MFA in Visual Art

Explore the making and theorization of art in the Master of Fine Arts (MFA) in Visual Art program at UBC, Vancouver.

Our program leverages UBC’s research, intellectual culture and resources for your benefit within the context of local and international art communities. Most students are offered the opportunity to teach foundation courses and a third-year theory course as teaching assistants, thus providing valuable visual art instruction experience.


Program Structure

MFA in Visual Art students may work in any area of contemporary art production, including digital art, painting, drawing, printmaking, three-dimensional and installation work, photography, intermedia, video, performance, sound, or in any interdisciplinary form.* 

Program Highlights

  • MFA students receive their private studio (approximately 250 square feet) and access the department’s extensive facilities, including a state-of-the-art photo/digital lab, print media centre, and workshop. 
  • Students participate in an intensive weekly studio seminar that is also a forum for critical discussions about leading issues in contemporary art, visual culture, and cultural theory. 
  • Additional academic coursework is available to enrich the particular focus of students. 
  • Students present the research of their major paper and artwork to peers, faculty, and the public during a final oral presentation (roundtable) that occurs in the late fall of the final program year and at the defence (occurring during their graduation exhibition). 
  • Open studios, interdepartmental critiques, and organized exhibitions showcase students’ art production and broaden their exposure to the local art scene and beyond.

*The program does not include training in applied art (such as ceramics, textiles, and jewelry), commercial art and design, graphic design, film or television.

  • Full-time residency requirement: 24 months (36 credits)
  • Average number of years of residency: two years
  • Studio Seminars: VISA 581 and VISA 582 (24 credits)
  • Research Seminars: VISA 583A and 583B (six credits)
  • Academic Courses (Non-VISA): six credits
  • MFA Major Paper required: yes (VISA 580)
  • Minor area of concentration required: no
  • Qualifying exams required: no

  • Completion of academic coursework component (36 credits)
  • Open studios and inter-departmental critiques
  • Roundtable presentation
  • Final presentation (graduation exhibition, short artist talk and critique with external examiner present)
  • Submission of major paper and digital images of works for departmental archive and short biography and images for the department's web page.

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