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Art - MA

MSU's Master of Arts in Art will expose you to a variety of artistic media, disciplines, techniques and technology as you pursue your interests. This 30-hour degree enables you to choose from three concentrations including: art education, graphic design and studio art.

Art Education 

A concentration in art education offers you a customized program designed to further develop the studio, intellectual and professional background enabling you to grow as an artist, a teacher and a leader. Courses address the historical and contemporary issues in art theory, studio art, and art education, bridging the connection between individual artistic process and the creative development of your students through enhanced teaching practices.

As part of this program, you will participate in a graduate art education exhibition and present a thesis statement that reflects the integration of your teaching practice and development as an artist.

Graphic Design 

The graphic design concentration allows you to develop a coherent, investigative and experimental body of work focusing on methodology and the application of the that method to your studio work. You will also learn to reflect on assess the merits of your work in relationship to visual arts, history, culture and other disciplines.

Advanced levels of coursework in typography, web design, illustration and computer art allow you to customize the program to your specific focus. Before completing the program, you will present a thesis statement relating to your artwork and participation in a graduate art exhibition. Your training and completed portfolio will enable you to begin or continue with your professional design career.

Studio Art 

A concentration in studio art offers professional training for independent, self-directed visual artists. This concentration offers you progressive coursework in your chosen media and critical studio theory. You can focus on a particular area or combine several art areas, including ceramics, computer art, drawing, painting, photography, printmaking and sculpture. As part of this program, you will participate in a graduate studio exhibition and present a thesis statement that relates to your artwork and development as an artist.


You may choose one of the following three concentrations: 

  • Art education
  • Graphic design
  • Studio art

Program Requirements

Admission requirements:

1. General admission to graduate study.
2. Completion of an undergraduate major in art or an equivalent experience with the requirement of supplemental courses.
3. Undergraduate GPA in art of 3.0.
4. Submission and approval of art portfolio supporting plans and objectives for the graduate program.

Portfolio application requirements: 

  • Cover letter
  • Professional quality resume
  • Statement of Intent (1- 2 pages in length), which thoughtfully and thoroughly addresses the following content:
                   a. Your current body of work, including information about your subject matter, media, technique/process, theme/concept, and influences
                   b. Your goals for graduate study and how it will benefit your current work or direction
                   c. Your preparedness for graduate level study 
                   d. Your reasons for choosing MSU's Art and Design graduate program and your expectations for graduate study
                   e. Your long term career goals

Digital portfolio which adheres to the following guidelines:

Include twenty samples of your work (high quality professional representations), at least ten of which relate to your current direction, description of your work, and proposed area of study.

Choose appropriate samples that support your proposed track:

  • Art education:  either a diverse body of work demonstrating your broad skills as an artist and teacher, or a consistent body of work focused on one direction
  • Graphic design:  diverse samples of print and/or web design, which demonstrate your layout, problem solving, communication and technology skill
  • Studio art: a consistent body of work supporting a clear direction in subject, media, technique, and theme

Digital portfolio submission guidelines:

  • Use of one of the following formats to present your work: A website (include link) or a jump drive with a PowerPoint (ppt.)or Adobe Acrobat (pdf.) Mac-compatible file.
    1. With each digital image, include the following information: title, medium(s), size, and year.
    2. Do not include foundation or beginning level pieces.
    3. Incomplete applications will not be considered.

Program assessment:

  1. Mid-program review before a graduate committee consisting of at least three graduate faculty. At the conclusion of the Mid-Program review, the candidate will be informed of any deficiencies and how to address them in their subsequent studies.
  2. Cohort group critiques.
  3. Critical appraisal of the required graduate exhibition and artist's statement by the candidate's graduate committee.
  4. Oral exit examination in conjunction with the candidate's final exhibition before the Graduate committee.

For a complete list of program requirements, visit the graduate catalog website  or view this program's degree plan.

Career Opportunities

Graduates of our programs are able to pursue further graduate study in MFA and Ph.D. programs. They are also prepared to pursue a wide array of careers in corporate, government, nonprofit and independent sectors including:

  • Art museums/galleries: administration, curatorial, conservation, public relations, exhibit design and preparation
  • Graphic design: digital, print, multimedia, type, web, illustration, advertising
  • Education P-12: studio art, fine arts, art history
  • Independent studio practice: sales, promotion, design, development, freelance

MSU's Career Services offers career planning, interview and resume preparation assistance, internship placement, and services to help you find a job after you graduate.

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Major In You.