Roski School of Art and Design
Master of Fine Arts
A two-year program administered in collaboration with the Graduate School, the Master of Fine Arts is a professional degree in the practice of art preparing students to pursue careers as professional artists. With an influential and innovative faculty and expansive facilities, the MFA program is one of the most ambitious, energetic and forward-thinking MFA programs in the United States. In addition to close, constant interaction with the faculty artists, students participate in regular seminars, lectures, discussions, and studio visits with leading visiting artists, critics, curators and theorists from around the world. The school’s immersion in the contemporary art community is a critical component of the MFA program.
The opportunity to gain experience as a teaching assistant is available on a competitive basis. All incoming students, regardless of country of citizenship, are considered for departmental funding and teaching assistantships; a separate application is not required.
At least 48 units are required for the Master of Fine Arts, to be distributed as follows: FA 515 Visiting Artist Forum, 4 units; FA 520 Individual Studies, min. 8, max 12 units; FA 550 Seminar: Contemporary Issues, 4 units; FA 551 Fine Art and Interdisciplinary Studies, 8 units; FA 555 Seminar in Art Theory and Criticism, 8 units; 400- or 500-level electives outside of Roski, 8 units; departmental electives, 4 units; 594abz Master’s Thesis, 4 units.
Roski MFA thesis committees will comprise three faculty members. Two members will be Roski core faculty, defined as any faculty currently teaching in either the M.A. or the MFA program with either full-time, part-time or adjunct appointments, tenure track or non-tenure track. The third member can be any full-time tenure track or non-tenure track USC faculty member, either within the Roski School (but not part of the core faculty) or from outside Roski. Thesis committees are ultimately subject to approval by the school dean.
Master of Fine Arts students are evaluated by faculty during reviews held near the end of each semester. Before a student is recommended for the Master of Fine Arts, a comprehensive review of past work and professional goals is held. An exhibition of work at the end of the course of study and a written thesis, documented with visual material, complete the Master of Fine Arts program. A minimum grade point average of 3.0 on all graduate work is required for the Master of Fine Arts degree.
Master of Arts, Art and Curatorial Practices in the Public Sphere
The Master of Arts, Art and Curatorial Practices in the Public Sphere is a two-year master’s degree administered by the Roski School of Art and Design, in collaboration with the Graduate School, preparing students for careers as curators, organizers, critics and scholars. The program is an interdisciplinary research laboratory that focuses on the role of contemporary art and curatorial practices in relation to social space and the public sphere. The course of study encompasses seminars on curatorial practice/organizational methods; the Graduate Lecture Series in conjunction with the MFA program; social, urban and media theory; critical writing; exhibition histories; and selected topics in art and architectural history. Students examine how artists, curators, organizers, architects and other cultural producers engage public space and analyze the cultural conditions of the public sphere. The program culminates with a curatorial practicum in which students collaborate on the development and organization of a city-space exhibition project. Students are also responsible for the research and writing of a thesis that develops innovative concepts and new scholarship on the interrelationships between art, public space and the public sphere.
Requirements for admission: (1) a Bachelor of Arts or Bachelor of Fine Arts degree, or equivalent, from an accredited school; (2) a minimum 3.0 overall GPA; (3) three letters of recommendation; (4) two writing samples (one academic paper and the admission essay). The GRE General Test is required. International applicants are required to take the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or the International English Language Testing System (IELTS).
The thesis committee is established and contingent upon satisfactory completion of the second semester’s course work. Advancement to candidacy is determined by the director of the program, in consultation with other faculty.
Roski M.A. thesis committees will comprise three faculty members. Two members will be Roski core faculty, defined as any faculty currently teaching in either the M.A. or the MFA program with either full-time, part-time or adjunct appointments, tenure track or non-tenure track. The third member can be any full-time tenure track or non-tenure track USC faculty member, either within the Roski School (but not part of the core faculty) or from outside Roski. Thesis committees are ultimately subject to approval by the school dean.
Curatorial Practicum Requirement
All students participate in the group curatorial practicum course for three consecutive terms (which complements the thesis requirement).
A minimum of 33 units is required, taken during a consecutive two-year period, distributed as follows:
|First Year, Fall||Units|
|PAS 549||Methodologies of Art Writing||3|
|PAS 561||Curatorial/Organizational Models||2|
|PAS 571||Histories of Art in the Public Sphere||3|
|First Year, Spring||Units|
|PAS 555a||Curatorial Practicum||2|
|PAS 572||Contemporary Art in the Public Sphere||3|
|PAS 581||Critical Conversations||3|
|Second Year, Fall||Units|
|PAS 555b||Curatorial Practicum||2|
|PAS 585||Theorizing the Public Realm||3|
|PAS 594a||Master’s Thesis||2|
|Second Year, Spring||Units|
|PAS 555c||Curatorial Practicum||2|
|PAS 591||Field Internship Experience||1|
|PAS 594b||Master’s Thesis||2|
Candidates for the Master of Arts, Art and Curatorial Practices in the Public Sphere must complete a minimum of 5 units of graduate level electives, chosen from either the Master of Arts, Art and Curatorial Practices in the Public Sphere program, or another relevant area in the university (with departmental approval).