M.F.A. Program Admissions



Admission to the M.F.A. in Visual Art

To be admitted, students must have undergraduate backgrounds judged by the graduate faculty to be appropriate preparation for graduate study in visual art. A strong preference exists for applicants whose undergraduate backgrounds are in visual art.

Departmental faculty selection and review committees evaluate each applicant's transcripts, portfolios, and letters of recommendation to determine their qualifications for admission. The committees expect applicants to have the B.F.A. or B.A. degree or equivalent experience. In general, committees expect applicants to present about 70 hours of undergraduate credit in studio or related professional courses, to have maintained an undergraduate overall grade-point average of 3.0 on a 4.0 scale, particularly in visual art courses, and to have had a minimum of 9 hours of credit in art history. The department encourages full-time enrollment.

Application Deadline—February 1st

All admissions materials must be received by February 1st to be considered for admission. Admission is for Fall semester only. Applications that are not received by the deadline will be held in an inactive status for one year unless reactivated by the applicant for admission consideration to a later term. GRE scores are not required.

Admission Procedure and Application Materials

To be considered for admission to the Department of Visual Art, all Domestic and International Degree-Seeking Students must submit the following:

Online Admissions Application

Complete the online application available at KU's Graduate Studies website and submit it.

Application Fee

The application fee can be paid online as the last step of the application.  Application forms submitted without a fee cannot be processed.

Application Fees:

  • Domestic Application: $65.00
  • Degree Seeking International Application $85.00
  • Non Degree Seeking Application (Domestic and International) $30.00
  • Reenrollment Application $20.00
Three Letters of Recommendation

These letters should be from former or current instructors and/or those able to recommend you on the basis of professional experience. Provide names and email addresses for each recommender with your application. The recommender will receive a notice from the Admission Office, instructing them to upload a recommendation letter. The applicant must assume responsibility for ensuring that the Admissions Office receives these letters by the February 1st, deadline.

Official Transcript(s)

Provide an official transcript from all colleges and universities attended. Upload a copy of each transcript to Apply Web and also send an official copy of all transcripts to the Office of Admissions. It can take three weeks for transcripts to arrive.

Statement of Purpose

Include a concise 1-2 page double-spaced statement of purpose stating the objectives you hope to achieve through graduate study. Please specify your preferred area of study: Ceramics, Drawing/Painting Expanded Media, Metalsmithing/Jewelry, Printmaking, Sculpture or Textiles/Fibers.

Resume or CV

You may include the following information in your artist resume/cv: relevant professional art related details education, exhibitions, workshops, curatorial projects, art reviews, collections, awards, or residencies. Please list information that you feel will assist the review committee in evaluating your application materials.

Digital Portfolio

Applicants can upload 15 to 20 images of their artwork via SlideRoom. Instructions regarding image size and formatting are listed on the SlideRoom website. Title each image and include the dimensions, medium, and date.

Interactive or time based works (a reel of excerpts with intertitles) can be also submitted to SlideRoom. Examples should not exceed 5 minutes in duration and can be combined with an image-based portfolio.

How to Apply

In summary, to complete the application process, the following materials must be submitted to Apply Web online application site:

Completed applications will be processed in the following manner

  • Admissions decisions cannot be made until all application materials are received.
  • Students admitted to and enrolled in a regular full-time degree-seeking category will be given first priority consideration for the assignment of individual graduate student working space. These spaces are limited and are not normally available for part-time students. Those admitted, as special non-degree seeking students should not expect individual studio spaces.

Thank you again for your interest in the Department of Visual Art at the University of Kansas. If after reviewing the material, you have further questions, please do not hesitate to contact:

Norman Akers, Director of Graduate Studies, Visual Art
(785) 864-2957 or (785) 864-4402 or Normanakers2@ku.edu

Lauren Chaney, Graduate Academic Advisor, Visual Arts
785-864-2306 or lkchaney@ku.edu.

Additional requirements for International Degree-Seeking Applicants

Statement of financial resources. Immigration regulations require every international student to verify the availability of financial resources to pay for all education, living and other expenses before the visa form is issued. Please see the International Degree-Seeking Application for Admission form for further details. 

Proof of proficiency in the English language
Proficiency can be verified by:
  • Graduation with a baccalaureate degree (or higher) earned in residence from an accredited English-medium U.S. college or university or a college or university in the United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand, Ireland, English-speaking province of Canada, or an English-speaking Caribbean country, with instruction conducted in English. Degrees earned online may not be used to verify English proficiency.
  • Official scores from an English proficiency standardized test (e.g. TOEFL, IELTS-Academic, or PTE), sent by the testing agency to the University of Kansas. Official scores must be less than two years old.

Regular Admission
TOEFL – (paper), all part scores at least 53
TOEFL- (IBT), Reading, Listening, and Writing part scores at least 20
IELTS-Minimum overall score 6.5, at least 6.0 in Listening, Reading, Writing

All students admitted to campus-based programs, who are international students and/or are not native speakers of English, are required to check in at the Applied English Center (AEC) upon arrival on campus.  At that time, the AEC will confirm the student's level of English proficiency and determine if English courses will be included as a requirement of the student's academic program.

Provisional Admission

On rare occasions the department may recommend an applicant who does not meet the University’s minimum requirements for provisional admission. This may occur, for example, if a student’s overall undergraduate GPA is deficient but the major GPA scores and admissions essay suggest strong potential for success in graduate study. All recommendations for provisional admission are contingent on approval by the College University.

To continue in the program, students admitted provisionally must meet with the Director of Graduate Studies at the start of the academic term, must comply with any requests for additional meetings or communications, and must earn at least a 3.0 GPA in the first semester of graduate coursework at KU.


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