MFA in Illustration

MFA in Illustration

Memphis College of Art’s MFA in Illustration program challenges students to focus on developing a prolific and cohesive body of work that reflects their personal voice. A faculty committee assigned to each student creates a solid framework to provide feedback and industry expertise. With communication at its core, the MFA in Illustration program offers a professional studio environment and access to all digital and traditional tools, or combinations herein, to allow students the freedom to experiment. The program fosters innovation, in depth re examination, and solid exploration encouraging students to frame their point of view within context. It requires both a written thesis and rigorous visual research.

The field of illustration has exploded and encompasses a myriad of directions and applications.

Whether a student wants to work digitally in combination with design elements, traditionally with a printmaking or painting focus, or even dimensionally with a sculptural foundation, their passions and interests will be at the core of their work. Memphis College of Art’s strength is that it offers an intimate setting, small enough to encourage interdisciplinary approaches at the highest level. This allows the Illustration MFA student the ability to break parameters and push beyond existing paradigms in illustration. Whether it is to teach at the college level, or to work as a professional illustrator, the graduate of this program will be ready to enter or reenter the work force with a renewed outlook and a solid body of work.

Head of Illustration/Comics

Michele NoisetMichele Noiset

Associate Professor

BFA, Rhode Island School of Design
MFA, University of Massachusetts/Dartmouth

Michele has worked nationally as a freelance illustrator her entire career with a diverse range of clients. After earning her MFA, Michele became a full-time lecturer at the University of Massachusetts/Dartmouth, where she discovered her passion for academia and inspiring young artists to find their own unique voices. Read more…

MFA Curriculum

The MFA curriculum can be completed in four semesters of full-time (in residence) study, with a fifth or sixth semester optional at either the faculty or student’s request. The MFA degree requires 60 semester credit hours distributed as follows:

Major Studio 36

Liberal Arts – General Ed 12

Elective Studio 12

Total 60

Download the full projection sheet.

The recommended semester course load for MFA students is 9 to 15 credit hours. Course loads over this limit must have prior written approval by the graduate director.

MFA in Illustration

1st Semester

  • Illustration Seminar 1
  • Illustration Workshop 1
  • Studio Elective
  • Critical Theory

2nd Semester

  • Illustration Seminar 2
  • Illustration Workshop 2
  • Studio Elective
  • Liberal Arts/Art History Elective

3rd Semester

  • Illustration Seminar 3
  • Illustration Workshop 3
  • Studio Elective
  • Liberal Arts/Art History Elective

4th Semester

  • Illustration Seminar 4
  • Illustration Workshop 4
  • Studio Elective
  • Liberal Arts/Art History Elective

Courses Descriptions

IL601 Illustration Seminar 1

Students meet collectively to discuss their graduate work and the professional practices involved in being a professional and educator. Group critiques are scheduled to encourage interaction between students and readings are assigned to provide context to contemporary trends. Enrollment is required in each semester a grad student is enrolled in the MFA in Illustration program. Lectures concentrate on documentation and web materials necessary to be a relevant artist/professional. MFA in Illustration major requirement. Pre-reqs: Enrollment in the MFA in Illustration program

IL602 Illustration Seminar 2

Students meet collectively to discuss their graduate work and the professional practices involved in being a professional and educator. Group critiques are scheduled to encourage interaction between students and readings are assigned to provide context to contemporary trends. Enrollment is required in each semester a grad student is enrolled in the MFA in Illustration program. Lectures concentrate on grant and residency opportunities and their application processes. MFA in Illustration major requirement. Pre-reqs: IL601

IL651 Illustration Workshop 1

Working independently from a traditional course- based process and from the other MFA candidates, this course is self-directed study, each student conducting his/her own personal exploration of concept and technique in the illustration process under the guidance of the faculty advisors. Student should demonstrate a willingness to take risks in their investigations. While a consistent body of work is not required, an openness to experimentation and the ability to succeed should be evident. MFA in Illustration major requirement. Pre-reqs: Enrollment in the MFA in Illustration program

IL652 Illustration Workshop 2

Working independently from a traditional course- based process and from the other MFA candidates, this course is self-directed study, each student conducting his/her own personal exploration of concept and technique in the illustration process under the guidance of advisors. Student should be able to articulate the pertinent issues in the work and a finished, resolved piece will be presented at finals. MFA in Illustration major requirement. Pre-reqs: IL651

IL701 Illustration Seminar 3

Students meet collectively to discuss their graduate work and the professional practices involved in being a professional and educator. Group critiques are scheduled to encourage interaction between students and readings are assigned to provide context to contemporary trends. Enrollment is required in each semester a grad student is enrolled in the MFA in Illustration program. Lectures concentrate on the research and documentation involved in a career in academia. MFA in Illustration major requirement. Pre-reqs: IL602

IL702 Illustration Seminar 4

Students meet collectively to discuss their graduate work and the professional practices involved in being a professional and educator. Group critiques are scheduled to encourage interaction between students and readings are assigned to provide context to contemporary trends. Enrollment is required in each semester a grad student is enrolled in the MFA in Illustration program. Lectures concentrate on fellowship applications and presentation skills. MFA in Illustration major requirement. Pre-reqs: IL701

IL751 Illustration Workshop 3

Working independently from a traditional course- based process and from the other MFA candidates, this course is self-directed study, each student conducting his/her own personal exploration of concept and technique in illustration under the guidance of advisors. Students are required to apply for Advancement to Candidacy when he/she will be expected to present a draft of their thesis and finished series of work. MFA in Illustration major requirement. Pre-reqs: IL652

IL752 Illustration Workshop 4

Working independently from a traditional course- based process and from the other MFA candidates, this course is self-directed study, each student conducting his/her own personal exploration of concept and technique in the illustration process under the guidance of the faculty advisors. Student will present a body of work in the MFA Thesis exhibition and a written thesis paper that will articulate their intentions, conceptual, aesthetic and technical strength. MFA in Illustration major requirement. Pre-reqs: IL751

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