The MFA in Visual and Performing Arts is a terminal degree which prepares students as professional artists and scholars who can work within their specialty and teach at the university level. Creative work and skill building are at the core of the study. The curriculum is designed for serious and talented students who are prepared to examine modes of creative inquiry in an inclusive, unique environment that promotes exploration, analysis, synthesis, and development as artists.

Admissions

Applicants to all graduate programs at George Mason University must meet the admission standards and application requirements for graduate study as specified on the Graduate Admissions policy page. Specific graduate admissions requirements can be found on the College of Visual and Performing Arts Graduate Admissions requirements page.

Concentration in Dance

The MFA in Visual and Performing Arts, concentration in Dance, is a highly selective 60-credit program of study grounded in the modern dance genre that emphasizes mastery in performance, choreography, and teaching in higher education. Applicants must have significant (5 years or more) professional performance experience in modern or ballet at the national or international level. They must also demonstrate professional competence in choreography as exemplified by a significant body of work, and have experience teaching technique at the advanced level.

Specific graduate admissions requirements can be found on the College of Visual and Performing Arts Graduate Admissions requirements page.
 

Concentration in Graphic Design

The MFA in Visual and Performing Arts, Graphic Design concentration, is a terminal degree that offers creative students a broad study of design as well as the development of skills for teaching at the university level. The 60-credit program includes courses in typography, web and motion design, user experience, and branding. Coursework in theoretical and historical design will supplement the studio experience. The broad range of study is intended to develop design educators and professionals, preparing them for the ever-evolving field of design. Admission is selective, ideal applicants should possess a BFA degree in graphic design and a significant design portfolio, reflecting professional achievement. 

Specific graduate admissions requirements can be found on the College of Visual and Performing Arts Graduate Admissions requirements page.

Concentration in Theater

The MFA in Visual and Performing Arts with a concentration in Theater is a highly selective program designed for theater artists with some professional experience who continue to work professionally during their course of study.  Students are admitted to a specific emphasis: Acting, Design & Technology, or Directing. A program of study will be designed for each individual, based on their area of expertise, previous experience and professional goals.

Specific graduate admissions requirements can be found on the College of Visual and Performing Arts Graduate Admissions requirements page.

Concentration in Visual Art

The MFA in Visual and Performing Arts with a concentration in Visual Arts is a highly selective 60 credit terminal degree that prepares students to become professional artists, work in technology or arts-related fields, and teach at the university level. Coursework includes research in areas of study that include New Media, Painting and Drawing, Photography, Printmaking, Sculpture, and InterArts. Students have the opportunity to combine art forms in projects that may be installation, performance, publishing, time-based, or writing-based, and combine creative and critical approaches in their work.

Specific graduate admissions requirements can be found on the College of Visual and Performing Arts Graduate Admissions requirements page.

Policies

Program Requirements

Candidates are required to complete 60 credits, of which 30 are made up from core requirements. An additional 30 credits are based on concentration area and comprehensive experience.

MFA concentrations include:

  • Dance
  • Graphic Design
  • Theater
  • Visual Art

While the faculty anticipate that students will work through their coursework as described in this catalog, individuals with extensive professional accomplishment may craft an individualized program that meets curricular requirements. Individualized programs require the recommendation of the Graduate Committee within the student's respective school as well as the approval of the CVPA Associate Dean.

Banner Code: AR-MFA-VPA

Degree Requirements

Total credits: 60

Students should complete all requirements within the concentration to which they have been admitted. Candidates are required to complete 60 credits, of which 30 are made up from core requirements. An additional 30 credits are based on concentration area and comprehensive experience.

Concentration in Dance (DANC)

The MFA in Visual and Performing Arts, concentration in Dance, is a highly selective 60-credit program of study grounded in the modern dance genre that emphasizes mastery in performance, choreography, and teaching in higher education.

Core Degree Requirements

Research Methods
AVT 600Research Methodologies3
Graduate Seminar
Two credits of2
Graduate Dance Seminar
Writing Seminar
AVT 621Art Writing Seminar3
Advanced Aesthetics
DANC 598Philosophy and Aesthetics of Dance3
Studies in History/Theory/Contemporary Trend
DANC 615Contemporary Trends3
Teaching Practicum
DANC 627Advanced Teaching Seminar3
Directed Reading
AVT 796Directed Reading1
Project
Six credits of6
Directed Choreography/Project
Thesis
Six credits of6
Thesis
CVPA 600CVPA Graduate ProSeminar 10
Total Credits30

Concentration Requirements

DANC 510Contemporary Movement Theories3
DANC 560Advanced Choreography3
Three credits of3
Advanced Dance Performance
DANC 571Residency Workshop3
Three credits of3
Internship
DANC 672Dance Production3
Select 12 credits from the following:12
Advanced Modern Dance (must be taken for a minimum 6 credits)
Advanced Ballet (must be taken for a minimum 3 credits)
Total Credits30

Concentration in Graphic Design (GD)

The MFA in Visual and Performing Arts, concentration in Graphic Design offers students a comprehensive study and preparation for the graphic design profession. The program includes courses in typography, web design, image making, and brand design, as well as prepares students for an academic career in Graphic Design. The broad range of study is intended to develop professionals prepared for an ever-expanding graphic design field.

Core Degree Requirements

Research Methods
AVT 600Research Methodologies3
Graduate Seminar
Eight credits of8
Graduate Design Seminar
Writing Seminar
AVT 621Art Writing Seminar3
Advanced Aesthetics
AVT 613Experiential Design History3
Studies in History/Theory/Contemporary Trend
AVT 618Visual Communication Theories3
Teaching Practicum
Four credits of4
Teaching Practicum
Directed Reading
AVT 796Directed Reading 13
Project
Six credits of6
Directed Project and Exhibition (6 credits) 1
Thesis
Three credits of3
Thesis 1
CVPA 600CVPA Graduate ProSeminar 20
Total Credits36

Concentration Requirements

AVT 614Brand Identity Design3
AVT 617Advanced Typography3
Select 6 credits from the following:6
Special Topics in Graphic Design
Advanced Web Design
Independent Study
Special Topics in Art and Visual Technology
Other graduate studio courses as approved by director
AVT 641Graduate Graphic Design I3
AVT 646Graduate Graphic Design II3
AVT 647Advanced Graduate Graphic Design l3
AVT 648Advanced Graphic Design II3
Total Credits24

Concentration in Theater (THR)

The MFA in Visual and Performing Arts, concentration in Theater, is a terminal degree that prepares students to become professional artists, work in theater or arts-related fields, and teach at the university level.

Core Degree Requirements

Research Methods
AVT 600Research Methodologies3
Graduate Seminar
Two credits of2
Graduate Seminar
Writing Seminar
THR 652Writing Seminar3
Advanced Aesthetics
AVT 621Art Writing Seminar3
Studies in History/Theory/Contemporary Trend
Six credits of6
Advanced Dramatic Theory and Criticism
Teaching Practicum
THR 655Teaching Practicum3
Directed Reading
THR 796Directed Reading1
Project
THR 797
THR 798
Project Preparation
and Project Practicum
6
Thesis
THR 799Thesis (3 credits)3
CVPA 600CVPA Graduate ProSeminar 10
Total Credits30

Concentration Requirements for All Emphases

THR 539Aesthetics for the Theater3
THR 560Advanced Script Analysis3
THR 691Professional Development3
THR 790Directed Research3
Total Credits12

Track Requirements

In each area of emphasis, students must pick either a professional or academic track. Students in the professional track will complete at least three additional credits in practical production experience over and above the core in the following:

Select 3 credits from the following:3
Graduate Field Experience
Advanced Acting Practicum
Advanced Playwriting and Dramaturgy Practicum
Advanced Directing Practicum
Advanced Design Practicum
Total Credits3

Students in the academic track will complete at least three additional credits in practical teaching over and above the core in the following:

THR 755Academic Track Practicum3
Total Credits3

Emphasis Requirements

With the approval of their mentor, students will have the flexibility to select courses from Emphasis areas:

Select 15 credits from the following:15
Acting Emphasis:
Advanced Musical Theater Workshop
Special Topics for Graduate Study
Independent Study
Acting Mentorship
Acting Techniques
Graduate Field Experience
Advanced Acting Practicum
Design & Technology Emphasis:
Topics in Theater Design
Special Topics for Graduate Study
Independent Study
Design Mentorship
Graduate Field Experience
Advanced Design Practicum
Seminar in Arts Management
Performing Arts Management
Festivals and Special Events
Arts Entrepreneurship
Issues in Interactive Entertainment
Advanced Music and Sound for Games
Experimental 2D Animation
Experimental 3D Animation
Advanced Topics: New Media
Hybrid Animation
Documentary Filmmaking
Fiction Film Directing
Special Topics
Directing Emphasis:
Directing Techniques
Special Topics for Graduate Study
Independent Study
Directing Mentorship
Graduate Field Experience
Advanced Directing Practicum
Academic Track Practicum
Documentary Filmmaking
Fiction Film Directing
Special Topics
Musical Theater Emphasis:
Advanced Musical Theater Workshop
Special Topics for Graduate Study
Independent Study
Acting Mentorship
Acting Techniques
Graduate Field Experience
Advanced Acting Practicum
Academic Track Practicum
Graduate Applied Music
Opera and Musical Theater Ensemble
Independent Study
Playwriting & Dramaturgy Emphasis:
Advanced Playwriting Workshop
Special Topics for Graduate Study
Independent Study
Graduate Field Experience
Advanced Playwriting and Dramaturgy Practicum
Directors and Dramaturgs in Collaboration
Total Credits15

Concentration in Visual Art (VART)

The MFA in Visual and Performing Arts, concentration in Visual Arts, is a terminal degree that prepares students to become professional artists, work in technology or arts-related fields, and teach at the university level. Students select an emphasis in one of the following: New Media, Painting and Drawing, Photography, Printmaking, Sculpture, or InterArts. Students have the opportunity to combine art forms in projects that may be installation, performance, publishing, time-based, or writing-based, and combine creative and critical approaches in their work.

Core Requirements

Research Methods
AVT 600Research Methodologies3
Graduate Seminar
Six credits of6
Graduate Seminar
Writing Seminar
AVT 621Art Writing Seminar3
Advanced Aesthetics
AVT 507Advanced Aesthetics3
or AVT 599 Special Topics in Art and Visual Technology
Studies in History/Theory/Contemporary Trend
AVT 620Theory, Criticism, and the Arts3
Teaching Practicum
Four credits of4
Teaching Practicum
Directed Reading
AVT 796Directed Reading3
Project
Six credits of6
Directed Project and Exhibition
Thesis
Three credits of3
Thesis
CVPA 600CVPA Graduate ProSeminar 10
Total Credits34

Note:

AVT 796 Directed Reading/AVT 798 Directed Project and Exhibition/AVT 799 Thesis involves a study of the historical basis for a studio project; an independent creative production suitable for public viewing; and a written thesis documenting the evolution of the creative problem and exploring the intention, purpose, and relative success of the finished project. 

Concentration Requirements

Select 9 credits from the following:9
Independent Study
Special Topics in Art and Visual Technology
Other courses as approved by director
Three credits of3
Special Topics in Art and Visual Technology
AVT 610Graduate Seminar2
AVT Emphasis Courses12
Total Credits26
Areas of Emphasis
InterArts
Select 12 credits of any 500 - 600 level AVT course as approved by the division director. InterArts graduate students may combine courses from studio areas of emphasis (as indicated below) and work with faculty to design an interdisciplinary thesis project.12
Total Credits12
New Media Art
Select four from the following courses:12
Advanced Art and Interactivity
Graduate Sound Art
Experimental 2D Animation
Advanced Image Making
Video Art
Experimental 3D Animation
Advanced Topics: New Media
Hybrid Animation
Total Credits12
Painting and Drawing
Select four courses from the following:12
Drawing V
Drawing VI
Special Topics in Art and Visual Technology ( Must be approved by advisor)
Advanced Drawing
Graduate Painting I
Graduate Painting II
Advanced Graduate Painting I
Advanced Graduate Painting II
Total Credits12
Photography
AVT 652Graduate Photography I3
AVT 653Graduate Photography II3
AVT 654Advanced Graduate Photography I3
AVT 655Advanced Graduate Photography II3
Total Credits12
Printmaking
AVT 642Graduate Printmaking I3
AVT 643Graduate Printmaking II3
AVT 644Advanced Graduate Printmaking I3
AVT 645Advanced Graduate Printmaking II3
Total Credits12
Sculpture
AVT 662Graduate Sculpture I3
AVT 663Graduate Sculpture II3
AVT 664Advanced Graduate Sculpture I3
AVT 665Advanced Graduate Sculpture II3
Total Credits12

Note:

Mason does not guarantee the availability of these courses every semester; some are offered in alternate years.