The Graduate School of Art subscribes to the standards for the MFA degree set forth by the College Art Association (CAA) and the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). In order to earn the Master of Fine Arts in Visual Art—the terminal professional degree in studio art—students must complete the following requirements:

- Total of 60 credits, minimum (earned over four semesters, typically two years)
- Full-time enrollment (minimum 12 credits per semester)
- 18 credits of art history (combined undergraduate and graduate)
- Final degree exhibition, written thesis, and oral defense

Distribution requirements for course work are as follows:

- 10 credits of graduate studio work during each semester in the first year
- 12 credits of graduate studio work during each semester in the second year
- 2 semesters of graduate seminar (3 credits each) in the first year
- 1 semester of thesis seminar (3 credits) in the final semester
- Electives and art history courses complete the remaining credit hours

Art Electives are introductions to the materials, techniques, and aesthetic issues of particular disciplines. Available in various media concentrations, art electives complement and expand the graduate studio experience.

Students and faculty may arrange independent study courses. Meetings are arranged between the student and instructor as appropriate to the projects and credit-hour assignment. One semester hour is assigned for every three hours of graduate studio work, per week, per semester.

Individual programs are arranged with the Director of Graduate Studies. Students work with College & Graduate School of Art faculty according to their fields of interest and affinities.