The graduate program is based on intensive studio practice at an advanced level in the areas of painting, drawing, printmaking, and digital media. The program is highly selective and is presently limited to fifteen participants. Our graduate program was recently ranked among the top ten best graduate painting programs in the country by US News and World Report. This ranking is based on the professional reputation of our faculty and on the outstanding accomplishments of the Department’s alumni and alumnae.

The MFA in Fine Arts with a concentration in Painting and Printmaking requires the successful completion of sixty credits and is undertaken in two years of full-time study. Most of the credits are earned in studio areas and are augmented by related courses, including Art and Critical Theory and a graduate seminar that meets weekly to address topics related to contemporary art practice. In addition, we support an active and ambitious program of visiting artists and lecturers; leading figures in the world of contemporary art visit throughout the year to present lectures about their work, conduct workshops, and meet with students.

Each graduate student works in one of fifteen spacious, individual painting studios that are located in the Fine Arts Building.


Scheduling a Visit

We welcome prospective applicants to the Department so that they may tour the facilities, speak with faculty and graduate students, and develop a sense of what our graduate program has to offer. However, due to the increasing number of prospective applicants visiting our program, we are no longer able to accommodate requests for individual tours or meetings. During the 2015-2016 academic year we have set aside the following date/time to meet with applicants:

October 8, 2016

11 a.m. Coffee and pastries at the Depot, 814 W. Broad Street

11:30 a.m. Welcome

12-2 p.m. Department visits (Please check departmental websites to see if RSVP is required and for additional information.)

2-3:00 p.m. Open Studios

*** Please contact Hilary Wilder, Graduate Program Director, at prior to your visit so that we know to expect you.

National Graduate Portfolio Days

Representatives from VCUarts will be available at the National Graduate Portfolio Days scheduled for fall 2017. Please see the National Graduate Portfolio Day website for more information about each event:

Thesis Exhibitions

Click below to view the catalogue for the 2017 MFA thesis exhibition:


The VCU School of the Arts believes that art is inclusive.
Therefore, this diversity policy establishes that the
School of the Arts accepts and welcomes all people by
maintaining and celebrating diversity within our student
body, faculty and staff. The School of the Arts provides
equal opportunity and prohibits discrimination according
to race, color, religion, sex, national origin, disability, age,
and sexual orientation in accord with University Policy.
To support this policy and to stimulate understanding,
the School of the Arts will establish forums to explore
diversity in education, arts and design. We believe that
to achieve educational excellence, we must value and
practice inclusion.

Student Learning Outcomes

There are established Student Learning Outcomes for the M.F.A. in Fine Arts.  It is expected that during the course of study, students will:

  • Define work in relation to history and practice
  • Engage fully in critical discourse
  • Enlarge knowledge of materials and techniques
  • Develop professional practice and engage in opportunities that develop the experience required to manage a creative professional career

More information about graduate study at VCU can be found on the Graduate School website and in the Graduate School Bulletin ,

For More Information…

Please continue on to our Frequently Asked Questions page for more information about the MFA program, the application process, and graduate funding.


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