May 28, 2024  
USC Catalogue 2021-2022 
USC Catalogue 2021-2022 [ARCHIVED CATALOGUE]

Fine Arts (MFA)

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A two-year program administered in collaboration with the Graduate School, the Master of Fine Arts is a professional degree in the practice of art preparing students to pursue careers as professional artists. With an influential and innovative faculty and expansive facilities, the MFA program is one of the most ambitious, energetic and forward-thinking MFA programs in the United States. In addition to close, constant interaction with the faculty artists, students participate in regular seminars, lectures, discussions, and studio visits with leading visiting artists, critics, curators and theorists from around the world. The school’s immersion in the contemporary art community is a critical component of the MFA program.

The opportunity to gain experience as a teaching assistant is available on a competitive basis. All incoming students, regardless of country of citizenship, are considered for departmental funding and teaching assistantships.

Program Requirements

At least 48 units are required for the Master of Fine Arts, to be distributed as follows:

and 18 units of 400- or 500-level electives:

  • 8 units outside of the Roski School and
  • 8 units of departmental electives within the Roski School
  • 2 units either outside the Roski School or within the Roski School


Roski MFA thesis committees will comprise three faculty members. Two members will be Roski faculty, defined as any faculty currently teaching in either the MA or the MFA program with either full-time, part-time or adjunct appointments, tenure track or non-tenure track. The third member can be any full-time tenure track or non-tenure track USC faculty member, either within the Roski School or from outside Roski. Thesis committees are ultimately subject to approval by the school dean.

Master of Fine Arts students are evaluated by faculty during reviews held near the end of each semester. Before a student is recommended for the Master of Fine Arts, a comprehensive review of past work and professional goals is held. An exhibition of work at the end of the course of study and a written thesis, documented with visual material, complete the Master of Fine Arts program. A minimum grade point average of 3.0 on all graduate work is required for the Master of Fine Arts degree.

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