Updates on Reopening SVA
Click below for info on our plans for 2021-2022, including the vaccine requirement for all students, faculty and staff.
Fine arts installation
Open double quote
We aim to provide a stimulating and supportive environment where students can thrive and develop as artists.
Close double quote
Mark Tribe

The MFA Fine Arts program reflects the diversity of New York’s many art worlds. Together, the faculty and students form a community of established and emerging artists from many backgrounds who work across disciplines and modes of practice. Our main goals are to provide a stimulating and supportive environment in which students can thrive and develop as artists, to foster rigorous critical engagement with contemporary art and other cultural forms, and to produce an ongoing conversation, through work as much as through words, about what we make, how we make it and why.

Why We Stand Out:

  • Interdisciplinary studio program emphasizes exploration and experimentation

  • Faculty comprised of internationally renowned artists

  • Visiting artists, curators, and critics give lectures and visit students’ studios

  • Ranked #5 Best Master’s Fine Arts Degrees (Source: GradReports)

Student Work

More About the Department

MFA Fine Arts is a full-time, two-year, 60-credit program. Seminars and workshops are complemented by weekly visits from artists, curators, critics and gallerists, who are invited to give lectures and meet with students in their studios. Students may audit up to four undergraduate and continuing education courses, and take advantage of SVA’s lectures and other resources. Each student is given a private studio with 24-hour access. At the end of each semester, open studios provide students with opportunities to present their work to the public and gain professional exposure. Graduating students take part in our annual thesis exhibition. 

The MFA Fine Arts program attracts ambitious emerging artists from many countries and backgrounds. In their commitment to art, and to one another, they provide a foundation for artistic growth that extends beyond graduation and forms an ongoing platform of professional support. 

We respect craft and form, but we also encourage an approach to art-making in which ideas or questions serve as points of departure for artistic processes that may lead in unforeseen directions. While some students may remain committed to a single medium for the duration of their study, most experiment with multiple modes of production.


In addition to drawing, painting, printmaking and sculpture, students may explore animation, digital art, installation, performance, photography, public projects, social practice, video, and numerous other disciplines. Students in the MFA Fine Arts program have the freedom to reinvent themselves. And with access to private departmental facilities for photography, video production, large format printing and woodworking, and to innovative labs at SVA for digital fabrication, bio art, printmaking, metalworking, ceramics, textiles and risography, students can pursue many approaches to making their art.

The close relationship between faculty and students—formed in studio visits, critique groups, seminars and workshops, but also through informal interactions—gives students the confidence to produce as much work as they can and to follow a personal course of intellectual and aesthetic investigation.


A cumulative grade point average of 3.0 is required for degree conferral. In exceptional instances, students may be allowed to transfer up to 15 credits from other accredited graduate programs, and be eligible to complete the program in three semesters.

Notable Alumni

  • Katherine Bernhardt

  • Luca Buvoli

  • Steve DeFrank

  • Delano Dunn

  • Inka Essenhigh

  • Joe Fig

  • Kate Gilmore

  • Johan Grimonprez

  • Christine Sun Kim

  • Michelle Lopez

  • Suzanne McClelland

  • Steve Mumford

  • Sarah Sze

  • Phoebe Washburn

Students & Alumni

MFA Fine Arts Stories