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Our MFA in Visual Art program is an interdisciplinary program that offers students a site for rigorous inquiry, intellectual generosity, and professional preparedness.

As part of the Sam Fox School of Design & Visual Arts at Washington University, a tier-one research institution, our expansive facilities and studios serve as a think tank for intellectual and material experimentation across disciplines within the school and the university. Students also have opportunities to engage with the city of St. Louis which serves as both an extension of the studio and site of engagement for art and artists.

Led by associate professor and chair Tiffany Calvert, the MFA in Visual Art (MFA-VA) program is an inclusive, close-knit community of renegade makers and thinkers. It instills students with the agency and resiliency essential for this generation of artists. The MFA-VA curriculum professionally prepares students for a diversified approach to the field of contemporary art that nurtures sustained, lifelong engagement while recognizing multiple pathways and definitions for a career in the arts and culture.

Curriculum and student work

In Graduate Studio, students work independently with the guidance of a primary faculty mentor as well as individual studio visits with a broad range of other faculty and visitors.

Group Critique is the heart of the curriculum. A mix of first- and second-year students meets for rigorous weekly critiques to share new work and engage in lively, constructive, and challenging discussion.

A sequence of required Graduate Seminars engages students in research methodologies and prepares them for professional careers in the arts. MFA-VA students can enroll in electives across the school and the university that build upon their research interests. Students also participate in workshops to build essential technical and professional skills.

See the full curriculum.

Jul 26, 12 – 4pm • Sam Fox School

Explore graduate programs in WashU’s Sam Fox School at this summer open house. Join us for overviews of our programs and the admissions process, followed by lunch, a school tour, and optional campus tour.

Graduate Programs

  • Master of Architecture
  • Master of Landscape Architecture
  • Master of Urban Design
  • MS in Advanced Architectural Design
  • MS in Architectural Studies
  • Dual and Joint Degrees in architecture, landscape architecture, and urban design
  • MFA in Visual Art
  • MFA in Illustration & Visual Culture
  • MDes in HCI and Emerging Technology

Lunch will be provided. This event is free, but registration is required.

Featured student work

Faculty and peers

Our faculty are nationally and internationally recognized for their diverse practices, which engage complex territories on the environment, race, politics, material culture, science, and the human condition. Thwarting conventional silos, many work across disciplines and collaborate with practitioners in other fields.

Several Sam Fox School faculty hold joint appointments in other departments at WashU, so they are poised to connect you with other research areas at the university.

Learn about our faculty’s work.

Facilities and opportunities

MFA-VA studios are located on Weil Hall’s second and third floors, providing abundant natural light. Each student gets their own 180-square-foot, loft-style studio space. Installation spaces throughout the studio areas allow students to convene for critiques, student-curated exhibitions, and impromptu gatherings.

The school operates three wood and metal shops, with tools for plaster and mold-making, foundry, as well as ceramics facilities with several kilns. Our digital fabrication lab features industry-grade tools such as laser cutters, 3D printers, a large-format CNC milling machine, vacuum and thermoforming, a knife plotter, and more. Interior shop courtyards and exterior patios support the production of large-scale work.

Check out our facilities.

Scholarships and fellowships

Over 92% of incoming graduate students at the Sam Fox School received a partial or full-tuition scholarship.

Socially engaged practice

The Office for Socially Engaged Practice brings faculty and students at the Sam Fox School together with communities to work on socially engaged projects in St. Louis and around the world.


Take our virtual tour, or schedule a campus visit! There’s no better way to get a feel for the program and what opportunities St. Louis has to offer emerging artists.


Otherwise is the official publication of the MFA in Visual Art program in the Sam Fox School at WashU. To request a print copy via mail, click here.

Request more information