MFA Overview

The School and ECU offer a variety of resources to support your studies and work at ECU.


Graduate Manual

The School of Art and Design’s Graduate Manual outlines policies, procedures, and helpful information for graduate students. Please read the entire Manual and keep it handy for reference.

  1. Introduction
  2. Planning Calendar
  3. Financial Aid Overview
  4. Student Health Insurance Plan
  5. Out-of-State Tuition Remission Policy
  6. Graduate Assistantship Policies and Procedures
  7. Graduate Student Advisement and Registration Procedure
  8. Policies Regarding Graduate Degree Programs
  9. Thesis Information and Requirements
  10. The Graduation Process
  11. Appendix
  12. Organizational Chart

Download Graduate Manual PDF

SoAD MFA 2023~24

Registration & Planning

Each semester you meet with area faculty and the Director of Graduate Programs to determine your schedule. Once registration opens, ensure that you register for the next semester’s classes to ensure that your course offerings will be available. It’s imperative that you register on time to ensure that classes will not be canceled due to low enrollment.

MFA Art Curriculum

The Master of Fine Arts is a terminal professional degree in studio art. This is a three-year (60 semester hours) degree. The following are required:

  • 24 s.h. Art core: student’s area of concentration (ART)
  • 12 s.h Art electives (ART)
  • 12 s.h. Art histories (ARTH)
  • 3 s.h. Art 6000 Readings in Art (ART)
  • 3 s.h. General electives
  • 6 s.h. ART 7000 Thesis (ART)
  • Thesis exhibition and written report


Sample Sequence

1. Semester One (12 s.h.)

  • ART Concentration Course 1/8
  • ART Elective Course 1/4
  • ART 6000 Readings or Approved Substitution 1/1
  • ARTH Art History Course 1/4

2. Semester Two (12 s.h.)

  • ART Concentration Course 2/8
  • ART Concentration Course 3/8
  • ART Elective Course 2/4 (ART 6990 Art and Design Pedagogy)
  • ARTH Art History Course 2/4
  • 1st Year Annual Review with Faculty Committee
  • Fulfills 18-ART-credit requirement for teaching

3. Semester Three (9 s.h.)

  • ART Concentration Course 4/8
  • ART Concentration Course 5/8
  • ARTH History Course 3/4

4. Semester Four (12 s.h.)

  • ART Concentration Course 6/8
  • ART Elective Course 3/4
  • ARTH History Course 4/4
  • General Elective Course 1/1
  • 2nd Year Annual Review with Faculty Committee
  • Thesis Committee established
  • Pre-Thesis Research Plan established and approved
  • Pre-Thesis with Thesis Chairperson between Semester Four and Five

5. Semester Five (9 s.h.)

  • ART Concentration Course 7/8
  • ART Elective Course 4/4
  • ART 7000 Thesis 1/2

6. Semester Six (6 s.h.)

  • ART Concentration Course 8/8
  • ART 7000 Thesis 2/2
  • Thesis Exhibition
  • Thesis Artist Talk
  • Thesis Defense
  • Thesis Report Submission VIREO


SoAD Graduate Courses

More Information about the Curriculum

Tuition & Fees

Out of State Tuition Remissions


Federal Financial Aid and Additional Resources
To apply for grants, loans, and some scholarships you must complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). The FAFSA is used to determine your eligibility for federal, state, and university aid programs. Even if you think you may not be eligible, we encourage you to apply. The FAFSA is available on October 1. We encourage you to file your FAFSA online as soon as possible to avoid errors and ensure faster processing. ECU’s priority deadline is March 1.

More Information about FAFSA

Graduate Assistantships

A full-time assistantship is 20 hours per week and pays $12,000 per academic year. You will receive your contract one semester in advance outlining their assistantship obligations and supervisor(s).

Studio art teaching assistantships are awarded to students once you have successfully completed 18 hours (6 classes) of studio art (ART) coursework. Prior to teaching you will complete either a course focused on art and design pedagogy, or complete a semester of observation and mentorship to prepare you for teaching.

During your assistantship, you will receive a mid-point and final evaluation from your supervisor for each assignment/position. If there are any issues with your performance, your supervisor and/or the Graduate Programs Director will meet with you to discuss them. If you do not meet the requirements of your assistantship, do not complete the required hours of work, or are unprofessional you may not receive an assignment the following semester.

For each assignment in your assistantship, you are assigned a supervisor. Your supervisor will direct your work and assign specific responsibilities and tasks. Please note that faculty cannot delegate students to enter grades (utilizing the faculty member’s Pirate ID), utilize a graduate as a personal assistant, or assign tasks beyond the scope of the position. If you believe your assignments are outside the scope of your position, please speak with the Graduate Programs Director.


Research and Creative Achievement Week (RCAW) is a great opportunity to practice your presentation skills, refine how you discuss your work with a general audience and get feedback. RCAW is also a required component of annual reviews.

More Information About RCAW


You’ve reached the end of this road, and you’re ready for new adventures!

Graduation Requirements and Process


We put together a list of answers to the frequently asked questions. Please check it out!

Frequently Asked Questions

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