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Master of Fine Arts in Sculpture (MFA): Degree Program Overview

Students in Master of Fine Art (MFA) programs that allow for a concentration in sculpture can explore their calling as professional artists and collaborate with peers, critics and art curators.

Essential Information

Students in MFA programs in sculpture are encouraged to explore and embrace their artistic influences and develop their unique sculptural styles. Studio hours comprise a large part of an MFA program, during which students have freedom to experiment with sculptural creation using a variety of materials. Additionally, students can take courses in visual culture, urban art, art management and art criticism; they are exposed to criticism models, worldwide sculptural designs and leading figures in the field.

Over the course of these three-year programs, students usually must conduct independent research in an area of sculpture. At the end of the program, students must write a thesis on their work, and they may have to display their work to the public through the department, school-sponsored events or local galleries. The program can prepare graduates for careers as sculptors, visual artists and instructors.

In order to apply, students must hold a bachelor's degree, with either a major in art or the completion of a certain number of studio hours. Applicants must also submit a personal artistic statement and a portfolio of previous artwork.

Other sculpture-related MFA programs that can help students hone similar artistic skills include concentrations in ceramics, painting and drawing, furniture design, metalsmithing and jewelry. These programs, as well as sculpture programs, are offered online at select schools.


Master of Fine Arts in Sculpture

In practical courses, students usually have personal studio space and access to many facilities, like foundries or wood shops. Programs usually offer a variety of materials to work with, including ceramics, metals, woods, resins, plastics, glasses, fabrics, neon lights and mixed media. Students can also incorporate digital audio or visual components into their sculpture projects. Studying various global and historical genres of art, students also learn to critique artwork. Some examples of classes they might take are:

  • Common materials and sculpting techniques
  • Pottery
  • Fibers
  • Dimensional studies
  • Critical issues in sculpture
  • Visual arts collaboration

Popular Career Options

Graduates from MFA programs in sculpture have the skills they need to seek professional careers in the following positions:

  • Art educator
  • Urban and community artist
  • Sculptor

By earning an MFA in Sculpture, students develop advanced skills in the medium so that they can pursue professional careers in the art world.

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