Graduate - University of Houston
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  • Art History

    The MA degree in Art History provides a thorough grounding in the best practices of art historical research and writing with an introduction to a broad range of fields and expertise. We also provide opportunities in Curatorial Studies and Art Criticism and Writing to the interested student. The degree is designed to allow students to customize their curriculum to suit their unique research interests.
  • Graphic Design

    The Graduate Program in Graphic Design promotes advanced research in graphic design and critical theory. Personal investigations converge cultural, social, historical, methodological and/or technological ideas within a graphic design context. Students define an area of specific interest and concentrate their research and development on this new direction. Students and advisors work together to push the boundaries of theory and practice.
  • Photography/Digital Media

    The Graduate Program in Photography/Digital Media prepares students to leverage historical and contemporary modes of creating lens-based works in pursuit of developing a unique artistic personality. Through technical, historical, and critical contexts, we encourage experimentation, dialogue, collaboration and innovation. Anticipating the brisk rate of change in digital technologies, we remain flexible and adaptable, learning from one another and building collective digital literacies.
  • Interdisciplinary Practices & Emerging Forms

    The MFA program in Interdisciplinary Practice and Emerging Forms (IPEF) recognizes that contemporary practice is often located between or beyond traditional disciplines, and defines art-making as a series of approaches supported by theory, analysis and conceptualization. Students work in an intensive, critical environment and are encouraged to explore and combine systems of knowledge, to challenge conventions of production and presentation, to identify new fields of investigation as well as new media, and to embrace experimentation as an operating premise.
  • Sculpture

    The Sculpture Program is an open laboratory for the investigation and manipulation of the world around us. The exploration begins with the physical world of objects and materials and extends through the conceptual realm of ideas and cultural dialogue. An inter-disciplinary approach allows for all forms of creative expression and encourages collaboration and hybridization in the practice of art.
  • Painting

    The intention of our program is simple—to facilitate intellectual development and the practical making of work, as defined by the needs, interests and affinities of each individual student. Painting is both a rich and formidable tradition that is steeped in history, and an evolving, expansive and dynamic field of activity. We encourage permeability within and outside of our discipline to remain responsive not only to paintings’ venerable traditions, but also to its increasing hybridity and ongoing redefinitions. The diverse practice within our program mirrors both the definition of what painting “is” and what it can be.

Artists and designers bring meaningful things into the world that did not exist before, through deep inquiry, rigorous questioning, trial and error, discipline and practice. Artists move beyond conventional thinking, challenge tradition and ideology, and invent new ways of imaging the world.  Their voices are pluralistic, their concerns wide-ranging, and their forms myriad. 

A solid MFA program respects the expansiveness of these practitioners and practices, by placing each student at the center of the MFA experience.  To do this, a program must be nimble, its faculty empathic, and its environments supportive. At the University of Houston School of Art, we offer a flexible and intensive program, stellar new MFA facilities including private studios, and world-class faculty to support your inquiry, broaden your investigation, and refine your practice.  We value the primacy of each student, the importance of personal expression, and the range and diversity of that expression.  

Our three-year MFA Program offers concentrations in Painting, Sculpture, Photography/Digital Media, Graphic Design and Interdisciplinary Practice and Emerging Forms. Built into each of these concentrations is the ability to extend outward by working one-on-one with faculty mentors across the School of Art, or across the University through our Faculty Affiliate Network. This network brings the vast scholarship of a premier research institution to the threshold of the School of Art, in areas ranging from biology, to engineering, to cultural studies, philosophy and beyond. 

  • Faculty

    Our outstanding faculty shares a commitment to true mentorship, collectivity, and the importance of being connected to the larger social structures of our immediate and extended communities.  They represent the broadness of visual art and design practice, with a breadth of conceptual approaches, methodologies and expertise.  An extensive annual roster of visiting artists, designers, curators, critics, and art historians brings exceptional local, regional, national and international visitors to campus for lectures, seminars, and studio visits with our MFA students. 

  • Facilities

    MFA students work in private studios in the new Elgin Street Studios building, located on the northeast corner of the Arts District, with access to fully equipped wood and metal shops, covered outdoor work space, a spray booth, digital lab, dedicated graduate exhibition spaces, and common indoor and outdoor gathering spaces. Students have nearby access to printmaking and ceramics studios, as well as additional computer and digital fabrication equipment in the Arts & Technology Center, located in the Fine Arts Building, which also houses the School of Art undergraduate classrooms and studios, lecture facilities, and the Blaffer Museum. 

  • Houston

    Graduate study in a city with world-class cultural institutions, innovative performing and visual arts organizations, and the ecosystems to support the livelihood of artists, is ideal. Houston, the fourth largest and most diverse U.S. city, is very much our extended campus.  Our School has deep roots and synergistic relationships with every major arts institution, alternative space, and commercial gallery in Houston – a dynamic and established visual arts community.  These relationships create pathways and enhance access to these institutions and the professionals that guide them, providing rich and specialized opportunities for our students.

  • Candidates

    In addition to students with BA and BFA undergraduate degrees, we are looking for candidates who may not have undergraduate training in the visual arts, do not fit neatly within a particular discipline, or may be returning to an academic environment after time away.  We are looking for MFA candidates who are self-motivated, and want to grow and develop their unique practices within a critical, pluralistic, and rigorous academic environment. If you would benefit from the mentorship of our renowned faculty, the support of a flexible curriculum, access to the resources of a Tier 1 research institution, generous new facilities, and a world-class city, we look forward to reviewing your application. 


Image Credit, Top: Elizabeth Gates; Bottom: Mark Chen.