The Master of Fine Arts (MFA) program provides an intense and transformative immersion in contemporary art-making practice in a large and supportive community of artists, critics, visiting speakers, seminar leaders and fellow students.
The MFA program at PAFA is an intensive, two-year experience that focuses on studio practice and individual artistic development. The program is interdisciplinary in nature and welcomes students working in a variety of media with a wide range of interests. Through seminars, studio classes, critiques, and visiting artist lectures, students are exposed to diverse viewpoints and approaches to art making. The program fosters a strong sense of community and students are both supported and challenged by their peers and faculty. The MFA program enables students to become independent, critical thinkers and makers who are engaged members of their artistic communities.
The MFA program offers seminars in theory, contemporary art, writing and professional practices. Students also enroll in studio classes with a range of topics that include: figure drawing, contemporary themes in painting, and video and animation. In addition, students have the option of taking an array of undergraduate courses such as mold-making and landscape painting. PAFA is a school that cares deeply about how things are made as well as the ideas behind them. The curriculum is structured to help students improve their abilities to see and make while also broadening and deepening their conceptual framework and skills to discuss and write about art.
The core of the program is students’ individual studio practice. Through experimentation, one on one discussion with critics, and group critiques, students develop their work and ideas into a sustainable, thoughtful artistic practice. In their studio work, students are encouraged to be independent, self-motivated and open to the new possibilities and ideas that arise through the course of making. Students have a private studio with 24-hour access and access to the print and sculpture shops, the Cast Hall and the tremendous museum collection.
During the second year of the program, students begin to focus towards a body of work that constitutes their thesis. The program of study culminates in an exhibition of thesis work within the museum galleries of the Samuel M.V. Hamilton Building.
PAFA is accredited by the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD) as well as by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE).
PAFA has a long tradition of enrolling students from all over the world. The School of Fine Arts is a welcoming place for a very diverse worldview, as well as diversity in art and the place of art in the world community.
In addition to the completed application materials, international students whose native language is not English are also required to submit either official scores on the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or the IELTS. PAFA's suggested TOEFL minumums are: 100 (internet-based), or 250 (computer-based). The suggested IELTS score is 6.0 Information on the TOEFL can be found at www.ets.org/toefl. PAFA’s TOEFL test code is 8499. Information on the IELTS can be found at www.ielts.org.
PAFA is pleased to offer partial merit-based international student scholarships on a competitive basis. As well, both undergraduate and graduate students are also considered automatically for Academy merit scholarship support.