The MFA Art Program

The Master of Fine Arts in Art program is a two-year, full-time, studio-based program located in the center of Los Angeles. The expansive city is home to a vital local art community and international gallery and museum scene with five arts districts: Downtown, Culver City, Mid-Wilshire, Hollywood and Chinatown. With a select cohort enrolled each year, the program provides a unique experience that focuses on interdisciplinary and wide-ranging experimental, creative, and intellectual exploration.
 

Students work closely with USC Roski's internationally acclaimed faculty, as well as an expanded community of leading professional artists, critics, and curators who participate in the weekly Visiting Artist and Scholar Seminar and the Resident Artists and Scholars Program. USC Roski boasts four exhibition spaces and has formal affiliations with the USC Fisher Museum of Art, The Hancock Memorial Museum, The Pacific Asian Museum, and the California African American Museum.

Program Highlights

The USC Roski MFA Art is designed to maximize each student's individual studio experience, and its instructional model is focused on critical dialogue as provided by regular studio visits with faculty and guest artists and scholars, and group critiques with student peers. Students also take courses with USC Roski's renowned Critical Studies faculty that emphasize tracing intellectual and artistic histories, understanding the complexities of theories applied to the visual arts, and addressing global art practices. Program electives provide a broader platform for experimentation, and encourage students to explore the expansive possibilities for complementary fields of research at one of the world's leading research universities. This curricular depth coupled with USC Roski's intellectual and artistic reach, its position on the Pacific Rim and in one of the world's major arts capitals, and its ability to provide a vast array of cross- and interdisciplinary opportunities for its students offers an unparalleled environment for advanced study and practice.

View the MFA Art Handbook, which includes a sample course of study, here.

MFA Art Program Outcomes can be found here.

Individual Studies

Students work with distinguished faculty and visiting artists and scholars through a series of private studio visits. Visits typically occur weekly, but may occur more or less frequently, as determined by individual student needs and faculty advisors.

Group Critique

Students gain insight and perspective through a weekly seminar that investigates issues relative to current directions in the visual arts. Analysis and implications of forces contributing to conceptual development is provided by student peers, as moderated by faculty.

Global Art

Capitalizing on USC's broader initiatives that promote thinking globally across disciplines, USC Roski graduate programs offers a seminar on global art and global curatorial histories, theories, and practices. As a way of acknowledging the specificity and limits of Western perspectives, the Global Art Seminar addresses visual culture in a broad international framework via a changing focus on specific regions and case studies. A sensitivity to cultural difference and contrasting ways of making and understanding the visual arts--addressed in class through an attention to primary examples around the world--is key to this course. For the Global Art Seminar, specialists in particular regions of visual culture outside of Europe and North America address the rise of the concept of the "global" with and after colonialism.

MFA Art Info Sessions 

These informative "open house" events feature an overview of the program and application requirements with the Director of Admissions and a tour of the MFA Art studios. They are scheduled for Friday, October 12, 2018; Thursday, November 1, 2018; and Friday, December 7, 2018. RSVP here to confirm your attendance. Prospective students are also encouraged to attend our weekly Roski Talks during the fall and spring semesters.


 

Thesis Exhibitions

As a capstone to their degree, all Roski MFA Art students mount a thesis exhibition under the guidance of the program director. The cohort exhibition takes place in the spring of the second year. A solo exhibition may be additionally mounted in the Gayle & Ed Roski MFA Gallery. The gallery is a well-appointed, 2100 square foot space with two professionally constructed moveable walls, a lighting grid, and roll-up door for installation of large scale works.

Additionally, each student is required to submit, according to Roski and Graduate School guidelines, an accompanying written thesis, which provides a rigorously researched and theoretically and historically grounded set of arguments relating to the studio thesis project. Each student is guided in both elements of the thesis by a committee of supportive faculty, including the thesis supervisor and two other members.

 

Visiting Artists

The Visiting Artist and Scholar Seminar (VASS) is linked to USC Roski School's annual Roski Talks lecture series, which features in-depth public presentations by prominent artists, designers, writers, scholars, and curators throughout the academic year. Presentations typically include a group discussion that allows students, faculty and the public to raise questions or problems and explore ideas with the visitor. First year students in the MFA Art and MA programs also attend a closed-session seminar with the visitor and a USC Roski faculty member, engaging in intensive dialogue on issues posed by the lecture/discussion and previously assigned readings. In many cases students also have the opportunity to meet one on one with the visitor to present their own work and to learn from the visitor's professional expertise. View the current visiting lecture schedule here.
 

 

Macomber Travel Grant

The 2018 deadline for submission is Friday, March 30, 2018 at 5pm.

Awarded to one outstanding MFA Art graduate student in the USC Roski School of Art and Design. Selected through a competitive process, the $7,500 prize will support proposed projects involving research-based travel, the production of new art work and a public presentation of the new work.

Application Requirements (open only to current Roski MA students):