Degree Requirements: M.A. Degree

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NOTE: This applies to the M.A. with or without thesis. See section titled “Studio Art Graduate Program Forms for a printable version.

Course Requirements

Studio course credits
including at least:
16 s.h. in the studio major
8 s.h. in the studio minor (from an approved area)
minimum 24 s.h.
Art history and theory of art course (not readings/studies and beginning Fall 2020)
(May be taken on an S/U basis)
minimum 6 s.h.

Theory, History, Criticism or Philosophy
(For Art graduates who began the program BEFORE Fall 2020)
(May be taken on an S/U basis)

minimum 3 s.h.
*Electives, or courses as advised 0 - 8 s.h.
Committee review of studio work in major area  
Studio Division Wide Review  
Participation in M.A. Group Exhibit  

*The total graduate credits must be brought to a minimum of 38 semester hours. 

Students planning to transfer credits from another institution please note that the minimum academic residence requirement for all non-doctoral graduate degrees is 24 s.h. and that course work completed at The University of Iowa must include courses taught by faculty of the SAAH.

Students leave five images of M.A. work for the Graduate Archive.

NOTE: Undergraduate deficiencies, if any, must be made up prior to receipt of the M.A. degree.  See section titled “Admissions” for more information.

M.A. Non-thesis Option

A given Studio Area may encourage a written MA thesis.  Individual students, in consultation with their major adviser, may choose the MA Non-thesis option.

M.A. non-thesis students will provide a preliminary Artist’s Statement followed by an Artist’s Statement the semester they graduate.  The difference between the written thesis (required for the M.F.A.) and statement is that the student will not deposit a statement with the Grad College.

Reviews for M.A. Degree Candidacy

The review process for Studio Division graduate students consists of both a Graduate Degree Committee Review and a Studio Division Wide Review.  The Committee Reviews take place during the student’s third semester, within the major Area, include degree committee members, and are designed to prepare students before the Studio Division Wide Review.

Degree Committee Review

During their third semester of the M.A program, a student requests a faculty member serve as their Degree Committee Chair. Upon the consent of the faculty to serve, the student in consultation with the Chair then selects the rest of the Degree Committee. The M.A. degree committee includes three members of the graduate faculty (assistant professor or above): The Degree Committee Chair and two other faculty members selected by the student in consultation with the thesis adviser. The makeup of the committee must be finalized by the eighth week of the third semester. (See Graduate College rules governing the degree [examining] committee). 

Scheduling the Graduate Degree Committee Reviews for the M.A. degree will be the responsibility of the Chair of each Committee. Committee reviews will consist of a discussion of the student’s work, the presentation of their thesis abstract (a formal, written 1-2 page document given to all your committee members by the eighth week), and the signing of the student’s committee review forms. These forms must be signed by each committee member. Forms from both the First and Second discipline must be returned to the Graduate Program Coordinator by the eighth week of the semester.

Graduate Degree Committee Reviews take place before the Division Wide Review and are the time at which you and your degree committee determine through a review of your work that you may complete the MA degree.  This review is not conferment of the degree nor does it guarantee graduation.

Following the Graduate Degree Committee Review, the Degree Committee recommends that the student proceed for the MA (or that the MA be postponed). Following the Degree Committee’s review, Area faculty make a recommendation to the Director of the School of the School of Art & Art History to admit or not admit the student to the M.F.A. program. The Director of the SAAH makes a final decision regarding admittance and then notifies the student by letter. For the M.A. degree, the decision of the committee is final. For M.F.A. admissions, the decision by the Director is final.

For Graduate Degree Committee Meetings occurring in the summer session the guidelines for the Spring semester are followed.

Division Wide Review

Division Wide Reviews for M.A. candidacy take place at the end of the third semester.   Students must sign up for the Division Review with the Graduate Program Coordinator at the beginning of their third semester. 

On the scheduled day of the Studio Division Review - usually the Saturday immediately following the close of classes - all students proposed for Review will have current examples of work in their First discipline and in the approved Second discipline at the designated exhibition area where all the faculty will have the opportunity to view the works (generally their studio space).

Combined Program in Studio with an Art History minor

A studio art student who wishes to prepare for undergraduate teaching by combining the art history and studio areas may do so at the Master of Arts level. 

Studio art students preparing for both the studio and art history areas may complete an art history minor of 15 semester hours, including the proseminar ARTH:6000 History and Methods and one art history seminar.  These hours are in addition to the University's undergraduate requirement for an art history major and, in combination with the undergraduate hours, must satisfy the distribution requirement for art history.

This distribution is: semester-long courses with a grade of "A" or "B" at the equivalent of our 3000 level or higher, as undergraduate or graduate in each of five of the following fields: African (including Oceanic), Asian, ancient, medieval, Renaissance, Baroque, 18th- and 19th-century European, American (including Pre-Columbian, Native American, and African American), modern/contemporary, and architecture.  See the Art History Graduate Adviser for details.

There should be an art history faculty member on the Degree Committee if the student is using AH as a minor.