Academics

Graduate Programs

Important Links:

George Mason University Catalog: School of Art

George Mason University Graduate Admissions

College of Visual and Performing Arts

Degree Programs:

School of Art, Master of Fine Arts (MFA)

Deadline for Application and all supplemental materials: January 15, 2014 (applications are accepted once per year for MFA Candidates)

The MFA is a terminal degree that prepares students to become professional artsists, work in technology or arts- related fields, and teach at the university level. It requires 60 credits, during which time students fulfill 45 credits of core and studio requirements plus an additional 15 credits of comprehensive experience. MFA students may choose an emphasis in new media, painting, photography, printmaking, or critical art practices . The latter offers students the opportunity to combine art forms in interdisciplinary projects that may include installation, performance, publishing, time-based or writing-based, and to combine creative and critical approaches in their work.
George Mason now offers the capitol region's only graduate graphic design program. The MFA in Art with a concentration in Graphic Design is intended for students interested in design authorship and/or an academic career. Through traditional coursework, collaboration and independent study, the program is a flexible framework for students to explore multiple areas of design practice, research and scholarship as they earn a valuable professional credential.

While it is anticipated that students will move through the MFA as described in this catalog, individuals with extensive professional accomplishment may, upon recommendation of the SOA Graduate Committee and with prior approval of the CVPA dean, craft an individualized program that meets curricular requirements.

Download the MFA Inquiry Form (.doc) (.pdf)

Admission Requirements

In addition to meeting the general university requirements for admission for graduate study, candidates for the MFA must hold a BA or BFA degree. Upon applying, they must submit a portfolio, statement of intent and professional goals, and three letters of reference.

Diversity among students accepted for study is another consideration. Applicants with degrees in areas other than art are welcome, although they may be required to complete undergraduate core courses.

For more information regarding our graduate admissions, please contact:

Stevie Otto
CVPA Graduate Admissions Coordinator
College of Visual and Performing Arts
George Mason University
4400 University Drive MS 1H4
Fairfax, VA 22030
703-993-5576 office
703-993-9037 fax
artsgrad@gmu.edu

Portfolio Guidelines

The applicant’s portfolio is a major selection criterion for graduate admission and should represent the applicant’s most accomplished work. The portfolio and all other application materials should be submitted to the Office of Graduate Admissions. For more information, contact the School of Art office at 703-993-8898.

Portfolio requirements are different for each graduate area of emphasis and are listed below. Incomplete portfolios will not be considered. Applicants’ portfolio items are considered part of the application for admission and, thus, cannot be returned. Please do not send original materials.

Portfolio requirements by area of emphasis:

New Media:
  • 20 images on a Mac (Apple Macintosh platform) compatible CD. CD images must be numbered on the CD, and correspond to an accompanying written descriptive list. List should include: name of artist, title, date, medium, and size of each work.
  • Videos (no more than four minutes for each selection) must be playable from a Mac-compatible CD or DVD. Only the relevant parts of the video should be marked for viewing, with the applicant’s role clearly stated.
  • New Media applicants should not submit slides.
Photography:
  • 20 images on a Mac-compatible CD or slides. All images must be numbered and correspond to an accompanying written descriptive list. List should correspond in number and include: name of artist, title, medium, size, and date of each work.
Printmaking:
  • 20 images on a Mac-compatible CD or slides. All images must be numbered and correspond to an accompanying written descriptive list. List should correspond in number and include: name of artist, title, medium, size, and date of each work.
Sculpture:
  • 20 images on a Mac-compatible CD, slides or DVD. All images must be numbered and correspond to an accompanying written descriptive list. List should correspond in number and include: name of artist, title, medium, size, and date of each work.
Painting:
  • 20 images on a Mac-compatible CD or slides. All images must be numbered and correspond to an accompanying written descriptive list. List should correspond in number and include: name of artist, title, medium, size, and date of each work.
Critical Art Practices:
  • 20 images on a Mac-compatible CD, slides, videos, or writing-based materials. All images on the CD must be numbered and correspond an accompanying written descriptive list. List should correspond in number and include: name of artist, title, medium, size, and date of each work. If videos are included, they must contain no more than four minutes for each selection. Only the relevant parts of the video should be marked for viewing, with the applicant’s role clearly stated. If writing-based materials are submitted, they should be submitted in printed form.
Graphic Design:
  • 20 samples of design work on a Mac (Apple Macintosh platform) compatible CD. Samples may include pdf's, high-resolution tiff or jpeg files, html's and samples of motion design. Samples must be numbered on the CD and correspond to an accompanying written descriptive list. List should include: name of artist, title and date. Videos and Flash files (no more than four minutes for each selection) must be playable from a Mac-compatible CD or DVD. In the case of collaborative work, the applicant's role should be clearly stated.

Supplementary material for all applicants, not specifically requested by the review committee, such as CDs (Mac compatible only), videos (DVD, VHS in NTSC format), film, web addresses, press clippings, or reviews of exhibitions may be submitted but will be reviewed only at the discretion of the SOA graduate application reviewers.

School of Art, Master of Arts (MA) in Graphic Design

Applicants should have an earned B.A. or B.F.A. degree in Graphic Design from an accredited college or university.

Applicants with a BA or BS in another discipline will be considered if they have work experience in the field.  The following materials must be submitted as part of the application process:

  • Completed application form;
  • A non-refundable application fee;
  • Application for Virginia In-State Tuition Rates for residents;
  • Appropriate international paperwork, as required by the University;
  • Official transcripts from each undergraduate and graduate program attended;
  • Three letters of recommendation from faculty members, or those who can evaluate the applicant’s academic potential;
  • A goal statement;
  • A sample of academic writing about art or graphic design, such as a paper from an art or design history course; and
  • A CD or DVD with 20 examples of design works in PDF, jpeg, or a format that will play in a standard web browser.

Curriculum

The M.A. in Graphic Design curriculum includes knowledge of the discipline's literature as indicated in the following courses: History of Graphic Design and Design Seminar. Required readings will include content about the evolution and development of visual persuasion, marketing, branding, visual authorship, design ethics, and professional responsibility which form the theoretical underpinnings of graphic design.

Program of Study: M.A. in Graphic Design

Core Courses:

  • AVT 522 Graduate Drawing
  • AVT 523 Graduate Drawing
  • AVT 611 Graduate Design Seminars
  • AVT 612 Thesis Project Proposal
  • AVT 613 Graphic Design History
  • AVT 617 Advanced Typography
  • AVT 794 Graphic Design Project

Elective Courses (15-20 credits):

  • AVT 614 Brand Identity Design
  • AVT 619 Advanced Web Design
  • AVT 596 Independent Study/Directed Reading
  • AVT 599 Special Topics

The final steps for completion of the M.A. in Graphic Design are a substantial final project that calls upon all the skills of a working designer. The project will be undertaken under the supervision of a single member of the design faculty and will be approved by a committee of the whole full-time graphic design faculty.

Final Project — Due to the professional nature of the M.A. degree, students will finish their course of study with a capstone project that consists of a self-expressive work using the media of graphic design communication. The final project will be a wholly original design work that may include imagery, text, typographical organization and design created by the student. The final should, in form, be a mature work in one or more subspecialties of graphic design practice.

*The new MA in Graphic Design is now accepting applications. Please download the flyer for more information and visit the GMU Admissions Office.

School of Art, Master of Arts (MAT) in Teaching in Art Education

This preservice degree program prepares students with a BFA degree for PK-12 art licensure by the Commonwealth of Virginia. Using a studio-based approach to art education and working closely with area public school systems, the MAT degree consists of 30 credits of graduate art education, school practicum experience, and independent studio work prior to pre-service teaching internship and seminar.

Admission Requirements

In addition to meeting the general university admission requirements for graduate study, admission to this program is contingent on completion of a BFA in art or approved equivalent. Also, candidates must have a minimum 3.00 cumulative undergraduate GPA; any exceptions will be considered on an individual basis. Eligibility for the MAT program may demand additional course work to establish proficiency in visual arts. Students lacking a background in the visual arts or pedagogy will be required to satisfy prerequisite courses prior to the required graduate courses. Candidates will be selected by a department committee composed of the art education program director and faculty. Meeting minimum criteria does not guarantee admittance to the program. Applications will be accepted twice a year.

If you have further questions, please contact Mary Del Popolo, the art education advisor at mdelpopo@gmu.edu.

APPLICATION INFORMATION:

 

Application for Fall 2014 Deadline: February 1 (for MAT students only)

Each applicant must provide the following materials:

  • Completed application form
  • Certified copies of all undergraduate transcripts and any graduate transcripts
  • Statement of intent and professional goals for entering the field
  • Three letters of reference from faculty members or individuals who have firsthand knowledge of the applicant’s academic or professional capabilities
  • Proof of passing score on Praxis I or equivalent
  • TOEFL score, if required by Mason policies
  • Portfolio that reflects artistic breadth and depth, including drawing skills. All portfolios must include a written image or slide information sheet with the corresponding number, title, date, medium, and size of each work. If included, slides must be labeled with slide number, applicant’s name, title of work, and date. Incomplete portfolios will not be considered.
  • In-person portfolio review and oral interview

Diversity among students is another consideration for acceptance into the program. Applicants with degrees in areas other than art are welcome, although they may be required to complete undergraduate core and studio courses.