The MFA in Visual Arts is a five term studio-centred program in which students independently develop an art practice, guided by faculty advisors who share their practice/theory interests. Seminars, guest lectures and critiques provide an environment of critical and theoretical enquiry that reflects contemporary debates in art and culture. No emphasis is placed on any one medium. Drawing, painting, performance, photography, print media, sculpture and time-based art (performance, video, audio, time-based installation, interactive media) are represented and often students’ practices cross these media. Students independently pursue research that is relevant to their art studio work.
Set within a university context, the MFA in Visual Arts seeks to provide students with the ability to think rigorously about their art practice and its relation to society as a whole. Along with Visual Arts faculty, other York University faculty members, guest artists, curators and critics also support the development of students’ projects.
Applicants to the Master or Fine Arts (MFA) program should hold an Honours degree in Visual Arts, or equivalent, from a recognized university with a minimum of B standing to be considered for admission. Artists lacking formal academic qualifications, but showing exceptional promise and accomplishment through their portfolios, may be recommended for admission to the Faculty of Graduate Studies.
In addition to meeting the regular requirements for admission to the University, an applicant must successfully pass an evaluation based on a portfolio.
The MFA program is designed to assist students in developing individualized art practice. Candidates are selected on the strength of their work as artists: their maturity, creative achievement, and indication of an ability to deal with critical and creative challenges with insight and clarity. The applicant's work and other documents are examined by two faculty in the graduate program and one graduate student representing the studio area of the applicant's primary choice. On the advice of this committee, recommendations for admission are forwarded to the Faculty of Graduate Studies.
Total MFA program enrolment is limited to 18 students, with only 8-10 candidates admitted into the first year of the program. On average, about 125 students qualify to compete for these positions each year.