The University of Tennessee, Knoxville


About the MFA

About the MFA | Admission Requirements | Current MFA Students

The M.F.A. Program in Painting and Drawing prepares students to be professional, practicing artists. With emphasis on exploration and analysis, our program approaches painting and drawing as porous and open disciplines. Along with formal issues, the program seeks to help students consider the personal, social, and art historical context of what they make. Over the course of study, our faculty fosters students' abilities to think, talk, and write critically about their art practice. The faculty members in painting and drawing have diverse approaches to art making, are professionally active, and exhibit regionally, nationally, and internationally.

The M.F.A. curriculum covers three years. Each semester, students take a class with one faculty member from painting and drawing, and the Artist-in-Residence Seminar as the core studio requirement. There is also access to other faculty in painting and drawing through individual critiques and area reviews, along with faculty from other areas of the School of Art. After two years students will have worked closely with the permanent faculty and four different artists-in-residence, ensuring a sound understanding of the many ideas and sensibilities that compose the contemporary art world.

During the third year students work exclusively on an independent project with a select faculty committee of their own choosing. The select committee structure facilitates discussion and feedback specifically relevant to the student's body of work. A project exhibition, a written statement about the work, and an oral examination cap the year. We expect our graduates to be articulate and knowledgeable about contemporary and historical issues in art, and able to make a mature body of work that can be identified as uniquely their own. We award degrees on that basis.

The Artist-in-Residence Seminar offered at the graduate level each semester emphasizes class discussion of readings, critiques and student presentations that are directly applicable to the contemporary art environment and informed by the experience and sensibility of the AIR. It is expected that this course be taught from conviction as much as objectivity, and that the student is exposed to a wide range of approaches and genres.

Admission Requirements

About the MFA | Admission Requirements

In order to become a candidate in a degree program, the applicant must be admitted by the Graduate School upon the recommendation of the School of Art. Both the Graduate School and the School of Art have specific requirements and application procedures which must be satisfied by the application.

School of Art Graduate Admission Links

MFA Information
MFA Application
MFA Assistantships + Financial Aid
School of Art Graduate Handbook

UT Graduate Admission Links

Graduate School
Graduate Admissions
UTK Catalog

Questions or comments should be directed to:

Ellen Orner
Program Resource Specialist
School of Art
213 Art & Architecture Bldg.
1715 Volunteer Blvd.
The University of Tennessee
Knoxville, TN 37996-2410
(865) 974-3407
FAX: (865) 974-3198

Current MFA Students

About the MFA | Admission Requirements | Current MFA Students

April Bachtel // email
Eric Cagley // email
Brandon Donahue // email
David Harman // email, site
Natalie Harrison // email, site
Jonathan Lisenby // email, site
Alex McClurg // email, site
Alex Merchant // email, site
Andrew Merriss // email, site
Thomas Wharton // email, site


The University of Tennessee, Knoxville. Big Orange. Big Ideas.

Knoxville, Tennessee 37996 | 865-974-1000
The flagship campus of the University of Tennessee System