Degree Requirements

""For admittance to degree candidacy, you must:

  • complete all outstanding prerequisites
  • complete a minimum of 60 approved course credits
  • achieve a final grade point average (GPA) of 3.0,
  • have your thesis approved by the defense committee

You must advance to degree candidacy before you will be permitted to attend graduation ceremonies.


Graduating students in the MFA in Illustration program are required to complete a master's thesis, in the form of an academic paper focusing on a specific aspect of illustration: its history, various applications, and current state.

You will select a topic whose research and composition is manageable within an 18-month period. With all its constituent parts, including but not limited to text, footnotes, bibliography, and illustrations, the thesis averages 100 pages in length.

It is your responsibility to submit, and have approved, your topic proposal to the department thesis coordinator. The thesis coordinator will then select an individual advisor whose area of expertise is relevant to the paper's topic and research. You are expected to submit their written proposals approximately six weeks into their first semester.

Detailed guidelines on the thesis process will be distributed in the early weeks of the first semester. In April of the fourth semester, you will defend their paper to a thesis defense committee prior to the paper's final approval.

You will be expected to retain a professional copy editor in advance of your thesis defense.

Time Requirement for Degree Completion

You will have three years to complete all degree requirements, except for the written thesis, which is due within 18 months after beginning the program.