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Master of Fine Arts
The MFA is the highest degree in the creative practice of visual art.
An artist’s studio practice is best learned through self-design and execution. While we emphasize fostering private creative roles, our practice-based, multidisciplinary program also focuses on marketing your work in today’s creative professional fields. In our two-year, 60-hour curriculum of project-based thinking, you’ll design, create and explain your work. In other words: You’re the artist, it’s your vision, and it’s up to you to communicate it.
MFA project proposals can be based in painting, drawing, photography, animation, sculpture, video, interactive design, printmaking, illustration, installation, glass, ceramics and design.
As an MFA student, you’ll work with select faculty who provide one-on-one feedback. They will push and challenge you as part of a community that is supportive and rigorous, demanding and compassionate. You’ll meet weekly in the Graduate Seminar for group critiques with your faculty and peers. Our program features small class sizes, accepting only nine to 15 students per year. To gain exposure and insight from industry professionals, you’ll also work with an off-campus mentor or participate in a practicum. The degree concludes with a thesis project, written thesis paper and oral defense.
We’ve built an environment to fuel collaboration, experimentation and creation.
The CCAD MFA program is located on the second and third floors of CCAD’s Design Studios on Broad, a renovated early-20th-century auto dealership near downtown Columbus. The 13,700-square-foot graduate facility includes individual student studios, faculty offices, a lounge and an exhibition space. You’ll also have access to CCAD’s library, plus many labs, shops, computer complexes, darkrooms and studios.
Your education isn’t limited to what happens in our classrooms in Columbus. As a graduate student, you’ll participate in an Off-Campus Mentorship Experience where you define what “Off-Campus” means to you. This could mean a residency in Ireland, a three-week endeavor at the Pilchuck Glass School in Seattle or working with a nonprofit just down the street. Maybe you’re looking to create a virtual mentorship with an internationally acclaimed artist overseas. Meant to be complementary to your CCAD education, this exposure to an outside business, community and/or cultural leader will be influential as you dive into a greater depth of understanding yourself as an artist. Your mentor is a resource for developing your professional skills, finding pathways to your desired career and more.
Our grads have applied the skills they built at CCAD to a variety of positions, fields and awards. They have also been featured in notable publications and exhibitions.
Art Prize Finalists
Faculty of Art and Design
Museum Collections Manager
New American Paintings
Academy of Art University
Angela Meleca Gallery
Beats by Dre
Byrd Polar Research Center
General Theming Contractors LLC
Igloo Letter Press
Museum of Contemporary Art Cleveland
Ohio Art League
Ohio State University
Richard M. Ross Museum
University of Cincinnati
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Studio Projects Semesters 1, 2
A project-based, individually mentored course that is focused on planning, production and presentation of independently proposed, semester-long projects. You'll develop a project proposal and work with individual faculty to realize the semester's project. The one-on-one mentoring course is core to the MFA experience at CCAD and focuses exclusively on your work in the studio. The goal of the program is to strengthen your understanding of your work and how it relates to the broad range of techniques, forms and ideas that comprise contemporary art and design. You'll work independently on your project with one-hour weekly studio visits between you and your faculty mentor to reflect on your methods, ideas, process and final work.
Graduate Seminar Semesters 1-4
You'll meet weekly for presentations, critiques and discussions of current in-progress projects. Various topics and visiting artists will be introduced. You are expected to take a strong leadership role in these weekly critiques with your fellow students, faculty and visiting artists. You'll have the opportunity to receive in-depth feedback from peers who may be working in different media and/or come from different orientations. One of the basic tenets of the program is that all students are one another's teachers and mentors. The aim of these critiques is to provide a space for the productive and respectful exchange of ideas.
Graduate Art History Seminar Semesters 1, 2
You'll choose form a variety of graduate level Art History courses focused in theory, criticism, writing, curatorial practices or art/design/film history. For a full list of course options, visit Self Service and look through our course catalog.
Digital Culture Semester 1
Digital Culture redefines and reintroduces presentation methods as both physical technology and conceptual application. You'll experience the technology already present in your life as viable delivery systems for your work. You'll gain awareness about a wide variety of delivery tools and an understanding of how to leverage these tools in both the classroom and in the marketplace.
Graduate Progress Assessment Semester 2
During the last weeks of your second semester, you'll be required to complete the Graduate Progress Assessment, which consists of a written component and participating in a group exhibition/event.
Undergraduate Classes Timing Varies
All courses offered at CCAD are available to graduate students, subject to availability. Courses are taken on an audit basis and arranged through your studio faculty mentors.
The Learning Blog
One of the unique aspects of the New Projects curriculum is its emphasis on communication and success. The faculty believes that it is important for today's artists to be able to explain their research, document their influences and engage in meaningful dialogue about their work. You are required to keep a learning blog for the duration of the program. This site serves as the documentation of your explorations, thoughts, dialogues and feelings as you move through the curriculum.
Professional Practices Semester 3
Oriented to your individual student needs and goals, this course addresses the tools and skill sets you'll need for success after graduation. Issues of entrepreneurialism, marketing and leadership are covered along with practical application of creative/business partnership overall.
Thesis Projects I & II Semesters 3, 4
Thesis Projects I focuses on the initial thesis project proposal, development and implementation. You'll choose your thesis advisor, develop your thesis proposal and complete a pre-thesis review. Emphasis will be placed on the highest professional standards of development, planning and execution.
Thesis Projects II focuses on the final thesis project development and exhibition. Emphasis will be placed on originality and the highest professional standards of development and execution.
Certificate of College Art Instruction Elective Course of Study
This internal certificate program recognizes successful completion of designated coursework and a series of teaching internships focused on the teaching of studio art at a post-secondary level. It is an elective program and is not required for the MFA degree.
Teaching Methods Semester 2
This weekly graduate seminar focuses on teaching, planning and assessment of college-level studio art classes. Taken in conjunction with a Graduate Teaching Internship, GRNP5072.
Teaching Internship I & II Semester 2,3
The Teaching Internship provides a strong experimental foundation for teaching studio art at the college level. Students are matched with regular CCAD faculty in appropriate courses to both observe and assist with course delivery. Upon successful completion of teaching internship, you can apply to be a Graduate Teaching Associate (instructor of record). If you have significant experience, you may be exempt from the internship requirement at the discretion of the program director.