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School of Art

Program Description

The School of Art graduate program provides professional training for independent, self-directed visual artists that leads to an M.A. in studio art, an M.A. in Art History, an M.F.A. in studio art. The M.F.A. is a terminal degree, usually required for university teaching. Intellectual growth through critical thinking and communication are regarded as integral to the professional development of students as creative artists. The School of Art is committed to helping students acquire the knowledge and skills to pursue their artistic intent. The graduate studio program also emphasizes: (1) creative research; (2) knowledge of art criticism; and (3) an understanding of the content and methodology of art history, especially as it pertains to thesis projects.

The University of Montana’s graduate program in Studio Art and Art History offers an intimate graduate experience for the independent, self-directed student. The MA and MFA programs in Studio Art utilize both discipline-specific and multidisciplinary practices to develop visual language, material processes and conceptual approaches relevant to the student’s intentions and sensibilities. The curriculum encourages fluid boundaries between media, materials, and processes while supporting dialogue among a diverse group of faculty and peers. Students are challenged to develop strategies of experimentation and research, as well as the ability to articulate ideas and critical responses to work, while gaining a significant understanding of both the historical framework and the contemporary discourse of art.  Students and faculty across media work in close proximity to each other within this multidisciplinary curriculum. The MA in Art History offers a broad knowledge of the history of the visual arts and prepares students for advanced graduate work at the Ph.D. level and careers in art-related professions in museology, gallery work, and conservation.

The University of Montana is accredited by the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). The School of Art is one of four schools -- Art, Theatre/Dance, Music and Media Arts -- within the College of Visual and Performing Arts. The School of Art has an average enrollment of 420 undergraduate majors, 15-20 graduate students, and offers four studio degrees: Bachelor of Arts, Bachelor of Fine Arts, Master of Arts in Fine Arts with specializations in Art and Art History, and Master of Fine Arts with specializations in Ceramics, Sculpture, Painting, Drawing, Photography, and Printmaking.

The teaching staff consists of 14 full-time faculty, five graduate teaching assistants, and adjunct faculty. All are active artists exhibiting regionally, nationally, and internationally. The art historians and critics are active scholars who lecture and write frequently on their areas of specialty. The School of Art maintains an on-campus exhibition space, The Gallery of Visual Arts. In addition, several other university and community galleries provide venues for exhibiting art. A vital, privately-endowed visiting-artist program funds several guest artists every academic year. Past visiting artists to the School of Art include: Jo Harvey Allen, Terry Allen, Richard Mock, Antonia Contro, Tanake, Lawrence Anderson, Melissa Miller, Jaune Quick-To-See-Smith, Mike Looney, Mark Saurie, Michael Paha, Adrian Arleo, Chuck Forsman, Josh DeWeese, Rosalie Wynkoop, Ovidio Giberga, Marilyn Levine, David Middlebrook, Karen Breschi, Robert Turner, Kurt Weiser, Peter Voulkos, Robert Brady, Ken Ferguson, Don Reitz, Roland Reiss, Akio Takomori, Peter Plagens, Italo Scanga, Richard Shaw, Bernard Chaet, Manuel Neri, Mel Chin, Miriam Schapiro, Sue Coe, Masami Taraoka, Bob Seng, Kay Walkingstick, Clay Jensen, Jerome Kirk, Paul Soldner, Kathy Butterly, Judy Fox, Richard Notkin, Steve Lee, Suzi Gablik, Linda Weintraub, Anne Hirondelle, and others.

Degrees Offered

Master of Fine Arts (M.F.A.) in Art

Areas of Specialization:

Ceramics
Drawing
Painting
Photography
Printmaking
Sculpture


M.F.A. Requirements for all Areas of Specialization:

A terminal degree requiring 60 graduate-level semester credits beyond the baccalaureate level, or its equivalent, including 40 credits in Studio (30 credits in studio concentration, 2-3 credits in studio electives, and 7 credits in graduate critique seminar); 15 credits in Academic Studies-Visual Media (6 credits of Art History, 3 credits of Art Criticism, and 6 credits of thesis and terminal project); and 6 credits in Open Electives.

Master of Arts (M.A.) in Arts

Areas of Specialization:

Art Studio
Art History

Requirements for the Art Studio Specialization

30 graduate-level semester credits including 15 credits in Studio (12 credits in studio concentration and 3 credits in studio electives) and 15 credits in Academic Studies-Visual Media (6 credits of Art History, 3 credits of Art Criticism, and 6 credits of thesis and terminal project).

Requirements for the Art History Specialization

30 graduate-level semester credits including 15 credits in Art History, 6 credits in allied fields, 3 credits in Art Studio, 3- 6 credits in thesis writing, and 3 credits in methodologies, as well as two seminar-level research papers, demonstrated reading proficiency in a foreign language, comprehensive examination, and written thesis. Non-thesis candidates must complete 36 graduate-level credits to fulfill the degree.

Admissions for Graduate Programs

I. Admissions - M.F.A. Art (Areas of Specialization - Ceramics, Drawing, Painting,  Photography, Printmaking or Sculpture) or M.A. in Art (Area of Specialization - Art Studio)

A. Application Materials and Deadline

  • Autumn Admission - Complete application packet POSTMARKED or hand delivered by February 12.
  • Spring Admission - Complete application packet POSTMARKED or hand delivered by October 5.
    • If these dates fall on a Saturday or Sunday, the due date is extended to the immediately following Monday.

Instructions for applying to the Graduate School are in the Applying for Admission section on this web site.

B. Graduate School Requirements for Admission

1.  Undergraduate Degree Prerequisites for Graduate Study

Admission requirement includes an undergraduate bachelor's degree in Art or an art-related field or an M.A. or M.S. degree in Art or an art-related field. For example, applicants with degrees in an art- related field such as Design, Media Arts, Architecture, Art Education, Photojournalism, Scene Design, or Film, will be considered. Any previously earned degree must include 18 studio semester credits including drawing fundamentals, 2D and 3D design as well as 6 semester credits of art history survey, 3 additional semester credits of specialized art history courses, and 3 semester credits of art criticism (12 art history and art criticism credits total).

For applicants without an Art or art-related degree, there is a prerequisite of 30 semester credits in studio and art history coursework. Additional courses may be mandated by the Selection Committee and/or the Chair of the School of Art.

2.  Undergraduate Grade Point Average

On a 4.0 scale, a 3.0 cumulative GPA is required or a B average in undergraduate major courses.

3.  Writing Sample - Statement of Intent for Graduate Study

A 400-word, typed, double-spaced statement of intent clearly stating the area of specialization (Ceramics, Drawing, Painting, Photography, Printmaking or Sculpture) to which you are applying and the academic goals to be accomplished through graduate study at The University of Montana.

International Students will submit the TOEFL, IELTS or MELAB exam. (The requirement is to meet the minimal University of Montana score).  See the International Student Admission section on this web site.

In addition to the application materials required by the Graduate School, the School of Art also requires:

C. School of Art Requirements for Admission

Incomplete packets or packets not postmarked/ hand-delivered to the Department of Art by the deadline will not be reviewed. Note that application packets are not returned.

The applicant must send in one enclosed packet to the School of Art the following:  

  • Three Professional Letters of Recommendation

All letters must be on professional letterhead, in a sealed envelope signed on the back by the professional, and submitted in the applicant's packet. At least one letter must be from a visual arts post-secondary faculty member who addresses the applicant's art work and ability to participate in and complete a graduate program.

  • Official Transcript(s)

Transcripts must be provided from all higher educational institutions attended in a sealed envelope included in the applicant's packet. Sometimes receiving transcripts may take two to three weeks to receive so PLAN AHEAD. Do not send transcripts under separate cover.

  • One copy of a visual-arts related resume.
  • One copy of a 300-word, typed, double-spaced artist statement addressing the origin and nature of the applicant's submitted portfolio.
  • One copy of a numerical inventory list to include title, dimensions, materials and date corresponding to the digital portfolio.
  • A disc which includes the resume, statement, and inventory list as a Microsoft Word document or PDF file and a digital portfolio of 20 images using JPEG, 300 dpi, 6" high maximum, collated in a named folder or in a Power Point presentation. All portfolios will be viewed on a MAC platform.
  • Graduate Teaching Assistantship

If the applicant is interested in being considered for a Teaching Assistantship, they must submit the following items in addition to their Graduate School application materials

  •  
    • Cover letter of introduction and teaching interest
    • TA Application Form
    • 16 week syllabus with grading plan as a typed 8 1/2" x 11" white-paper document for one of the following foundations courses: Visual Language; Drawing Art 101, 2D Design Art 102, or Three-Dimensional Design Art 103.  If an applicant is interested in teaching a 200-level studio course please consult The University of Montana catalog for the School of Art course offerings and descriptions.  TA finalists may be interviewed by the School of Art selection committee.
    • Statement of Teaching Philosophy
    • OPTIONAL - Applicant may include 10 images of their students' works: JPEG, 300 dpi, 6" high maximum, collated in a named folder.
  • NOTE: The Graduate Teaching Assistant Seminar (G580) is a required course for all teaching assistants, and is offered autumn semester only. Teaching assistants must complete the practicum course prior to teaching or must be enrolled in the practicum course while teaching.

D. Financial Assistance

  1. Teaching Assistantships

Annual teaching assistant awards are currently available to students in the School of Art  graduate degree programs. These awards provide an annual stipend, (approximately $9,000 per year), and full tuition waiver for either in-state or out-of-state students. Teaching assistants are required to devote 10 hours per week of work assigned by the school, in addition to teaching one class each semester in a foundations-level course, and/or entry-level studio courses.

NOTE: The Graduate Teaching Assistant Seminar (G580) is a required course for all teaching assistants, and is offered in the Autumn (Fall) semester only. Teaching assistants must complete the practicum course prior to teaching, or must be enrolled in the practicum course while teaching.

  1. Scholarships

Several scholarships are available for graduate students within the School of Art. On average, the school has awarded a total of $20,000-$26,000 to graduate students per year. First-year students accepted into the graduate program are automatically eligible and considered for these scholarships. Once enrolled, graduate students apply annually for additional scholarship monies in the School of Art or on campus.

  1. Additional Teaching and Work Opportunities

Additional paid graduate assistantship opportunities may be available within the School of Art.

For additional information about financial assistance, see the Money section on this web site.

II. Admissions - MA Art (Area of Specialization - Art History

A. Application Materials and Deadline

  • Fall - Complete application packet POSTMARKED or hand delivered by February 12.
  • Spring - Complete application packet POSTMARKED or hand delivered by October 5.

* If these dates fall on a Saturday or Sunday, the due date is extended to the immediately following Monday. 

Instructions for applying to the Graduate School are in the Applying for Admission section on this web site.

B. Graduate School Requirements for Admission

  1. Undergraduate Degree Prerequisites for Graduate Student

Admission requirement includes an undergraduate bachelor's degree in Art History, Art, or equivalent of 57 semester credit hours in an art-related field.

  1. Undergraduate Grade Point Average

On a 4.0 scale, 3.0 cumulative GPA is required, or a B average in undergraduate major courses.

  1. Writing Sample - Statement of Intent for Graduate Study

A 400-word, typed, double-spaced statement of intent clearly stating why you are applying to the program and the academic goals to be accomplished through graduate study at The University of Montana.

International Students will submit the TOEFL, IELTS or MELAB exam. (The requirement is to meet the minimal University of Montana score). See the International Student Admission section on this web site. 

C. School of Art Requirements for Admission

Incomplete packets or packets not postmarked/ hand-delivered to the School of Art by the deadline will not be reviewed. Note that application packets are not returned.

The applicant must send the application packet to the School of Art.  The application includes: 

  • Three Professional Letters of Recommendation

Unless submitted online, all letters must be on professional letterhead, in a sealed envelope signed on the back by the professional, and submitted in the applicant's packet. At least one letter must be from a visual arts post-secondary faculty member who addresses the applicant's art work and ability to participate in and complete a graduate program.

  • Official Transcript(s)

Transcripts must be provided from all higher educational institutions attended in a sealed envelope included in the applicant's packet. Sometimes receiving transcripts may take two to three weeks to receive so PLAN AHEAD. Do not send transcripts under separate cover. 

  • Research Paper

An 8-10 page, typed, double-spaced, art-history research paper that demonstrates critical thinking, research skills, and writing proficiency.

  • A resume.

 

School of Art

 
The School of Art
The University of Montana
32 Campus Drive, FA 205
Missoula, MT 59812-5400

Phone: 406.243.4181
Fax: 406.243.4968


Program information updated 12/12