University of Guelph Graduate Calendar

Regulations: Master of Fine Arts

Admission as a regular student may be granted, on recommendation of the Department of Fine Art, to:
  1. the holder of a BFA degree (honours equivalent), or an honours BA or its equivalent in fine or visual arts, as set out in 1.1; or
  2. in exceptional cases, the holder of a degree in another field who has completed a minimum of six one-semester courses in fine or visual art; or
  3. a student who has satisfied the requirements for transfer from the provisional student category .

       Each applicant must also submit a portfolio or other appropriate documentation of artwork.

    Minimum Duration
       At least four semesters of full-time study must be devoted to the master's program if the student is admitted as a regular student. For a student registered part-time, the minimum duration is based on the equivalence of three part-time semesters to one full-time semester. A minimum program fee is applied when a part-time student applies to graduate.

       Normally, the thesis must be formally submitted or the program be otherwise completed within forty-eight months of the completion of the minimum duration. Candidates must understand, however , that announced departmental policy may require completion of the degree requirements within a briefer time.

       The student's program is established and progress kept under review by the department . The day-to-day responsibility will rest with an adviser. There will be an advisory committee of at least three graduate faculty members. The chair of the committee is normally the student's adviser. The department is encouraged to involve graduate faculty from other academic units as members of advisory committees.

       The MFA degree at the University of Guelph requires the attainment of a professional level of studio practice and a detailed knowledge of the selected field of specialization.

    Prescribed Studies: A total of twelve courses (10.0 credits) are required for the completion of this program. In addition to individually oriented studio courses, students are required to complete four MFA seminars, two teaching practicum courses, and two graduate art history, theory or criticism courses. These substantive courses comprise the candidate's prescribed studies, in which the student must obtain an overall weighted average grade of at least 'B-' (see the sections on Establishment of Programs and Prescribed Studies). A maximum of two courses outside the Department of Fine Art may be substituted for the art history, theory and criticism courses with the approval of the department and the dean of Graduate Stu dies.

    Additional Courses: In addition to the prescribed studies, the student may take ancillary courses supportive of the special discipline. These courses may be at either the undergraduate or the grad uate level. The standings obtained in them will not affect the average grade of the prescribed studies.

       Each degree candidate will complete a thesis. The MFA thesis consists of an exhibition, a brief supporting paper and an oral examination. Each degree candidate must present an exhibition, performance, or showing of the studio work, as we ll as a brief critical paper of approximately 1,000 words that articulates the aesthetic, historical and technical issues pertinent to the artwork. The submitted studio work must demonstrate a professional level of competence and a significant aesthetic i nvestigation, as approved by the candidate's master's examination committee.

    External Examiner: To advise on the exhibition/paper and to attend the master's examination, an external examiner from outside the university may be appointed by the department chair, in consultation with the adviser and the graduate co-ordinator. The external examiner will submit a written appraisal of the exhibition/paper to the department chair. The external examiner is expected to attend the master's examination and to assist in evaluating all aspects of the candidate's performance.

    The exhibition/paper may be completed at any time of the year, but candidates must bear in mind the desirability of having the final examination as much in advance of the deadline date as possible. Candidates should be aware of the deadlin es schedule, a copy of which may be obtained in Graduate Program Services. Candidates should discuss their thesis write-up with their advisers early in the final semester.
       Following the master's examination, the candidate, if successful, will submit the paper and the photographic record of the exhibition to the department where they will be retained permanently.

    The Master's Examination: At the time of the exhibition, the MFA candidate will be expected to successfully complete a final oral examination devoted chiefly to the MFA exhibition with reference to the supporting critical paper. This is a departmen tal examination identified as the master's examination. The master's examination committee normally consists of three or four members appointed by the department chair, as follows:
    • A member of the graduate faculty of the department, who is not a member of the advisory committee, to act as chair of the master's examination committe e and to make arrangements therefor;
    • A member of the candidate's advisory committee (normally, the adviser);
    • A member of the associated graduate faculty or of the graduate faculty who may be a member of the advisory committee;
    • A fourth member may be appointed from among graduate faculty from another department, from the department or from the advisory committee, according to departmental and/or examination requirements. The fourth member may be an external examiner.
       If possible, a member of another department should be included on the committee.
       The department chair is responsible for notifying the dean of the composition of the committee, and for reporting to the dean the outcome of the examination, via the Report of the MFA Examination Committee.
       The examination committee is expected to review the exhibition and the critical paper. The student is examined orally on the contents of the exhibition and the paper. Viewing the exhibition may take place over several days; the oral exam ination should take place following the viewing and must involve all members of the examination committee, including the external examiner (if applicable), as well as the candidate. Both of these components constitute the master's examination. The examina tion is open to the public; members of the audience may question the candidate only upon invitation of the chair of the examination committee.
       The examination is passed and the exhibition/paper approved if there is no more than one negative vote. An abstention is regarded as a negative vote. The report to the dean of Graduate Studies will record the decision as unsatisfac tory or satisfactory. If unsatisfactory, the candidate may be given the opportunity of a second attempt. A second unsatisfactory constitutes a recommendation to the Board of Graduate Studies that the student be required to wit hdraw (see the sections on Unsatisfactory Progress and Appeal of Decisions).

    Copies of the Paper: A photographic record of the exhibition and a copy of the critical paper is retained in the department.

    Department Regulations
       In addition to meeting the university MFA regulations regarding the thesis format, the candidate must submit appropriate visual documentation of the MFA exhibition as well as the supporting critical paper to the chair of the department f or inclusion in the department archives.
       The department may have specified regulations in addition to those described in this calendar. The student is responsible for consulting the department concerning any such regulation. University regula tions, as specified herein, take precedence and may not be overruled by any department regulation.