any student who withdraws from active participation in the program for a semester without permission of the MFA Faculty Committee will be automatically dropped from the program. Any student who has been dropped from the program must apply for re-admission by submitting current work at the time of the mid-program review in the semester prior to readmission.

GRADUATION

Candidates for Graduation must file a Degree Audit Application Form (DAAF) with the Office of the Registrar (Room 217 North) in their final semester.

DEPARTMENTAL HONORS & AWARDS

Esther Fish Perry Awards: Awarded annually by a Faculty Committee to outstanding graduate students.

Luetz/Riedel Fellowships: Awarded to students selected to participate in the exchange program.

FOREIGN EXCHANGE PROGRAMS

Several students per year are selected to receive stipends for a period of one semester at the Ecole des Beaux Arts in Paris, Slade School, University College London, The Royal College of Art, London, Glasgow School of Art, Scotland, The Mohr Institute in Groningen, Holland or Hochschule der Kunst, Berlin. Students must have passed Mid-Program Review to be eligible to participate.  Applications are reviewed once a year in the Spring Semester for the following Fall and Spring Semesters.

FINANCIAL AID

Tuition waivers are sometimes available to qualified students. The average allocation is approximately $1,000 per semester. The amount varies depending on the availability of funds. Work Study and Perkins Loans (formerly NDSL) are available according to need for qualified students. A CUNY SAF application establishes eligibility for College Work Study, Graduate Tuition Waivers and Perkins Loans. Application is made through the Financial Aid Office, Room 241 North, (212) 772-4820. Deadlines are normally in November for the Spring semester and April for the Fall semester. Students should inquire about the availability of New York State or home-state Tuition Assistance Program (TAP) funds.

JOB OPPORTUNITIES

Within the Art Department and Hunter Galleries there are a number of opportunities available to students for hourly paid work. Gallery attendants, studio monitors and studio maintenance workers are hired each semester as needed. Students who are interested in these and other possibilities should inquire at the Leubsdorf Gallery office, the Art Department office and at the MFA Building office.

PROGRAM DESCRIPTION

Work in Area of Concentration: 9 credits of tutorial work, 9 credits of seminar work, 6 credits towards MFA project

Work outside of Area of Concentration: 9 credits of studio electives, 9 credits of art history electives, 6 credits of free electives

Free electives may be used for additional art history or studio electives, or non-traditional courses or projects such as apprenticeships, teaching assistantships, participation in the foreign exchange program or assistant-curating exhibitions for the College galleries. 3-6 credits may be taken in other areas outside the Art Department with prior permission of the Graduate Advisor and MFA Committee.

SUGGESTED SAMPLE PROGRAMS

Full-time (e.g. Painting)

1st Semester: 12 credits Painting Tutorial I ArtCr 611; Seminar in 2-D I ArtCr 651; Advanced Drawing I ArtCr 641; Theory and Criticism ArtH 734

2nd Semester: 12 credits Painting Tutorial II ArtCr 612; Seminar 2-D II ArtCr 652; Project in Graphics ArtCr 751.57; Modern Art II ArtH 622

3rd Semester: 12 credits Painting Tutorial III ArtCr 613; Seminar in 2-D III ArtCr 653; Project in Ceramics ArtCr 751.52; Greek Art ArtH 619

4th Semester: 12 credits Advanced Drawing II ArtCr 641; Islamic Art ArtH 641; MFA Thesis Project ArtCr 791

Total: 48 credits

Part-time (e.g. Sculpture)

1st Semester: 9 credits Sculpture Tutorial I ArtCr 621; Seminar in 3-D I ArtCr 655; Theory and Criticism ArtH 734

2nd Semester: 9 credits Advanced Drawing I ArtCr 640; Project in Graphics ArtCr 751.57; Modern Art II ArtH 622

3rd Semester: 6 credits Sculpture Tutorial II ArtCr 622; Seminar 3-D II ArtCr 656; Mid-Program Review at end of the semester

4th Semester: 9 credits Projects in Photography ArtCr 751.53; Teaching Assistantship ArtCr 751.56; Renaissance Art ArtH 623

5th Semester: 9 credits Sculpture Tutorial III ArtCr 623; Seminar in 3-D III ArtCr 657; Projects in Graphics ArtCr 751.57

6th Semester: 6 credits MFA Project ArtCr 791

Total: 48 credits

COURSE DESCRIPTIONS

See “Course Descriptions” for current semester offerings. Each course is 45 hours, 3 credits, unless otherwise noted.