metals lead 960


The Metal Program in the School of Art + Design is a comprehensive and professional program of study that encourages and supports aesthetic and conceptual development, technical experimentation and research, personal expression, and technical competency. The program acknowledges and celebrates the diverse and inclusive nature of the field of contemporary metalwork and supports investigations of jewelry, hollowware, objects, and small sculpture. The program simultaneously addresses traditional and new approaches to art making. Traditional approaches include, but are not limited to, raising, casting, enameling, electroforming, fabrication, anodizing, tool making, chasing and repoussé, and granulation. New approaches include, but are not limited to, 3D technologies, resin, porcelain, papermaking, felting, and alternative materials.

The Metal Program is designed for students who are inquisitive, motivated, and self-disciplined. The moderately sized program promotes a vigorous exchange of ideas while providing an intimate, supportive, and nurturing environment that enables continuous faculty and student interaction. The faculty in Metal encourages diversity and respects individual artistic directions while providing challenges necessary for growth. The Metal Program prepares students for future distinctive and professional achievement in the field of contemporary jewelry and metalwork.

U.S. News and World Report ranks the Metal Program in the top 10 of graduate programs in the United States.

MFA Curriculum in Metal

The MFA in Metal is an accredited 64 credit hour, three-year program of study. Coursework is distributed in the following areas:

Metal Courses and Electives 52 hours
Seminar 8 hours, 2 courses
Art History 4 hours, 1 course


MFA candidates are assigned to a seminar course in the fall of semester of their first year. All first-year studio MFA candidates are assigned to this seminar. This is a opportunity for the first-year MFA candidate to establish early relationships with other studio MFA candidates.

Other course selection is determined in consultation with the Program Chair.

MFA candidates receive one credit hour for each significant object completed. The exception to this is for first-year MFA candidates where the focus of the work is on experimentation. MFA candidates are occasionally presented with an assignment.

Group critiques are scheduled weekly. While it is not expected that the candidate will have new work for each critique, the candidate is expected to have made significant progress since their last critique.

MFA candidates are assigned private studios and space in a shared graduate studio.


In consultation with the Program Chair, MFA candidates in Metal select a three-person thesis review committee. Formal selection takes place in the fall semester of year three.

MFA candidates submit a written thesis, a minimum of 40 images of creative work, an image list, an artist's statement, a biography, a four-color postcard, a hardcover promotional iPhoto or MyPublisher book, a current résumé, and a CD-ROM including the same materials to the School of Art and Design Graduate Office and to the Program Chair of Metal at the conclusion of their final semester.

The written component of the thesis carries its own course number, ARTS 595 TH. The subject of the written thesis is topic or issue driven and identified according to the student’s area of interest or area of research.


At the conclusion of each semester, the student's progress and creative work in Metal are evaluated. Each student is required to submit an activity report, current artist’s statement, and up-to-date résumé and articulate a plan for the following semester. These materials are discussed during a one-on-one evaluation at the conclusion of each semester. Each MFA candidate receives a written review of his or her performance. A copy of the review becomes part of the student’s permanent file in the Graduate Office. Eligibility to continue in the MFA program in Metal is reviewed on a semester basis.

MFA students are expected to work a minimum of 40 hours per week on creative work and technical research.

MFA students are expected to maintain a rigorous exhibition schedule, participate fully in departmental activities, attend regional and national conferences and exhibitions, and participate fully in an active visiting artist and lecture program. MFA students are required to submit work to four competitive and or invitational exhibitions each semester.

MFA students are required to participate in the annual metal exhibition held in the spring semester of each year. Additionally, graduating MFA candidates will exhibit in a group exhibition at Krannert Art Museum in the second semester of their final year and are encouraged to seek other venues for comprehensive exhibitions.


Meet Crafts faculty


The School of Art + Design provides personal studio space for each MFA student and 24-hour access to the School's many production facilities that include installation and critique spaces; woodshops; workshops for ceramics, plaster, and metalworking; comprehensive computer and digital output labs; and an extensive equipment checkout system. We also offer the archives of the Krannert Art Museum and the collection of the Ricker Library of Architecture and Art.

Fellowships + Assistantships

Many of our MFA students are funded, and we have teaching opportunities available. Funding is made possible by Graduate Assistantship appointments and by awarding students with grants and fellowships, given out by the School of Art + Design, and by the University of Illinois Graduate College. Our Graduate Assistantships are 9-month appointments, require 10 hours of service per week, include a total stipend of $8,140.50 (for the academic year), and come with a full tuition waiver and a partial campus fee waiver (leaving about $500 per semester for the student to pay). This waiver package alone has an estimated value of $29,000. Tuition for in-state graduate students is $6,708 per semester and for out-of-state graduate students $13,826. Campus fees amount to $1,920 per semester.

Teaching assistants are assigned to teach introductory and intermediate Metal courses. Teaching is viewed as a privilege. The undergraduate curriculum in Metal is articulated by the Program Chair. Teaching assistants receive mentoring on a weekly basis. All submitted course work is evaluated when the assignment is due. All MFA candidates have an opportunity to participate in the review process. Teaching assistants are expected to work collaboratively and encouraged to exhibit the work of their students.

Application Process

Fall admittance only. The deadline for Fall 2020 admissions is January 15, 2020. Get more information and apply to the MFA program online.