Application Process 

To be admitted to the program on regular status, an applicant must hold a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from a recognized educational institution, or have completed the courses in art that are required for the Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Studio Art at Michigan State University or the equivalents. The Department of Art, Art History, and Design at Michigan State Univeristy requires students to have a cumulative GPA of 3.0 for regular admission. A student whose academic record meets most but not all of the admission requirements may be admitted on a provisional basis. Any provisional work required of an incoming student will be explained in the letter of provisional acceptance. This letter will explicitly outline any specific coursework needed, whether the work will count toward the degree program, grade point required and the time line for completing remedial work. Students are responsible for completing all deficiencies specified at the time of provisional admission before the 15 Credit Review. 

Students are admitted to the Master of Fine Arts degree program in Studio Art for Fall semester only. Application materials for admission must be postmarked by February 15th. To be considered for MSU Distinguished Fellowship deadline for receipt of materials is January 5th.

Admission decisions are typically announced in early March.  Funding offers are extended in early April.  


Michigan State University has an online application system through the Office of Admissions. Additionally, to be considered for admission to the Master of Fine Arts Degree Program in Studio Art, an applicant must submit materials directly to the department.  

Required Application Documents

  • Statement of Intent / Artist Statement – this brief statement provides the applicant the opportunity to discuss their work, the issues they find most compelling that drive this work, and address sources that inform their work.  In addition, please address reasons/goals for pursuing the MFA degree track in the Department of Art, Art History, and Design at Michigan State University.
  • Transcripts from undergraduate institution(s) – these must be official transcripts (generally sent directly from the institution).  A cumulative 3.0 GPA is a requirement of Department of Art, Art History, and Design at Michigan State University for regular admittance. We will accept transcripts sent from the student if they are stamped and or signed officially on the back by the institution.  
  • Current resume/CV – include academic honors, scholarships, exhibition record, special skills and expertise, and prior teaching experience
  • Three letters of recommendation – from faculty members or others who are familiar with the applicant’s creative research. These can be sent directly to the department without any specific cover letter.  They can be addressed to “Master of Fine Arts Review Committee” 
  • Portfolio of 15-20 images – must be submitted digitally using slideroom
  • TOEFL / IELTS – International Students are required to take an English Language Proficiency exam.  

Application Process

MSU requires everyone to complete the general online application for graduate study – this is completed by Masters and PhD students in every area.  Because it is a general application, there are some parts that are unnecessary or that duplicate the materials requested at the departmental level.  It is important to remember in addition to the online application, you will need to submit the materials requested above to our department directly. Department of Art, Art History, and DesignMichigan State University600 Auditorium Road113 Kresge Art CenterEast Lansing, MI  48824

Applicants are required to identify their concentration when they submit an application (Ceramics, Graphic Design, Painting, Printmaking, or Sculpture).  The program is designed to allow concentration in an individual discipline within a multi-disciplinary environment where exploration and experimentation across media are welcomed.  It is not uncommon for MFA candidates to work individually or collaboratively with mixed media, installation, video, or performance.  Many of our MFA’s are creating work at the intersection of, or space between the various concentration areas. We feel that a multi-disciplinary environment is reflective of the contemporary art world and is key to a successful MFA experience for many artists. 

We request that you submit a “statement of intent” – this is an artist statement which also addresses your motivation/goals for pursing the MFA at Michigan State University in the Department of Art, Art History, and Design. The MSU online application requests two statements:

ACADEMIC STATEMENT:  For the requested “academic statement” that is part of the online application, you have two options: 1). submit the “statement of intent/artist statement” in the academic statement field on the online application or 2). write a note that says “see materials sent to department.”

PERSONAL STATEMENT: For the personal statement, it is up to you whether or not you submit.  If you elect to do so, the faculty will review.  The personal statement is intended to provide applicants the opportunity to share biographical information that they would like the review committee to know, but that doesn’t necessarily fit within the statement of intent/artist statement.  You could think of this personal statement as a biography of sorts – it could allow you to share information about your background, interests, hardships, your past education experience and future educational goals, professional goals, etc.