In Claremont Graduate University’s Master of Fine Arts (MFA) program, you make your own art, in your own dedicated studio, and build a career as a culturally effective professional artist.

At the heart of the MFA program is the freedom to create. CGU’s MFA program has no agendas regarding forms, styles, materials, or approaches. It is wholly studio-based, devoted to giving you time and space to develop as a thinking artist. During two years of intensive study, the program will catalyze your thinking and research, maximize your time in the studio, and prepare you to exhibit your work in public with a clear and compelling vision.

Program Highlights
  • Collaborate with other students and learn from professional artists and critics in your studio, not in a classroom
  • Work one-on-one with faculty who are internationally recognized artists committed to strengthening your artistic vision
  • Benefit from CGU’s proximity to the Los Angeles art community, the largest concentration of arts activity in the country
  • Draw inspiration from visiting lecturers, conferences, and pop-up shows
  • Take advantage of access to the faculties and resources from the highly ranked institutions of The Claremont Colleges

Program At a Glance

60 units

2 years

Fall | Spring


Master of Fine Arts

Visiting Artist Lecture Series

Our Visiting Artist Lecture Series exposes you to professionals and practitioners with deep experience and insight. Visiting artists help mentor students, foster innovative projects, and promote intercollegiate collaboration. The lectures are free and open to the public.

Learn More



Unit Breakdown

  • Minimum 24 units of studio art
  • Minimum 20 academic course units

Required Courses

  • 8 units Survey of Contemporary Art (two 4-unit classes)
  • 8 units Ideas in Contemporary Art (two 4-unit classes)
  • 4 units Written Statement Seminar (two 2-unit classes; one in the second semester and one in the third)
  • 24 units of studio coursework (may include 3 units of MFA)
  • MFA Project, which is taken in the fourth semester
  • 16 units maximum of electives

MFA Project

  • Advancement Paper: In your third semester, you will write an advancement paper that clarifies what it is you do as artist. Your faculty committee will review it.
  • Advancement Meeting: Held in your studio for one hour with your committee members to help focus your ideas and the development of your work in preparation for your MFA exhibition.
  • MFA Exhibition: The culmination of your time in the studio, in which you give a public exhibition of your art work.

Curriculum Breakdown

Year 1
Semester Courses Total Units
Fall Studio Art, Survey of Contemporary Art 15 Units
Spring Studio Art, Written Statement Seminar, Ideas in Contemporary Art 15 Units
Year 2
Semester Courses Total Units
Fall Studio Art, Written Statement Seminar, Survey of Contemporary Art 15 Units
Spring Studio Art, Ideas in Contemporary Art, MFA Thesis Project 15 Units

Faculty & Research

  • David Pagel profile image

    David Pagel

    Professor of Art Theory and History
    Chair, Art Department
    Roland Reiss Endowed Chair in Art

    Research Interests

    Art, Art media, Painting, Contemporary Art, Art Criticism, Museums and Creativity

  • Rachel Lachowicz profile image

    Rachel Lachowicz

    Professor of Studio Art

    Research Interests

    Conceptual practices in feminism, materiality, and social politics

  • David Amico profile image

    David Amico

    Professor of Art

    Research Interests

    Art, Painting

  • Carmine Iannaccone profile image

    Carmine Iannaccone

    Adjunct Professor of Art

    Research Interests

    Art, Painting, Sculpture

  • Erik Frydenborg profile image

    Erik Frydenborg

    Visiting Artist

    Research Interests

    Sculpture, Installation, Collage

  • Julian Hoeber profile image

    Julian Hoeber

    Adjunct Professor of Art

    Research Interests

    Sculpture, Installation

  • Iva Gueorguieva profile image

    Iva Gueorguieva

    Adjunct Professor of Art

    Research Interests

    Art, Painting

  • Michael Reafsnyder profile image

    Michael Reafsnyder

    Adjunct Professor of Art

    Research Interests

    Art, Painting

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David Altman

Associate Director of Admissions
T: 909-607-1706 (Direct)
T: 909-607-7811 (Central Admissions)

Violet Luxton

Assistant Director of Admissions
T: 909-607-7910