MFA Painting Programs in New York

Mar 19, 2019

MFA programs in painting are widely available at universities around the state of New York. Students interested in earning an MFA can read this article to learn more about the program curriculum and what is necessary to be admitted.

New York schools with MFA programs often allow students to specialize in painting through the completion of studio courses and electives in this discipline. Below, we will look at five schools with these MFA programs and explore the special coursework, exhibit spaces and access to visiting artists that they have to offer.

Overview of MFA Painting Programs in New York

New York Studio School

The New York Studio School offers an MFA program with a concentration in painting that students can complete in a two-year timeframe. In this program, students spend at least 40 hours a week taking courses and working on projects in a studio. During the first year of the program, students are closely monitored by the faculty member they have chosen to work with. Students have more autonomy during the second year, as they should have developed a clear idea for their thesis project, which they can work on in private studio spaces. A unique component of this program's curriculum is the marathon courses, which are all-day, intensive courses taught over two weeks that are focused on a specific artistic discipline, like painting or sculpture. Students are required to complete a marathon course during each of the four semesters of this program.

Pratt Institute

Pratt Institute offers an MFA program in painting and drawing that may be of interest to students. This program can also be completed in two years and requires that students complete core courses in painting, art criticism and analysis as well as elective credits. Students must also complete a two-course symposium sequence that is designed to prepare them to succeed as professional artists. Additionally, students are expected to spend time in the studio working on their own projects, some of which may be part of the thesis that students must complete. The thesis entails both a written and physical component, as students must exhibit their projects at the end of the final semester.

University of Buffalo

Another option for students is the MFA in Studio Art program at the University of Buffalo, which requires the completion of 60 credit hours over the span of two years. Thirty of the required hours are fulfilled through the completion of studio courses in which students work on their own projects and research their chosen medium, like painting. The rest of the curriculum is split among art critiques, art history and theory courses, elective courses and seminars. Students in this program also have the opportunity to participate in a study abroad experience by attending school at the Central Academy of Fine Arts in Beijing, China. Students must also complete a graduate thesis in order to fulfill the requirements of this program.

Cornell University

The MFA in Creative Visual Arts program at Cornell University allows students to pursue a concentration in painting and requires the completion of 60 credit hours over two years of full-time study. During each of the four semesters, students are required to complete 15 credit hours, nine of which must be studio credits. Students also take art seminars that cover a variety of topics in art and related disciplines. The program culminates with a student's thesis, which entails both a written portion and an exhibition at a gallery space.

New York University

In the studio art MFA program at New York University, students can explore any artistic medium they wish, including painting, while they complete the 60 required credit hours. In addition to earning credit hours through time spent in studios, students can take courses in art criticism and explore other artistic mediums, like working with glass. The program also exposes students to professional artists through weekly studio sessions. At the end of the second year of the program, students exhibit their work in the 80WSE Gallery in Washington Square Park, which is affiliated with the NYU Art Department.

Admissions Standards for MFA Painting Programs in New York

When applying to an MFA program in painting, students are expected to submit a portfolio of their artistic work in order to provide admissions committees with an idea of their abilities and artistic styles. This portfolio may have been developed during a student's undergraduate education, though MFA programs do not generally specify that students must have earned a bachelor's degree in art or a related field. When applying, students will also need to submit academic transcripts from a 4-year degree program, letters of recommendation, a personal statement, and a completed application form. These programs generally do not require GRE scores, though they may involve an interview portion.

To summarize the information presented above, students seeking an MFA program in painting in New York have a number of options to choose from around the state. These options differ to some extent in their requirements and curriculum offerings, so students may want to do further research to determine which program is the best fit for them.


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