Master of Arts (MA) in Studio Arts

Our graduate programs focus on the development of professional visual artists and rank in the top ten programs at public universities.

For the MA in Art, students focus in two of eight disciplinary areas: painting and drawing, printmaking, ceramics, jewelry and metal arts, sculpture and intermedia, 3D design, graphic design, or photography.

Through workshops, teaching opportunities and interactions with artists, writers, and curators, the program provides a framework for independent methods of artistic development.

In addition to courses within the School of Art, Art History, and Design, our graduate students are encouraged to pursue research throughout the university from an extensive selection of courses offered.

Studio arts areas of focus

Within the studio art division, there are eight studio areas, each with an area head. More information about each area and its faculty can be found on the corresponding page. 

Degree requirements

For the Master of Arts degree in art students focus in two of ten disciplines:

  • Painting and drawing
  • Printmaking
  • Ceramics
  • Jewelry and metal arts
  • Sculpture
  • 3D design
  • Graphic design
  • Intermedia
  • Photography

The MA program requires a minimum of 38 semester hours of graduate credit. The required 38 semester hours includes at least 16 semester hours in a primary studio area; 8 semester hours in a second studio area; and 6 semester hours in the history and theory of art, excluding readings and directed studies

MA students must hold a BA or BFA in art equivalent to that offered by the University of Iowa. Undergraduate deficiencies, if any, may be made up concurrently with graduate study but do not count toward the graduate degree requirements.

MA students undergo a division-wide review for MA candidacy by the faculty during the third semester in residence. All except painting and drawing students must submit a written artist's statement. Students who pass the division-wide review are accepted to the MFA program by invitation only.

MA students in intermedia and video art, and 3D design are required to write a thesis. They may earn 1 semester hour for writing a technical or substantial thesis by registering for ARTS:6000 MA Written Thesis, with approval of the thesis supervisor. Thesis credit earned in an MA program is not applicable toward MFA requirements. MA students in other studio art disciplines choose the thesis or non-thesis option in consultation with their discipline advisor.

Students leave five images of MA work for the Graduate Archive.

MA/MFA Degree Requirement Worksheet


Exterior of Art Building West

Art Building West

The award-winning Art Building West was designed by New York architect Steven Holl. The building opened in 2006 and houses Studio and Art History classrooms, the Art Library, and administrative offices.

Exterior of north side of Visual Arts Building

Visual Arts Building

The Visual Arts Building, also designed by Steven Holl Architects, opened in 2016. Designed to facilitate interdisciplinary collaboration, it is the most up-to-date visual arts facility in the U.S. The site is directly adjacent to Art Building West.

Create your academic path

You'll find degree overviews, requirements, course lists, academic plans, and more to help you plan your education and explore your possibilities.

Current course list

The MyUI Schedule displays registered courses for a particular session and is available to enrolled students. The list view includes course instructors, time and location, and features to drop courses or change sections.

Need more information?

For more information on the University of Iowa Department of Art and Art History MA, please contact:

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