MFA in Sculpture

The MFA in Sculpture is a two-year, studio-intensive program that focuses on amplifying students’ creative work within the context of an ongoing and immersive critical discourse. Sculpture shares material, process, language, technology, and history with aspects of our social and physical infrastructure and can offer direct access to the complex questions and problems embedded within both. Using this sense of immediate connection to the world as a point of departure, graduate sculpture at BU offers a challenging yet supportive environment for artists who actively envision new potentials for the future of art itself.

The hallmarks of our program are intimacy and intensity. With a primary emphasis on studio practice, students work across the broadest possible range of fabrication techniques and material production, as well as exploring cross-disciplinary and genre-defying creative possibilities. In addition to regular studio visits with SVA’s core graduate faculty, students have extensive one-on-one contact with numerous internationally renowned visiting artists, curators, writers, and critics. Weekly group critiques, thematic seminar courses, professional symposia, technical workshops, and field trips add to the wide-ranging and immersive conversation that forms the basis of the department’s studio culture.

The MFA program in Sculpture remains committed to providing a platform for the incorporation of highly distinctive voices from social, economic, cultural, and geographic positions consistently underrepresented within the field of contemporary art. Our curriculum is designed to balance intensive critical conversation informed by art historical and cultural theory with a grassroots studio-driven discourse framed by the plurality of our students’ individual perspectives. Students are encouraged to deepen their relationship to their specific areas of interest and to broaden their creative horizons by engaging with the extensive academic, technical, and human resources available within the University community at large.

Learning Outcomes

All students graduating with a Master of Fine Arts degree in Sculpture from the Boston University School of Visual Arts are expected to exhibit:

  1. Sustained individual creative practice: Students demonstrate a sustained, self-directed, professional level of studio-based practice and/or creative exploration. As a function of this, they continually develop specific areas of thematic and material/technical focus within their creative work. In addition, students acquire and demonstrate significant technical expertise; judicious and specific use of technology, material, and craft; as well as inventive versatility in the face of significant creative obstacles.
  2. Comprehensive awareness of the field and its historical legacies: Students build a significant breadth of knowledge of and critical engagement with art history and cultural theory, as well as awareness of the range of thematic questions and material/technical approaches being explored within the field of contemporary art. Students gain the ability to situate their own work in relation to the varied histories of art practice and craft tradition, as well as the agency to contest hierarchical, canonical, or otherwise hegemonic narratives within the Western art historical tradition.
  3. Development and application of critical language skills: Students develop the ability to clearly articulate the complexity of their own work, both verbally and through writing. The interpretation of an individual student’s own work and that of their peers is based on the ability to situate the work in dialogue with the field of contemporary art and in relation to global histories of art, as well as through the ability to identify and articulate specific aesthetic, cultural, ideological, political, and/or ethical positions evident therein. The use of language—in all its forms and formats—is positioned as a tool not just for the purposes of describing students’ work, but for motivating further discoveries and creative catalysts that drive the work further.
  4. Demonstrated understanding of professional practice: Students regularly practice professional standards of exhibition design, installation, and documentation in weekly critiques, end-of-semester reviews, independently curated projects, and as a function of their thesis exhibitions. Students also gain experience with other forms of professional practice, such as pedagogical development, protocols and standards for employment and grant applications, studio-visit etiquette, website development, personal finance and tax preparation for artists, and guidance in seeking exhibition opportunities (among others).

Program of Study

The MFA in Sculpture is a 60-credit program that requires an average of four semesters to complete. Students may only enter in September.

The College of Fine Arts Policies for Graduate Students apply to this program. Students must earn a minimum of 60 course credits in graduate-level coursework (500 level or above).

Fundamental to the curriculum of graduate studies in sculpture is a well-rounded studio practice with extensive exposure to a plurality of contemporary perspectives. The program balances individual creative production with a wide range of curricular activities such as: reading and research; topical seminar courses; critical analysis and interpretation of student work; collaborative projects; and travel to galleries, museums, and cultural events within the Boston area and beyond. At the end of each semester, student work is reviewed by the core faculty and a guest critic from the field. At the end of the fourth semester, graduating students mount a public thesis exhibition in a professional gallery, where the work is reviewed by a thesis panel. The exhibition is accompanied by the MFA exhibition catalogue, which includes a written thesis statement by each MFA student.

Graduate Sculpture CFA AR 821, 822, 823, 824 (9 cr each) 36 cr
Graduate Seminar/Discussion CFA AR 843, 844, 845, 846 (3 cr each) 12 cr
Liberal Arts elective (GRS or CAS, 500 level or above) 4 cr
Art or General electives, 500 level or above 8 cr
Total credits 60 cr