MFA in Visual Art

APU’s 37-month, low-residency MFA program accommodates the working artist/educator and centers primarily on studio activity and the integration of faith and art.

The MFA in Visual Art program is a terminal degree that seeks to cultivate the entire person, motivating students to achieve their highest possible level of development and articulation through their art. Along with intensive faculty-student mentoring relationships, students study art theory and practice, historical and contemporary precedents, social context and interaction, audience, and professional presentation.

Program Format

APU’s MFA program accommodates the working artist/educator by requiring students to be on campus for two residencies each year, with students participating in the same cohort for the duration of the program, learning and growing together. Additionally, during these on-site times, students partner with MFA professors, visiting artists, and speakers who serve as artist-mentors, pushing and encouraging students to explore and develop beyond their current aesthetic and stylistic positions.

Individual studio time comprises an essential aspect of the program and offers the opportunity to retreat and augment on-campus interaction (e.g., classroom instruction, guest lectures, peer reviews, mentor direction, and critiques) and emerge with a cohesive and thoughtful perspective on art and faith. Through the consistency that studio time provides, students cultivate the discipline that lays the groundwork for excellence and inspiration. Ultimately, students graduate as artists who naturally integrate their art-making with the major facets of their lives.


ART 501Integration: Theory and Practice I2
ART 510Introduction to Graduate Studies/Critical Issues in Art I2
ART 530Graduate Studio: Special Topics I2
ART 580Critique1
ART 590Independent Studio5
ART 581Critique1
ART 591Independent Studio4
ART 502Integration: Theory and Practice II2
ART 520Critical Issues in Art II2
ART 540Graduate Studio: Special Topics II2
ART 582Critique1
ART 592Independent Studio5
ART 583Critique1
ART 593Independent Studio4
ART 584Critique1
ART 601Integration: Theory and Practice III2
ART 610Critical Issues in Art III2
ART 690Creative Work Project2
ART 594Independent Studio5
ART 585Critique1
ART 595Independent Studio4
ART 602Integration: Theory and Practice IV3
ART 620Critical Issues in Art IV3
ART 695Exhibition Preparation3
Total Units60


University graduate admission and program-specific requirements must be met before an application is complete (see Admission to the University). Program-specific application requirements are available online.

International students should contact Graduate and Professional Admissions for application procedures.

Additional Requirements

Students must complete at least 19 semester units in residence at Azusa Pacific University. Courses are scheduled so that the maximum length of the program is three years and four summers. Classes, critiques, and workshops are held throughout three weeks in July and one weekend in January—these residencies are required, with no exceptions. A maximum of eight years is allowed for completion of the degree.

A 3.0 grade-point average (GPA) is considered satisfactory progress in the MFA program. In the event that the student’s GPA drops below the minimum 3.0, the student is placed on academic probation and given one enrollment period to raise it to the satisfactory level.

Program Learning Outcomes

Students who successfully complete this program shall be able to:
  1. Engage in and contribute toward problems/questions of relevance within the contemporary art world.
  2. Develop advanced research skills and products.
  3. Display an understanding of worldviews and religious issues in relation to the visual arts.
  4. Understand the professional art world, academic context, and personal aspirations.
  5. Prepare to engage in professional exhibitions, conferences, presentations, and publications (function as a working artist).
  6. Pursue serving as an arts educator in an academic context.