Graduate Studio and Design Programs

The application deadline is January 15, 2019, 11:00pm CST.

(Online application forms are expected to be open by September 1, 2018)

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, 2019. Applicants will be notified by email shortly after.

MFA Programs include:

  • Studio Art (Painting, Sculpture, New Media)
  • Metal 
  • Photography
  • Graphic Design 
  • Industrial Design 

Applicants with an interest in Printmaking are encouraged to apply through Studio Art (Painting)



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

  1. The University of Illinois' online application: upload (1) Transcripts, (2) Letters of Recommendation, (3) Resume, and (4) Personal Statement. The application fee is $70 for domestic applicants or $90 for international applicants. The fee is paid by credit card. Eligible minority applicants may fill out a request through FreeApp to have their application fee waived. 
  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

For important aspects of applying as an international student, please go here

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).
  2. Letters of Recommendation:  Three letters of recommendation are required. All letters should be submitted online by the recommenders. 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 in the online application form and also on the portfolio site.
  4. Personal Statement:  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 online application form and also on the 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.
    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. 

    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 Personal Statement. 

    Physical portfolios and/or discs are not accepted and will not be reviewed.
  6. For international and non-native English speaking applicants:  TOEFL/IELTS test scores. For details and information about University English Proficiency requirements go here
    • 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 6.5-7.0 IELTS score.
    • Test scores have to be dated after August 27, 2017.
    • Test scores have to be received by the admission deadline of January 15, 2019.
    • 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 the degree requirements. 

Financial Aid and Funding

Many admitted students receive an offer of admission accompanied by a funding package. 

International and/or non-native English speakers are considered for a funding package only when

1) they submit a Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) speaking subsection test score of at least 22, or an International English Language Testing System (IELTS) speaking subsection test score of at least 7.0, with tests dated after August 27, 2017. Test scores need to be submitted to school code 1836 by the deadline of January 15, 2019. This is required even when the applicant is exempt from showing these scores for admission purposes.

2) their admission application includes completed proof of funding paperwork, submitted by the deadline of January 15, 2019.

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

  1. Graduate Fellowships:  These are competitive awards granted by either the School of Art + Design or the University of Illinois Graduate College to new incoming degree candidates who have demonstrated especially strong academic achievement and have outstanding future potential. For full consideration for the Graduate College fellowships, all admission materials have to be submitted by December 15, 2018. Other fellowships are still available by the regular admissions deadline. 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. 
  2. Graduate Assistantships:  Teaching Assistant and Research Assistant positions are available to students in good standing. Currently a nine-month 25% graduate appointment offers a stipend of  $8,548.56 (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.

To be considered for Graduate College Fellowships, have all materials submitted by December 15, 2018. Art + Design fellowships are still available by the regular admission deadline.