This is the preliminary (or launch) version of the 2024-2025 VCU Bulletin. Courses that expose students to cutting-edge content and transformative learning may be added and notification of additional program approvals may be received prior to finalization. General education program content is also subject to change. The final edition and full PDF version will include these updates and will be available in August prior to the beginning of the fall semester.

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. Advanced studio practice: Students engage in rigorous research as they definitely recognize and deploy the tools and materials needed to advance their practice. 
  2. Group critique: Students are expected to present their work through a brief oral articulation of the intentions of their studio practice. In addition, they are expected to be able to articulate a critique of their peers’ work.
  3. Applied criticism and theory: Students understand historical and contemporary theories and are able to apply and investigate those ideas in their work. Students can define their practice in relationship to other media and culture.
  4. Advanced professional engagement: Students demonstrate the ability to understand, engage and generate professional contexts for their work.

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 today.

Admission requirements

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

Special requirements


Applicants must meet the general admission requirements of the VCU Graduate School. They must hold a baccalaureate degree from an accredited institution and it is recommended that the applicant have completed a minimum of 36 credit hours of art at the undergraduate level or have equivalent experience. The Department of Painting and Printmaking may waive this requirement as identified through a holistic review of an application.

The application to the M.F.A. program must include:

  1. An artist statement submitted in the “Statement of Intent” section of the application (This 700-1000 word essay sheds light on the applicant's practice and research interests, while also addressing goals with respect to graduate school and what the applicant hopes to accomplish at VCU.)
  2. Three letters of recommendation from instructors or professional references in the applicant’s intended field of study
  3. Academic transcripts 
  4. Curriculum vitae/resume
  5. Portfolio to include 20 still and/or moving images (Moving images should be edited to no more than three minutes and include the date, materials, and dimensions for each image submitted. Each image can be accompanied by a brief written description that may articulate relevant information about the work.)

Additional information for international applicants can be found on the International Admissions website.

Degree requirements

In addition to general VCU Graduate School graduation requirements, the M.F.A. in Fine Arts with a concentration in painting and printmaking requires 60 credit hours and is usually completed in two years of full-time study. Program course work consists of graduate studio and research, graduate seminars, group critique, and other studio/academic electives.

Graduate students must meet regularly with committees composed of three graduate faculty members, both individually and as a group, during each semester. At the end of the second semester students must present and defend their work for candidacy review. At the end of the fourth semester students must participate in the thesis exhibition, defend their work for thesis review and submit a written thesis.

Curriculum requirements
Course Title Hours
PAPR 527Art and Critical Theory3
PAPR 605Graduate Studio24
PAPR 650Candidacy Research6
PAPR 660Professional Practices3
PAPR 670Thesis6
PAPR 690Graduate Seminar12
Studio elective 13
Electives 23
Total Hours60
1

Select credits from CRAF 683, CRAF 691, KINE 671, KINE 692, KINE 695, PAPR 683, PAPR 691, PHTO 691, PHTO 692, SCPT 530, SCPT 691 or SCPT 692.

2

Electives may be chosen from among all university courses listed as 500-level or higher and require approval from a faculty adviser.

The minimum number of graduate credit hours required for this degree is 60.

Typical plan of study

Semester 1Hours
PAPR 527 Art and Critical Theory 3
PAPR 605 Graduate Studio 6
PAPR 650 Candidacy Research 3
PAPR 690 Graduate Seminar 3
 Term Hours: 15
Semester 2
PAPR 605 Graduate Studio 6
PAPR 650 Candidacy Research 3
PAPR 690 Graduate Seminar 3
Studio elective 1 3
 Term Hours: 15
Semester 3
PAPR 605 Graduate Studio 6
PAPR 660 Professional Practices 3
PAPR 670 Thesis 3
PAPR 690 Graduate Seminar 3
 Term Hours: 15
Semester 4
PAPR 605 Graduate Studio 6
PAPR 670 Thesis 3
PAPR 690 Graduate Seminar 3
Electives 2 3
 Term Hours: 15
 Total Hours: 60
1

Select credits from CRAF 683, CRAF 691, KINE 671, KINE 692, KINE 695, PAPR 683, PAPR 691, PHTO 691, PHTO 692, SCPT 530, SCPT 691 or SCPT 692.

2

Electives may be chosen from among all university courses listed as 500-level or higher and require approval from a faculty adviser.

The minimum number of graduate credit hours required for this degree is 60.

Contact
For general inquiries: papr@vcu.edu

Program website: arts.vcu.edu/paintingprintmaking