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Master’s Degree Program

SIU art masters degree student Wansi Leong in the Studio

Our accredited three-year Master of Fine Arts degree program is structured to provide you with exposure to a broad range of creative approaches in your choice of nine areas of study: Blacksmithing, Ceramics, Design, Drawing, Glass, Painting, Printmaking, Sculpture and Small Metals. We promote a diverse approach to making with courses designed to address contemporary issues while promoting an atmosphere balanced between conceptual development and material exploration. You will find they are well supported in cross-discipline exploration as they strive to develop their best work.

While attending, you will have access to excellent resources to facilitate your creative development, including an engaged faculty who are professional artists, designers, and scholars, extensively equipped facilities, tuition waivers, dedicated studio spaces and regular opportunities to exhibit your work. We maintain a dynamic environment in which emerging artists and designers develop through access to the opportunities inherent at a Carnegie Research University.

Program Information

The graduate degree in studio can be accomplished by fulfilling the requirements for the Masters of Fine Arts degree.

  • Total degree requirements: 60 credit hours*
  • Primary Studio emphasis: 27 credit hours
  • Art History or related subjects: 9 credit hours
  • Studio Electives (may be within area of emphasis): 12 credit hours
  • Thesis or terminal project work: 6 credit hours
  • Other Electives: The remaining 6 credit hours may be elected from any area within the School of Art & Design or from the University at large.

*30 of the 60 total credit hours must be at the 500 level.

Sarah Kendall Gritzmaker MFA Thesis Exhibition at Gallery 304 in Carbondale
Visit to the Surplus Gallery on SIU campus

Application Process 

Apply to the MFA Program by February 15th for the Fall Semester.

MFA Application


The School of Art and Design has a wide range of graduate assistantships available, these provide a full-tuition waiver and a monthly stipend. In addition, you may apply for university wide research fellowships, scholarships and grants.

Ann Dawkins Painting
SIU MFA Grad Student Gwen Kelling


Graduate students admitted to the School of Art and Design MFA program are provided studios with 24/7 access in addition to well equipped workshops, woodshops, digital labs with up-to-date technology, and galleries.

Prospective students are encouraged to visit campus on the edge of the Shawnee National Forest to tour our facilities and meet with faculty and current grads.

View our facilities

Travel and Other Opportunities

We offer several travel and study abroad options to enhance your graduate experience. Some of our international opportunities have included trips to Scotland, Germany, Ireland and the Steneby Institution of Craft and Design in Sweden. The Art History program also offers travel opportunities to visit Museums and Galleries with past trips to Washington, St. Louis, Chicago and New York.

Our masters programs are further enhanced though our visiting artist program. This program connects you with artist, designers, and scholars though engaging events and lectures right here on campus. Some of our notable recent guests include Glenn Adamson, Shary Boyle, Lisa Bulawsky, Harlan W. Butt, Paul Catanese, Theaster Gates, Karla Hackenmiller, Ash Lester, Al Loving, Yoonmi Nam, Peter Plagens, Dario Robleto, Rui Sasaki, and Roger Shimomura

SIU MFA Program NYC Met Trip
SIU Masters Program Grad Critique

Graduate Certificate

In addition to the nine MFA program areas, we offer a Graduate Certificate in art history with options for concurrent enrollment. The certificate provides a valuable foundation for future career development.

The certificate program requires 18 credit hours of graduate level art history coursework. View certificate information.

Careers in Art

Our graduates have found careers as studio artists, designers, academics, curators, residency coordinators, technicians, gallerists and more. The cross-disciplinary focus of our program gives an added edge, equipping our grads to reach their professional goals. For those students attracted to teaching, efforts are made to assist you in gaining teaching experience while you are in our program.

Contact Information

For more information about the program or to request information, contact:

Pattie Chalmers
Director of Graduate Studies
Allyn 103
1100 S. Normal Avenue
Carbondale, IL 62901

Diane McClain-Inman
Office Support Specialist
Allyn 103
1100 S. Normal Avenue
Carbondale, IL 62901

Student Gallery