Graduate Studio and Design Programs

The application deadline is January 9, 2017, 11:00pm CST.


Applications and any application material submitted after this deadline will not be reviewed for admission. All application materials will be reviewed by the School of Art + Design Graduate Admissions Committee. Reviews will be finalized by mid-March, 2017. Applicants will be notified by email shortly after.

MFA Programs include:

  • Ceramics (Studio)
  • Metal (Studio)
  • Painting, Sculpture, New Media (Studio)
  • Graphic Design (Design)
  • Industrial Design (Design)
  • Photography (Design) - not available for admissions for Fall 2017

Preparing the Graduate Application

Depending upon national/international status, there are 2 or 3 separate submissions that applicants must complete: 

  1. The University of Illinois' online application: (1) Transcripts, (2) Letters of Recommendation, (3) Resume, and (4) Statement of Intent. The application fee is $70 for domestic applicants or $90 for international applicants. The fee is paid by credit card. Select in the online application the MFA program of your choice. If you are applying to New Media, select ‘Art and Design’ only.
  2. SlideRoom: portfolio of 12-20 media files with additional details. Submission fee is $10.
  3. For international students only: English Proficiency test results. Have the Educational Testing Service send these directly to the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, using code 1836.

The GRE or GMAT exams are not required. 

Application material. Upload the following: 

  1. Transcripts: Upload (unofficial) transcripts/academic records (and diplomas or certificates of degrees if your degree is awarded and not listed on your transcript) to the online application.
  2. Letters of Recommendation:  Three letters of recommendation are required. All letters should be submitted online by the recommenders and the instructions for this process are included with the online application. In addition to evaluating the applicant's scholarly and creative achievements and potential, letters should also provide information regarding the applicant's maturity, dependability, and potential for teaching.
  3. Resume: Your resume should include relevant work and teaching experience, awards, exhibition record, and publications. This information will assist in consideration for graduate fellowship awards and graduate appointment positions. Your resume should be uploaded to the Statements section in the online application and also on the SlideRoom portfolio site.
  4. Statement of Intent:  This statement of 1000 words or less should describe your academic background and current creative work in relation to your interest in pursuing a graduate degree. Your statement should be uploaded in the Statements section in the online application and also on the SlideRoom portfolio site.
  5. Portfolio: Your portfolio should showcase your strongest work and convey an understanding of your creative research practice. Portfolios must be submitted online through an additional application process in SlideRoom. Applicants must submit 12 to 20 media files (images and/or videos). As part of the media upload process, and tied to individual files, you must provide additional details (title, date, media, contextual information, etc.) through “Label Media” to frame the work samples. This will help reviewers understand and appreciate your work.

    Prepare your files to fit the SlideRoom requirements. Images should be in JPEG (.jpg or .jpeg) format and cannot exceed 5mb per file. Please do not submit your images or portfolio as a PDF. Be sure to keep images large enough, without needless compression, such that they can be properly viewed. Videos can come in multiple formats (.m4v, .mov, .mp4, .wmv, .mpeg, or .mpg) and cannot exceed 60mb per file. It is also possible to link to external YouTube or Vimeo video files. Website links can be included in the Statement of Intent.

    Applicants are asked to provide some basic information in the SlideRoom interface, including the MFA program to which you are applying. This declaration should match your application on the university site. SlideRoom provides a confirmation screen at the successful completion of the portfolio submission process.

    Physical portfolios and/or discs are not accepted and will not be reviewed.
  6. For international students:  Applicants must meet both the University of Illinois and the School of Art + Design TOEFL/IELTS requirements. For details and information about University requirements see
    • The School of Art + Design's English Proficiency Standards are higher than the general campus requirements: for Limited Status Admission we require a minimum total TOEFL score of 96 iBT, or a 6.5 IELTS score of 6 or higher in all sub-sections, and for the speak section at least a 7.
    • Test scores must be less than two years old from the first day of class at the proposed term of entry. If you plan to begin your studies at the University of Illinois on August 28, 2017, your test scores cannot be dated from before August 28, 2015.
    • TOEFL/IELTS results have to be in by the deadline of January 9, 2017 to guarantee admission consideration. Plan your test accordingly.

Students admitted on limited status will be required to take an English Placement Test (EPT) shortly after arrival on campus. Depending on the results of this test, Limited Status students may be asked to take additional English as a Second Language (ESL) classes. Please be aware that ESL courses do not count toward agree requirements. 

For important aspects of applying as an international student, please see:

Financial Aid and Funding

Graduate students in good standing in the School of Art + Design typically receive support packages that include waivers of full tuition and most fees. Applicants seeking financial aid should check the appropriate boxes on the Graduate Application online. International students are eligible for funding once they (almost) meet the UIUC campus oral English proficiency standards

The School of Art + Design encourages domestic applicants to apply for financial aid through the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) for possible Federal Work Study (FWS) Graduate Assistantships. To be considered for this financial aid, applicants should file a FAFSA application electronically using the FAFSA website: Additional information regarding this financial aid can be found on the University of Illinois Office of Student Financial Aid (OFSA) website: The OFSA will notify applicants electronically if they are eligible for a FWS Graduate Assistantship.

The types of financial support provided by the School of Art and Design are: 

  1. Graduate Fellowships:  These are competitive awards granted by the University of Illinois Graduate College to degree candidates who have demonstrated especially strong academic achievement and outstanding future potential. The Graduate Review Committee in the School of Art + Design determines the candidates for review by the University Graduate College Fellowship Committee for all fellowship awards. Fellowship stipends range from $10,000 to $25,000 for the academic year and include a full waiver of tuition and a partial waiver of university campus fees. A fellowship is a gift and requires no service. See for more information
  2. Graduate Appointments:  Teaching Assistant and Research Assistant positions are available to students in good standing. Currently a nine-month 25% graduate appointment offers a stipend which is currently $8,140.50 (before taxes) for the academic year. The appointment requires 10 hours a week of service. These graduate appointments include a full waiver of tuition and a partial waiver of university campus fees. See for more information International Students may have to pass an English Proficiency Interview (EPI) exam in order to be considered for a teaching appointment.