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It integrates creative work with academic research, international study with regional community engagement, and theoretical grounding with skills development. All MFA students are required to reach beyond the cultures of art and design to develop robust engagements with one or more fields of knowledge and inquiry at the University of Michigan. Within this framework, the program offers two tracks — scholarly or studio-focused – to meet the individual needs and interests of students.

Students conduct their creative work in spacious, fully equipped studios in an outstanding university community with a culturally and resource rich environment. The Stamps School offers generous merit-based financial support to graduate students, from stipends and discretionary funds that offset studio expenses to teaching/research assistantships and full tuition waivers.

Graduates of this program will be prepared to thrive in a variety of public and private roles and become cultural leaders in a rapidly changing global culture.

MFA Degree Requirements

MFA students complete 15 credits of coursework per semester for a total of 60 credits at the completion of the two-year program. In addition, all students are required to have a three to five week International Project during the summer between their first and second year.

The curriculum is designed to accommodate a range of art practices, from studio-based inquiry to more scholarly, research-focused work.

  • Directed Studio Courses
Directed Studios are the core of the MFA program. Each semester, students engage in at least six credit hours of intense exploration, research, production, and critique of their individual creative work, in close collaboration with their Stamps faculty advisors.
  • Elective Courses
Students choose Elective courses to meet their individual MFA curriculum goals: they can pursue additional studio courses to emphasize "making" and studio practice, or select academic courses to achieve a hybrid "maker/scholar" focus (learn more about these tracks below).
  • Seminars
Every semester, students participate in graduate Seminars, including seminars in “Research Methods” and “Professional Practice” and other topics related to contemporary art practice.
  • History/Theory/Criticism Courses
MFA students take six credits of History/Theory/Criticism, choosing courses to support their field of inquiry. These classes may be offered by Stamps School, History of Art, or other units across the university.
  • International Project
MFA students are required to participate in a Stamps School-approved international experience. The School supports a three- to five-week international experience for all MFA students during the summer between their first and second year. The experience will culminate with a project that will be shared with the Stamps community.


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