The University of Chicago | Graduate Admissions

Visual Arts, Master of Fine Arts - MA

Division: Humanities 
Degree Type: MFA

Program Description

The University of Chicago offers a Master of Fine Arts degree through the Department of Visual Arts, located at Midway Studios. Our MFA student body is comprised of artists working in sculpture, photography, painting, installation, performance, video and new media. Students are expected to work with all faculty, whose expertise cross a number of disciplines. We admit students to the program based on the quality of their art and their interest in working in an interdisciplinary art program within a university environment. We believe that art should not be an isolating activity and that students/artists benefit from the cross-fertilization of daily contact with people working across different media and dealing with similar sets of issues.

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Application Method

Applications should be initiated through the online application. Paper applications are not accepted.


Deadline for admissions and financial aid: December 15

The Department of Visual Arts admits applicants once a year for the following Autumn Quarter. Applications received after the deadline cannot be considered for aid.

Degree Objective

The Department of Visual Arts admits applicants only for the MFA in Visual Arts. 

Application Requirements

  1. Online Application Form and Supplemental Form  
  2. References:  Three letters of reference should be included with your application.
  3. Graduate Record Examinations and TOEFL Scores:
  4. Graduate Record Exam scores are not required for Visual Arts applicants. For information on additional examinations required of some international applicants, please see the Application Requirements page on the divisional website. The University GRE code is: 1832.
  5. Candidate Statement: Instead of a personal statement, please include a one or two-page artist's statement illuminating your artistic practice by discussion of such questions as sources of influence, character of the inquiry, and some suggestion of future directions you wish to explore.
  6. Sample of Artwork
  7. Transcripts: Official transcripts from all post-secondary educational institutions should be submitted with your application.  Online Application Form
  8. Non-refundable application fee: $65.

Admissions Decisions

Admissions decisions are emailed in early March. Direct all questions about your application directly to the admissions office.

Program Requirements

1. Studio Hours/Graduate Studio Project (9 Courses / 900 Credit Hours).  Students receive course credit for time spent in their studio developing work to present in two critique sessions per quarter. Students may register for between 100 and 300 hours of Graduate Studio Project (ARTV 40000) per quarter, provided that they are on track for meeting their other course requirements (see Graduate Seminars and Electives).

2. Graduate Seminars (3 Courses / 300 Credit Hours)  In order to provide a core of common intellectual experience, each student is required to take three quarters of the Graduate Seminar in Visual Arts (ARTV 39200) during their two year program.

3. Electives (6 Courses / 600 Credit Hours)  Students are required to take six graduate-level electives. Students may choose to take up to three of the six courses in the Department of Visual Arts; however, at least three of the six electives must originate in departments outside of Visual Arts.

4. Thesis Presentation In the final quarter of the two-year program each degree candidate will present their thesis work at a University-identified location or other venue appropriate to their project. Also required is an artist talk held concurrent with this presentation, and a Master of Fine Arts paper that clearly articulates a position on issues central in importance to each student's art practice.




Costs & Financial Aid

DOVA offers a variety of fellowships and teaching assistantships to qualified MFA students. Fellowships range from partial tuition (in the first year) to full tuition (in the second year). Students admitted without aid in the first year may receive late awards in the second year, based on merit.