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Art - Master of Fine Arts

The School of Art at Illinois State University offers graduate assistantships to candidates for the Master of Fine Arts program. The MFA is a 60-hour program that emphasizes both theory and practice in the production, history, and teaching of the visual arts. Candidates will be expected to demonstrate artistic proficiency in at least one of the following disciplines: painting and drawing, sculpture and expanded media, printmaking, video, ceramics, photography, or glass.

The School of Art offers students an excellent faculty, extensive facilities, and individual graduate studio spaces. Just two hours south of Chicago, the School of Art offers easy access to the vibrant museum and gallery environment of the city. In addition, the on-campus University Galleries' active exhibition schedule and a full schedule of visiting artist residencies and lectures provide students with a vital critical survey of contemporary art.

Each MFA student mounts a solo exhibition in the student gallery, Transpace, in partial fulfillment of their MFA requirement and can participate in multiple group exhibitions in the University Galleries during their time in the program. The school provides a supportive atmosphere fostering an active studio practice, rigorous intellectual inquiry, and the development of a mature body of work.

University Admission Requirements

A student applying to a master's program must:

  • have earned a four-year bachelor's degree or its equivalent from a college or university that is accredited by the appropriate regional accrediting association, or do so within one academic year
  • have a minimum 2.8 GPA (on a scale in which an A is a 4.0) for the last 60 hours of undergraduate work
  • present official transcripts from each college or university other than Illinois State at which graduate, undergraduate, or non-degree credit was earned. Transcripts can be emailed from the university to or mailed in a sealed envelope to: Office of Admissions, 201 Hovey Hall, Campus Box 2200, Normal, IL 61790-2200

International students can learn more about specific application requirements by visiting the Office of Admissions.

Additional Program Admission Requirements

A student applying to this program must:

  • upload a current resume, to include list of exhibitions and contact information of recommenders (PDF file)
  • submit a statement addressing ideas central to your current work and intentions for graduate study (PDF file)
  • submit a sample of academic writing, minimum 5 pages (PDF file)
  • upload an image list of artworks in your digital portfolio (PDF file). For each art work in your digital portfolio, include the following information in a list: file name corresponding to your digital portfolio (see File Name above), title, medium, size, and date. Thumbnail images of the artworks are helpful but not required.
  • submit names and email addresses of three references for letters of recommendation within the online application
  • upload a digital portfolio of 15-20 images of recent art works. Images must conform to the following specifications:
    • image format: JPEG file format only (do not use other image formats; do not use Powerpoint or other presentation formats)
    • image resolution: 1024 wide x 768 high at 72dpi
    • file size: Each JPEG 5mb maximum
    • file name: Name each image file with your last name and a number (e.g., Jones-001.jpg, Jones-002.jpg, etc.)

Admission Dates and Deadlines

Term Application Deadline
Fall  Febuary 1 
Fall  February 1 for International students 
Spring  Contact School of Art for availability 
Summer  No summer admission 

Graduate Assistantship Information

The University provides graduate assistantships as a means of financial support. They are intended as a way to facilitate a student's progress to degree while providing important professional development.


To be eligible for an assistantship a student must, generally,

  • be admitted unconditionally as a degree-seeking student into a graduate academic program, or have a minimum of 120 undergraduate hours if in an integrated degree program
  • be in good-standing
  • be enrolled full-time (typically at least 9 credit hours during the fall or spring semesters, or at least 6 hours during the summer session).


Graduate assistants receive

  • monthly wages paid in the form of either a stipend or an hourly wage
  • a waiver for 100% of tuition during a semester of appointment
  • a waiver for up to 12 credit hours of tuition for the summer term immediately following a fall or spring appointment

Cost & Funding

See Student Accounts for information on tuition and fees. Funding for graduate students is available from several different sources. Students who have been admitted from continuous states including Iowa, Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan, Missouri, and Wisconsin will receive in-state tuition.

Graduate Coordinator

Name Office Email Phone
Tyler Lotz  Centennial West 103  (309) 438-8301 
2016-08-30T13:46:29.206-05:00 2016