May 28, 2024  
2023-2024 Graduate Catalog [Current Academic Year] 
2023-2024 Graduate Catalog [Current Academic Year] This is not the most recent catalog version; be sure you are viewing the appropriate catalog year.

Studio Art [MFA]

Location(s): In-person/hybrid

The mission of the MFA program at Eastern Michigan University is to provide a broad yet rigorous environment that prepares students for professional success through creative work and research.

The MFA curriculum fosters experimentation, intellectual risk-taking, and critical thinking through studio work, seminars, and cognate courses; students are expected to produce a body of original work that extends knowledge by making a proven contribution to the field. Cross-disciplinary and interdisciplinary work is encouraged. MFA coursework includes seminars in history and theory. MFA work also stresses the effects of diverse cultural influences on art, the role of the artist in society, and the relationships between studio practices and art and design history and theory. Faculty teaching in these programs pursues excellence in teaching and an active agenda of research and creative work. The MFA degree is a full-time, 60-hour program culminating in an exhibition and an optional written thesis.

Program Admission

Admit Terms and Deadlines

Students may start the program in the Fall or Winter.

Applications received by the School of Art and Design by February 15 for the Fall semester and October 1 for the Winter semester are given the highest priority. Late applications will be considered as studio space permits.

Minimum Graduate School Requirements

For full admission, applicants must have 1) Earned a four-year baccalaureate degree from a regionally accredited U.S. institution or an equivalent degree from a non-U.S. institution, 2) a minimum cumulative undergraduate grade point average of 2.7 on a 4.0 scale, or 3.0 in the last half of the undergraduate program. Conditional admission may be available to applicants not meeting minimum admission requirements.

Program Requirements

Applicants must also meet the following program criteria:

  • Have an undergraduate degree with a major in art. Applicants without an undergraduate art degree can demonstrate proficiency via transcript(s) showing approximately 30 hours of undergraduate coursework in art through an accredited institution. In some cases, the applicant’s portfolio can demonstrate their proficiency. If the applicant’s bachelor’s degree transcript does not include 30 hours of undergraduate art courses, they should submit unofficial transcripts showing the additional hours.
  • The following will be submitted via SlideRoom (See instructions within the GradCAS application):
    • Three letters of recommendation.
    • Letter of Intent that concisely expresses the applicant’s goals and objectives as an artist/designer and the reason(s) for pursuing graduate study.
    • Artist statement describing current artwork and research objectives/goals.
    • A portfolio of 15-20 images, videos, and/or audio files of the applicant’s studio work, with a corresponding list stating the title, medium, size, and completion date for each artwork submitted. 


Your application will be submitted using GradCAS, a Centralized Application Service (CAS) hosted by Liaison. After reviewing the admission requirements, please review the application instructions  and select the appropriate application. 

Domestic Applicants Domestic applicants are required to submit only the transcript from the institution granting their bachelor’s degree if either of the following criteria is met: 1) Lists 30 or more credit hours with an overall GPA of 3.0 or over OR 2) Lists 60 or more credit hours with an overall GPA between 2.7 and 2.99. Within the application, follow the instructions to submit an official transcript. The University may ask applicants to submit additional transcripts after applying.

International Applicants Before applying, applicants must review the international application/process deadlines at as they may differ from general program requirements.

For additional information regarding the application process, please see Graduate Admissions or International Admissions.


School Information

Art & Design 114 Ford Hall, 734.487.1268

Sandra Murchison, MFA, Director

Leslie Atzmon, PhD, Graduate Coordinator

Advisor Information

Please get in touch with the School of Art and Design for additional information regarding this program.

Degree Requirements: 60 hours

The M.F.A. requires the completion of 60 hours of coursework to be distributed among required courses, elective courses and cognate courses as follows. The graduate coordinator will meet with each student to construct a program of study. Two years of residency (full-time enrollment) are required; exceptions may be made to this requirement with the approval of the student’s advisor and the Graduate Studies committee.

At the end of the first year, the Graduate Studies committee will review the work of each M.F.A. student and either allow the student to continue or formally ask the student to withdraw from the program. Individual passing grades assigned by a student’s principal advisor or other faculty during the first full year of enrollment in the M.F.A. program shall not be construed as a guarantee that any student will be granted continuation in the M.F.A. program beyond the initial year of study, since the mid-program review by the Graduate Studies committee is based upon a de-novo review of the student’s entire first year of M.F.A. work and their performance in the mid-program review. Further, no student may rely on statements by faculty or other agents of the University that would suggest, even remotely, that the student is ensured continued enrollment in the M.F.A. program prior to a review and recommendation by the Graduate Studies committee.

Critique and Professional Preparation Seminar: 12 hours

Program faculty recommend students enroll in Critique and Professional Preparation Seminars in conjunction with 6 hour studio blocks.

Restricted Elective Courses: 12 hours

Cognate Courses: 6 hours

Six hours selected from art or other areas in consultation with an advisor.

Exhibition Requirements

Students are required to exhibit their work in a Thesis exhibition. This exhibition coincides with AD 773 - Graduate Thesis Exhibition and Oral Defense. Students must apply for gallery space one semester prior to the proposed exhibition. 

Critical Graduation Information

Each graduate student is responsible for fulfilling the requirements or equivalents of the Eastern Michigan University catalog in force at the time of their initial registration or a subsequent catalog, including the one in effect at the time of their graduation.

Master’s degree requirements must be completed within six (6) years of first enrollment in the master’s degree program.

In the event a student does not complete the master’s degree requirements within six years of the date of their original registration, the student may be required to have their credits re-evaluated by the academic department(s) of their degree in keeping with catalog requirements in force during the year of their graduation.

The following are minimum requirements for all master’s degrees awarded by Eastern Michigan University. Some programs require more than the minimum in one or more areas below.

  • A master’s degree must require a minimum of 30 credit hours.
  • No more than six credits of independent study courses and no more than 12 credit hours of special topics and independent study courses combined may be applied to a graduate degree.  
  • Residency Requirement:
    • For students admitted to master’s degree programs of 36 or fewer required hours, at least 24 new graduate hours beginning the semester of acceptance and enrollment into the degree program must be earned at EMU. The remaining program requirement hours may be met through transfer or prior degree credit (EMU or elsewhere). 
    • For students admitted to master’s degree programs of 37 or more required hours, at least 30 new graduate hours beginning the semester of acceptance and enrollment into the degree program must be earned at EMU. Minimum degree hours must still be met for graduation. The remaining program requirement hours may be met through transfer or prior degree credit (EMU or elsewhere).
    • Residency and enrollment in multiple programs: Students enrolled in multiple master’s/specialist degree programs must have 24 unique credit hours in each degree program.
  • Only credits from one completed graduate certificate may be applied to a master’s or specialist degree in a relevant field of study, as determined by the Graduate School and with the approval of the degree-granting academic department, and be included in the residency hours above.
  • Students must maintain a 3.0 cumulative GPA in all graduate-level courses taken at EMU and in their program of study to remain in good academic standing and be eligible for graduation. Students do not need to be registered for classes during the semester of graduation.
  • The Graduate School does not permit the use of undergraduate courses (499 and below) to meet degree requirements on graduate programs of study.
  • Some master’s programs require a thesis; others require a special project or internship; others require students to pass a final exam. See the Graduate School website for Thesis and Dissertation Manuals, all forms, and information about research and human subject approval. Every completed thesis or dissertation must be submitted to Digital Commons. Any form of graduate student work submitted to Digital Commons must first be approved by a faculty advisor and the Graduate School.