Areas of Study


The Ceramics area provides the possibility of engagement with contemporary art and culture as it interfaces with ceramic media. Graduate students are challenged to experiment with form and meaning in traditional genres, or to originate expanded definitions of ceramics and mixed media, including ceramic elements in performance, architecture, and installation.

For more information, please visit the Ceramics area website.


Interdisciplinary Studio was introduced as a separate area of specialization in the Art Department's MFA in 1997 by Mary Kelly during her tenure as Chair. It was a response to what she saw as a growing demand among applicants for a graduate program in which artists could pursue project-based work, inspired by social purpose and grounded in interdisciplinary research. The ID area has not been aligned with specific disciplinary practices such as Painting, Sculpture, Photography, or even New Genres, although there is more overlapping of concerns in that area. Although ID students share an overall interest in conceptual procedures, critical theory, institutional critique and collaboration, the area's aim is to respond in a flexible way to the diverse forms these interests take.

The Interdisciplinary Studio specialization combines directed research and studio practice within a context which aims to provide students with a critical forum for exploring site- and debate-specific forms of institutional critique. The specialization encourages inter-area projects which involve the theoretical procedures or material processes of other academic disciplines.


The New Genres curriculum includes performance, installation, projected image, video, film, audio, hybrid and emerging art forms. New Genres is a practice which begins with ideas and then moves to the appropriate form or media for that particular idea, sometimes inventing entirely new sites of cultural production, new methodologies, technologies, or genres in the process. The area gives emphasis to questioning preconceived notions of the role of art in culture and its relationship to a specific form or medium, or context.

For MFA applicants to the New Genres area, please note: New Genres may include artists who work in theater, film, music, writing, and new media, but generally only when they also have a strong background in modern and contemporary visual art history and are engaged in a dialog with the contemporary visual art field.

For more information, please visit the New Genres area and Digital Studio websites.


Within this specialization, graduate students are encouraged to examine and explore all the creative possibilities offered by two-dimensional art forms, while continuing to develop their own personal styles of expression. Students are encouraged to broaden their perceptual awareness through observation, translation, and invention of images and to develop their critical skills through discussion of the historical precedents for their work.

For more information, please visit the Painting & Drawing area website.


Focusing on the interrelation of photography and art, study in this area is directed toward works of art made using photographs. Ability to understand and discuss photography's unique historical, material, and narrative potential is emphasized over technical considerations. Work in installation art and video in conjunction with photography is encouraged.

For more information, please visit the Photography area's website.


This area enables graduate students to develop proficiency in various three-dimensional processes, materials, and techniques. Sculpture's basis is the exploration of three-dimensional contemporary expression with an aim to strengthen and focus each student's sense of personal direction in the arts.

For more information, please visit the Sculpture area's website.