Master of Fine Arts (MFA)

Thesis-based program

Program overview

The Master of Fine Arts engages students in a deep exploration of visual art as practice-based creative research, drawing together the technical and interpretive skills required of a professional arts practice. Students work with a range of media or focus on a specific medium, and are given studio space and full access to the resources of the department. This includes full-scale silkscreen and lithographic presses, large-format digital printers, and photo and sculpting studios. The program culminates in a final exhibition and a comprehensive written support paper reflecting your understanding of related critical and historical issues. A photographic record of your exhibition remains in the Department of Art and Art History's archives. The Master of Fine Arts is widely recognized as the pathway to becoming an artist-teacher at institutions of higher learning in North America.

Completing this program

  • Core Courses: In each term students complete a studio course and graduate seminar.

  • Exhibition: Students will show their work in an exhibition as a program requirement.

  • Art History and Critical Study: Students will take courses in research methods, art theory and criticism, critical study and research, and a conference course in Art History.

  • Supporting Paper and Oral Exam: Students will prepare a paper and undergo a final thesis oral exam.


  • Sculpture
  • Printmaking
  • Photography
  • Painting
  • Drawing
  • Media Art and Technology


Development of very competitive Research and Creation Artists in various field of inquiry, active practitioner artist, opportunity to be course instructor

A master’s degree in art will give you the pre-requisite for a PhD.

Thesis-based program

Students are required to prepare a thesis and successfully defend in an open oral defense.


Eight courses, including studio courses in each year of the program

Learn more about program requirements in the Academic Calendar

Classroom delivery

Time commitment

Two years full time; four years maximum


A supervisor is required, but is not required prior to the start of the program

Fees and funding

See the Graduate Calendar for information on fees and fee regulations, and for information on awards and financial assistance.


Learn about faculty available to supervise this degree.
Please note: additional supervisors may be available. Contact the program for more information.

  1. Susan Cahill

    Susan Cahill

    Accepting Inquiries
  2. Jennifer Eiserman

    Jennifer Eiserman

    Seeking Students
    Cultural Diversity in Art Education, Digital Art, Giftedness and Art Education, Visual Midrash
  3. Denis Gadbois

    Denis Gadbois

    Accepting Inquiries
    Photography, Design,
  4. Jean-René Leblanc

    Jean-René Leblanc

    Accepting Inquiries
  5. Placeholder Profile Image

    Heather Leier

    Accepting Inquiries
  6. Jim Parker

    Jim Parker

    Accepting Inquiries
    Game Design, Generative Art, Machine Perception, Virtual Theatre
  7. Dona Schwartz

    Dona Schwartz

    Accepting Inquiries
    Research Creation with a focus in photography

Admission requirements


A minimum of 3.0 GPA on a 4.0 point system, over the past two years of full-time study (a minimum of 10 full-course equivalents or 60 units) of the undergraduate degree.

Minimum education

A four year baccalaureate degree, or equivalent from a recognized institution.

Work samples

A portfolio of 20 images of recent work submitted as a single PDF. Up to five minutes of video documentation may be submitted as links within this document. Please ensure the images are in jpeg format/300dpi/no larger than 1080 pixels in any dimension, and include their title, dimensions, medium and year. Add links to the video(s) (via YouTube, Vimeo, personal website,etc) along with one reference image, with title, length and year.


  • A three-to-five page statement of intent

Reference letters


Test scores


English language proficiency

An applicant whose primary language is not English may fulfill the English language proficiency requirement in one of the following ways:


For admission on September 1:

  • Canadians and permanent residents: Jan. 15 application deadline
  • International students: Jan. 15 application deadline

If you're not a Canadian or permanent resident, or if you have international credentials, make sure to learn about international requirements

Learn more about this program

Department of Art and Art History

Art Building, Room 612

2500 University Drive NW

Calgary, AB, T2N 1N4

403. 220.6136

Contact the Graduate Program Administrator

Visit the departmental website

Faculty of Arts

University of Calgary
2500 University Drive NW
Calgary, AB, T2N 1N4

Visit the Faculty of Arts website

Learn more about UCalgary by taking a virtual tour

Related programs

If you're interested in this program, you might want to explore other UCalgary programs.