MFA Art Practice

The Department of Art & Art History offers a Ph.D. degree in Art History and M.F.A. degrees with fields of study in Art Practice, Documentary Film and Video, and Design.

  • Graduate Program:  Master of Fine Arts in Painting, Sculpture, Photography, New Genres

    The M.F.A. program provides a rigorous and demanding educational environment appropriate to the needs of strongly motivated students. Participants are chosen for the program on the basis of work that indicates artistic individuality, achievement, and promise. The faculty seeks those who demonstrate the intellectual curiosity and broad interests best served by work and study within the university context.

    The many resources of our university, including the Cantor Arts Center, the libraries, visiting artists and critics - when coupled with the program curriculum and the ongoing development of personal studio work - provide an exceptional base for a significant and rewarding educational experience.

    The program invites and encourages non-traditional as well as traditional, art practices, and supports interdisciplinary projects. While our categories of application are loosely defined by media (painting, sculpture, photography), work that eludes media definition, or crosses boundaries (new genres), is welcomed.

    The program is limited to ten students. Five are graduated each year, and five admitted from an applicant pool of approximately one hundred and twenty-five. No transfer credit is accepted. Students are required to be in residence at Stanford for the full two years of the program.

    Individual studio space is provided at the Bleeker site, three buildings located in a remote and quiet section of the campus. The studios vary in size from 300 to 800 square feet. Students have access to woodworking and machine shops, and the photo and digital labs. Many of our students also utilize the Product Realization Lab in the School of Mechanical Engineering.


    Information Session Dates

    In the Fall, we hold several informational meetings so that we can familiarize you with the art practice program and answer any questions you might have. We understand that for many applicants a visit is not feasible, so please be assured that those applicants who we do meet are not privileged in the application process.

    During the visit, you will meet with faculty members and current graduate students, and have a tour of the facilities. Prospective students should plan to be here for 2 1/2 hours. These visits may occur before the application or once you have applied, but must be scheduled in advance. 

    Please note that we do not conduct interviews, nor do we view portfolios on such occasions. Visitors have the opportunity to see our studios. We do not  receive visitors in the winter quarter who are applying for admission to the following September term.  New dates are posted by the end of July each year. Click on date below to register:

    Monday, October 21, 2013 at 12:30 PM
    (Faculty: DeMarinis & Berlier)
    Tuesday, November 5, 2013 at 1:00 PM  (Faculty: DeMarinis & Wight)

    Thursday, November 7, 2013 at 1:30 PM (Faculty: DeMarinis & Chagoya)
    Thursday, November 14, 2013 at 12:30 PM (Faculty: DeMarinis & Leivick)
    Thursday, December 5, 2013 at 1:30 PM (Faculty: DeMarinis & Xie)

    Friday, December 13, 2013 at 12:30 PM (Faculty: DeMarinis) PLEASE NOTE ADMISSION DEADLINE 12/10/13.


    ** To cancel, please email Vanessa Bravo, within 24 hours of your appointment.


    To get in touch with a faculty member in a specific area, you should contact them directly:

    Terry Berlier, Assistant Professor (Sculpture)


    Enrique Chagoya, Professor  (Painting & Printmaking)


    Paul DeMarinis, Professor (Electronic Media) and Director of Graduate Studies


    Joel Leivick, Professor (Teaching) (Photography)



    Camille Utterback, Assistant Professor (Emerging Practices)

    Gail Wight, Associate Professor (Electronic Media)



    Xiaoze Xie, Professor (Painting)



    Faculty Advisors

    Each entering student is assigned a faculty advisor, who leads the advisee's review committee, provides direction in course selection, oversees the student's teaching, and maintains ongoing cognizance of the student's progress throughout the two years.



    There is one mid-year review for the purpose of evaluating student participation and progress in the first year. Anyone judged to be making inadequate progress will be placed on probation and will require an additional review at the end of the next quarter, or any time during that quarter that the faculty advisor deems necessary. Failure to pass the probationary review will result in dismissal from the program. Each student is expected to make a formal presentation of his/her work to the faculty review committee, and to meet challenges and field questions raised by the committee members.


    Financial Aid

    The Department is fortunate in being able to offer financial aid to all admitted M.F.A. students. Through a combination of fellowship funds, college work-study, and teaching assistantships each student receives an aid package that includes tuition and stipend. Each year students must complete the FAFSA form (submitted to the Federal processing center) and the Stanford supplemental aid form (submitted to the Student Services Administrator and the Graduate Financial Aid Office) in a timely manner in order to determine eligibility for various funds.


    Visiting Artist Program

    The Department of Art & Art History has an ongoing program that brings visiting artists, critics, and other arts professionals to Stanford for the purpose of broadening our community, of adding to the vitality and diversity of the art practice program, and of directly interacting with our students. The visitors typically lecture on their work, make visits to the individual M.F.A. studios, and often meet with the students in a group forum. In the past years, the list of visiting artists included: [a shortened list]


    Laylah Ali Dennis Adams Janinie Antoni Polly Apfelbaum
    Judith Barry Zoe Beloff Gretchen Bender Xu Bing
    Sutapa Biswas Nayland Blake Victor Burgin Oron Catts
    Mel Chin Albert Chong Kim Dingle Arnold Dreyblatt
    Alec Finlay Howard Fried Kenneth Goldsmith Andy Goldsworthy
    Guillermo Gomez-Pena Yair Guttman Ann  Hamilton Jane Hammond
    Dave Hickey Mildred Howard David Ireland Alfredo Jaar
    Ronald Jones Ilva Kabakov Martin Kersels Suzanne Lacy
    David Levinthal Glenn Ligon Heike Liss Bernie Lubell
    Kerry James Marshall Raymond Pettibon Judy Pfaff Manuel Ocampo
    Charles Ray Tim Rollins Nancy  Rubin Allen Ruppersberg
    Ed Ruscha Alan Sekula Jeanne Silverthorne Lorna Simpson
    Alexis Smith Kiki Smith Robert Storr Masami Teraoka
    Mark Thompson Richard Tuttle Camille Utterback Carrie Mae Weems
    Inkie Whang Krzysztof Wodiczko    


    Paris Studio

    Stanford University maintains a Paris studio apartment. The Departments of Art & Art History, Music, Drama, Film, Dance, and Creative Writing may nominate one student each for this studio residency. The Associate Dean of Humanities and Sciences then makes the final selection of two students for six-month residencies. The residency takes place following graduation from the M.F.A. Program.  The M.F.A. Program has placed graduating students in the Paris Studio the past two years.

    Director of Graduate Studies (DGS) in Art Practice:
    Paul DeMarinis

    Rev 7/30/13

Boy Sharpening a Quill


Jean-Baptiste Simeon Chardin

Photo credit: Scala / Art Resources, NY

J'al des papillons noir tous les jours

Silk, paper, plexiglass, lights, electronics, 2800 bug pins

Gail Wight

Students shooting a project



Acrylic on Shaped Canvas

Matt Kahn