M.A. in Studio Art Overview

For Studio Art, the UMKC Department of Art and Art History only offers the Master of Arts Degree, which is not the terminal degree in studio art and will not qualify candidates to teach on the University level.  The M.A. in studio art has the following emphasis areas: painting, drawing, printmaking, photography, digital imaging, motion design, and graphic design. Most students will take the majority of their coursework as independent study classes under the direction of one faculty member in the graduate student’s area of emphasis. Students must decide which single emphasis area they plan to pursue before they apply for graduate school in the Department of Art and Art History.

Applications for Graduate Study in Studio Art

Application deadline is February 1 for the Fall semester and October 15 for the Spring semester. There is no summer semester admission.

How to Apply:

  • To Office of Admissions
    • Application ($35 online, $45 paper)
    • Transcripts
  • To Department of Art & Art History, Attention: Graduate Advisor in Studio Art
    • Portfolio of recent work on CD is with 15-20 images (jpeg/bmp/QT/AVI/Flash)
    • Listing the images’ titles, dates, sizes and media (hard-copy)
    • CV/resume
    • Personal statement, addressing:
      1. Reason(s) for pursuing admittance into graduate-level study,
      2. Reason(s) for choosing UMKC’s Department of Art & Art History as educational institution,
      3. Focus of art work,
      4. Ultimate professional ambitions, and
      5. Why you should be selected for the M.A. program.
    • Three letters of recommendation from art professionals or professors

Applications are reviewed by a committee of Studio Art faculty.

Student Learning Outcomes

Students graduating from this program will:

  • Have an advanced knowledge of a specialized area of studio art.
  • Develop creative, conceptual and technical skills in a variety of visual media to produce work that can effectively contribute to the larger creative community.
  • Communicate ideas visually, verbally, and through the written word.
  • Recognize and understand the relevance of global art history to the current practice of art.
  • Develop professional skills.
  • Be proficient in adapting technology for the creation of works of art, including computer skills and digital photography.
  • Students graduating with an M.A. in Studio Art will be prepared for entry into an M.F.A. program or the job market.

Degree Requirements

A minimum of 36 graduate credit hours is required for the M.A. degree in studio art, including a minimum of six hours of ART 5599, and three courses in Art History on the 400- or 5000-level. Additional courses are determined in consultation with the discipline advisor and the supervising thesis committee. Courses are usually three credit hours each and are offered at both the 400 and 5000 levels. Any course counted as part of the required 36-hour minimum must be taken for credit. Students may take no more than 14 hours of 400-level classes (40 percent of a 36-hour program). Any 400- or 5000- level course taken for graduate credit must be completed with a grade of B- (2.7) or better in order to be counted toward the M.A. degree.

Each student’s program of study is designed in consultation with the lead professor in the primary discipline, who will be their principal art advisor. There is no general distribution requirement within the studio courses taken, but the student’s choice and mix of classes needs to be approved by their art advisor.  Courses in disciplines outside the Art and Art History department may be applied toward the degree with the preapproval of the student’s principal art advisor.

Thesis Committee

After completion of an 18 to 21-hour minimum, the student selects a thesis committee.  Normally, the faculty member in the student’s major studio discipline is requested to act as chair of the thesis committee in addition to two other faculty members who have been asked by the student to serve on the committee. The chair of the thesis committee must be on the graduate faculty.  Members of the thesis committee may include other studio faculty, an art historian or a faculty member from another department within the University. Typically, all three members of the thesis committee are faculty with whom the student has had some association. At this stage, the thesis chair consults with the student, who then submits a Master’s Degree Program of Study form to the principal graduate advisor. This form is forwarded to the chair of the Department of Art and Art History, the dean of The College of Arts and Sciences and the Graduate Office.

M.A. Qualifying Exam (Review)

At some appropriate time after the completion of 18 to 21 hours toward the M.A. degree and before the beginning of the thesis, a review of the student’s studio work by the chosen thesis committee is held. The purpose of this review is to determine the readiness of the student to engage in thesis-level work. For this review, the candidate presents a body of studio work representing both their present accomplishments and the potential for a thesis project. The student will also submit a prospectus for the intended thesis work. In an oral discussion with the thesis committee, student will explain the concept of the thesis and how this work will contribute to their continued art production. The committee will ask questions of the student and assess the progress of the work in order to determine whether the student should be allowed to advance to the final hours of class work leading to thesis. The thesis committee must approve the research plan and has a right to refuse it if the student does not have an available thesis project. If the prospectus is refused, the committee will make suggestions on how to improve the thesis proposal and a second review will be scheduled at a future date. Additional coursework may be recommended.

Thesis Procedure

The student plans a body of work to pursue a clearly identified artistic concept in consultation with his/her committee. An Appointment of Thesis Committee form with the names of the student’s committee members is filled out by the student in consultation with the departmental principal graduate studio advisor and sent to the associate dean for graduate studies of the College of Arts and Sciences as well as to the Office of Graduate Faculties and Research.  If, at any point during the thesis process, the student’s committee is changed, an updated version of the form must be resubmitted. It is the responsibility of students to notify the principal graduate studio advisor of any changes in the composition of their committee, allowing the proper forms to be corrected.

At the beginning of the final semester of the student’s program of study, he or she must fill out Intent to Graduate form, available online and from the Office of Registration and Records. This form enables the student to be placed on the graduation roll and on a mailing list to receive materials concerning graduation and other important information. If, for some reason, the student does not graduate that semester, he or she is required to file another form the subsequent semester. The deadline for the Intent to Graduate form is listed in the front part of each semester’s catalog of courses.

Review of Thesis

(Defense/Public Manifestation of Work)
Upon completion of the thesis body of work, the student presents the work to his or thesis committee for final review and approval.  This review must be in the form of a public exhibit or performance. This exhibit can be held in the UMKC Gallery of Art or any other public location within the Kansas City metropolitan area.

Summary of Forms

  1. Master’s Degree Program of Study – filled out by the student and the graduate advisor/principal advisor in the department.
  2. Recommendation for Appointment of Advisor or Supervisor/Examination Committee form – filled out by the student and the graduate advisor in the department.
  3. Report of Results of Examination for Master’s Degree Students Form – filled out by the chair of the thesis committee and mailed to the Office of Graduate Records.
  4. Intent to Graduate – filled out by the student at the Records Office in the Administrative Center (no faculty signature required)
  5. Thesis Review/Examination – filled out by the chair of the thesis committee and mailed to the Office of Graduate Records.