Jun 14, 2024  
2022-2023 Graduate Catalog 
2022-2023 Graduate Catalog [Archived Catalog]

Art (M.F.A.)

Program Overview

Whether you’re interested in teaching, becoming a professional artist, or both, the MFA is a professional, practice-oriented terminal degree program representing the highest level of achievement in the visual arts studio discipline. Faculty mentoring through close, personal attention is one of the keys to our program’s success. You’ll have courses and field-based internship opportunities to help you develop innovative and mature portfolios. You will experience a rigorous environment that encourages creative thought. Participate in critiques, lectures and demonstrations on critical issues and experience personal growth through research, experimentation and critical discussion. Accredited by NASAD since 1979. Learn more at usd.edu/art.

DELIVERY: On campus


Choose a specialization in the following areas:

  • Graphic Design: You’ll learn a rich array of graphic design tools and work with faculty to broaden your understanding of the design field. Courses and field-based internships help students develop innovative and mature portfolios.
  • Painting: Bridging both the technical and conceptual approaches to painting, you will experience a rigorous and supportive environment that encourages creative thought and personal growth through research, experimentation and critical discussion.
  • Photography: You will develop skills in traditional film, digital and experimental forms of photography. Explore techniques in photography development, printing and creative process and participate in critiques, lectures and demonstrations on critical issues in photography.
  • Printmaking: We mentor students to gain the knowledge and skills in both traditional and alternative printmaking processes as the means to develop their personal voice. You have the opportunity to work in facilities that offer the full range of traditional and alternative printmaking processes to allow you to explore any aspect of the medium in your educational journey.
  • Sculpture: Your courses will explore cast metals, metal fabrication, woodworking, mixed media, carving, mold-making and installation projects with traditional and contemporary materials and processes. You’ll have the opportunity for growth and development of individual aesthetics, concepts, technical abilities and a critical understanding of the discipline of sculpture as applied to the production of contemporary art. 

Master of Fine Arts: Total 60 credit hours

Studio or Related Areas

  • Specialization Credit Hours: 32
  • Art Electives Credit Hours: 8
  • Graduate Seminar (Studio Emphasis) Credit Hours: 3
  • Folio Preparation Credit Hours: 2

Other Studies in Art/Design

  • Art History Credit Hours: 9
  • Art Seminar (Academic Research) Credit Hours: 3


  • Open Electives (non-art) Credit Hours: 3

Application Requirements

  1. Completed application
  2. $35 application fee
  3. Official transcripts*
  4. Letters of recommendation*
  5. Admission test scores*
  6. Statement of purpose
  7. Resume/CV*

*Requirements for admission vary by program and may require different documentation and have different deadlines. For specific program requirements and submission deadline, visit: catalog.usd.edu.

State Authorization - It Matters Where You Live

If your learning placement course (internship, externship, clinical, rotation, practicum, independent study, study away, etc.) or your online course will be taken outside South Dakota, please reference USD’s State Authorization webpage.

State Authorization


Department of Art
605-658-3455 | art@usd.edu | usd.edu/art

Graduate Admissions 
605-658-6140 | gradadmissions@usd.edu  | usd.edu/grad