Graduate Reviews

All MFA students will participate in a graduate review each semester through the first and second year. Students passed on to thesis are exempt from graduate reviews which are normally held in the latter part of the semester.

Review Schedule & Committees

The graduate coordinator establishes the review schedule and review committees and approximately one month prior to reviews will provide students and faculty with a review schedule and committee assignments. The graduate coordinator will appoint a representative from the respective studio area to serve as chair for each committee. The reviews are conducted by five-member committees from the graduate faculty, at least two of whom will represent disciplines outside the student’s area of concentration. Modifications to the review schedule will only be made in extreme circumstances.

Students are responsible for selecting a suitable campus location for their review subject to the approval of their committee chair. Committee members must be notified, in writing, at least one week prior to the event. Students should discuss the proposed format of their presentation with the committee chair and must seek approval from the chair before inviting other LSU graduate faculty as guests to their review. The use of sound, film, or video recording devices is not permitted; however, a fellow graduate student may take notes. The note taker must refrain from commenting or otherwise disrupting the discussion.

Artist Statement

Prior to the graduate review, all students are required to submit an artist statement, not to exceed one page in length, to the members of their review committee. The artist statement should first be revised in consultation with and approved by the student’s review chair before the final draft is submitted to committee members. A digital copy of the artist statements must be sent out to each member of the committee, in addition to a hard copy placed in their mailboxes, no later than 9 a.m. on the day prior to the review.

The artist statement is a written document that communicates to the committee the ideas embodied in the works to be reviewed and how the ideas further relate to the visual or material forms that the student has chosen to work with. The goal of the artist statement is to prepare the student for the review, serving as a starting point for the presentation and discussion that takes place during the review.

Review Format

Students are expected to begin their review with a presentation to the committee. This normally includes a verbal presentation with pertinent examples of current work. One may also include examples of past work, outline conceptual concerns and current objectives. The first semester review should also reference the student’s educational background and must include examples of past work. At the conclusion of the presentation, committee members will question the student, point out relevant strengths or concerns in respect of the work, and offer helpful suggestions. A maximum of 1.5 hours are allowed for each review. The chair will then close the discussion and excuse the student. The committee will discuss the merits of the artwork presented, and each committee member will submit written observations to the chair.

The committee will also recommend one of the following options for the graduate review report:

  • Satisfactory work: the student is making satisfactory progress in the program.
  • Passed on to thesis: customarily, a student is eligible to form a thesis committee after the fourth semester review. With consent of the chair, however, students who intend to petition their committee for early completion may do so during the third semester review.
  • Unsatisfactory work: a student who is not making satisfactory progress in the program is placed on School of Art probation and will be dropped from the program unless satisfactory progress is shown at the next semester’s review. The committee may recommend a plan that reduces or eliminates assistantship duties, requires remedial work and/or credit hour limitations only with the approval of the faculty within the student’s area of focus. If the student receives a second unsatisfactory at any point during the first four semesters, the student will be dropped from the program. A student receiving an unsatisfactory review report is responsible for scheduling a meeting with their chair to clarify the nature of the unsatisfactory rating. The chair will also clarify the steps to be taken by the student to improve their performance to the satisfactory level.

The chairs will forward committee recommendations and observations to the graduate coordinator within two days of the review. Final assessment and official determination by the graduate faculty will take two weeks to complete. The coordinator will give copies of committee observations and recommendations to each student. These materials will also be included in the student’s file. In the event the graduate faculty disapproves of a committee’s recommendation, the coordinator will schedule a supplementary review to be conducted by the entire graduate faculty. Students are entitled to submit letters of dissent and to appeal the recommendation of the graduate faculty formally through the graduate coordinator (see PS-48).

For more information about Graduate Reviews, see the MFA Graduate Student Handbook.