ANDREW (Australian): Hello, I’ve stopped by because I have some questions about applying to the graduate painting program here at the University of Christ Church in New Zealand.
ASSISTANT (New Zealand): I’d be happy to help you with that. Now, are you currently a student here?
ANDREW: Yeah, I’m graduating next year as an undergraduate. I’d like to apply for the Master of Fine Arts program but I’m not sure how the program is setup.
ASSISTANT: Sure. First of all, the program is studio-based. What that means is that there are not many formal lectures. Most of the time is used for creating new work.
ANDREW: What are the requirements for completing the degree?
ASSISTANT: There are three requirements to graduate. The first one is a major critical paper due at the end of the program. This paper must use primary sources and be at least 50 pages in length. The second one is a portfolio of work you created while you were enrolled in the program. So, any new paintings you created would be in the portfolio. Finally, there is an oral exam. Typically, the oral examinations are 60 minutes, and consist of questions about your paintings and your critical paper.
ANDREW: Is there a minimum number of paintings that must be created for the portfolio?
ASSISTANT: No, not officially. But, we expect that your work demonstrates a two-year effort on your part.
ANDREW: So the program is two years long?
ASSISTANT: Yes, it is two years long.
ANDREW: What classes would I have to take?
ASSISTANT: Students enrolled in the painting program must participate in weekly workshops.
ANDREW: What are those?
ASSISTANT: Workshops meet once a week. They are opportunities for the students to critique each other’s work.
ANDREW: OK. So, where are the studios located?
ASSISTANT: We have an art building that consists of two show rooms and two floors of artist studios. The first year students use the smaller studios on the 2nd floor. The second year students use the larger studios on the first floor. The show rooms are used for displays of student art work.
ANDREW: Well, I’m really excited about the program. What do I have to do to apply?
ASSISTANT: We’ll need a few things from you. The most important part of your application is the sample of your work.
ANDREW: You mean my paintings?
ASSISTANT: Yes. You’ll need to submit photos of them. If you’re selected for an interview, then the faculty will want to see the actual paintings and you’ll be required to bring them in.
ANDREW: How many faculty are there?
ASSISTANT: Right now, we have three full-time faculty and one visiting professor. The visiting professor is a painter from the United States.
ANDREW: How many paintings do I need to submit for my application?
ASSISTANT: Three to five.
ANDREW: Is that all I need to do?
ASSISTANT: No. We also want a completed application plus the $75.00 fee. We also need a 3-5 page personal statement that explains why you want to enroll in the MFA program.
ANDREW: When is all of this due?
ASSISTANT: The deadline is February 1st. We have all of the application requirements up on our website. You may apply electronically and just send electronic files for your work sample.
ANDREW: How much does the program cost?
ASSISTANT: We offer a complete funding package for all of our students. Each year we admit five new students. So, the program is small. We require all of our students to teach one undergraduate art class. It’s called Basic Drawing, and it only meets twice a week. All of your tuition will be paid, and we supply each student with a $1200.00 stipend every month for basic living expenses.
ANDREW: Wow, that sounds great. Thanks for all of the information. I’m definitely going to apply.