The Master of Fine Arts in Curatorial Studies at the School of Art & Visual Studies (SA/VS) prepares students for careers in the expanding field of curatorial practice. As the first three-year hybrid (online and residency) MFA in Curatorial Studies in the United States, this practice-based terminal degree uniquely equips graduates for careers in a variety of arts organizations, as well as teaching positions at the college level. Through internships, online courses, and residential seminars, students gain a solid foundation in the history and theory of curatorial practice, as well as practical experience in exhibition development, design, and implementation. With courses in art history, art studio, art education, and arts administration, among others, it offers a dynamic interdisciplinary degree that prepares graduates to be highly competitive in a diverse job market. Courses will be selected in consultation with the Graduate Advisor to take full advantage of the multiple approaches, expertise, and insights of the faculty
Applicants from a range of educational backgrounds may earn a MFA in Curatorial Studies. However, those without an undergraduate degree in Art History, Studio Art, Art Education, or Arts Administration should consult with the curatorial studies Graduate Advisor before applying. The program attracts a highly competitive pool of national and international applicants-many of whom already have some curatorial experience. All admissions will be reviewed by the program’s Graduate Advisor along with a multidisciplinary committee comprised of faculty from art education, art history, and art studio. The requirements otherwise conform to UK general requirements for Graduate School admission.
The Graduate School, which is the administrative unit for all graduate students, and the Curatorial Studies graduate program, which is responsible for the academic curriculum, require different application materials. Application materials for admission to the Graduate School include:
Copies of transcripts from all higher education institutions previously attended, which should be uploaded on the appropriate location of the online application. Domestic students are to self-report GPAs for each institution attended. (Tip: Convert transcripts on colored paper to white with black ink so as not to exceed the megabyte limitation on the online form.)
TOEFL scores and/or IELTS scores if an international student.
Application materials for the Curatorial Studies graduate program are also to be submitted online on the graduate admissions application and include:
A statement of purpose
Sample of research writing (such as an undergraduate research paper or exhibition catalogue essay) or a digital portfolio (if the candidate holds a BA, BFA, or MFA degree in art studio or art education). If an applicant has prior work experience in the field, they may also include documentation of curatorial work along with their writing sample (installation shots, press releases, etc.). Be careful not to exceed the megabyte limitation on the online form.
Contact information in the form of email addresses for three recommenders who will be notified to submit their recommendations electronically to the online system.
Application Deadlines January 1 - for all applicants, including those requesting a teaching assistantship. Students who want an assistantship should send a separate letter that indicates their interest in being considered either by e-mail attachment or in hardcopy form to the Graduate Advisor in Art History & Visual Studies, School of Art & Visual Studies, 236 Bolivar Street, University of Kentucky, Lexington, KY 40506-0090.
The MFA degree will be awarded on the completion of 60 credit hours of graduate course work. Of these, 42 credit hours are “program core” required courses (18 hours of which are guided internships). The remaining 18 credit hours are electives (9 hours of “guided electives” in Arts Administration, and 9 “free electives” that relate to the student’s specific area of interest within curatorial studies).
Program Core - Students are required to take the following courses (at number of credit hours specified):
Guided Electives - Students are required to 9 credit hours of electives in the Department of Arts Administration, choosing from the following:
Free Electives - Students are required to take 9 credit hours in electives in related areas such as Anthropology, Arts Administration, Art Education, Art History, Art Studio, Film Studies, Historic Preservation, History, Literature, Philosophy, Women’s Studies, etc. as determined by consultation with the Graduate Advisor.
MFA Thesis - The degree requires the successful completion of a final exhibition accompanied by a written document. Students will take 6 hours ART 768 in preparation for curating their thesis exhibition (see “program core”). Additional hours of thesis research may be taken if necessary (ART 748 INDEPENDENT THESIS RESEARCH at 0 hours).