Mason School of Art | Graduate Programs
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Graduate Programs

Master of Fine Arts in Visual and Performing Arts


The Master of Fine Arts (MFA) is a terminal degree that prepares students to become professional artists, work in technology or arts-related fields, and teach at the university level.  The College of Visual and Performing Arts offers an MFA in Visual Arts and Graphic Design. Candidates are required to complete 60 credits, culminating in a Thesis Exhibition of the student’s work in George Mason’s Fine Arts Gallery.  Of those credits, 45 credits are made up from both core and studio requirements, and an additional 15 credits are based on comprehensive experience.  MFA Visual Arts students may choose an emphasis in new media artpainting+drawingphotographyprintmaking, or sculpture. For course information, please visit the University Catalog.

George Mason University’s School of Art MFA Program seeks to develop in students a self-directed studio practice, derived simultaneously from an earnest personal search and an engagement with contemporary discourses and practices.

Housed in a small community of studios, the MFA program offers an environment that fosters the deepening of a student’s individual practice in the context of shared experience and dialogue with peers. Daily studio practice is supplemented by courses in research, writing, and contemporary critical theory. Regular formal critiques with peers and faculty track student progress, while training them to articulate ideas relevant to the production of their work. Visiting artists, monthly trips to New York galleries, and suggested supplementary lectures at local venues contribute to the student’s ability to contextualize his or her own work and process within the larger conversation of contemporary studio practices.  MFA students have numerous opportunities to collaborate and exhibit their work in local galleries; including but not limited to the Workhouse Arts Center.


Graduate Art Education Programs

Application Deadlines: March 1; October 15

Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT)

The Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT) program is a pre-service graduate degree for students that already have an undergraduate degree in a related field. At the culmination of completing coursework and a semester of student teaching, students satisfy Commonwealth of Virginia requirements to attain licensure in PreK-12 Art. The 30-credit degree program includes studio components, site observations at surrounding public schools, contemporary theory and curriculum design. In the past four years, 100% of our job-seeking graduates have attained a contracted position in regional public schools within a year of graduation. For course descriptions, please visit the University Catalog.

“This program has been identified by George Mason University as one that may lead to a career requiring professional licensure/certification.  Federal regulations require Mason to disclose information as to whether this program meets/does not meet the educational requirements for licensure/certification in your state, or whether such a determination has not been made.  Please consult our Licensure Disclosure Tool ( for the disclosure statement specific to your desired state/program combination.”

Program Director- Justin Sutters

Program Advisor- Robert Yi


Accelerated Masters in Art Education (BAM)

The Bachelor’s to Accelerated Masters (BAM) program in Art Education degree allows academically strong undergraduate students to earn a BFA in Art and Visual Technology, a graduate degree in Art Education, while simultaneously satisfying the requirements for PreK-12 Art licensure in the Commonwealth of Virginia. Candidates will learn how to teach visual arts by engaging in diverse studio work, curriculum design, research projects, class observations at Fairfax County Public Schools (FCPS), elementary and secondary methods courses, and a capstone pre-service internship and seminar.

Requirements for attaining licensure in PreK-12 Art include a combination of completing 30 credits total (18 graduate credits can be taken during undergraduate program at undergraduate tuition rate) which includes a culminating semester of student teaching full-time. To attain state licensure, students are advised to satisfy the 36 credits of art endorsements required by the state and usually meet those requirements through their BFA program of study. Licensure candidates also must receive a passing score on the National (Praxis) and state (VCLA) exams before student teaching.

Program Director- Justin Sutters

Program Advisor- Robert Yi