Graduate Studio and Design Programs

The application deadline is January 15, 2024, 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 Graduate Admissions Committee of the Program to which the candidate has applied. Reviews will be finalized by mid-March 2024. Applicants will be notified by email shortly after.

MFA Programs include:

  • Design for Responsible Innovation
  • Industrial Design
  • Studio Art (Painting, Sculpture, Photography, New Media)

Admission to Industrial Design will not be available for the 2024 cycle but is expected to reopen to applicants in 2025.

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


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

  1. The University of Illinois online application requires Transcripts, Letters of Recommendation, Resume, and a Personal Statement.
    Eligible domestic minority applicants may request an application fee waiver via FreeApp.
  2. The School of A&D requires the submission of an online portfolio of 12-20 media files with additional details. See below.
  3. International students must provide English proficiency test results. Have the Educational Testing Service send these directly to the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign using code 1836.

In addition, international students should review this important information.

The GRE and GMAT exams are not required.

Application Materials for the University

  • Transcripts: Upload (unofficial) scans of transcripts/academic records (and diplomas or certificates of degrees if your degree is awarded).
  • 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.
  • 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. Add where and when you attended high school. Your resume should be uploaded in the online application form and included with the portfolio submission.
  • 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.
  • International and non-native English-speaking applicants must provide TOEFL/IELTS test scores for admission. Learn more about university English proficiency requirements.
    • 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 results must be dated after August 21, 2022.
    • Test scores results must be received by the application deadline of January 15, 2024.
    • 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.

Portfolios and Additional Materials for the MFA Program

  • Portfolio checklist: A single page document that includes the title, format/dimensions, medium, date for each image/video.
  • Portfolio: Upload 12 to 20 media files in a folder, along with your personal statement, resume, and portfolio checklist including title, format/dimensions, medium, date for each image/video. Images should be in JPEG (.jpg or .jpeg) format and should not exceed 5MB per file. Please do not submit your images or portfolio as a PDF. Videos (optional) should be in MP4 (video) format. It is also possible to link to external YouTube or Vimeo video files in the portfolio checklist. Videos should be no more than 5 minutes. All images and videos should be numbered or labeled to match the checklist.
  • Resume
  • Personal Statement

Instructions for uploading portfolios and documents :

  • Save all your portfolio images/videos, checklist, resume, and statement in a folder titled with your first and last name, e.g. FirstnameLastname
  • Create a compressed .zip file from that folder:
  • If on a Mac: Control-click (or right-click) the folder, then choose Compress from the shortcut menu.
  • If on Windows: Press and hold (or right-click) the folder, select (or point to) Send to, and then select Compressed (zipped) folder.
  • The file should be titled (where “FirstnameLastname” is your first and last name). If it is not named correctly, rename it before the next step.
  • Upload the .zip file to the link provided for your MFA program.
  • Ensure that your file has been successfully uploaded before closing your browser or computer.

DRI program applicants – Upload your file here: (link no longer available)

Studio program applicants – Upload your file here: (link no longer available)

Financial Aid and Funding

Funding packages are available for students in most programs.

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 24, or an International English Language Testing System (IELTS) speaking subsection test score of at least 8.0, with tests dated after August 21, 2022. Test scores need to be submitted to school code 1836 by the deadline of January 15, 2024. This is required even when the applicant is exempt from showing these scores for admission purposes. Duolingo test results are not considered for funding consideration.
  2. Their admission application includes completed proof of funding paperwork, submitted by the deadline of January 15, 2024.

The School of Art and Design offers several types of financial support:

  1. Graduate Fellowships 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. If you identify as a domestic minority applicant, it is recommended that you submit all admissions materials (including the portfolio) by December 15, 2023, to be considered for diversity fellowships. Fellowship stipends are usually $10,000 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 include Teaching Assistant and Research Assistant positions. They are available to students in good standing. Currently a nine-month 25% FTE graduate appointment offers a stipend of at least $1,226.67 (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.
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