Graduate Program

The Department of Art + Design offers a Master of Fine Arts degree for students interested in studying visual art beyond the baccalaureate level. This is a 3-year in-residence program; we do not currently offer online, low residency, or expedited options. The degree requires that candidates complete three years of coursework in art concepts and criticism, art history, a studio area of concentration, electives, and a creative thesis project. The 90-credit Master of Fine Arts (MFA) is a terminal degree program providing students with professional levels of competency and experience in studio art. The MFA program qualifies students for careers as teachers in higher education, as professional studio artists, and for other studio-arts-related vocations.

students looking at the new art exhibit


Areas of concentration include:

  • Ceramics
  • Drawing
  • Painting
  • Graphic Design
  • Photography
  • Jewelry and Metalsmithing
  • Sculpture

MFA graduate students are expected to participate in a minimum of three exhibitions on campus, with other exhibition opportunities within the community. Students work in one of two graduate studios, which are semi-private spaces that provide an atmosphere of community. CWU offers a robust visiting artist, exhibition, and speaker series, which MFA students are expected to attend. When possible, visiting artists provide one-on-one studio visit critiques with our MFA students.

Applicants may apply for a Graduate Teaching Assistantship (GTA); if selected, the assistantship covers tuition and provides a stipend. However, assistantships do not cover all student fees. GTAs gain valuable experience in the classroom as teaching assistants, with the possibility of teaching foundations-level courses as Instructor of Record.

To be eligible for Regular Admission you must meet the minimum Graduate School requirements. If you do not meet the minimum grade-point requirement or have limited major-related experience, you may be admitted as Probationary or Conditional provided you show evidence of the ability to do satisfactory graduate work.
Acceptance is primarily based on the student’s potential as evidenced by a portfolio, previous coursework in art, goals consistent with departmental resources, and other experiences relevant to art making. Applicants may be asked to have a telephone interview with a faculty member in their area of studio concentration before being admitted to a program.


Competitive Graduate Assistantships are awarded in the Department of Art + Design each year; for full consideration, priority deadline for assistantship applications is February 15. Applications will be accepted after this date but priority for GA positions will be given to applicants who meet the deadline. When possible, students are strongly urged to visit the campus and arrange a personal interview with faculty members in their major area of concentration and with the Department of Art + Design Graduate coordinator or department Chair prior to submitting an application. Arrangements can be made by e-mail at

Visiting artist and speaker series

The Department offers a robust visiting artist and speaker series each year. Recent and current visiting artists/scholars include: George Rodriguez, Anthony White, Rick Poynor, Noelle Mason, Sonny Assu, Natalie Krick, Amy Babinec, Humaira Abid, Elizabeth Crisman, Alison Bremner, Dr. Adair Rounthwaite, Rex Peteet, Joan Linder, Horatio Law, Nicole Pietrantoni, Jono Vaughan, Bahareh Khoshooee and Michelle Dunn Marsh.


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