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Art Graduate Program

Our graduate program is rigorous and expansive, encouraging individual development in a dynamic community.

SVMA strongly believes in a broad and interdisciplinary graduate education which reflects contemporary creative practice. Students are encouraged to explore across media, while diving deeply into ideas and process. They have access to faculty with diverse interests, and broad facilities to discover new and exciting possibilities. These include digital fabrication equipment, kilns, welding, woodshops, digital studios, printing presses and large installation spaces. Many students also work with Media Arts faculty with specialties in sonic, film and design.

During their studies, students work closely with professors, engage in a rich exchange of ideas with fellow classmates, and join a culture of experimentation and innovation.

Meet your faculty:

Julia Galloway, Professor, Graduate Coordinator
Jim Bailey, Professor
Kevin Bell, Professor

Rafael Chacon, Professor, Director MMAC
Jennifer Combe, Associate Professor
Matt Hamon, Professor
Valerie Hedquist, Professor, Director SVMA
Trey Hill, Associate Professor
Cathryn Mallory, Professor


Graduate students play an essential role in the creative life of the School: they teach classes, run galleries, host lectures, and mount exhibitions. Because we are a small program, students work closely with our professors. Graduate students are also integral to the greater Montana artistic community, sponsoring many event downtown Missoula and across the state.


SVMA offers both an MA and an MFA in Art.  At the core of our graduate program is a close one-on-one mentorship with professors, and regular critiques with fellow students.  Students investigate ideas and process deeply, and develop their understanding through studio work, research, writing, presentation and critical analysis. 

Instruction includes individual research with professors; group seminars, where students share feedback about artwork; training in college teaching; professional development; critical theory; and related topics in other UM departments.

Opportunities to expand your studies:

After Graduation

We take pride in the remarkable success of our grad alumni.

Former students embark on a wide range of creative careers. A substantial majority teach at the college-level. In fact, over 38% find full-time, permanent positions in academia within five years of graduating. Others accept positions as arts administrators, curators and directors in museums, galleries and nonprofit organizations across the country. Our grads have received competitive awards, such as Fullbright Fellowships and international residencies.

Over 95% of alumni are professional artists after graduation, continuing to make and exhibiting work nationally.

Many students teach after graduation, and wish to gain experience while in school. We offer several levels of Teaching Assistantships for such students which are competitively awarded each spring semester. Graduates recieve training before entering the classroom, including a pedagogy class, and mentorship by a professor.  

TA Application Form 

Recent graduate scholarship awards have averaged $2,000-5,000. Selection is based on the applicant’s creative research and available funding. First-year students who are accepted into the graduate program are automatically considered for scholarships. Once enrolled, students apply for additional scholarships yearly.

ARTZ 501 Graduate Critique Seminar.  Students meet as a group to share feedback on artwork and other topics.  Students take this class nearly every term.

ARTZ 505. Graduate Studio Research.  Regular individual discussions with professors. Students often sign up with several professors each term.

ARTZ 506 Graduate Pedagogy. Students learn how to teach at the college-level, from writing syllabi to designing assignments to teaching online.  Students “shadow” a professor’s course to learn classroom delivery.

ARTZ 508 Beyond Art School.  Students preparation for professional careers after graduation. 

ARTH 503 Critical Theories in Visual Arts I.  Provides a contextual background of theoretical ideas surrounding culture, society and art. 

ARTH 509 Critical Theories in Visual Arts II.  A continuation of ARTH 503, this course considers contemporary theory as it relates to art.

ARTZ 697 and ARTZ 699 Thesis Paper and Thesis. A student’s final thesis project, with exhibition in our main galleries.

Students also take courses in Art History, and across UM’s campus to deepen their individual research.

Click to view program-of-study and advising forms

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