Master of Fine Arts in Creative Technologies and Practice

Female looking at colors and smiling with glasses on,

Forging Curiosity, Creativity, and Innovation

The Master of Fine Arts in Creative Technologies and Practice degree program at the University of South Alabama prepares students for jobs in many professional settings. Courses offered in the program appeal to creatives who are interested in a variety of media technologies. The program emphasizes interdisciplinary practice that spans multiple concentrations within the visual arts with technology serving to inform or facilitate the creative process.

Interdisciplinary Practice

The Master of Fine Arts in Creative Technologies and Practice is an interdisciplinary graduate program spanning multiple concentrations. Some students in the program are taking master's-level classes in Business, Communications and Creative Writing. The program does not require an undergraduate degree concentration in art, but does require the applicant to submit a portfolio of media in which the student wishes to dedicate further study. 

Areas of interdisciplinary studies might include animation/computer science, graphic design, architectural design, painting/drawing, architectural rendering, art history and museum studies, sculpture and anthropology, sculpture and mechanical engineering, psychology and art therapy, ceramics, glass and entrepreneurship, university or junior college teaching, museums, and non-profit community groups. 

Careers in Creative Technologies

The MFA in Creative Technologies and Practice equips individuals to enter the workforce in a variety of creative technology areas, particularly to manage creative teams, pursue careers as visual artists, advance knowledge in the field through research or creative output, and teach at the university level. Graduates of this program can enhance career goals and opportunities based on the interdisciplinary studies concentration the student pursues.


▼   Master of Fine Arts in Creative Technologies and Practice Admission Requirements  

Minimum Requirements For Admission

Students are normally admitted in the Fall Semester, although applications for admission and assistantships are accepted throughout the year. Applicants who want to be considered for the assistantships need to have their application by February 15.

Applications will begin being reviewed starting February 15 though July 15. The graduate admissions committee will make initial recommendations about applicants for the following Fall class, with formal letters sent to applicants by the end of April. Depending on availability of space and funding, applications may be approved and students admitted throughout the year. In addition to the general admissions requirements of the Graduate School, requirements for admission to the M.F.A. Creative Technologies program are:

Electronic application form submitted to the Graduate School via this link.

  1. Applicants to graduate programs in Arts and Sciences typically have a minimum GPA of at least a 3.0 on all undergraduate work. In exceptional cases, applicants may be considered with at least a 2.5 GPA on all undergraduate work, or at least a 2.75 GPA on the last 60 hours of undergraduate work.
  2. Official Transcript(s) from other institutions and sessions/programs/workshops the student has attended.
  3. Artist’s statement of no more than 500 words.
  4. Letter of intent of no more than 500 words.
  5. Resumé or Curriculum Vitae
  6. Three letters of recommendation.
  7. A portfolio of 20 pieces that shows proficiency of media in which the student wishes to dedicate further study. If the student is focusing on video, film, or animation we require portfolio equivalents of five pieces that are three to five minutes in length. 

To apply please go to this link and upload all materials through this online system. If you have any questions please email me at

For applicants for whom English is a second language, the students must must have a working proficiency of the English language and submit:

• Minimum TOEFL IBT score of at least 71 OR
• Minimum IELTS score of at least 6 (Paper-based score of 525, computer-based score of 197) OR 
• Minimum iTEP score of 3.7 OR
• Minimum PTE Academic score of 48

Note: ESL applicants must apply through the International Admissions Office at USA. Some programs may require higher scores to prove English proficiency. Applicants who hold a bachelor's degree from an accredited U.S. institution are not required to submit TOEFL results.

▼   Graduate Assistantships

The Department of Visual Arts offers assistantships to M.F.A. students annually on a competitive basis. The current stipend for M.F.A. assistantship is $8,000 per year plus a tuition fellowship and waiver of out-of-state fees. Applications are taken continuously. See Graduate Coordinator for information and application.

(See also Bulletin section on Graduate School, "Assistantships and Fellowships.") Students awarded assistantships must complete all semesters of study in residence at the University of South Alabama. More information about assistantships is available from the Office of the Dean of the Graduate School, Mobile Townhouse 222, University of South Alabama, Mobile, AL 36688-0002. 

▼   3-Year Plan

Semester Breakdown

First semester Year One
Students would be in an incubation phase and begin research and a literary review.

Second semester Year One
During the spring semester of the first year the students would have a year-end oral presentation. Each student will make a presentation of: their research areas and general idea for their thesis, work they have created during the first year that relates to the idea for their thesis, and documented research on artists who have inspired and influenced their work.

Oral presentation must include how technology is being used and proposed to be explored in at least two different disciplines. 

First semester Year Two

Students will find a supervising professor to act as thesis director, then find 3–4 potential committee members during the first eight weeks of class (one of these professors must be outside the department, but on the graduate faculty at USA). After the committee is formed (week 9), the student will fill out the GS4 form with the graduate coordinator (Diane Gibbs). The student will work with their committee to develop a prospectus. There is a guide online explaining what this is and all the parts required. You can find a link to the Prospectus Guide here.

Each student should meet with your committee members at least twice this semester (individually or as a group).

Second semester Year Two

The student is expected to meet with their committee at least two times during the semester, at least once as a group. During weeks 10–13 of the spring semester of their second year, the student presents his/her formal prospectus in presentation form to the graduate thesis committee and graduate coordinator. The oral defense (presentation) (30–45 minutes including time for Q&A) must propose a clear idea (thesis), stating how many pieces the thesis will contain and the size / length of the pieces. Student will identify the technology used and how it advances their chosen mediums. Student must relate their work to contemporary art/design and explain how it fits in with contemporary art/design. The thesis must reflect a mastery in your field, contribute to the existing body of knowledge of your field, and demonstrate the level of high quality expected by the Graduate School and University.

The graduate committee will dismiss student and discuss any areas of concern and will either: approve, approve with changes, or deny. If student is denied they will represent their refined idea at the end of the semester. If a student is approved with changes, the student will be expected to have a revised statement at the beginning of the following semester.

Below is the link for the Graduate Thesis Preparation. On this page you will find a guide for the thesis, an thesis template, and a timeline checklist from the graduate school.

First semester Year Three
Each student will present any changes and revisions of the prospectus to their graduate thesis committee during the first two weeks of the Fall semester of their third year. Student will meet with their committee (individually or as a group) at least once during October / November and present their progress thus far. Student will provide the committee members and the Graduate Coordinator a copy of the thesis document at least a week before the meeting.

Second semester Year Three
During the spring semester each student is required to have a thesis show, a written thesis, along with a thesis defense. We encourage them to complete their thesis paper by the end of this semester but would allow students to extend their graduate enrollment for up to one year after their thesis show to complete their paper and schedule their thesis defense which must be orally defended. Student will provide the committee members and the Graduate Coordinator a copy of the thesis document at least a week before the thesis defense.

▼   Detailed Program Structure

This is a 60 [credit] hour, three year degree program which requires coursework, thesis, and a public exhibition of a body of work or presentation of a major project.

18 hours credit in art history, theory, criticism, and creativity seminars
36 hours in directed research
6 hours in thesis development

The typical semester structure is:
3 hours      Visual Arts Seminar (Art History/theory/criticism/creativity)
3 hours      Directed research/external graduate level course
3 hours      Directed research
1 hour        Thesis

10 credit hours per semester for 6 semesters to fulfill the 60 credits hour requirement.  
All students must have fifteen credits of art history including Contemporary Art at time of graduation, but students may fulfill some or the entire requirements as an undergrad.

Each student must have at least 18 semester hours in art history, theory, criticism, and creativity seminars, 36 hours in directed research, and at least 6 hours in thesis development.

Defense of Thesis
The final oral defense of the thesis is scheduled after the public exhibition and submission of written component is completed except for such revisions as may be necessary as a result of the defense.

Third Year Low Residency Option

Low residency criteria
Any student who wants to complete the last year away from Mobile will have to meet these criterion by February 1 of their second year. No one with an assistantship will be able to apply for their final year to be held in low residency.

  1. The student must have internet access and a computer or phone on which to video chat weekly with primary thesis advisor, having virtual studio tours.
  2. The student must provide proof of access to a facility where they can create and obtain suitable studio space in which to work.
  3. The student must have the ability to transport the work.
  4. The student’s thesis show must be on the University of South Alabama main campus.
  5. The student must have the ability to travel during the weeks specified for both semesters.
  6. The student must be on campus the first full week of classes during the Fall Semester and once again during the last week of October or the first full week of November. In the Spring Semester the student must be on campus three times: once during the first full week of class, the second time will be the week before spring break, and the third time will be at the end of the semester to hang and present their thesis show.
  7. The student must be available per the faculty’s schedule.