Graduate Review

Before a student is allowed to participate in the MFA Thesis Exhibition, the student must pass a series of three reviews. The first review takes place in February of the first year, the second in November of the second year, and the third and final review in March/April of the second year. Students must pass each review in order. Only after passing the third and final review is the student cleared for participation in the MFA Exhibition.

The Graduate Review Committee

By the end of the first semester of their first year, students are required to submit to the Graduate Secretary, a list of three graduate faculty members who will comprise the student's Graduate Thesis Committee. One of the three will serve as chair/major professor, normally a faculty member from the student's area of specialization. Additional members may serve as guests and may come from outside the division or School of Art.

Students select Committee members by asking a range of faculty members to their studio for a conversation about the student's work. Based upon these conversations, students invite three faculty members to serve on the committee. Normally, committee members serve for the duration of the thesis. If a student wishes to drop a member from the thesis committee, they must notify the Graduate Advisor/Major Professor and the Graduate Coordinator and provide a substitute member.

Students should maintain regular contact with committee members between official reviews, by periodically re-inviting them to their studios to view work in progress.

Location of the Review

Reviews will be conducted in students' regular studios. If, for whatever reason, that space is inappropriate, arrangements should be made to hold the review in another location within the School (i.e. vacant classroom). Permission to use an alternate space must be obtained at least two weeks before the review.

Review Statement

At least one week prior to the review, students must submit a one-page statement of purpose to all Committee members. The documents should frame relevant issues and serve as a template for discussion during the review.

Results of Review

Immediately following the review, the Review Committee Chair will meet with the student in order to communicate the substance of the Committee's opinion on progress toward the MFA exhibition. The Committee Chair also prepares a written summary of the Committee's discussion, which is then submitted to the Graduate Secretary for inclusion in the student's permanent file.

The Graduate Review Committee will either:

  1. pass the student to the next review, or in the case of the third review, the MFA exhibition, OR
  2. deny the student's passage to the next review

Should the Committee deny passage to the next review, a "re-review" will be scheduled 4-6 weeks from the date of the first review. During this period the student must address the issues raised by the Committee and demonstrate progress toward established goals.

If, in the judgment of the Committee, the student has not progressed in addressing issues raised, the Committee will impose one of the following courses of action:

  • withdrawal of assistantship funding. (The student may continue study without funding and reapply for an assistantship in the next admission cycle. The decision will be made by the committee following a review of recent work.)
  • dismissal from the program.


Any appeal of the Committee's decision will be brought to the School of Art's Graduate Standards Committee within four weeks for discussion. Any further appeals should be filed in accordance with procedures outlined by the Graduate College.