Interview with Ms. Cathy Corcoran, Executive Administrative Director

Interview with Ms. Cathy Corcoran, Executive Administrative Director

at The Academy of Art University Graduate School

  1. What are the top three reasons that students choose to pursue a graduate degree in the visual arts?
    1. To obtain the MFA, a terminal degree
    2. To further their education, skills and marketability - to become a Master of their craft.
    3. As an avenue to a career change
  2. Professionally speaking, why should students pursue graduate programs in art? What advantages can they attain from it? When is the best time to pursue one?
    To gain a considerable edge in the art and design field as having completed the equivalent of a terminal degree in an area of art and design, the culmination of which was an independently conceived and dedicated thesis project.
    To broaden and advance their conceptual and practical knowledge.
    To surpass and transform previous work and ideas, and to break into something new.
    Advantages: Better job, more pay, new ideas, more experience
    Best Time: When a student has completed BA undergraduate course work and wishes to take his skills to the next level. When the student feels ready for experimentation and exploration in and out of the studio.
  3. What are the three most important factors that prospective students should consider when evaluating and choosing a graduate program in the visual arts?
    The caliber and quality of Directors and Faculty.
    The Program's Curriculum, whether they want to pursue a theoretical vs. practical graduate program.
    The school's Facilities and Resources and connections to industry.
  4. How is your graduate art program different than those at other schools? How is technology integrated into your programs?
    We offer the MFA degree in 10 different majors of art and design with areas of emphasis in each major
    MFA students are allowed to cross boundaries with specialized programming and work on collaborative projects
    Top-notch facilities
    Faculty / working professionals
  5. How selective are graduate schools for the visual arts, and what are some hot tips for getting accepted?
    Graduate Schools are selective even though most do not require the candidate to test out. The candidate must demonstrate the skill and ability to excel in the arts. A portfolio of art and design is required along with a letter of intent and transcripts from all post-secondary institutions. The Graduate Review Committee reviews the portfolio and admits the student based on skill. Hot Tips: Produce a first-rate portfolio of art and design showing skill level. Plus a first rate letter of intent, which communicates your reasons for applying to a specific discipline. The Academy does admit some students conditionally, requiring undergrad course work before taking Masters classes. Conditional accepts are granted by the department chairman upon review of the portfolio.
  6. How do most students fund their graduate education? How available are scholarships and other forms of financial assistance at your school?
    Financial Aid/ Personal loans are how most students fund their graduate education. Financial Aid is available at The Academy of Art College.
  7. Can an MFA include a focus on just about any visual art discipline? What's the difference between an MFA with a specialization and an MA in any given specialty?
    Yes, an MFA may focus on just about any discipline, depending on skill level and past experience. The Master of Fine Arts Degree requires the candidate to complete 63 units or approx. 5 semesters of course work and complete a final project i.e. (thesis). MA programs offer one year of intense course work specific to the specialization. The Academy does not offer an MA.
  8. How does your school help its students to find jobs in the visual arts?
    Our Career Services Office provides extensive job placement assistance to Graduate Students, in collaboration with each department:
    1. Internships
    2. Career Service Department /Online postings
    3. Networking events
    4. Faculty referrals
  9. Tell us about some of your MFA graduates.
    Here are some recent MFA Grads, their degree and their employment:
    1. Sunghoon (Matt) Cho, MPT - VDI San Francisco, Editor
    2. Danielle Tripp, GR - Arias Associates, Creative Designer
    3. Lee, Sangkoo, MPT - two Motion Picture Teaching Jobs pending in Korea, Han Sung University & Kyung-in University in Korea
    4. Lena Howansky, Illustration - Internship at MOMA NY
    5. Jan Chang, 3D Animation - Network Associates, Graphic Designer
    6. Sin-yi- Hsieh, New Media - TMC Software, web & interface designer
    7. Iren Jensen, FA - Disney studio artist, animation research library
    8. Thomas Judd, 3D animation - DNA Productions, Animator
    9. Montri Khrueareerat, Fashion - Resource & Design Inc. Junior Designer
    10. Do-Hyun Kim, New Media - Hot Studio, S.F. Interactive Media Designer
    11. Audelino Moreno, ADV - Gardner, Geary, Coll & Young, Art Director
  10. Tell us about some of your noteworthy faculty.
    I would refer to the academy's website for info on our Directors.

For more information on The Academy of Art University, you can view their school information page and request information.

Graduate Program Profile: The Academy of Art College

Enrollment: Over 700

School Tuition (in-state/out-of-state): $550 per unit

Student/Faculty Ratio: 10/1

Graduation rate: N/A

Graduate degrees and programs offered in visual arts: Advertising, Computer Arts (New Media, 3D Modeling and Animation), Fine Art (Painting, Sculpture, Printmaking), Fashion (Design, Merchandising, Knitwear, Textiles), Graphic Design, Interior Architecture and Design, Industrial Design (Product, Toy, Transportation, Furniture), Illustration (Traditional, 2D Animation), Motion Pictures and Television, Photography

The mission of your graduate art school: It is the mission of the AAC to provide aspiring artist and designers with career preparation combined with academic excellence for the BFA, MFA and Certificate Programs in the areas of art band design.

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