The Land Grant MFA, Reimagined

Our Mission

The Master of Fine Arts program seeks highly motivated students who have the artistic and scholarly vision to guide us into equitable, sustainable, and creative futures. We encourage new and rigorous forms of artistic expression and design innovation that transcend typical constraints to make meaningful contributions to the world.

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Fully Funded

Every MFA student receives a full tuition waiver and a generous stipend


Visiting Artists & Scholars

Individual studio visits with an average of 45 visiting artists and scholars throughout the degree


Faculty to Student Ratio

With more than 30 full-time AAHD faculty, a growing list of collaborating scholars, artists, and curators, and 15-18 MFA students, the faculty-to-student ratio is more than 2 to 1.

The MSU MFA program provides students an opportunity to focus within or across disciplines and a forum to push beyond the boundaries of existing art and design paradigms. We do so by offering:
  • Culminates in a thesis exhibition at MSU Broad
  • Teaching opportunities beginning in your second semester 
  • Generous research, summer, and Dissertation Completion Fellowships
  • A customizable, integrated and multidisciplinary program at a research university, with world-class faculty specializing in the arts, humanities, science, technology, education, agriculture, medicine, and engineering
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Interdisciplinary Support – MFA

Hector Acuna

MFA Candidate

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Supportive Cohort – MFA

Andrew Somoskey

MFA Candidate

MSU is the pioneer Land Grant institution and, as such, has as its express mandate “to democratize higher education and expand its opportunities based on merit, not social class."

Our MFA program seeks to expand our empathic understanding, cultivate the voices of underserved populations and ideas, and mitigate and critique damage done to ecologies, marginalized cultures, and the environment brought about by several centuries of colonialist pursuits. Together, we ask how art and design can work with, through, or even against constraints like media, culture, science, technology, capitalism, and society to create sustainable futures built on strong communities that value and maximize the potential of every individual.

The MSU MFA program values and understands diversity. Diversity includes race, ethnicity, gender, age, socio-economic status, religion and politics but also extends to include aesthetic orientation, educational background, job experience, and technical skills. The MFA program seeks students with vision and the potential for excellence, in whatever form that might take.

Vibrant Spaces for Art

The Department of Art, Art History, and Design has a strong relationship with the new Zaha Hadid-designed Eli and Edythe Broad Art Museum, one of only a few contemporary art museums to reside on a university campus. All MFA students have the opportunity to exhibit in the museum as a part of their thesis requirement and can apply for museum employment. In addition, there are several departmental galleries on and off campus for which student assistantships are available.

Visiting Artists, Designers, and Scholars

The department is home to a distinguished lecture series and two artist-in-residence programs: the Visiting Artist & Scholar Lecture Series; the Bridge Artist-in-Residence Program, which brings a group of internationally renowned artists, designers, critics, and scholars to campus each year to explore new artistic forms and transmedia projects; and the Artist/Designer-in-Residence in Critical Race Studies, which is designed to empower cultural transformation through a shared engagement with creative artistic practices.

World-Class Faculty

The program draws from the unique expertise of faculty and technical staff from within the Department of Art, Art History and Design (AAHD) and combines it with that of other world-class faculty from programs across the campus. We are home to more than fifty faculty and staff members, including thirty tenure-system faculty. AAHD faculty have particular strengths in design practice and theory, abstract, experimental, and figurative painting, print media, installation, sculpture, ceramics and materials studies, photography, art and science, digital fabrication and intermedia, apparel and textile design, art criticism, history, and visual culture studies, performative exhibition practices, social practice and activism. 

The MFA program helps students to acquire new tools to develop an art and research practice that is at once specific and broadly informed. That could mean incorporating new ideas into an established discipline, such as ceramics or painting, with the result being new approaches to making. Or, it could involve striking new relationships between disciplines and forms of expertise, finding a liminal, “in-between” space of established research and practice. The curriculum encourages students to explore the university and to be open to new possibilities, ideas, making and research. 

Explore the University

Our faculty and students participate in interdisciplinary initiatives and collaborations throughout MSU’s campus, including…

Digital Humanities

American Indian and Indigenous Studies

Arts and Cultural Management and Museum Studies

Experience Architecture

African and African American Studies

Film Studies

Asian Studies

Women's and Gender Studies

Center for Interdisciplinarity

Global Studies

Apply Today

For Fall 2024 Admission, January 5, 2024

For more information, contact:

Teresa Dunn

Director of Graduate Studies
113 Kresge Art Center