Creative Technologies (MFA)
The Creative Technologies MFA program is a diverse and dynamic community exploring complex issues in art, design, and technology. Our students create practice-based arts and human-centered design employing interdisciplinary methods within a top research university. Our graduates leave with the conceptual and technical skills needed to work in emerging fields of creative technologies.
MFA students are supported by faculty across all areas of the School of Visual Arts, who help students develop unique practices across wide-ranging subjects that reflect their research interests and passions. Our award-winning faculty are artists with ongoing professional practices. Faculty research is presented at a range of academic symposia and conferences internationally, and their artworks are regularly exhibited at galleries, museums, and film festivals around the world.
Areas of Emphasis
- Art History + Theory
- Code-Enabled Art
- Graphic Design
- Digital Fabrication
- Drawing + Painting
- Interactive Installation
- Laser Scanning
- Projection Mapping
- Sound Art
- Web Design
- Video Art
- Virtual Environments
- 3D Imaging
90 or above.
Yes, we require a portfolio/website in order for our MFA applicant review committee to best assess whether you could succeed in our program.
Yes, we have competitive GTA funding. The 9-month GTA funding for MFA students is contingent upon their appropriate and continued academic, artistic, and assigned job-specific effort and merit. Funding may be revoked at any time if MFA students fail to achieve expected milestones or do not meet their outlined GTA duties. We do not provide funded GTA support to MFAs beyond the four semesters allocated for normal degree completion.
Facilities where MFA students may work are located in several different buildings on the Virginia Tech Blacksburg Campus. The spaces that support MFA courses and student work include the following:
The Armory Building (203 Draper Rd. NW) is home to the school's main office, exhibition venue, and classrooms utilized for undergraduate programs. Located downtown, the Armory provides a lively intersection of the town and campus, and also holds some SOVA faculty offices.
The Armory Art Gallery is operated as an educational and outreach service of the University. Its exhibition calendar includes work by visiting artists, faculty, BFA senior exhibitions, and sometimes MFA students.
The Media Annex, adjacent to the Armory Building downtown, is the primary location for MFA student working space, providing important room for research, studio exploration, and community.
The Media Building, located centrally downtown, is occasionally utilized for School of Visual Arts classrooms, as well as some SOVA faculty offices.
The Creativity and Innovation District LLC Building is centrally located and adjacent to numerous other School of Visual Arts spaces. This building offers state-of-the-art seminar and studio classrooms for studio art courses (such as painting, drawing, and sculpture) as well as graduate critique events, and unique opportunities for performances and screenings in its large venues.
The Digital Arts and Animation Lab (DAAS) is located on the first floor of the Newman Library. The lab contains a render farm as well as 21 Mac computers configured with professional software (including Autodesk Maya, ZBrush, Adobe Suite) to facilitate creative production across digital arts and media technologies.
ICAT Box, (CTBOX) located immediately adjacent to DAAS on the first floor of the Newman Library, contains 18 PC computers and software (such as Unity and Unreal Engine) as well as VR headsets and tracking systems, and other equipment for immersive and interactive media development.
Henderson Hall houses the offices of numerous SOVA faculty, classrooms for the Graphic Design program (undergraduate), Art History (serving undergraduate and graduate students), as well as classrooms utilized by the Creative Technologies program. Our equipment check-out storage space is additionally located in this building.
A dedicated studio space for BFA students in their senior year
- Our students additionally have access to fantastic public digital laboratories facilitated by the University Libraries, including the various Media Design Studios, which are spaces for all members of the Virginia Tech campus community to create various types of media, including video, audio, and other multimedia, and access or check out high-end technology. This suite of options includes:
The Prototyping Studio (3D printing, laser cutting, and more)
The Virtual Environments Studio (VR production)
The 3D Scanning Studio (digitization of real world objects)
The Media Recording Studio (recording videos, audio, and music)
- Equipment and Tools accessible to MFAs who have received permission and requisite training include items such as the following:
VR Headsets and Tracking Systems
Plasma, HD and 4K Monitors
Capturing and Recording
3D Laser Scanner
Azure Kinect depth-sensor cameras
DSLR and Digital Video Cameras
Digital Audio Recorders
6mm Cameras, 16mm editing
Tripods, Lighting Kits, Projector Stands
Benq Projectors, Short Throw, 4K and HD
PA System and other audio equipment
Water Vapor Fog Machine
Arduino boards, Raspberry Pi’s, sensors
HAAS 6 Axis Milling Machine
ABB 6 Axis Robotic Arms
Metal Cutters and Curling Rollers
Metal Lathe Machine
Laser and Inkjet Printers
Comprehensive woodshop tools
Ceramic 3D printer
Outside of the School of Visual Arts, all of our students are welcome to use tech studios in the University Library such as the motion capture system and the prototyping studio. And they also have access to an incredible array of media equipment through the Library’s lending desk.
College-level facilities include the Art + Architecture Library located in Cowgill Hall. Additionally, MFA students may be able to undertake research projects through the Institute for Creativity, Arts, and Technology (ICAT), which can facilitate access to specialized equipment and production spaces. These include labs equipped and dedicated to innovative and experimental arts and technology research projects.
The MFA in Creative Technologies requires the accumulation of a minimum of 60 graduate-level (5000-level) credit hours, including successful passing, presentation, and completion of the original MFA thesis project (artwork(s) and research effort), and written Electronic Thesis Document. Below is a summary of the degree requirements.
15 credit hours in primary Studio courses
(5000- level course credits, specifically within SOVA)
14 credits in additional Studio courses
(many of these may be fulfilled by SOVA’s studio courses, by the semesterly Graduate Studio course offering(s), and/or supplemented by applied graduate-level credits outside of SOVA. Up to 9 of these credits may be taken outside of the ART department if approved on the Plan of Study by the Graduate Program Director and Thesis Committee)
1 credit of Ethics and Integrity content (required by Graduate School)
1 credit of Diversity and Inclusion content (required by Graduate School)
1 credit of GTA Training (required by Graduate School)
9 credits in Art History/Theory courses, 3 of which must be ART 5854G
(ART 5854G IS New Media Art Theory/Advanced Theories and Processes of Contemporary Art). Note that there are certain courses across the university that will not count towards these credits, please discuss with the Graduate Program Director before enrolling in any graduate art history/theory courses outside of SOVA.
9 credits in ART 5534 Graduate Art Critique
(to be taken for the first 3 semesters the graduate student is enrolled in the MFA program, except for the MFA’s final Thesis Semester, at which point Graduate Art Critique enrollment is optional. Graduate Art Critique enrollment in the Thesis Semester, if pursued by the MFA student, may count as MFA studio credits in the final semester if the requisite 9 credits are complete)
12 credits in ART 5594 Research and Thesis
(as noted above, the MFA Thesis culminates in a public presentation, exhibition of artwork(s), and submission of a written Electronic Thesis Dissertation document.)
A Note on Supplemental Courses
In addition to the required 60 credit hours, students may be required to take certain courses to strengthen their background in specific areas, as determined by the MFA faculty. Supplemental courses do not count toward the 60 hour Plan of Study, but do count toward full time status and graduate assistantships.
Yes, our program is considered a STEM related degree. This designation for a program of our kind is unique to the state of Virginia. Our program grants international students the ability to work within the field after graduation for up to 3 years. Please learn more about this opportunity through the VT OPT-Link.
February 28, 2024.
A resume/CV; a 1-2 page personal statement; a portfolio of your relevant artwork, scholarship, or other research; and 3 letters of recommendation (submitted directly by the recommender).
In your personal statement, it's important to describe why you want to pursue an MFA degree and the artistic and/or interdisciplinary research you intend to conduct while you're here. Connect that research to your past experiences, both in and outside your previous education. What other projects have you done in the past that are relevant? What other traits, experiences, or skills do you have that will prepare you to undertake MFA research? And finally, what do you think you might do after graduating?
In your portfolio (which might take the form of a website, or a PDF with a series of links to video hosted on google drive or vimeo, for example), you'll want to include images and/or video of the strongest artwork and/or scholarship you have created thus far. I suggest organizing your portfolio to make it easy for the committee to see first whatever you consider to be your strongest, most relevant work. You should also make sure to write a paragraph describing what you hoped to accomplish with each work and what you used to create it.
In our review of your application, we will be looking for evidence that you are prepared, that you can contribute positively, and that you will be able to conduct self-driven artistic and/or interdisciplinary research.
Where are our alumni?
CT MFA program graduates have gone on to many accomplishments professionally and academically beyond the program. Our alumni work across numerous fields, including but certainly not limited to the following examples:
- professional visual artists working at national and international levels
- higher education (visiting faculty, tenured, and tenure-track faculty)
- work in technology and information science fields (i.e., Google, Microsoft, etc.)
- professional media fields and creative positions in studios centering a wide range of areas, e.g., design, animation, game design/development, motion graphics, art direction, visualization, filmmaking, storyboarding, illustration, etc.
- roles with regional and nationally-acclaimed museums and galleries
- research positions at universities and government institutions
- roles at nonprofit organizations
- numerous transdisciplinary fields
- Additionally, some of our MFAs go on to pursue PhDs.