Sculpture MFA Program

The three-year MFA in Sculpture balances independent studio research with required coursework. We believe you need time and space to develop your work, while simultaneously being in conversation with other artists and fields of study. Our program is purposely compact, with a maximum of five Graduate Sculpture students accepted each year. We keep things small enough to give our students the opportunity to work closely with faculty, but large enough to maintain a diversity of opinions and practices. We’re looking for artists who have the commitment and broad curiosity necessary to make sculpture at a professional level.

Our graduate students play a vital role in setting the tone for the Sculpture Department. You are part of a community of makers and thinkers, colleagues and collaborators. You have a say in your education and we’re here to help you take the necessary steps to develop the artistic practice that fits you best.

Flexibility in our graduate curriculum encourages students to take courses with leaders in other fields, such as Creative Writing, Music, Engineering, Critical Studies and Geology. In addition, the Blaffer Art Museum and the Cynthia Woods Mitchell Center for the Arts are two valuable resources for interdisciplinary research that are just a short walk away from your on-campus studio. Recent MFA students in Sculpture have used the flexibility of the program to strengthen their skills in writing, curating, digital fabrication, sound editing, film and video installation, arts administration, and teaching.

At the center of the MFA program in Sculpture is our Graduate Seminar. This course offers students the opportunity for critical analysis of their work from their instructors and peers, as well as in-depth discussions of significant art historical texts and contemporary criticism. The Graduate Seminar in Sculpture welcomes MFA students from Painting, Interdisciplinary Practices and Emerging Forms (IPEF), Photo/Digital Media, Architecture and Graphics, and this healthy mix of voices is an essential part of the dialogue that is developed over the course of all six semesters. Students in the Sculpture MFA program are able to contextualize their work in terms of both art history and contemporary art practices.

The Sculpture MFA program is also a platform for learning more about the dynamic collection of places and people that is Houston. In the Graduate Seminar, students schedule studio visits with curators from local galleries and institutions like the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, the Menil Collection, Project Row Houses, the Core Program, the Blaffer Art Museum, and the Contemporary Arts Museum, Houston. Whether our Sculpture MFA graduates remain in Houston or move further afield, the connections they make with the community of artists, curators and critics in Houston are invaluable.

Highlights of the MFA in Sculpture at University of Houston

•  Significant financial aid is available, including partial and full scholarships, teaching assistantships, and instructional assistantships.

•  During the second and third years of the MFA program in Sculpture, students can request to teach as the Instructor of Record, an important step toward becoming a teaching artist at the college-level

•  Private studios with 24/7 access

•  Full access to all shops and tools 24/7

•  MFA Thesis Exhibition at the Blaffer Art Museum

•  Written thesis and oral defense

Visiting Artists / Critics / Curators

On average the sculpture area brings in 4-5 visiting artist, critics, curators and arts professionals each semester. Through lectures, critiques, workshops and site-specific projects, students are exposed to a variety of artistic perspectives and provided first hand experience into professional art making practices.

Recent visiting artists include:
Diana Al-Hadid
Nina Canell
Gabriel Kuri
Demetrius Oliver
Christian Scheidemann
Jamal Cyrus
Kelly Sears
Dario Robleto
Andy Coolquitt
Tony Feher

Internships / Independent Study

Undergraduate and Graduate students with a Studio Art GPA of 3.0 or higher are eligible for internships in area museums, alternative spaces and galleries including DiverseWorks Artspace, Lawndale Art Center, the Contemporary Arts Museum, the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, and the Houston Center for Contemporary Crafts. Interns learn about the operation of for-profit and non-profit institutions by working as gallery assistants, curatorial and research assistants, and in educational programming and preparations departments. Students can also propose a research or studio project for Independent Study under faculty supervision. Students generally earn one-three Related Arts credits for the successful completion of an internship or independent study project. Specific information regarding eligibility, requirements and opportunities is available from the Sculpture Department at the time of class registration.

UH’s strong ties to the Houston art community provide an abundance of  educational as well as professional opportunities. Check out the  following sites: