Program accreditation
National Association of Schools of Art and Design

Program goals

The graduate program advances the development of:

  1. Individual studio and scholarly talents, interests and philosophies, used creatively to both expand and preserve our cultural heritage
  2. Professional studio competence as exemplified by a significant body of work
  3. Individuals with the potential to solve contemporary problems in all aspects of the visual arts and to explore and address new questions and issues
  4. Professional competence in the dissemination of knowledge, including logical, clear verbal and written presentation of aesthetic ideas in teaching and other contexts
  5. Scholarly competence in the organization, evaluation and interpretation of knowledge
  6. Technical proficiency in relation to the tools, techniques and materials used in their field and the expertise to visually articulate their ideas
  7. Proficiency regarding critical thinking and conceptual problem-solving with particular focus on the context and practice of painting and printmaking

Student learning outcomes

  1. Define work in relation to history and practice
  2. Engage fully in critical discourse
  3. Increase knowledge of materials and techniques
  4. Develop professional practice: engage in opportunities that develop the experience required to manage a creative professional career

VCU Graduate Bulletin, VCU Graduate School and general academic policies and regulations for all graduate students in all graduate programs

The VCU Graduate Bulletin website documents the official admission and academic rules and regulations that govern graduate education for all graduate programs at the university. These policies are established by the graduate faculty of the university through their elected representatives to the University Graduate Council.

It is the responsibility of all graduate students, both on- and off-campus, to be familiar with the VCU Graduate Bulletin as well as the Graduate School website and academic regulations in individual school and department publications and on program websites. However, in all cases, the official policies and procedures of the University Graduate Council, as published on the VCU Graduate Bulletin and Graduate School websites, take precedence over individual program policies and guidelines.

Visit the academic regulations section for additional information on academic regulations for graduate students.

Degree candidacy requirements

A graduate student admitted to a program or concentration requiring a final research project, work of art, thesis or dissertation, must qualify for continuing master’s or doctoral status according to the degree candidacy requirements of the student’s graduate program. Admission to degree candidacy, if applicable, is a formal statement by the graduate student’s faculty regarding the student’s academic achievements and the student’s readiness to proceed to the final research phase of the degree program.

Graduate students and program directors should refer to the following degree candidacy policy as published in the VCU Graduate Bulletin for complete information and instructions.

Visit the academic regulations section for additional information on degree candidacy requirements.

Graduation requirements

As graduate students approach the end of their academic programs and the final semester of matriculation, they must make formal application to graduate. No degrees will be conferred until the application to graduate has been finalized.

Graduate students and program directors should refer to the following graduation requirements as published in the Graduate Bulletin for a complete list of instructions and a graduation checklist.

Visit the academic regulations section for additional information on graduation requirements.

Apply online at

Admission requirements

Degree: Semester(s) of entry: Deadline dates: Test requirements:
M.F.A. Fall Jan 15 None

Special requirements

In addition to the general admission requirements of the VCU Graduate School, applicants must meet the requirements listed on the website above.

Degree requirements

In addition to general VCU Graduate School graduation requirements, the M.F.A. in Fine Arts with a concentration in painting or printmaking requires 60 credit hours and is usually completed in two years of full-time study. Most of these credit hours are in studio areas and are augmented by related courses in specialized academic fields. A graduate seminar meets weekly and addresses topics related to contemporary art and theory. Two required semesters of art and critical theory are presented in a course that surveys the major themes of contemporary art criticism.

Graduate students meet with individual committees composed of three faculty members. Each committee and student conducts an ongoing dialogue and critique. At the end of the second semester students discuss their work at a candidacy critique comprising their committee and additional faculty members. M.F.A. recipients mount a comprehensive exhibition of their work at the university’s Anderson Gallery at the successful conclusion of the program’s second year.

The Master of Fine Arts program is based on intensive studio practice at an advanced level in the areas of painting and printmaking. The program is highly selective and is presently limited to 15 participants.

Curriculum requirements

Course Title Hours
PAPR 527
PAPR 528
Art and Critical Theory
and Art and Critical Theory
PAPR 591Topics in Painting and Printmaking (critical issues)3
PAPR 591Topics in Painting and Printmaking (professional practices for fine artists)3
Take 24 credits in one of the following:24
Graduate Painting
Graduate Printmaking
Take 12 credits in the following:12
Graduate Seminar
Select 12 elective credits from the list below12
Total Hours60

Recommended elective courses

Course Title Hours
ARTH 591Special Topics in Art History1-6
ARTS 591Special Topics1-4
ARTS 592Individual Projects/Fieldwork1-6
KINE 690Graduate Seminar (with permission of graduate adviser)4
KINE 695Advanced Sound (with permission of instructor)3
PAPR 615Graduate Printmaking3,6
PHTO 690Seminar in Photography and Film (with permission of instructor)3

Total graduate credit hours required (minimum) 60

Typical plan of study

Semester 1Hours
PAPR 527 Art and Critical Theory 3
PAPR 591 Topics in Painting and Printmaking (critical issues) 3
PAPR 605
Graduate Painting
or Graduate Printmaking
PAPR 690 Graduate Seminar 3
 Term Hours: 15
Semester 2
PAPR 528 Art and Critical Theory 3
PAPR 605
Graduate Painting
or Graduate Printmaking
PAPR 690 Graduate Seminar 3
Elective 3
 Term Hours: 15
Semester 3
PAPR 591 Topics in Painting and Printmaking (professional practices for fine artists) 3
PAPR 605
Graduate Painting
or Graduate Printmaking
PAPR 690 Graduate Seminar 3
Elective 3
 Term Hours: 15
Semester 4
Take nine credits in: 9
PAPR 605
Graduate Painting
or Graduate Printmaking
PAPR 690 Graduate Seminar 3
Academic elective 3
 Term Hours: 15
 Total Hours: 60

Graduate program director
Holly Morrison
Associate professor, Department of Painting and Printmaking
(804) 827-1697

Additional contact
Ron B. Johnson
Assistant professor and administrative director
(804) 828-2787

Program website: