The MFA program is dedicated to helping students understand both the making and theorizing of art against the background of the diverse intellectual environment of a major university, and within the context of local and international art communities. The MFA degree is also the standard qualifying degree for teaching visual arts at the post-secondary level. Most students are given the opportunity to teach foundation courses as Teaching Assistants, thus providing them valuable experience in visual arts instruction.
Students in the program may work in any area of contemporary art production including painting, drawing, printmaking, three-dimensional and installation work, photography, digital art, intermedia, video, performance, sound, or in any interdisciplinary form. The program does not include training in applied art, commercial art and design, graphic design, film or television.
Each MFA student receives his/her own private studio (approximately 250 square feet) and access to the department's extensive facilities including a state-of-the art Photo/Digital lab, Printmaking unit, and Workshop. MFAs participate in an intensive weekly studio seminar that is also a forum for critical discussions about leading issues in contemporary art, visual culture, and cultural theory. Students take additional academic coursework to enrich their particular focus, and present their Major Paper research and artwork to peers, faculty, and the public at their final oral presentation (occurring in the spring of their final year) and at a final critique (occurring during their graduation exhibition). Open Studios, interdepartmental critiques, and organised exhibitions showcase the students' art production and broaden their exposure to the local art scene and beyond.