Steps to Graduation
Steps to Graduation: MFA in Studio Art
The following list outlines a general timeline for steps to graduation for students in the MFA Studio Art program. Concentration areas may have additional requirements. Contact your area faculty representative to learn more.
Note: Exact graduation deadlines change every year. When graduation deadlines for future terms are set, they will appear on the Graduate School website. To find the correct set of deadlines for your degree type, note that the MFA in Studio Art falls under the category of Master’s Non-Thesis Programs. This means that MFA candidates in Studio Art will complete a Project in Lieu of Thesis (PILOT), which includes both visual and written components.
In order to graduate in three years, you must take 9–12 graduate credits each semester for your first two years. The maximum load for graduate students is 15 credit hours. For details, view the Academic Policies and Requirements for Graduate Students set by the Graduate School.
At the end of your first year your area faculty will create a document for you to sign indicating your progress in the program. You will be required to submit a list of your accomplishments as well as other documents.
Graduate students who are Graduate Teaching Associates must have met the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS) requirements of completing at least 19 graduate semester hours in their teaching discipline (or comparable experience according to university regulations) to be assigned primary responsibility for teaching an undergraduate course.
By the end of your third semester, meet with the Director of Graduate Studies (DGS) to ensure that you are enrolled in all the classes necessary to complete your coursework before beginning your third year. You must have earned all coursework credits before you can register for ART 599: Project in Lieu of Thesis in your final year. The full degree requirements are listed below:
Master of Fine Arts Requirements
A minimum of 60 hours to include the following:
- A minimum of 16 hours of studio courses in a concentration area.
- A minimum of 9 hours of graduate‐level academic (non‐studio) courses of which at least 6 hours are to be in art history.
- 1 hour of First‐Semester Graduate Seminar.
- 3 hours of ART 557 MFA Professional Practice Seminar to be taken in the fourth semester.
- A minimum of 14 hours of electives consisting of any combination of courses offered by the University for graduate credit.
- Students with a GTA are required to successfully complete 3 hours of Art 503, Theory and Practice of Art Fundamentals. These hours will count towards the elective requirement.
- A concentration area may have course requirements that reduce the number of elective hours.
- 20 hours of ART 599: Project in Lieu of Thesis. A third year of semi‐independent study. Student must have completed all required coursework prior to commencement of ART 599.
In your fourth semester, write a PILOT proposal and select the chair of your PILOT committee by the first Monday in March. Meet with your chair to discuss your PILOT proposal and select the remaining members of your committee.
Also in your fourth semester, submit your PILOT Committee Form to the School of Art office by the third Monday in March. This form requires you to obtain the signatures of all committee members.
Before Scholarship Day in your fourth semester, deliver your Fourth Semester Presentation (date will be set by faculty each year).
At the end of your second year, your area faculty will create a document for you to sign indicating your progress in the program. You will be required to submit a list of your accomplishments as well as other documents.
By mid-September, submit your Admission to Candidacy form to the Graduate School. The student will download and fill out the Admission to Candidacy form.
Your Candidacy Form must include the following:
- You must list ALL your classes, including the thesis credits that you are taking in your final year.
- All courses must be listed in the UTK Graduate Catalog to be counted towards your degree. You must have 60 total credits.
- Have the chair of your PILOT committee check to make sure you have completed all of your coursework for your degree.
- Have your full committee sign the form. The membership must match the membership of your signed defense.
- Ask the DGS to review and sign the document.
- Bring the form to the School of Art office, where a copy will be made and added to your file. The student will then hand-deliver the original form to the Graduate School, 111 Student Services Building, as soon as possible. The Graduate School will notify you if there are any errors on the form. You can revise this form by submitting a Revised Admission to Candidacy form.
- Students can now send the form electronically with digital signatures. The form must be sent to the Graduate School by the Director of Graduate Studies.
By December of your fifth semester, apply to graduate by submitting your Graduation Application online at MyUTK. A non-refundable graduation fee of $30 will be charged upon submission. See Graduate School website for exact deadline.
The written project defense is between 2500-5000 words, not including bibliography. Make your bibliography a minimum of one-page. Use the Chicago Style for your citations. For help with citation style consult the library site. By the end of your fifth semester, submit a rough draft of your Written Project Defense to your PILOT Committee. Submit your final draft two weeks before your exhibition opening.
In your sixth and final semester, create a public display of your work, turn in the final draft of your written component, and defend your PILOT. Exhibition dates will be set in coordination with the Ewing Gallery.
In April of your sixth semester, after your PILOT defense and before the Graduate School deadline, submit the Report of Final Examination/Defense of Thesis/Project/Capstone, also called the Pass/Fail form, to the Graduate School. See Graduate School website for exact deadline.
Your Report of Final Examination Form must include the following:
- The chair of your PILOT committee will download and fill out the Pass/Fail form.
- The original signature of each committee member is required.
- Bring the form to the School of Art office, where a copy will be made and added to your file. The student will then hand-deliver the original form to the Graduate School by 5 p.m. on the deadline.
By the last day of classes in your sixth semester, submit your PILOT documentation to your PILOT chair. See detailed guidelines below. By the same deadline, submit an abbreviated artist statement (400 words) and your selection of about 10 high-quality images for the production of the MFA PILOT exhibition catalog.
In May of your final semester, prepare to leave UT.
- Return all supply cabinet keys to area technicians.
- Move out of your studio. Per the terms of the School of Art Graduate Studio Contract, remove all items from communal storage areas by June 1 after the semester in which you graduate.
- Complete the official check-out process according to the instructions provided by the School of Art office staff. Checking out includes, but is not limited to, paying any outstanding library fees and parking tickets, returning keys on loan from the UT Key Shop, and updating your contact information.