Painting (ARTS)

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Degree Offered: M.F.A.

This program is offered in Durham.

The Department of Art and Art History offers a program of courses leading to a master of fine arts degree in painting. The MFA program is directed at students who are prepared to complete their professional training at the highest level.

Admission Requirements

A bachelor of fine arts degree in painting or the equivalent in undergraduate coursework (minimally this means 60 credit hours in studio art and 8 credit hours in art history) is required for admission to this program. Additionally, a minimum undergraduate GPA of 2.6 is required. Prospective students must submit 20 images of recent work to be reviewed by the graduate faculty of the Department of Art and Art History. Images should be emailed to art­ as individual attachments (maximum 1MB/image) in one email. The body of the email should contain only the applicant’s full name and that they are applying for the MFA Painting program.

Arts/History & Studio (ARTS)


Course numbers with the # symbol included (e.g. #400) have not been taught in the last 3 years.

ARTS #846 - Advanced Painting

Credits: 4

Development and refinement of technical skills leading to more advanced conceptual problems will be emphasized. Along with structured in-class work, graduate students will be required to develop sustained out of class projects in consultation with the instructor. May be repeated for a total of 8 credits. Prereq: permission.

ARTS 897 - Seminar in Art History

Credits: 4

Topics and prerequisites to be announced before preregistration. May be repeated with permission instructor up to a maximum of 12 credits. (Also offered as ARTS 799.)

ARTS 932 - Graduate Drawing

Credits: 6

Structured to emphasize developing skills and to explore techniques to create invented and observed space. Drawing will be considered as an inventive tool to extend the students' repertoire of ideas. May be repeated for a total of 12 credits. Prereq: advanced drawing; permission. Special fee.

ARTS 932T - Graduate Drawing (Teaching)

Credits: 6

This course intends to encourage the practice and study of drawing and introduces students to approaches to the teaching of drawing. Students work on projects designed to develop individual bodies of work in drawing and explore the teaching of drawing through development of course syllabi and observation of Introductory Drawing courses. The course includes discussions and demonstrations of the use of slides, reproductions, digital imagery, and critiques in the teaching of drawing. Special fee.

ARTS 996 - Independent Study in the Visual Arts

Credits: 1-6

C01 - Drawing; D01 - Painting; E01 - Printmaking; I01 - Painting in Italy; L01 - Art History. An opportunity for independent study in the above listed disciplines. The content and structure of the course will be developed through collaboration of the graduate student and the supervising faculty member. May be repeated for a total of 18 credits in any one area. Prereq: undergraduate degree in studio art and permission.

ARTS 997 - Graduate Painting Thesis

Credits: 10

The Graduate Painting Thesis is the culmination of the MFA student's graduate work in painting. The course requires: 1) continued work in the studio under supervision of graduate faculty; 2) a more formal midterm critique with graduate faculty (oral summarization of thesis work); 3) extensive work with The Art Gallery in preparation for the MFA Thesis Exhibition (including hanging the exhibition); 4) the thesis exhibition itself; and 5) an oral presentation to the faculty during the thesis exhibition.

ARTS 998 - Graduate Painting Seminar

Credits: 4

Students meet once a week for a three-hour structured session of painting from life under the supervision of the instructor. Students are expected to apply the information gained in these sessions to the development of their individual bodies of work in their studios. Additional requirements could include readings, presentations, gallery and museum visits, discussions, and critques. Special fee.