Progress to Degree

Timeline by Year

First Year, Fall Semester
  • Attend fall orientation for SoHE Graduate Students
  • Meet with advisor about general direction of inquiry, and plan preliminary course of study.
  • Register for courses, focusing on the Core Courses but trying for at least one studio course
  • Recommend 9 credits for the first semester, especially if working as a Teaching Assistant
First Year, Spring Semester
  • Meet with advisor and fine tune the general direction of inquiry
  • Register for courses, focusing on the Core Courses, and beginning General Studio Work
  • Begin the Literature Review for your Thesis Proposal. Collect references on relevant artists and designers. Look for precedents that you can use.
First Year, Summer
  • Continue to look for precedents and further develop your literature review.
  • Write a draft of the introduction for your Thesis Proposal.
  • Begin to identify a venue or format for your Interim MFA Qualifier
Second Year, Fall Semester
  • Meet with advisor and develop a more focused curriculum plan, based on your draft Thesis Proposal
  • Register for courses, focusing on the Core Courses, General Studio Work, and beginning your Focused Studio Work.
  • Identify committee members, and ask if they are willing to serve on your committee.
  • Develop a proposal and schedule for your Interim MFA Qualifier. Identify and reserve a venue for the Qualifier.
  • Have an informal committee meeting before the end of the semester, to discuss general direction and receive feedback on your Qualifier proposal.
Second Year, Spring Semester
  • Meet with your advisor and review your plans for the Qualifier, your Thesis Proposal, and your course of study.
  • Register for courses, with emphasis on Focused Studio Work and the Qualifier
  • Complete your Thesis Proposal
  • Meet with your committee to review your Qualifier, as well as your draft Thesis proposal. The Thesis Proposal should be substantially complete at this time, and it is suggested that you defend it if your committee believes that you are ready.
  • Make arrangements for your exhibition or other venue for your Thesis.
Third Year, Fall Semester
  • Complete any remaining required coursework.
  • At the beginning of the semester, successfully defend your Thesis Proposal. Meet with your committee to ensure that you are on track to finish all of the requirements for the MFA.
  • Make substantial progress on the written portion of your Thesis. This should incorporate portions of your Thesis Proposal.
Third Year, Spring Semester
  • Focus on developing (or finalizing, or finishing) your Thesis.
  • Notify the Graduate Committee Chair and the Graduate Program Coordinator that you intend to graduate, and they will notify the Graduate School.
  • Schedule the date for your Defense
  • Request a Degree Warrant at least six weeks in advance of your Defense, in order to ensure that your name is printed in the commencement program.
  • Complete Thesis, including project and written component.
  • After a successful Thesis defense, have the committee members sign the warrant. The student must give the signed warrant to the SoHE Graduate Program Cooridinator, who transmits the warrant to the Graduate School.
  • Degree awarded.

Making satisfactory progress

An MFA student will be judged to be making satisfactory progress if they have satisfactorily achieved the milestones in the timeline above, and have maintained a 3.0 grade point average. The advisor should meet with the student once per semester to review the student’s progress, and give notice if there is anything unsatisfactory.

An MFA student will be judged to be making unsatisfactory progress if they have not maintained a 3.0 grade point average, if they have not successfully passed their preliminary MFA qualifier, or if they do not successfully defend their thesis proposal. In addition, an MFA student will be judged to be making unsatisfactory progress if the student has not completed all degree requirements, including thesis and exhibition within 4 years of full time study.

Students who are judged not to be making satisfactory progress may be placed on probation and may lose eligibility for graduate funding awards such as scholarships and assistantships. Further, students who receive unsatisfactory progress ratings in two consecutive semesters may be dropped from the program.

Students may appeal a decision to be dropped from the program by submitting a written request to their advisor outlining the reasons they believe reconsideration is warranted in relation to established criteria for satisfactory progress. Students may also request a leave of absence from graduate study due to extenuating circumstances by submitting a letter to their advisor. Such requests will then be considered by the DS Graduate Committee and if approved will be forwarded to the SoHE Associate Dean for formal action (and thus forwarded to the Graduate School if approved).