MFA Overview

Transformation and Discovery

The Master of Fine Arts program provides an intense and transformative immersion in contemporary art-making practice.

The MFA program at PAFA is an intensive, two-year experience that focuses on studio practice and individual artistic development. The program is interdisciplinary in nature and welcomes students working in a variety of media with a wide range of interests.  Through seminars, studio classes, critiques, and visiting artist lectures, students are exposed to diverse viewpoints and approaches to art making. The program fosters a strong sense of community and students are both supported and challenged by their peers and faculty. The MFA program enables students to become independent, critical thinkers and makers who are engaged members of their artistic communities.

The PAFA MFA offers seminars in theory, contemporary art, writing and professional practices.  Students also enroll in studio classes with a range of topics that include: figure drawing, contemporary themes in painting, and video and animation.  In addition, students have the option of taking an array of undergraduate courses such as mold-making and landscape painting. PAFA is a school that cares deeply about how things are made as well as the ideas behind them.  The curriculum is structured to help students improve their abilities to see and make while also broadening and deepening their conceptual framework and skills to discuss and write about art.

The core of the program is students’ individual studio practice.  Through experimentation, one on one discussion with critics, and group critiques, students develop their work and ideas into a sustainable, thoughtful artistic practice. In their studio work, students are encouraged to be independent, self-motivated and open to the new possibilities and ideas that arise through the course of making.  Students have a private studio with 24 hour access and access to the print and sculpture shops, the cast hall and the tremendous museum collection.

During the second year of the program, students begin to focus towards a body of work that constitutes their thesis.  The program of study culminates in an exhibition of thesis work within the museum galleries of the Samuel M.V. Hamilton Building.

Faculty Include:
Clint Jukkala, Chair of the Graduate Program

Core Critics and Seminar Leaders:

2014-15 Visiting Critics:

Mark Blavat

Sharon Butler

Astrid Bowlby

Nicole Cherubini

Sharon Butler

David Cohen

Tom Csaszar

Vincent Desiderio

David Dempewolf

Abigail Deville

Renee P. Foulks

Hope Gangloff

Michael Gallagher

Daniel Heyman

Neysa Grassi

James Hyde

Dan Miller

Gillian Jagger

Kate Moran

Titus Kaphar

Michael Moore

Virgil Marti

Eileen Neff

Jennifer Packer

Scott Noel

Claire Sherman

Dr. Kevin Richards


Bruce Samuelson


Judith Schaechter


Richard Torchia















Recent and Upcoming Visiting Artists Include:

Derrick Adams

Njideka Akunyili

Ellen Altfest

Daniel Arsham

Katherine Bradford

Mel Chin

Martha Clippinger

Sue Coe

Alex Da Corte

Matthew Deleget

Mark Dion

Natalie Frank

Chie Fueki

Chitra Ganesh

Hillary Harkness

Richard Harrod

Oliver Herring

Kurt Kauper

Donald Lipski

Marie Lorenz

Sam Moyer

Laurel Nakadate

Stephanie Pierce

Mary Reid Kelley and Patrick Kelley

Mia Rosenthal

Heather Rowe

Rob Swainston

R.L Tillman

Nicola Tyson

Phoebe Washburn

Jerome Witkin 

Saya Woolfalk













Click here for the Master of Fine Arts Curriculum
Click here for the Low-Residency MFA Curriculum