Program accreditation
National Association of Schools of Art and Design

Program goal

The program comprises a community of makers/artists who advance the conceptual, historical, technical and haptic aspects of clay, fiber, glass, metal and wood. The program promotes an artistic practice rooted in the values of craft. Students will investigate craft’s inherent relationship to the world with fearless innovation.

Student learning outcomes

  1. Aesthetic and cross-cultural understanding: The students will demonstrate mastery in aesthetic and cross-cultural understanding.
  2. Understanding of the contemporary of their field: The curriculum of craft and material studies is designed to provide students with a comprehensive and up-to-date understanding of their field.
  3. Critique information interpretation: The students will be able to use knowledge gained from critique to improve creative work.
  4. Technique development: The students will demonstrate mastery of advanced craft techniques within their field. 
  5. Professional practice: The students will demonstrate leadership in their field in teaching and/or studio management.

VCU Graduate Bulletin, VCU Graduate School and general academic policies and regulations for all graduate students in all graduate programs

The VCU Graduate Bulletin website documents the official admission and academic rules and regulations that govern graduate education for all graduate programs at the university. These policies are established by the graduate faculty of the university through their elected representatives to the University Graduate Council.

It is the responsibility of all graduate students, both on- and off-campus, to be familiar with the VCU Graduate Bulletin as well as the Graduate School website and academic regulations in individual school and department publications and on program websites. However, in all cases, the official policies and procedures of the University Graduate Council, as published on the VCU Graduate Bulletin and Graduate School websites, take precedence over individual program policies and guidelines.

Visit the academic regulations section for additional information on academic regulations for graduate students.

Degree candidacy requirements

A graduate student admitted to a program or concentration requiring a final research project, work of art, thesis or dissertation, must qualify for continuing master’s or doctoral status according to the degree candidacy requirements of the student’s graduate program. Admission to degree candidacy, if applicable, is a formal statement by the graduate student’s faculty regarding the student’s academic achievements and the student’s readiness to proceed to the final research phase of the degree program.

Graduate students and program directors should refer to the following degree candidacy policy as published in the VCU Graduate Bulletin for complete information and instructions.

Visit the academic regulations section for additional information on degree candidacy requirements.

Graduation requirements

As graduate students approach the end of their academic programs and the final semester of matriculation, they must make formal application to graduate. No degrees will be conferred until the application to graduate has been finalized.

Graduate students and program directors should refer to the following graduation requirements as published in the Graduate Bulletin for a complete list of instructions and a graduation checklist.

Visit the academic regulations section for additional information on graduation requirements.

Other information

The student handbook is available online.

Apply online today.

Admission requirements

Admission requirements
Degree:Semester(s) of entry:Deadline dates:Test requirements:
M.F.A.FallJan 15None

Special requirements

In addition to the general admission requirements of the VCU Graduate School and the School of the Arts admission requirements, applicants in the visual arts must have completed a minimum of 36 credit hours in art at the undergraduate level. Applicants should also present:

  1. Curriculum vitae/resume: If applicant has a website, please include a link in CV/resume.
  2. Statement of purpose: Please submit with university application and upload as PDF.
  3. References: Provide the names and contact information for three references from professional associates such as instructors, supervisors or colleagues who can comment on the applicant’s ability to succeed in a graduate program. Letters of recommendation will be submitted electronically by recommenders.
  4. Portfolio: Provide 20 still and/or moving images. Present work in reverse chronological order with the newest work first and the oldest work last. Images are reviewed one at a time. Please include any additional information to help reviewers understand the image.

Degree requirements

In addition to general VCU Graduate School graduation requirements, the M.F.A. program requires 60 credit hours, which students usually complete in two years of full-time study. The majority of credit hours are taken in the student’s area of specialization. Graduate seminars, art history courses and other studio/academic electives round out the graduate student’s individualized program. Studio visits and critiques with visiting artists are an important aspect of the program.

Within the studio concentration, emphasis is placed on self-motivation, individual investigation and the development of professional attitudes and skills. Graduate students are expected to demonstrate a serious commitment to their work and to develop mature ideas and forms of expression. Admission to the graduate program is highly selective and competitive.

Graduate students interact formally and informally with the faculty in their areas and with other faculty members in the School of the Arts. Each graduate student works closely with a faculty committee that meets twice a semester for critiques and discussions. At the end of the first year, students present their work to their committee and departmental faculty in a candidacy review. At the successful completion of the 60 credit hours, a thesis exhibition is mounted at the university’s Anderson Gallery or at an alternative venue. A written thesis is also required.

Curriculum requirements

Take 30 credits in the following course:30
Graduate Studies in Clay
Take six credits in the following course:6
Candidacy Research
Take six credits in the following course:6
Thesis Research
Take nine credits in the following course:9
Graduate Seminar
Graduate art history elective 13
Graduate open electives 26
Total Hours60

Art history: any graduate-level (500 to 799) ARTH course


Graduate open electives: any 500-level or higher graduate course (Permission of instructor or program may apply.)

The minimum total of graduate credit hours required for this degree is 60.

Suggested course sequence

Semester 1Hours
CRAF 641Graduate Studies in Clay9
CRAF 681Candidacy Research3
CRAF 690Graduate Seminar3
 Term Hours: 15
Semester 2
CRAF 641Graduate Studies in Clay6
CRAF 681Candidacy Research3
CRAF 690Graduate Seminar3
Graduate open elective 13
 Term Hours: 15
Semester 3
CRAF 641Graduate Studies in Clay6
CRAF 682Thesis Research3
CRAF 690Graduate Seminar3
Graduate open history elective 23
 Term Hours: 15
Semester 4
CRAF 641Graduate Studies in Clay9
CRAF 682Thesis Research3
Graduate open elective 13
 Term Hours: 15
 Total Hours: 60

Graduate open electives: any 500-level or higher graduate course (Permission of instructor or program may apply.).


Art history: any graduate-level (500 to 799) ARTH course

The minimum total of graduate credit hours required for this degree is 60.

Jack Wax
Professor and graduate program director
(804) 828-1750

Program website: