Studio Art MFA

Painting • Sculpture • New Media


The Studio Art (MFA) program supports diverse forms of specialized research within a common environment of artistic production and critique. Guided by specialists in a variety of traditional and experimental forms, each MFA candidate develops a body of work in the context of expansive discussions about art's aesthetic, social, economic, and political dimensions. Specialization through thesis research prepares students to work in contemporary fields of art wherein medium-specific histories present secondary (though important) concerns within a broader exploration of art's evolving functions and forms.

Program faculty members are all working artists, exhibiting and presenting in regional, national, and international settings.

The MFA degree prepares students for participation in a broad range of professional contexts from gallery exhibition and art commission to curating, publication, or activism. Our graduates often also seek teaching positions in postsecondary college and university settings and typically accrue some teaching experience to this end by serving as instructors in our undergraduate programs.

Students in the Studio Art MFA program (Painting, Sculpture, New Media) benefit from a unique range of possible collaborators and advisors across the university. Historically, students have developed connections within the College of Fine and Applied Arts through coursework in Architecture, Landscape Architecture, or Theatre or across the campus through study in such areas as Gender and Women’s Studies, Media and Cinema Studies, History, or English/Creative Writing.

The twin cities of Champaign-Urbana present many opportunities for creative cultural production; larger urban centers (Chicago, Indianapolis, and St. Louis) are only two and a half hours away, offering destinations for galleries, exhibitions, symposia, and professional connections.

See the online exhibition for the 2020 MFA graduates

Meet current MFA students

See a list of recent alumni


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.

Core Faculty

Conrad Bakker – alternative economies of art production and distribution, thing theory
Ryan Griffis – experimental geography, political ecology, aesthetics of the regional, collaboration, documentary media 
Ben Grosser - software, networks, social media, surveillance, computer vision, computational agency
Kevin Hamilton – interactive media, telepresence, research methodologies, history of technology
Patrick Earl Hammie – painting, figuration, self-portraiture, race, gender and identity
Laurie Hogin – painting, neuroscience, landscape and ideology, color, desire, materialism, narrative
Emmy Lingscheit - printmaking, post-natural world, systems
Guen Montgomery – objects, materiality, the everyday, gender and identity
Melissa Pokorny – sculpture, landscape and memory, collecting, nature/culture, magic
Joel Ross – narrative, photography, sculpture. text/image, nationalism, identity, legality
Deke Weaver – narrative, performance, animality, myth, ecology, storytelling

Meet more of our faculty


We offer a Master of Fine Arts (MFA) degree in Painting, Sculpture, and New Media. In this program, students work under the supervision of faculty from three different graduate areas (Painting, Sculpture, and New Media) to develop bodies of work in a variety of media and disciplines. The degree requires at least 64 graduate credit hours over three years of residence, culminating in a thesis project that includes an exhibition component (participation in the MFA exhibition in the Krannert Art Museum) as well as a written component. A curriculum overview can be found here.


We have teaching opportunities available, and full funding is offered to most of our MFA students. Financial support 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 that require 10 hours of service per week. They include a stipend, and they come with a full tuition waiver and a partial campus fee waiver (leaving about $500 per semester for the student to pay).


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