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2017-2018 Graduate Bulletin

College of Fine Arts

Dean: Peter Weishar

The College of Fine Arts was formed in 2005, with the combination of the former School of Visual Arts and Dance and the School of Theatre. The College has six academic units: the Department of Art, Department of Art Education, Department of Interior Architecture and Design, Department of Art History, School of Dance, and School of Theatre. These academic units offer an extensive program of instruction in all areas of the visual arts, theatre and dance. In fact, nearly every level of undergraduate and graduate degree that a university can offer in these areas is represented within the College, including the established terminal degree in each discipline. Accordingly, the College is unique in the state of Florida.

Enhancement of the fine and performing arts is one of Florida State University’s specific goals as presented in its mission statement. The comprehensive nature and consistent quality of the College may be credited in large part to the recognition and support for the arts evident in the University. The very idea of arts training within a university context is held to be fundamentally important to an individual’s education in today’s society. The College of Fine Arts shares much in common with an independent arts school, but the differences are more important than the similarities. The University strives toward education of the whole person, and it has a great variety of cultural and curricular resources to reach this end. Therefore, our students have the opportunity to benefit from the entire University, a warm and friendly residential college and major graduate research institution. There is no substitute for this environment.

The College promotes the visual arts, theatre and dance within this community. Its goal is to provide a broad-based liberal arts education for students, while at the same time training them to be dancers, actors, designers, artists, scholars, teachers, or other professionals in the field. It functions to enrich their lives and to provide them with the means of self-expression in an increasingly complex and impersonal technological society—a society ever more dependent upon visual language and information. The study and practice of the arts are therefore viewed as a necessary link in the educational system, both as a learning process and as a means of personal fulfillment. Measures are applied within the College—and indeed throughout Florida State University’s campus—to keep the spirit of open inquiry vital and productive.

Regardless of the department of a student’s major, the College of Fine Arts provides an unusual opportunity for working with a distinguished faculty of nationally and internationally recognized artists and scholars, all of whom teach undergraduate as well as graduate students.


In addition to the lecture rooms, general classrooms, seminar rooms, and media-specific laboratories (e.g., printmaking, electronic imaging, ceramics, sculpture, photography, and the like), four specialized facilities merit particular mention. First, art students in designated degree programs are provided individual studios, making it possible for them to work in a healthy environment that promotes the cross-fertilization of ideas and constructive debate. Students at different stages of development learn from each other as well as from their professors, who regularly come to their studios for tutorials and critiques. These studios are housed in the Carnaghi Arts Building. Second, dance students train in spacious, comfortable studios and perform in their own fully equipped professional dance theatre, experimental black box theatre, and grand studio; in addition, students explore dance technology in state-of-the-art labs, all within what are arguably the best university dance facilities in the country. Also, theatre students train and perform in four venues, including two traditional proscenium theatres, a lab theatre, and a stage for student-produced works. Finally, students in art education, art history, and interior design work in specifically designed and dedicated spaces in the newly renovated William Johnston Building located in the center of campus.

The Florida State University Museum of Fine Arts

The Florida State University Museum of Fine Arts is first and foremost an extension of the teaching mission of the College. Large, modern, and well equipped, it houses the permanent collection and several times a year hosts faculty and student shows, including MFA graduate exhibitions. In addition, the school faculty and the museum staff pride themselves on originating shows of national prominence, documented through professional and scholarly catalogs, often complemented by the efforts of graduate students. The Florida State University Museum of Fine Arts is a community resource of regional significance in the Southeast and is fully accredited by the American Association of Museums.

The John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art

Beginning with the new millennium, Florida State University was charged by the State of Florida with administration of the Ringling Museum of Art in Sarasota, Florida. This incredible museum complex with its superb internationally renowned art collection, Circus Museum, Historic Asolo Theatre, and Ringling mansion, offers multiple opportunities for students in the arts, museum studies, and the humanities. Programs derive from and enhance undergraduate and graduate education in the College of Fine Arts, as well as many other areas within Florida State University.

Maggie Allesee National Center for Choreography

The mission of the Maggie Allesee National Center for Choreography (MANCC) is to raise the value of the creative process in dance by providing (1) a model of support for professional choreographic creativity within a comprehensive, graduate research university, (2) access to a stimulating environment where experimentation, exploration and life-long learning are both valued and encouraged, and (3) opportunities for engagement with the creative process in dance to the national field as well as our students, staff, faculty, and community.

Facility for Arts Research

The Facility for Arts Research (FAR) offers space and specialized equipment for experimental printmaking, spatial audio, electronics and digital fabrication to researchers, faculty and students as part of a rigorous interdisciplinary investigation into artmaking. FAR engages and educates 21st century makers in the collaborative, cross-disciplinary experiences of contemporary arts research, supporting and promoting the integration of digital and traditional art and design methods to create unique objects that might be impossible to make in other ways.

Specialized Study in Museum Theory and Practice

The College of Fine Arts, along with the College of Arts and Sciences, the College of Education, the College of Human Sciences, and the College of Communication and Information, offers an interdisciplinary program in museum theory and practice. The program prepares graduate or postgraduate students who wish to supplement their academic knowledge with specific expertise in the museum field. A strong emphasis is placed on preparing students for the profession with career guidance and planning, informal discussions with museum professionals, mentorships, and seminars on professional training. The program is available to graduate students in art education, art history, interior design, theatre, arts administration, classics, dance, history, as well as information studies, and it will continue to attract disciplines as it expands.

Program requirements consist of four core courses, a museum internship, and special projects and electives as determined by individual departments.

Study Abroad

The University offers many opportunities for international study open to all qualified state university students. Study-abroad programs range in nature from long-established study centers in Florence, Italy, and London, England, to recently developed programs in Spain and France. Operated by Florida State University, they provide the opportunity for a truly rewarding educational and cultural experience. Representing as it does a collegial body of students of the arts, the College of Fine Arts has had a particular affinity for the Florence program, one which has led to a history of involvement since the founding of the program in 1966, largely through the efforts of the art history faculty. In every year that it has existed, at least one member of the College faculty has taught in Florence, and the College has significant representation among the students studying there. More recently, greater emphasis has been placed on the opportunities at the London and Valencia Centers. Of particular significance to students of theatre is the London program, with its year-round theatre offerings. Students of theatre, art, dance, design, and art history flourish in the rich, humanistic environments of these magnificent cities and cultural centers. This they can do usually without disrupting their sequence of courses and without loss of residency since the Florence, London, and Valencia campuses are true extensions of the Tallahassee campus.


For the past thirty-five years the College has published Athanor, a well-respected art history journal which presents scholarly articles by graduate students from universities across the nation. The journal results in part from an art history graduate student symposium conducted on campus each year. It is attended by students whose papers have been accepted for presentation and by distinguished art historians invited to address the symposium and to respond to the papers. This event proves to be of particular value to graduate students in art and art history.

Requirements of the College

Individuals seeking admission to one of the program in the College should consult the appropriate General Bulletin and the department regarding admission processes and standards.