Graduate Programs

Master of Fine Arts in Visual and Performing Arts

Application Deadline: February 1

The Master of Fine Arts (MFA) is a terminal degree that prepares students to become professional artists, work in technology or arts-related fields, and teach at the university level. Candidates are required to complete 60 credits, culminating in a Thesis Exhibition of the student’s work in George Mason’s Fine Arts Gallery.  Of those credits, 45 credits are made up from both core and studio requirements, and an additional 15 credits are based on comprehensive experience.  MFA students may choose an emphasis in graphic design, new media art, painting+drawing, photography, printmaking, or sculpture. For course information, please visit the University Catalog.

George Mason University’s School of Art MFA Program seeks to develop in students a self-directed studio practice, derived simultaneously from an earnest personal search and an engagement with contemporary discourses and practices.

Housed in a small communities of studios, the MFA program offers an environment that fosters the deepening of a student’s individual practice in the context of shared experience and dialogue with peers. Daily studio practice is supplemented by courses in research, writing, and contemporary critical theory. Regular formal critiques with peers and faculty track student progress, while training them to articulate ideas relevant to the production of their work. Visiting artists, monthly trips to New York galleries, and suggested supplementary lectures at local venues contribute to the student’s ability to contextualize his or her own work and process within the larger conversation of contemporary studio practices.  MFA students have numerous opportunities to collaborate and exhibit their work in local galleries; including but not limited to the Workhouse Arts Center

Graphic Design, Master of Arts

The Master of Arts (MA) in Graphic Design offers students a comprehensive study and preparation for the graphic design profession. This 36-credit professional program, started in 2010, is the only graphic design graduate degree in the Washington, D.C. region.  The curriculum includes courses in typography, web design, image making, and brand design.  The broad range of study is intended to develop professionals prepared for an ever-expanding graphic design field.  For course descriptions, please visit the University Catalog.

Graduate Art Education Programs



Master of Arts in Teaching, Track I

The MAT Master of Arts in Teaching, Track I is a pre-service graduate degree that prepares students with a BFA, BA in a studio art program or equivalent for PreK-12 art licensure by the Commonwealth of Virginia. Using studio based approach to art education and working closely with area schools, the MAT degree consists of 30 credits of graduate art education, school practicum experience, studio work and pre-service teaching internship and seminar.

Master of Arts in Teaching, Track II

The MAT Master of Arts in Teaching, Track II is a graduate program designed for Pre-K-12 licensed art teachers who currently hold an undergraduate degree in art education and are interested in obtaining a graduate art education degree for further professional development. The MAT for licensed art teachers, is a 30-credit program consisting of graduate art education courses, approved AVT 500 level graduate studio art courses, education courses and a capstone project.

Art Education Licensure Certificate (AELC)

The Art Education Licensure Certificate (AELC) is a post-baccalaureate program designed for those who currently hold an undergraduate and/or a graduate degree in an art-related field and want a more immediate entrance into the art teaching profession. The ‘licensure only’ program will result in PK-12 art certification by the Commonwealth of Virginia. The AELC is a 21-credit program consisting of graduate art education courses, art endorsements, and a student teaching internship and seminar. Applicants are required to provide an official Praxis Core Exam score and should also review College of Education and Human Development requirements.

BFA/Art Education, Accelerated MAT 

Undergraduates in Art may apply to the accelerated master’s degree in Art Education. If accepted, students will be able to earn an Art and Visual Technology, BFA and an Art Education, MAT after satisfactory completion of 144 credits.

Students choosing the accelerated option must fulfill all university requirements for the master’s degree. The regular designed timeframe would be a start in the Fall and the completion in the Fall semester five and a half years later, but longer time frames may also be available.

To apply to this program, please visit the College of Visual and Performing Arts Accelerated Master’s Admissions page.

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