Attaining an advanced degree in the arts is no small task. It represents the culmination of training in Visual Arts, Design, Education, and Scholarship, the last signpost on the journey from student-in-training to full-fledged professional practice. At Illinois the process is made especially rigorous by the fact that the School of Art + Design is but one tribe within a dynamic, diverse, and much larger intellectual and creative campus community.

The faculty of the School sets the bar exceedingly high for graduate students. It is not enough to exhibit exemplary production skills with a given medium, thorough knowledge of a particular art historical period, or command of current art education practices. Our graduate students — whether they are pursuing an MA, MFA, or PhD — are expected to also display sophisticated understandings of the conceptual underpinnings of their work; of the social significance of their activities; and of the historical lineage, context, and antecedents of their ideas. Methodology in all our graduate programs extends into the realms of research, analysis, and criticism.

It should be acknowledged that the School of Art + Design cannot take full credit for the preparation of our graduate students. We have the distinct advantage of being situated within a world-class education and research institution. This larger intellectual and creative campus community adds another dimension to the educational experience, impacting each of our students in an entirely unique fashion. The work of our graduate students is always diverse in its methods, materials, and preoccupations. But it gains consistency through exhibiting a tireless curiosity, inventiveness, and intelligence.

The School offers an MFA degree with a range of specializations in Graphic Design, Industrial Design, Metals, New Media, Photography, and Painting/Sculpture. The Art Education and the Art History programs both offer MA and PhD degrees.

The School of Art + Design is accredited by the National Association of Schools of Art and Design, and is regarded as one of the outstanding public university art programs in the United States.