Master of Fine Arts (MFA) in Studio Art

The program information below is valid for the winter 2019 term (January 1, 2019 - April 30, 2019).

The Graduate Studies Academic Calendar is updated 3 times per year, at the start of each academic term (January 1, May 1, September 1). Graduate Studies Academic Calendars from previous terms can be found in the archives.

Graduate research fields

  • Drawing and Painting
  • Digital Media
  • Expanded Media
  • Print Media
  • Sculpture
  • Admit term(s) 
    • Fall
  • Delivery mode 
    • On-campus
  • Length of program 
    • Full-time students will require 5 consecutive terms to complete the program. It is expected and required that students reside in the Waterloo area during their period of
      active enrollment and make regular use of the studios provided.
    • The part-time option takes a minimum of 6 terms to complete; the maximum is 15 terms.
  • Program type 
    • Master's
    • Research
  • Registration option(s) 
    • Full-time
    • Part-time
  • Study option(s) 
  • Minimum requirements 
    • Applications will be considered from those who have completed a four-year Honours Bachelor of Arts (BA) or Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) or equivalent with an 75% average or better.
    • Applicants will be required to complete an application form, provide 20 images of recent work, and a short statement of intention.
    • Applicants without a degree or formal academic qualifications, but showing exceptional promise, may be recommended for admission only in exceptional circumstances. Such prospective applicants should contact the Fine Arts Graduate Advisor prior to submitting
      their application.
  • Application materials 
    • Portfolio
    • Résumé
    • Supplementary information form
    • Transcript(s)
  • References 
    • Number of references:  2
    • Type of references: 

      academic and/or professional

  • English language proficiency (ELP) (if applicable)

    Thesis option:

  • Graduate Academic Integrity Module (Graduate AIM)
  • Courses 
    • In their first term, candidates will carry out work in their chosen area of specialization in FINE 690 Graduate Studio 1 and will also complete at least 1 of 3 required elective courses. In addition, candidates will take the first of a series of seminar courses, 1 of which is required during each Fall and Winter term. These courses will deal with the issues which concern contemporary artists and critics. At the end of the first term, a committee of two faculty members will be selected to oversee the candidate’s studio progress toward thesis completion.
    • Any candidate receiving a grade of less than 75% in one or more classes may be required to withdraw from the program.
    • Following is a term-by-term breakdown of the course requirements:
    • Term One (Fall)
      • FINE 690 Graduate Studio (1.00 credit)
      • FINE 680 Issues in Contemporary Art 1 (0.50 credit)
      • Elective (0.50 credit)
      • Pedagogy Elective (0.50 credit)
      • Teaching Assistantship (TA) with one full time faculty member
    • Term Two (Winter)
      • FINE 691 Graduate Studio 2 (1.00 credit)
      • FINE 681 Issues in Contemporary Art 2 (0.50 credit)
      • Elective (0.50 credit)
      • Teaching Assistantship (TA) with one full time faculty member
    • Term Three (Spring)
      • FINE 692 Graduate Summer Studio (1.00 credit)
      • The Keith and Win Shantz International Research Scholarship program comprises the first half of this term. This involves six weeks, at thirty hours a week, working as an assistant to a professional artist. The second half of this term is continued development of independent studio work. An exhibition and evaluation of this work will take place in September in the Departmental gallery or agreed alternative.
    • Term Four (Fall)
      • FINE 682 Graduate Senior Seminar 1 (0.50 credit)
      • Elective (0.50 credit) (only for those not following the pedagogy option)
    • Term Five (Winter)
      • FINE 683 Graduate Senior Seminar 2 (0.50 credit)
    • Elective courses
      • Candidates must complete 3 half credit (0.50 credit) elective courses as part of their degree requirements. Of the 3 courses, 1 may be taken at the undergraduate level and the other 2 must be taken as either FINE 694 or FINE 695. Candidates may choose from Fine Arts course offerings, or from courses offered by other departments within the University of Waterloo. If the latter option is chosen, the course must be approved by the Associate Chair before registration to ensure appropriateness and relevance. Similarly, a candidate may choose to take a course from another institution with Departmental approval. In all cases where a candidate chooses an elective from outside of the University of Waterloo Fine Arts Department, they must provide the Associate Chair with a full course description and a letter from the instructor confirming that the course will be taken by the MFA candidate at the graduate level.
  • Link(s) to courses
  • Academic Integrity Workshop
    • This is a required workshop. It is for all Faculty of Arts students enrolled in graduate programs and the workshop typically takes place in September.
  • Workplace Hazardous Materials Information System (WHMIS)
    • WHMIS training is a milestone requirement in the MFA program. Candidates cannot use the East Campus Hall (ECH) studios without WHMIS certification. WHMIS workshops are offered online through Waterloo LEARN (to take the online WHMIS course students must first "self-enroll" in the WHMIS course). MFA candidates must take WHMIS training in the first term of their program.
  • Master’s Thesis Exhibit
    • In 4th and 5th terms of second year, the studio is a milestone, meaning that candidates are automatically registered in it by Graduate Studies and Postdoctoral Affairs. The actual exhibition of the student's artwork is considered the thesis and is a required milestone for an MFA in Studio Art degree at the University of Waterloo. The thesis work is accompanied by a Thesis Support Document; an illustrated, written document that is expected to be an insightful and scholarly sound explanation of the candidate's artwork. Both of these must be defended at a date specified by the Associate Chair and follow a specified structure.