Master of Fine Arts
Offered in the Wonsook Kim School of Art and the School of Theatre and Dance, the Master of Fine Arts (M.F.A.) is a terminal degree that emphasizes theory and practice in a particular discipline of the arts.
A professionally oriented program, the M.F.A. requires a minimum of 60 semester hours for a student with only a bachelor's degree or a minimum of 32 hours for a student with an earned master's degree. The total hours required for a student with an earned master's degree will be based on an evaluation of the student's portfolio and academic record. However, the final determination will not be made until the student has completed a minimum of six semester hours in the student's major area of emphasis. A candidate for the degree must demonstrate proficiency both as a practitioner and a teacher in one of several areas of emphasis listed in the Graduate Catalog.
Approved 11/19/87, Updated 3/22/01
All requirements for the Master of Fine Arts degree must be completed within eight calendar years, beginning with the date the student first registers as a degree student. This time limit applies to enrollment in all graduate coursework in the student’s program, including work for which transfer credit is allowed. If a course taken to complete the requirements for the M.F.A. degree is not taken within the eight year period allowed for the degree program, the student’s school may require the student to retake the course for credit or allow the student to demonstrate current knowledge of the subject matter. If the latter is used, currency must be demonstrated to the satisfaction of the school offering the course through successful completion of an appropriate examination or other assessment if available from the school. Otherwise, outdated coursework must be deleted from, and other coursework must be substituted in, the degree audit. Credits more than eight years old at the time of first registration into a degree program are not transferable from other institutions. When graduate study is interrupted by military service or other contingencies, the eight-year limit may be extended by the Graduate School. Use the Request to Extend Time to Complete Masters/Doctoral Degree Program form at Grad.IllinoisState.edu/students/forms.
Approved 11/19/87, Updated 3/22/01
Credits more than eight years old at the time of first registration into a Master of Fine Arts degree program are not transferable from other institutions. The work must not form part of a completed degree program elsewhere. Under special circumstances, the Graduate School may allow a student to present a larger number of credits if recommended by the school. A student who plans to take work elsewhere should obtain prior approval indicating that the course or courses are appropriate to the student’s curriculum at Illinois State University.
To be considered for transfer of credit, a course must meet the criteria outlined on the Transfer of Credit form and obtain approval from the Graduate School. The Transfer of Credit form is available at Grad.IllinoisState.edu/students/forms.
In the Wonsook Kim School of Art, a student can transfer no more than nine semester hours of credit from any graduate program (including a master's program in Art at Illinois State University) for use in meeting the requirements of the M.F.A. degree. In the School of Theatre and Dance, a student who does not have an earned master's degree may present a maximum of six semester hours of credit from another college or university for use in meeting the requirements of the M.F.A. degree. However, the student may present all earned hours from a master's program in Theatre at Illinois State for use in meeting these requirements. A Theatre student who has an earned master's degree must earn a minimum of 32 hours in the M.F.A. program at Illinois State University.
A student without an earned master's degree must complete a residency requirement of at least four semesters with at least two of them being full-time, consecutive semesters. A student with an earned master's degree must complete a residency requirement of at least two full-time, consecutive semesters. Summer session may be counted toward the two consecutive semester requirement only in the School of Theatre and Dance.
Admission to Candidacy
In order to be admitted to candidacy, the student without an earned master's degree must have completed 24 hours of graduate study at Illinois State University or two semesters of full-time resident study.
The student with an earned master's degree must have completed 12 hours of graduate study at Illinois State University or one semester of full-time resident study. All students must have a grade average of B or better with no more than 5 (6 in Theatre) hours below a grade of B.
Before becoming a candidate for the M.F.A. in Art the student must pass a candidacy review that includes approval of the following items: portfolio of studio work, final Degree Audit, and proposal for the Supportive Statement (an exhibition-related written project).
Before becoming a candidate for the M.F.A. in Theatre the student must have a Degree Audit on file with the Graduate School and pass a qualifying examination which is administered by the student's M.F.A. portfolio committee. Admission to candidacy, which usually occurs in the final semester, must be satisfied before the student is allowed to schedule an exit portfolio presentation. The Degree Audit form is available at Grad.IllinoisState.edu/students/forms.
In the Wonsook Kim School of Art, the student in the pre-candidacy phase of the program selects a major advisor with the help of the Graduate Coordinator/Director. With the help of the major advisor the student selects a candidacy review committee of three members. The chairperson of this committee must be from the student's major area of emphasis. Normally, the candidacy review committee continues as the student's graduate committee during the candidacy phase of the program.
In the School of Theatre and Dance the director, in consultation with faculty whom the director deems appropriate, will select the candidate's Portfolio Committee. The committee chairperson must come from the student's major area of emphasis.