Graduate Program

Requirements and Procedures

The M.A. program in Studio Art is designed to produce graduates with professional competence in studio disciplines. While acquiring these abilities, the student is also expected to develop skills used in the criticism and analysis of the visual arts.

The studio curriculum encourages integration of professional practice with historical and theoretical studies. The progression of classes facilitates the transition from student to independent artist through studies in ceramics, drawing, metalsmithing, new media art, painting, photography, printmaking, and sculpture. Special emphasis is placed on the development of individuality, depth, and professional competence in both technique and concepts.

Admission Requirements
Admission as a classified graduate student in art requires:

  • A BA in Art or its equivalent, including 12 units in art history;
  • A minimum 2.5 GPA in the last 60 units attempted;
  • Approval by studio faculty review of submitted supplemental materials (see Admission Procedures section, below)
  • For international students, passage of the TOEFL examination. For all students, advancement to candidacy requires passing English proficiency requirements (see Advancement to Candidacy section, below)

Applicants who have deficiencies in admission requirements that can be removed by specified additional preparation may be admitted with conditionally classified status. Any deficiencies will be noted on a written response to the student’s admission application.

Admission Procedures

All prospective graduate students, including Sac State graduates, must file the following with the Office of Graduate Studies (OGS) by Feb. 1:

  • An application for graduate admission through Cal State Apply.
  • Official transcripts from all colleges and universities attended, other than Sacramento State.

PLEASE NOTE: Because of the processing involved with the OGS application, students are advised to start the application process early. The application cannot be completed in one sitting/one day. Applications to OGS are due Feb. 1. OGS issues the student an EMPL ID #. Applicants must have an EMPLID/SacLink account created in order to use the supplemental upload website. The departmental application deadline is Feb. 15.

Students should submit all supplemental application materials by February 15 (or the following business day if February 15 falls on a weekend) if they wish to be considered for admission in the fall semester. After applying through Cal State Apply, applicants will be able to upload their departmental supplemental documents via a secure website using their SacState login & EMPLID at: https:// by the above deadlines:

  • The Art Department application form;
  • Artist Resume (CV);
  • Images of art work;
    Applicants are to submit 20 JPG format high-quality images. Label each file with your last name, the first letter of your first name, and the image number (e.g., Doe_J_01.jpg). Include a corresponding list identifying each work by number, title, dimensions, medium, completion date, and any other relevant information.

    In addition, applicants may also include a PowerPoint Presentation Package of the same 20 slides: self-contained, with black or white background only and with no transitions between slides. On the bottom right of each slide, number the slide with the number corresponding to the list. This corresponding list should identify each work by number, title, dimensions, medium, completion date, and any other relevant information.

    Video and audio material submitted on DVD should include one 3.5 minute preview and two full-length projects. The two full-length projects are supplementary and may or may not be reviewed.  Please enclose a corresponding reel list identifying each work in order, with titles, running time, completion date, and any other relevant information.

Advancement to Candidacy
Each student must file an application for Advancement to Candidacy, indicating a proposed program of graduate study. This procedure should begin as soon as the classified graduate student has:

1. Removed any deficiencies in admission requirements;

2. Completed at least 12 units of 200-level courses in the graduate program with a minimum of 3.0 GPA. Explanation: Though it is possible to be reviewed for recommendation for advancement during the second semester in the program, recommendation reviews typically take place in the third semester.

3. Passed the Writing Proficiency Examination (WPE) or secured approval for a WPE waiver; and

4. Secured approval from the studio art faculty, based on a formal presentation of the student’s work. Explanation: The Art Department’s advancement procedures require a formal presentation of the student’s art work to the studio faculty (“Review for Recommendation for Advancement to Candidacy”). Each student should consult with his/her advisor for guidance in selecting the work and manner in which it is to be presented. An oral interpretation and defense of the significance of the work will be required. The Graduate Coordinator will notify the student of the Recommendation Review date and exhibition room location.

Students may attempt “Review for Recommendation” only twice. Failure to pass the second review will result in loss of classified graduate status. Exceptions to this policy will be handled on an individual basis by the Graduate Coordinator. Note: assigned studio space generally will not be granted beyond the two-year limit.

*CSUS Application for Advancement to Candidacy forms are available in the Office of Graduate Studies and on its website ( The student fills out the form after planning a degree program in consultation with his/her Art Department advisor (and the Graduate Coordinator). The completed form is then returned to the Office of Graduate Studies for approval.

Notes for completion of the Application to Advancement to Candidacy form (item numbers refer to the form)
Item 9. CORE courses: List the four required courses for a total of 12 units.
Item 10. Courses for Concentration and/or Electives: List only upper division and graduate level art courses from approved list (see CSUS catalog) - 15 units minimum.
Item 11. Culminating Experience. Circle “Bound Project” and list Art 500 (Culminating Experience) with name of project supervisor, semester/year and number of units (3)

Items 9,10,11 should add up to a minimum of 30 units. List ONLY the art classes used for the MA degree in Studio Art

Units required for the MA: 30* with a minimum 3.0 GPA
A. 12 units: Required Core Courses

The following core courses (12 units) are required of all students in the program:

  • ART 206 Art Theory and Criticism (3 units)
  • **ART 212 Contemporary Art (ART 001B or ART 109, or equivalent, or instructor permission) (3 units)
  • ART 222 Studio Critique Seminar (6 units) Note: ART 222 is a 3 unit course which must be taken each semester until final reviews are passed. Only 6 units of credit count toward graduation.

B. 15 units: Elective Courses

6 units: must be in 200-level art courses, excluding Art 206, 212, 222, and 299. Explanation: 18 of the 30 units in any MA degree must be 200-level courses. Since 12 of these 18 units in the Art MA will be the courses listed above, a minimum of 6 additional 200-level units are required. Art 299 can be used towards the 9-unit electives only (below).

9 units: must be graduate or undergraduate (upper-division) level art courses from approved list. Note: only 6 units of each independent studio or special problems course (229, 249, 259, 269. 279, 289, 299) can be applied to the degree.

Select 15 units from the following, at least 6 units must be 200-level (ART 299 does not count towards the 6-unit requirement):

ART 120 Advanced Drawing (ART 020B or equivalent)
ART 122A Intermediate Painting (ART 022 or equivalent)
ART 122B Advanced Painting (ART 122A or equivalent)
ART 123 Figure Drawing (ART 020A or equivalent)
ART 124 Advanced Watercolor (ART 024 or equivalent)
ART 125 Life Studio (ART 020A or equivalent)
ART 126 Life Painting (ART 020A or equivalent)
ART 127 Collage and Assemblage
ART 141 Advanced Silkscreen (ART 040E or equivalent)
ART 142 3D Computer Modeling
ART 144 Raster and Vector Imaging
ART 145 Advanced Printmaking
ART 147 Video Art
ART 150 Advanced Ceramics (ART 050 or equivalent, or IP)
ART 153 Hand-Built Ceramic Techniques (ART 053 or IP)
ART 160 Photography in the Arts (One semester of basic photography or IP)
ART 161 Photography in the Field (PHOT 040 or equivalent)
ART 162 Alternative Photographic Processes (PHOT 040 or other basic photography)
ART 163 Pinhole Photography (PHOT 040 or equivalent)
ART 180 Figure Sculpture (ART 020A or equivalent)
ART 183 Advanced Sculpture (ART 088 or equivalent)
ART 197 Intermediate Electronic Art (ART 97 or equivalent experience, such as PHOT100, Introduction to Digital Imaging)
ART 198 Advanced Electronic Art (ART 197 or equivalent experience, evidenced in portfolio)
ART 220 Advanced Problems in Painting and Drawing (ART 122B, graduate art student status, or IP)
ART 229* Painting/Drawing Studio (IPDCP)
ART 249* Graphics/Printmaking Studio (IPDCP)
ART 259* Ceramics Studio (IPDCP)
ART 269* Photography Studio (IPDCP)
ART 279* Crafts/Art Metal Studio (IPDCP)
ART 289* Sculpture Studio (IPDCP)
ART 299 Special Problems (students may take only two special problem courses in the program)

*Only 6 units of each studio course may be applied towards the degree.

IP= Instructor Permission
IPDCP= Instructor permission and Department Chair via signed petition form

C. Culminating Requirement (3 units)
ART 500 is a final requirement, taken no earlier than the semester of the student’s final review. The student may not be enrolled in ART 500 until an approved Advancement to Candidacy is on file in the Office of Graduate Studies.

*6 graduate units earned in unclassified status prior to entry into the graduate program may be applied towards satisfaction of the total 30 units, provided these units were not used for fulfillment of another degree (minimum grade of B required). Also, at least 21 of the 30 units must be taken at CSUS (Academic Residence Requirement).

**ART 212 replaced ART 205 (Art since 1945) in Fall 2003. Students who took ART 112 prior to entry into the graduate program can satisfy the ART 212 core course requirement by enrolling in ART 299 (with ART 212 instructor) for one (1) unit, provided the final grade was a “B” or better. Students using the ART 112/299 combination instead of ART 212 must enroll in an additional 3-unit 200-level (not 299) in order to achieve the total of 18 graduate units required for the MA degree. A special note will be placed on the Application to Advancement to Candidacy form, indicating that the ART 112/299 combination fulfills the ART 212 requirement.

Final Review:
During the semester when the student expects to complete 30 units, the student should consult with the Graduate Coordinator and the student's advisor in order to determine the details (such as the number of pieces and manner of presentation) of the final review, which is a culminating exhibition of student work. (Final reviews may be attempted only twice.)