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SVA grants the faculty expansive latitude in constructing distinctive courses for our students.  Concurrent to our encouragement of varied pedagogical approaches and curricula, however, is the belief that all students should graduate with a command of certain core competencies. Each program chair has worked with the Office of Academic Affairs to develop a set of learning outcomes germane to their particular discipline. Each year the chairs and faculty review these program level goals to ensure that they embody the current state of professional practice. 

MFA Art Criticism & Writing
  • Developed capacity for critical thinking, with a grounding in the philosophical and historical bases of criticism.
  • Development of a distinctive, clear, forceful, and jargon-free prose style that reflects fluency in fundamental principles and practices of critical writing; ability to accurately describe works of art, balancing consideration of artist’s intention with viewer’s response, and contextualizing the work in question.
  • Ability to present and communicate effectively, in oral and written form.
  • Development of an intellectual base for writing, and to find sources that can be drawn upon throughout student’s career.
  • Thorough knowledge of the history of art, including significant movements, figures, and texts in the field of art history and criticism.
  • Understanding of the process, materials, and conceptual qualities relating to the making of art, from traditional studio practices to time-based media and conceptual practice.
  • Experience with effective methods for successful collaborative work in pursuit of assembling and producing printed and online publications.
  • Professional level understanding of industry practices, standards and expectations, and career strategies.
MAT Art Education
  • Familiarity with theories of art education, human development, and aesthetics, generally, and as they relate specifically to needs of special populations, adolescents, and young children.
  • Understanding and appreciation for psychological underpinnings of development, motivation, intelligence and learning in children and adolescents in relation to art education.
  • Understanding of NY State Learning Standards for Visual Arts Grades K-12.
  • Facility for using a variety of art materials and methods, and critique and exhibition skills.
  • Ability to conceive and implement sequential artistic explorations for students, develop standards based lesson plans.
  • Development of strong writing and presentation skills.
  • Understanding of and ability to apply range of approaches to assessment and rubrics.
  • Understanding of and ability to apply range of approaches to classroom management and discipline.
  • Familiarity with theories, methods and practices within field of museum education.
  • Familiarity with how to connect visual arts with other subjects and literacy learning.
  • Ability to apply different technologies and the internet as a resource in the art classroom; knowledge of best practices, and potential ethical issues that may arise.
  • Professional level understanding of industry practices, standards and expectations, and career strategies.
MFA Art Practice
  • Developed capacity for critical, analytical and conceptual thinking.
  • Thorough knowledge of key figures, works, and movements in the history of interdisciplinary art; ability to apply understanding to program participant’s own practice.
  • Thorough knowledge of key theoretical texts in the history of art theory and criticism, and understanding of prominent theoretical positions within art criticism, past and present.
  • Development of program participant’s own creative voice and personal practice.
  • Ability to present and communicate effectively, in oral and written form.
  • Increased cultural awareness, ability to interpret critical contemporary issues and respond in artistic production.
  • Technical and conceptual proficiency in range of traditional and new media.
  • Facility with a broad range of professional creative practices.
  • Professional level understanding of industry practices, standards and expectations, and career strategies.
MPS Art Therapy
  • Facility with variety of techniques and styles of evaluation, assessment, and engagement of clients.
  • Ability to anticipate, recognize, and respond to potential obstacles in treatment.
  • Ability to design appropriate treatment goals and interventions, both verbal and non-verbal.
  • Understanding of legal boundaries of counseling profession, including ethics guidelines.
  • Knowledge of elements of a successful interview, and ability to demonstrate empathetic response to a variety of clinical challenges.
  • Ability to design, implement, and lead group art therapy sessions, in a variety of group leadership styles and interventions, with clear understanding of interpersonal and intrapersonal processes that occur therein.
  • Understanding of adult development and aging process, current developmental theories on the subject, and methods of adapting art therapy practice to the needs of adult and aging population.
  • Familiarity with DSM-IV-TR classifications.
  • Professional level understanding of industry practices, standards and expectations, and career strategies.
MPS Branding
  • Developed capacity for critical, strategic and analytical thinking.
  • Ability to identify and solve visual and conceptual problems.
  • Ability to present and communicate effectively, in oral and written form.
  • Development of personal visual language within the context of traditional and contemporary language of design and strategy.
  • Familiarity with range of approaches to design and market research.
  • Understanding of psychological components of consumer practices and cultural behavior.
  • Ability to recognize underlying patterns in cultural behavior and translate them into actionable human and cultural insights.
  • Ability to leverage trend analysis to forecast paradigmatic shifts in human behavior and culture.
  • Professional level understanding of industry practices, standards and expectations, and career strategies.
MFA Computer Art
  • Development of the student’s own creative voice and personal vision.
  • Ability to identify and solve visual and conceptual problems.
  • Developed capacity for critical and conceptual thinking.
  • Ability to present and communicate effectively, in oral and written form.
  • Knowledge and application of, and experimentation with, the multidisciplinary aspects of digital art.
  • For animators and narrative video artists, the understanding of the mechanics of storytelling, character development and visual narrative expression.
  • Technical proficiency in students chosen area of focus.
  • Working knowledge of the theory, history, and context of digital art, as it relates to contemporary art and art history.
  • Professional level understanding of industry practices, standards and expectations, and career strategies.
MA Critical Theory and the Arts
  • Developed capacity for critical thinking, with a grounding in the philosophical and historical bases of criticism.
  • Improved ability for writing and seeing, building an intellectual base for student’s writing, and ability to find enduring sources to be drawn upon.
  • Ability to present and communicate effectively, in oral and written form.
  • Thorough knowledge of the history of art, including significant movements, figures, and texts in the field of art history and criticism.
  • Understanding of the process, materials, and conceptual qualities relating to the making of art, from traditional studio practices to time-based media and conceptual practice.
  • Development of a distinctive, clear, forceful, and jargon-free prose style that reflects fluency in fundamental principles and practices of critical writing; ability to accurately describe works of art, balancing consideration of artist’s intention with viewer’s response, and contextualizing the work in question.
  • Experience with effective methods for successful collaborative work in pursuit of assembling and producing printed and online publications.
MFA Design
  • Developed capacity for critical, strategic and analytical thinking.
  • Technical proficiency, including typographic fluency and mastery of relevant tools, media, technology, and related practices.
  • Design culture literacy and proficiency with range of approaches to design research.
  • Ability to present and communicate effectively, in oral and written form, to a range of audiences, including potential clients or investors.
  • Professional level understanding of industry practices, standards and expectations, and career strategies.
  • Ability to conceive and fabricate a functional, usable, yet novel product or campaign that appeals to either the mass market or a specific audience, by integrating creativity, and market savvy throughout the overall process.
MFA Design Criticism
  • Developed capacity for analytical and critical thinking, including critical looking, listening, and critical attitude toward all aspects of design.
  • Thorough knowledge of history of industrial design, graphic design, and architecture including significant movements, figures, and texts.
  • Thorough knowledge of history of architectural and design criticism.
  • Familiarity with other critical genres and the position of design criticism, with a focus on the development of modern criticism.
  • Ability to write in a range of styles- from scholarly to journalistic, to more poetic and personal; familiarity with range of research methodologies; familiarity with range of approaches and techniques for conducting meaningful interviews; and range of reporting skills for developing a compelling story.
  • Ability to engage with cultural theory through close reading and discussion of key texts addressing the creation, consumption, and social effects of design.
  • Technical proficiency relating to editing and composing content for variety of media formats, including blogs, podcasts, exhibitions, books, online, and traditional print publishing.
MFA Design for Social Innovation
  • Developed capacity for critical, strategic and analytical thinking.
  • Familiarity with range of approaches to design research, with a strong focus on ethnographic research methods.
  • Ability to present and communicate effectively, in oral and written form, to a range of audiences, including potential clients or investors.
  • Proficiency with mapping and data visualization techniques.
  • Development of effective methods and vocabulary for collaborative work, including ability to lead a team and work with external partners.  
  • Ability to produce prototypes for the purpose of planning and development.
  • Understanding of psychological components of consumer practices and cultural behavior.
  • Ability to recognize underlying patterns in cultural behavior and translate them into actionable human and cultural insights.
  • Ability to engage in the process of identity design to direct strategic development.
  • Professional level understanding of industry practices, standards and expectations, and career strategies.
MPS Digital Photography
  • Ability to present and communicate effectively, in oral and written form.
  • Developed capacity for critical and analytical thinking.
  • Ability to identify and solve visual and conceptual problems.
  • Technical proficiency in areas including: basic camera operation, large format printing, image compositing, lighting, and color management.
  • Development of visual vocabulary, identification of personal themes and styles important to student’s own work.
  • Ability to implement professional workflow to effectively expose digital images to maximize image quality.
  • Professional level understanding of industry practices, standards and expectations, and career strategies.
MPS Fashion Photography
  • Development of aesthetic vocabulary, ability to read images and articulate observations.
  • Developed capacity for critical, analytical and conceptual thinking.
  • Ability to identify and solve visual and conceptual problems.
  • Comprehensive knowledge of history of photography, conceptual framework, significant movements, works, and practitioners in the field, with emphasis on the evolution of fashion photography.
  • Comprehensive understanding of the history of fashion, and particular knowledge of the present.
  • Ability to present and communicate effectively, in oral and written form.
  • Cultivation of student’s own aesthetic sensibility and visual style, and a confidence to withstand aesthetic compromise.
  • Exploration and development of effective methods for successful collaborative work, logistical competence, and the building of a ‘team’ that can amplify and fulfill the photographer’s vision.
  • Technical and conceptual proficiency relating to still photography, video production and post production.
  • Understanding of mechanics of visual narrative expression, and understanding of experimental and nonlinear approaches to storytelling.
  • Professional level understanding of industry practices, standards and expectations, and career strategies.
MFA Fine Arts
  • Developed capacity for critical, analytical, and conceptual thinking.
  • Ability to present and communicate effectively, in oral and written form.
  • Development of student’s own creative voice and personal vision.
  • Thorough knowledge of the history of art, significant movements, works, theories and practitioners in the field.
  • Technical and conceptual proficiency with range of traditional and new media
  • Development of cultural awareness, ability to interpret critical contemporary issues and respond in student’s own artistic production.
  • Professional level understanding of industry practices, standards and expectations, and career strategies.
MFA Illustration as Visual Essay
  • Fluency in mechanics of storytelling and visual narrative expression.
  • Ability to present and communicate effectively, in oral and written form
  • Developed capacity for critical and analytical thinking.
  • Ability to identify and solve visual and conceptual problems.
  • Development of personal visual language. 
  • Ability to combine word and image as they relate to storytelling.
  • Comprehensive knowledge of the history of illustration, significant movements, works and practitioners in the field.
  • Professional level understanding of industry practices, standards and expectations, and career strategies.
MFA Interaction Design
  • Thorough understanding of the process of solving complex design problems.
  • Ability to develop of innovative design approaches to human problems.
  • Ability to develop and document new models to present original thinking about design.
  • Development of a personal point of view about design as it intersects with technology.
  • Ability to see data as potential for stories, gather original research and identify existing datasets to translate into meaningful stories, using new tools and methods to do so.
  • Development of effective methods and vocabulary for collaborative work and the exchange of ideas, including the ability to prototype as a means of representing design and intent.
  • Technical proficiency in creating devices, installations, and environments using a programmed single-chip computer, sensors, actuators, and indicators.
  • Ability to understand and describe the strategic decisions involved in the creation of interactive products and services, and instigate entrepreneurial ideas.
  • Professional level understanding of industry practices, standards and expectations, and career strategies.
MPS Live Action Short Film
  • Thorough understanding of mechanics of storytelling, character development, and visual narrative expression.
  • Ability to facilitate and execute fundamental elements of preproduction, including casting, budgeting, scheduling, assembling crew, rehearsals, and completion of any necessary legal documentation.
  • Exploration and development of effective methods for successful collaborative work and project management.
  • Ability to effectively manage set and crew for a successful film shoot. 
  • Familiarity with basic editing principles and techniques and ability to communicate with professional editor to actualize vision. 
  • Familiarity with major themes, figures, and works in the history of film, with an emphasis on the evolution of short film.
  • Professional level understanding of industry practices, standards and expectations, and career strategies.
MFA Photography and Related Media
  • Developed capacity for critical, analytical and conceptual thinking.
  • Ability to identify and solve visual and conceptual problems.
  • Development of aesthetic vocabulary, ability to read images, articulate observations, identify and analyze issues pertaining to photographic representation.
  • Development of student’s own aesthetic sensibility and visual style.
  • Comprehensive knowledge of history of photography, significant movements, works, and practitioners in the field and an understanding of major shifts and intellectual claims that have shaped the contemporary discourse surrounding art, image making, and visual cultural theory. 
  • Technical and conceptual proficiency relating to still photography, video production, and post-production.
  • Understanding of important aspects of light and color management, ability to implement knowledge to develop individual style. 
  • Facility with the mechanics of visual narrative expression, and understanding of experimental and nonlinear approaches to storytelling.
  • Professional level understanding of industry practices, standards and expectations, and career strategies.
MFA Products of Design
  • Developed capacity for thinking critically, analytically, and abstractly about design problems and solutions.
  • Understanding of the design industry’s shifting terrain, across artifacts, services, systems, and platforms.
  • Proficiency in design research methodologies, narrative storytelling, and presentation techniques.
  • Ability to articulate work visually, orally, and in written form.
  • Highly-developed capacity for creating prototypes at many levels of fidelity and scale.
  • Confidence in the intention of the student’s design as relates to strategy, systems thinking, stewardship and sustainability.
  • Ability to think about a product or service’s viability through any lens: aesthetics, marketing, merchandising, manufacturing, etc.
  • Clear understanding of ethics and professional practice.
  • A robust personal network of leading professionals across multiple domains of design.
MFA Social Documentary Film
  • Developed capacity for critical, analytical, strategic as well as creative thinking.
  • Understanding of mechanics of storytelling and visual narrative expression.
  • Ability to present and communicate effectively, in written, visual and oral form.
  • Technical and conceptual proficiency in fundamental aspects of documentary production and post-production.
  • Development of cultural awareness and the ability to interpret and respond to critical contemporary issues within student’s own work.
  • Familiarity with range of approaches and techniques for conducting meaningful interviews and shooting verite footage.
  • Understanding of conceptual framework of practice of journalism, and ability to apply knowledge to documentary production.
  • Professional level understanding of industry practices, standards and expectations, and career strategies.
MFA Visual Narrative
  • Mastery of both word and image to develop a personal visual language and narrative voice.
  • Development of analytical, design and composition skills when engaging with visual narrative work.
  • Proficiency with a range of creative writing techniques and formats, including screenwriting, comics, playwriting, short stories and memoirs.
  • Ability to produce innovative works of personal visual storytelling within the digital marketplace.
  • Understanding of the relevance, influence and origins of visual storytelling through its relationship to our historical, digital and popular culture.
  • Exploration and development of effective methods for successful collaborative work.
  • Successful communication of information using different media technologies, delivery formats and styles.
  • Successful application of professional practice strategies in business, legal and studio areas to facilitate the development and distribution of creative, original content.
  • A firm understanding of the expectations of employers and the ability to communicate effectively in the marketplace.
  • Development of the knowledge base and connections to be engaged within the storytelling community as both author and artist. 

School of Visual Arts | 209 East 23 Street, NY, NY 10010-3994 | Tel: 212.592.2000 | Fax: 212.725.3587