Jul 25, 2024  
2017-2018 Graduate Catalog 
2017-2018 Graduate Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]


Professor James Sullivan, Interim Division Chair

Professors: Michael Corris, Barnaby Fitzgerald, James W. Sullivan, Philip Van Keuren
Associate Professor: Brian Molanphy
Assistant Professor: Melanie Clemmons, Caitlin Berrigan
Senior Lecturer: Eileen Maxson
Adjunct Professor: Susan Kress


Facilities for the study of art include well-lighted studios, excellent supporting equipment for all media, including digital and video applications, and individual studios for graduate students. The Division of Art will provide every graduate student with dedicated individual or group workspace for his or her studies. Art students work broadly and as experimentally as they wish, surrounded by artists in dance, music, theatre, film and communications.

The Division of Art will provide every graduate student with individual work-space, unless the Division of Art chair decides otherwise. It is the responsibility of each student to make full and proper use of the space provided or lose the privilege. The division has no obligation to provide studio space for longer than two years.

Additional facilities include the Pollock Gallery, the art exhibition space of the Division of Art, located in the Hughes-Trigg Student Center. Exhibitions organized by the Pollock Gallery provide students, faculty, staff and the surrounding community with opportunities to experience a wide and thought-provoking array of exhibitions representing diverse artists, time periods and cultures.

Special Programs and Resources

The division offers two special programs of importance to graduate students: the New York Colloquium (a winter interterm program that fulfills a three-hour art history requirement) and a summer program at SMU’s campus near Taos, New Mexico, for which a student can receive up to six hours of graduate studio credit. During the New York Colloquium, students visit a range of New York museums, galleries, artists’ studios and other venues appropriate to the development of their critical and professional studies in art. SMU-in-Taos, the program at Fort Burgwin, near Taos, offers several approaches to independent and directed study each summer, including plein-air painting, an interdisciplinary studio workshop, sculpture, photography and printmaking.

The Dallas-Fort Worth area has a large artistic community with rich and varied resources. These include many internationally and nationally significant museums and contemporary exhibition spaces: the Dallas Museum of Art, SMU’s newly designed Meadows Museum, the Nasher Sculpture Center, the Dallas Contemporary, the Crow Collection of Asian Art, the Latino Cultural Center of Dallas, the McKinney Avenue Contemporary, the Arlington Museum, the Kimbell Museum, the Fort Worth Museum of Modern Art and the Amon Carter Museum. There are also vibrant, artist-run alternative and cooperative galleries, and a growing commercial gallery system.


Graduate students are admitted into the M.F.A. program only in the fall term. Candidates for the program must complete the online application available at http://www.smu.edu/Meadows/Admissions/Graduate. Additionally, candidates must upload to SlideRoom (www.smu.slideroom.com) a portfolio including 20 selections of their work. Portfolio submissions are due by February 1. Students are encouraged, but not required, to seek an interview with the division’s graduate adviser prior to application. Admission to the graduate program is selective. Only those individuals will be admitted in whom the Admissions Committee recognizes clear prospects for attaining the objectives of the program during the two-year period of graduate study. Admission also is based on the objectives and limitations of the department.

The applicant is required to have a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree equivalent to that offered at SMU (including 60 studio hours and 12 art history hours). In exceptional cases, unusually qualified applicants not holding this degree may be considered for admission. The ranked admission criteria are portfolio, statement of intent, transcript and recommendations.

In general, not more than six credit hours of transfer credit apply to the M.F.A. in art. However, if the applicant has an M.A. in studio art, up to 30 credit hours may be transferred to the SMU program with the approval of the faculty and the head of the graduate program. In any case, a minimum of 36 hours must be taken at SMU.

Scholarships and Financial Aid

Each year up to six Meadows Scholarships are reserved for incoming graduate students, awarded based upon artistic merit. These awards are for up to full tuition and fees remission and include teaching assistant stipends of $3,000 per academic year. A number of other scholarship programs offer significant funding for projects, materials and travel in support of creative research.

Graduation Requirements

With the approval of the graduate committee, each student will participate in the M.F.A. Qualifying Exhibition. The M.F.A. Qualifying Exhibition is a group show of all graduate student candidates in their final semester. Approval to exhibit must be obtained in the term prior to the exhibition. This approval usually is given at the critique at the end of the prior fall term.

The quality of this exhibition will be the primary determinant of whether the M.F.A. degree will be granted. Once approved for the M.F.A. exhibition, the student must enroll in ASAG 6304 - M.F.A. Qualifying Exhibition, Oral Exam and Thesis  in the spring term with the chair of his or her graduate committee.

During the period of the graduate exhibition, the entire faculty will interview each student. This examination is to establish that the student’s creative work is of sufficient maturity and that his or her general knowledge of critical and historical issues is at the level expected of an M.F.A. candidate. Students are also expected to present an oral defense of his or her work, a slide presentation in the form of a professional artist lecture, a written thesis, as well as the following: an artist statement, 20 images of work produced during the graduate program, a current curriculum vitae, and a list of work in the graduate exhibition. This information should be presented in digital format. Students may not graduate unless this information is accepted and on file.

If the faculty finds the oral and written review to be unsatisfactory, the student will have the option for a single retake within 10 days of the first review. The student will not be eligible to receive his or her degree after a second failure. Once the exhibition and the faculty examination are accepted and the required materials are turned in, the student will receive his or her degree at the graduation ceremony at the end of the term.

Possession of Work

Meadows School of the Arts is entitled to retain as many as two pieces of work by each student. The intention is to honor the successful candidate and to provide evidence of student success in lieu of the usual formal thesis. These works enter the University art collection.

Graduate Committees and Critiques

With the exception of the graduate seminars and the required coursework in art history, graduate study proceeds primarily through individual tutorials with members of the faculty, guided by a three-person graduate committee. Prior to the beginning of each semester of study, the Graduate Advisor will appoint three members of Faculty to serve as Committee members for the forthcoming semester. The Graduate Advisor, in consultation with the members of Faculty so selected, will nominate one individual to serve as Chair of the Graduate Committee. Graduate committees can change beginning with a student’s second or third term. Membership on the graduate committee becomes permanent at the beginning of the student’s second year except for substitutions for faculty who are on leave. Upon the return of a committee member who has been on leave, he or she will resume his or her place on the student’s committee.

This committee will critique the student at least once every month during each term in which he or she is registered for studio credit. These critiques are normally held the first week of each month, and it is the student’s responsibility to arrange these critiques. 

Graduate Reviews

At the end of each term, a selection of completed work and ongoing work and a written statement discussing the term’s progress will be presented for review to the entire faculty of the division. Continuation in the graduate program is on a term-to-term basis and is determined by the graduate committee with the advice of the faculty at the critique at the end of the term.





      In registering for courses in art, the course number must be preceded by the appropriate subject code prefix for credit to be properly recorded. The ASAG sequence of seminars and independent study comprises the core of the graduate curriculum. Courses in individual disciplines, at or above the 5300 level, also are available for graduate credit.