MFA Program


M.F.A. Graduate Program Director:
Nobuho Nagasawa (
Graduate Secretary:
Lisa Perez (

Current Graduate Student Biographies

The Master of Fine Arts at the State University at Stony Brook is a flexible 60 credit three year terminal degree program combining studio practice and critical inquiry. Ideally located halfway between the art centers of New York City and the Hamptons, Stony Brook offers a unique opportunity to study in a quiet and spacious setting while maintaining close contact with the pulse of the art world.

Our M.F.A. program limits its residencies to no more than 20 students. Students are provided with individual studio space at the graduate studios at Nassau Hall, a facility that also features large common spaces, shops and computers. Foundry, metals, and wood shops; a ceramics studio; darkrooms and a shooting studio; printmaking studios; and five digital labs and video facilities are located in the Staller Center. A variety of exhibition venues are available on campus. Students are expected to participate in a regular cycle of solo and group shows in the Graduate Gallery, and to contribute work in their final year for the annual M.F.A. exhibition in the University Art Gallery.

The Department of Art also offers graduate degrees in art history and criticism with an emphasis on 20th century and contemporary art. M.F.A. candidates are encouraged to enrich their practice and studies by taking courses in art history and criticism, or in some other area of the liberal arts. They may choose to pursue one of a number of graduate certificate programs including Art and Philosophy, Cultural Studies, and Women’s Studies. A written thesis is required for completion of the M.F.A. degree. Students also gain valuable teaching experience first as observers and then as teachers of their own undergraduate level courses for a minimum of two semesters.



The heart of the M.F.A. program is a dedicated facility at Nassau Hall. Each M.F.A. student is provided individual studio space and there are large common spaces used regularly for discussion, temporary exhibitions or installations, and documentation of work. The facility also features work spaces that include a wood shop and several networked computers for imaging (including color scanner and printer), HDV/DV video editing, audio editing and sequencing, web design, animation…



In addition to the requirements of the Graduate School, the following information and prerequisites should be noted:

Admission for full-time study will be granted to begin in the Fall semester only. Students are not accepted into the M.F.A. program on a part-time basis. Admission into the M.F.A. program is at the discretion of the graduate faculty with final approval of the Graduate School. Admission to the program assumes a minimum of a B average in undergraduate work and meeting the standards of admission to the Graduate School. The minimum TOEFL score for admission is 550 (paper) or 213 (computer) OR an IELTS total score of 6.5. In order to teach, which is a requirement for the M.F.A., any graduate student whose native language is not English must score 55 or above on the TSE or SPEAK test OR obtain a score of 7.0 or better in the speaking component of the IELTS test. The website for ETS (TOEFL) is

All candidates for the M.F.A. program must enter with a minimum of 40 semester hours of credit or the equivalent of undergraduate work in studio art in a B.A., B.S., B.F.A., or similar program. Applicants should also have a minimum of 15 semester hours of credit in art history, theory, or criticism.  At the discretion of the graduate faculty, those without sufficient background may be advised to complete further undergraduate coursework prior to acceptance and admission to the program. Decisions by the graduate art faculty on these matters are in addition to, and not in lieu of, the general requirements of the Graduate School.

For further information, contact the MFA Graduate Program DirectorGraduate Program Secretary  and consult the Graduate School web page.

A number of paid teaching assistantships with partial tuition scholarships, academically based fellowships, Graduate Council, and Turner fellowships are available on a competitive basis. Incomplete application will not be reviewed, so please read the application guidelines carefully. Complete applications must be received no later than January 15th to be considered for the Turner and Graduate Council Fellowships.
Final application deadline has been extended to March 15th.

Application Guidelines:

Applicants should follow the standard application procedure required of all potential students.  This includes the submission of transcripts, resume/CV, letters of recommendation and statement of purpose. More information can be found at

In addition, the following should be submitted directly to the Art Department:

  • Statement of Purpose / Artist Statement: (250-500 words) describing the applicant’s reason for pursuing graduate study.
  • Resume/CV: Applicants must submit a resume which should include professional experience as well as related activities, such as research, awards and exhibitions.
  • Visuals: 20 visual images with short project description (100 words).  Still images should be less than 5 MB and videos should not exceed 60MB.

All applicants must submit these files BY ONLY using to

Stony Brook University is an equal opportunity educator/employer. AA/EOE

Graduate School Application Information



The department accepts only full-time students into the M.F.A. program.

A. Course Offerings
Courses are offered in painting, drawing, sculpture, printmaking, digital arts, photography, ceramics, and ceramic sculpture.  In addition, studio courses offered through other departments may satisfy studio requirements, subject to approval by the studio art faculty and the MFA Program Director.

B. Liberal Arts Requirement
Students are required to take three graduate liberal arts courses (in art history and criticism, literature, history, anthropology, philosophy, musicology, dramaturgy, cultural studies, women’s studies, comparative literature, among others). A coordinated five courses can allow completion of a graduate certificate program, including Art and Philosophy, Cultural Studies, and Women’s Studies.

C. Demonstrations of Studio Proficiency
All M.F.A. candidates should demonstrate proficiency through the development of a comprehensive body of work.  Proficiency is determined by the faculty through periodic evaluation of the work, including mid-term and final critiques each semester, and thesis exhibition review by the student’s thesis committee in the third year.

D. Final Year and One-Person Exhibition
During the final year, in addition to regular coursework, the student will prepare a one-person thesis exhibition for the Graduate Library Gallery or some other suitable venue on campus.  As part of the thesis requirement, the student will submit to the department appropriate visual documentation (color slides, photographs, digital images, videos) of the exhibition and a written commentary which conforms to the Graduate School’s requirements for master’s theses.  The written thesis should complement the visual work as an articulation of the student’s thoughts and objectives within the broader context of arts and ideas.  Third-year students will also participate in the University Art Gallery’s annual M.F.A. group exhibition.

E. Teaching Requirement
All graduate students are required to assist in teaching a minimum of one semester; this course offers three credits toward the M.F.A. degree under ARS 531. In addition, the Art department requires a preliminary semester of observing in the course to be taught under faculty supervision during the following semester. The semester of observation offers an optional three credits toward the degree. Beyond the three or six credits teaching practicum applied toward the degree, all other teaching by students with Teaching Assistantships is part of their obligation and is done without academic credit.

F. Course Requirements
The student will be required to complete successfully 60 credits of graduate work, as outlined in the list of courses below. No graduate studio course may be taken for more than three credits per semester.

  1. ARS 550 In Process Critique (3 credits) to be taken during the first year. May be repeated and counted towards studio credits.
  2. At least nine graduate studio courses (27 credits).
  3. Two semesters of ARS 580 Visual Arts Seminar (6 credits). Additional Visual Arts Seminars are encouraged.
  4. Three courses in graduate liberal arts, e.g., art history, languages, literature, philosophy, etc. (9 credits).
  5. ARS 531 Graduate Teaching Practicum (see item E, above) (3-6 credits).
  6. ARS 532 Thesis Project (up to 6 credits).



Vito Acconci, artist
George Adams, art dealer
Emily Apter, Historian and Theorist, NYU
Laurie Anderson, artist
Maria Jose Arjona
Geoffrey Batchen, art historian
Boshko Boshkovic, Curator and Critic
Claudia Bosse
Norman Bryson
Judith Butler, literary critic
Peter Campus, artist
Steve DeFrank
Brett Cook-Dizney, artist
David Colosi, artist
C. Ryder Cooley
Renee Cox, artist
Ricardo Dominquez, media artist
R. Luke DuBois, artist/musician/programmer
Anoka Faruquee, artist
Cui Fei, artist
Tom Finkelpearl, museum director
Coco Fusco, artist/writer/curator
Joseph Grigley, artist
Guillermo Gomez-Pena, artist
Jay Grimm, art dealer
Doug Ischar, Artist
Alfredo Jaar, artist
Emilia Kabakov, Artist
Miguel Luciano artist
Kobena Mercer, critic, Middlesex University
Elizabeth Murray, artist
Philip Pearlstein, artist
Lucio Pozzi, artist
George Quasha, Artist, poet, artist corporation
Alluequere Rosanne Stone, theorist
Jeanne Silverthorne
Francesco Simeti, artist
Michael Webb
Linda Wintraub, Artist, writer
Krzysztof Wodiczko, artist
Saya Woolfalk, artist
Midori Yoshimoto, Gallery Director
Pamela Z, performer/vocalist/artist

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