Clemson University - Master of Fine ArtsCLEMSON — Clemson University’s Master of Fine Arts program ranks 12th among the nation’s public institutions, according to the “Top Art Schools” ranking by assigns 15 ranking categories to graduate school programs. The rankings are based on student ratings and cover a variety of topics, such as academic competitiveness, career support, financial aid and quality of network. The program ranking covers a period from Sept. 1, 2012, to April 15, 2014.

“The department of art and the Center for Visual Arts at Clemson University is seen as one of the leading collaborators on campus because our students intersect with all five colleges and will be working in the future with the athletic department through our public art program,” said department chairman Greg Shelnutt.

“This cross-disciplinary interaction allows students to experience a well-rounded, real-world approach to learning through interfacing with other disciplines outside of fine arts, such as technology, science, math and business.”

Master of Fine Arts candidates experience rigorous studio activity, and strong conceptual development is the main ingredient for success in the program. The course of study focuses on production or artwork in the studio, exposure to contemporary art history issues, professional practice and the development of a body of artwork.

The program culminates in an exhibition with a written thesis defended in an oral examination. This method provides graduates with a deeper understanding of historical as well as contemporary art, which prepares for life as a working artist in a 21st century culture.

Because artists require highly specialized workspaces and equipment, the fine arts graduate students are given a studio area with 24-hour-a-day, seven-day-a-week access. In addition, candidates have access to well-equipped studios in the discipline areas: ceramics, drawing, painting, photography, printmaking and sculpture.

The importance for the arts began with Clemson’s founder, Thomas Green Clemson. As an accomplished painter and art advocate, Clemson’s vision of having a university where the arts are integrated into the fabric of the university is evident through historical records. In 1859, he addressed the Washington Art Association where he said, “The beautiful arts — the magic bonds which unites all ages and nations.”


The Center for Visual Arts
The Center for Visual Arts (CVA) at Clemson University is where students, visitors and scholars explore contemporary perspectives in art and culture through research, outreach programming and studio practice. With a mission to engage and render visible the creative process, the CVA is a dynamic intellectual and physical environment where art is created, exhibited and interpreted. It educates through academic research and practice with art at its core, drawing upon varied disciplines to examine critically cultural issues and artistic concerns.

Though there is not a physical building for this center, the majority of the activities for the Center of Visual Arts are generated out of Lee Hall on the Clemson University campus. For more information, visit