MFA-Track Capstone

Students will link theory with practice as participants in a 10-week residency internship at a professional arts organization. The internship is individually arranged by the student in collaboration with AA faculty and an on-site supervisor. A design statement, written by the student and agreed upon by the participating parties, will outline the goals of the student within the internship, focusing on substantive experiences which will demonstrate the student’s practical knowledge and skill acquired in the five previous semester in the AA program. Design statement fulfillment will be analyzed by the AA Graduation Committee at the end of the student’s sixth and final semester.

Capstone Learning Outcomes
As the capstone of two years of Arts Administration theory and practice, the Learning Outcomes for the Master of Fine Arts Capstone class are the same as those for the Arts Administration Program as a whole, building upon those of the College of Performing and Visual Arts, and Southern Utah University. Through successful completion of this course, students will:

  1. Become empowered advocates for the arts
  2. Apply scholarly theory directly into professional practice
  3. Develop adaptability and critical thinking skills necessary to work in the arts
  4. Cultivate both practical and creative approaches to problem solving
  5. Communicate in an effective and persuasive way.

Project Criteria
The Capstone should be the culmination of a well thought-out sequence of academic experiences. It should be a 10-week (minimum) internship at 40 hours per week at a non-profit arts organization, include a Field Mentor with at least 5 years of arts administration experience, and be in line with the AA curriculum.

Approval Process
While there is no official approval process for the MFA Capstone, as they search, the student should be in constant contact with their Academic Advisor to find the most appropriate situation for the students’ personal and professional goals.

Design Statement
As the project is an arrangement between the student, the AA program, and an outside arts organization, the student must create a Design Statement, or contract, to ensure all participants are on the same page. This document must contain the following elements:

  • Student career goals
  • A reflection on student preparation and qualifications
  • Project information (location, organization, dates, title)
  • Project description (information on the project & expected responsibilities)
  • Expected project learning outcomes
  • Field supervisor information (name, title, qualifications, contact information)
  • Signatures of the Student, the AA Director, and the Field Supervisor

Capstone Blog
During the Summer semester, students will make weekly Journal Entries on the Arts Administration Capstone: Master of Fine Arts ( blog, accessed by the Graduation Committee (consisting of all AA Faculty and a representative from each Assistantships organization), current AA students, and invited guests. Students are encouraged to look through the blog to see what students have done for Capstone internships in past years, and to get an idea of how things progress through the Summer semester.

Capstone Presentation
Students will return to Cedar City to in conjunction with the annual Arts Administration Orientation conference at the beginning of September to present on the Capstone experience, and to satisfy the requirements for the Degree Defense (AA6980) course (see below). Presentations should focus on the capstone internship, relating experiences back to the two years in the AA program.

The Defense Interview
The formal Defense Interview with the Graduation Committee, also held during the Arts Administration Orientation conference, will give the student the opportunity to defend their degree, demonstrating proficiency in the field of arts administration. At this interview, the student will defend their time in the program through their Apologia.

The Apologia allows the AA Graduation Committee to assess the progress, experiences, and growth of the student during the course of the degree program. Housed in a Google Drive folder, this cumulative portfolio with accompanying narrative will serve as the discussion platform of the interview [see below] and must be completed two weeks before the interview. The Apologia should reflect and synthesize the Learning Outcomes of the course and program, and contain the following:

  1. Resume - There are no formatting restrictions for the Resume, but it should be consistent throughout, logically organized, effective, and current (including the Capstone experience).
  2. Course & Project Work - This section is a cumulative portfolio of all course and project deliverables over the two years of the program, organized logically in the student’s Apologia Google Drive folder.
  3. Degree Defense Narrative - This document should guide the reader chronologically through the student's growth and understanding of both theoretical and practical information gained over the course of the two year program. It should also define special projects, detailing how each project was implemented and connected with theoretical material covered in class. This section is designed to illustrate work done in the context of theories studied. The narrative should be approximately 20 pages and include a Cover Page, Table of Contents, and Bibliographic References if citations are used. There are no formatting restrictions but should be consistent throughout and logically organized.
  4. Leadership Philosophy - A narrative of the student's leadership style. Students should demonstrate how both course work and project work informed and fine-tuned said style. Future goals for reassessment and development as a leader in the arts should also be defined.

All grading in both the Capstone and Degree Defense courses is Pass/Fail. If a student fails, the student will not be granted the degree and will be dismissed from the AA Program. The Capstone course may not be repeated (see the Arts Administration Handbook).

For more information, please contact your Academic Advisor (AA Director: Last Name A-K / AA Associate Director: Last Name L-Z)