University of Southern California
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Graduate Degrees

Master of Fine Arts

A two-year program administered in collaboration with the Graduate School, the Master of Fine Arts is a professional degree in the practice of art preparing students to pursue careers as professional artists. The opportunity to gain experience as a teaching assistant is available on a competitive basis. Applicants must hold a Bachelor of Fine Arts, or equivalent, from an accredited school. The intended area of primary interest must be indicated and the applicant must provide 20 slides of work, appropriately labeled and dated. Transfer work applicable to the M.F.A. degree must have been completed within five years of the date of application.

Slides should be sent directly to: Graduate Programs, School of Fine Arts, Watt Hall 103, University of Southern California, University Park, Los Angeles, CA 90089-0292, along with a Fine Arts supplemental application. Applicants wishing to have their slides returned should include a stamped, self-addressed envelope or mailing container.

Program Requirements

At least 48 units are required for the Master of Fine Arts, to be distributed as follows: FA 560 Studies in Two-Dimensional Media; FA 570 Studies in Three-Dimensional Media; FA 580 Studies in Intermedia, 20 units; FA 555 Seminar in Art Theory and Criticism, 8 units; FA 550 Seminar: Contemporary Issues, 4 units; FA 551 Fine Art and Interdisciplinary Studies, 8 units; 400 or 500-level electives outside of Fine Arts, 4 units; 594abz Master's Thesis, 4 units.

Master of Fine Arts students are evaluated by faculty during reviews held near the end of each semester. Before a student is recommended for the Master of Fine Arts, a comprehensive review of past work and professional goals is held. An exhibition of work at the end of the course of study and a written thesis, documented with visual material, complete the Master of Fine Arts program. A minimum grade point average of 3.0 on all graduate work is required for the Master of Fine Arts degree.

Complete details can be found in the School of Fine Arts Graduate Studio Guidelines, obtainable upon admission to the program.

Master of Public Art Studies

The Master of Public Art Studies program is a two-year program administered by the School of Fine Arts and designed to meet the special training needs of individuals whose career goals are oriented toward professional work in public art. The long range objectives of the program are to provide students and professionals with the necessary skills, knowledge and experience to become successful administrators and problem solvers. The program is founded on the principle of using the facilities of the university both as a practical laboratory and as a catalyst for furthering dialogue, collaboration and research. The goal of the program is to build bridges between disciplines, the university and the community.

Admission Requirements

Admission to the Public Art Studies program is granted through the USC Office of Graduate Admission, which receives and processes all applications, evaluates credentials and issues notification letters. The School of Fine Arts establishes and monitors the standards under which students are admitted. Admission to the university under the standard of the School of Fine Arts is determined by the Office of Graduate Admission on the recommendation of the Public Arts Studies program. The following are the basic requirements: (1) a Bachelor of Arts or Bachelor of Fine Arts degree or its equivalent from an accredited college or university comparable in standards to that awarded at USC; (2) a 3.0 overall GPA; and (3) three letters of recommendation. Credentials for admission must include a complete record of all previous colleges or universities attended. The GRE is required only if the applicant is applying for financial aid.

Thesis Requirements

A master's thesis committee comprises three members: the director of the program, the primary reader and a professional from the student's area of emphasis (administration, history, practice).

The thesis committee shall be established after the student completes the second semester's course work. The committee, after a comprehensive review of the candidate's past work and professional goals, will determine if the student is to be recommended for advancement.

Program Requirements

A minimum of 32 units, usually taken during a two-year period, is required, to be distributed as follows:

First Year, FallUnits
PAS 549Public Art Communication Management2
PAS 550aPublic Art in the Community1
PAS 561Administration Survey3
PAS 571History Survey3

First Year, SpringUnits
PAS 550bPublic Art in the Community1
PAS 562Administration and Program Development3
PAS 572History3
PAS 581Forum2

Second Year, FallUnits
PAS 585Public Space, the Public Realm and Public Art3
PAS 591Field Internship Experience1
PAS 594aMaster's Thesis, or
PAS 593aFinal Thesis Project2

Second Year, SpringUnits
PAS 594bMaster's Thesis, or
PAS 593bFinal Thesis Project2

Elective Requirement
Candidates for the Master of Public Art Studies must complete a minimum of 6 units of graduate level electives, chosen from any relevant area in the university, with departmental approval.