Graduate School, Art and Design

For artists, earning an M.F.A. demonstrates advanced abilities in an art specialty field,
such as graphic design, sculpture, package design, environmental design, typography, printmaking, photography, painting, drawing, or visual communications, etc.







Ignite Your Full Creative Potential

Graduate Studies at any school or program is typically an intense four-semester immersion focusing on personal creative work—the work you want to do. For this important reason, graduate studies is a very unique experience, unlike any educational experience one might have had previously, and difficult to repeat with the same level of commitment afterwards. Spend serious quality time in researching where you feel this experience will be the most rewarding. You will be glad you did!

It is strongly recommended that you DO NOT go to grad school directly after undergraduate school. The reason for this is that in most cases it is to your advantage to work in the field as a designer or artist for at least a year or two to get a perspective on the way the profession works. You will also develop a more refined sense of your personal goals as an artist or designer. With those two pieces of information it will be easier and more rewarding for you as you begin the process of looking for the right grad program to join.

Here is a short list of some of the many factors you should consider as you begin this search.

  • What is the Graduate Program/Department known for? (style, media, etc.)
  • Graduate Department Size (how many students are accepted annually?)
  • Graduate Faculty (how many and what are their individual artistic strengths/directions?)
  • Alumni (who has been in their program before and what are they doing now?)
  • Location (near major museums, galleries, studios, design firms, technology, etc.)
  • Cost (relocation, housing, commuting, etc.)
  • Cost of application
  • Art School Program vs. Grad Studies Program located within a university
  • Opportunity for teaching assistantships (TA) grants, fellowships, exhibitions, artist residencies, internships and jobs post-grad.


Best Art Schools



Application Process. The details of this varies from school to school, so you will want to consult the online application requirements specific to each school and follow a checklist to make sure you are aware of all the particulars. Generally speaking however, you will want to have the following in order:

  • Portfolio of your work (including descriptions of each project/piece, why you did it or who was the client, what problem did it solve, what was its purpose, challenges that you overcame, processes used, what did you learn, what was the result, etc.)
  • Clear Artist Statement
  • Customized Statement of Intent (why this particular school/program?)
  • Clear set of Personal Artistic Goals (generally, why do you want to go to graduate school? where do you want to be in 5, 10 years as an artist/designer? How will grad school help you get there?)
  • Undergraduate transcripts
  • References
  • Deadlines for application