Apply-MFA in Visual Art

Online Application

The application period for fall 2020 admission to our MFA in Visual Art program has ended. Details about fall 2021 admission will be available in the coming months.

To download a pdf version of the instruction sheet for application and financial aid for our most recent admission cycle, click here.

Admissions decisions are based on the applicant's portfolio, academic records, statement of objectives, and references. You may be admitted to the MFA program upon completion of the BFA degree or equivalent academic preparation. Specific requirements include a grade point average above 3.0 and good writing skills. We strongly suggest entering the program with a minimum of 9 credit hours of Art History.

Required Application Information & Deadlines

All candidates must submit an online application as directed below. The following application materials may be submitted over time; however, all parts of the application, with the exception of the letters of recommendation, must be submitted by the application deadline of February 3. No applicant will be offered admission into the program until all required items have been received by the Graduate School of Art.

The Graduate School of Art does not require the Graduate Record Exam (GRE) for admission to the program.

*Please note: Candidates cannot apply for spring enrollment.


1. A non-refundable $40 application fee, paid online by credit card.

2. Personal and academic information.

3. Concise written statement of objectives for graduate study (500-750 words) that pertains to the applicant's work. The statement should include only a minimal amount of personal history and focus primarily on the applicant's material and conceptual interests and proposed area of study. The statement should also identify any additional disciplinary-specific and interdisciplinary interests the applicant may have.

4. Official transcripts. Upload a digital copy (PDF format) of transcripts from all post-secondary academic and art studies. When submitting digital academic records from multiple schools, please organize those records for submission into a single PDF file. At a later stage in our process, applicants who are admitted and plan to enroll must arrange for us to receive official, hard-copy transcripts by no later than August 1. At that time, only official transcripts sent to us directly from the schools attended will be allowed.

* Special instructions for students who have attended a Chinese university: The degree must be verified—in English—by the China Academic Degrees and Graduate Education Development Center. The degree confirmation should include verification of the English versions of final transcripts and degree certificates. All verification reports must be sent to us directly by the CDGDC to be considered official.

5. Curriculum vitae (CV).

6. Test for English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or International English Language Testing System (IELTS) Academic module score is required if the applicant's native language is not English. See International Applicants section for guidelines.

7. Three recommendation letters. Applicants must have three letters of recommendation written by professors, instructors, or professionals with whom they have recently worked or studied. These letters are required, and will be submitted through the online application. Please note that, along with other contact information, the applicant will need to provide an accurate e-mail address for each recommender.

8. Twenty images and/or samples of time-based media (see Visual Materials/Portfolio for guidelines).

Visual Materials/Portfolio
Applicants must submit 20 images or samples of time-based media in a Mac OS format. Applicants should select work that does not look assignment-driven and that demonstrates potential for accomplishment in further creative study. The work presented—regardless of media—should be the best examples of the applicant's work. Learn more in this webinar>>

Specifications for submitted work:
- Images (up to 5MB each): Each still image should be submitted in .jpg format, no larger than 800 pixels on the longest side and no larger than 72 dpi overall. Please contact us if you encounter any difficulties with the resolution of your images.

- Video (up to 250MB each): Must be in a Quicktime-compatible format, such as .mpeg or .mov. Each submission should be no longer than 5 minutes in length.

- Audio (up to 30MB each): Acceptable format: .mp3.

- PDFs (up to 10MB each).

- You may also link to media from YouTube, Vimeo, and SoundCloud.

- Do not use presentation programs such as PowerPoint for submission of any of your work.

- All digital files submitted should follow a naming convention that includes your last name and the first initial of your first name, such as: DoeJ_GhostSeries_Image1.jpg.

- Please enter details about each piece you submit, including title, size, medium, and year.


Applicants for whom English is not the native language must submit a score report for one of the tests below in order to obtain admission to the MFA program:

1. Test for English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) with a minimum score of 90 on the Internet-based test, 577 on the paper-based test, or 233 on the computer-based test.

2. International English Language Testing System (IELTS) Academic module with a minimum score of 7.5.

In addition to entering your score online, the official scores must be submitted to our office by the testing agency. To ensure that official TOEFL and IELTS score reports arrive as needed, please use our institution code (6929) and department code (15) when making arrangements with the TOEFL testing agency. Applicants who are submitting IELTS scores must arrange to have the testing service send a hard-copy version of the scores to our office. It takes six weeks for your scores to be sent to us, so plan to take the test well in advance of the application deadline (February 5). Our mailing address is:

Graduate School of Art
Sam Fox School of Design & Visual Arts
Washington University in St. Louis
Campus Box 1031
Bixby Hall, Suite 1
One Brookings Drive
St. Louis, MO 63130

The TOEFL and IELTS scores and written essay do not in and of themselves presume adequate qualification for study. Functional English and familiarity with additional art-related terminology are required upon entrance in order to pass coursework. In addition, international students will be interviewed by phone prior to the issuance of an I-20 for a student visa. In select cases, students will be required to enroll in reading and comprehension classes recommended by the Office of International Students and Scholars (OISS).

International students will receive specific instructions regarding the necessary financial documentation for visa purposes when admission letters are issued. For questions regarding non-immigrant student visas, contact Cris Baldwin, assistant dean and registrar, at 314.935.4761 or

Financial Aid & Scholarship Support

An application for financial aid will have no effect on the admission decision. The Graduate School of Art strives to provide aid to as many fellows as possible. Financial aid packages most often consist of a combination of fellowships or scholarships, teaching and/or technical assistantships, and loan assistance.

During the 2019-20 academic year, 100 percent of our MFA students received scholarship/remission assistance. Scholarship/remission awards ranged from $5,000 to $43,750 annually, depending on each individual's situation. For more information about the financial aid application process, click here. For information about scholarships, click here.

Contact information

All hard-copy application materials (e.g., IELTS scores) should be sent to the following address:
Graduate School of Art
Sam Fox School of Design & Visual Arts
Washington University in St. Louis
Campus Box 1031
Bixby Hall, Suite 1
One Brookings Drive
St. Louis, MO 63130

All inquiries and materials pertaining to admissions should be directed to:
Amy Hauft
Director, College of Art and Graduate School of Art

For information about financial aid, click here.

National Portfolio Days

Each year, representatives from the Sam Fox School attend Graduate Portfolio Days held across the country. The National Portfolio Day Association (NPDA) hosts annual National Portfolio Days specifically for visual artists and designers. These events provide opportunities for those who wish to pursue an education in the visual and related arts to meet with representatives from colleges accredited by the National Association of Schools of Art and Design. Representatives will be available to review your artwork, discuss their programs, and answer questions about professional careers in art.

For 2019-20, Sam Fox School representatives will attend the following National Portfolio Days:

October 27: New York, New York
November 2: Chicago, Illinois

For the most up-to-date information about times and venues, visit the NPDA website.

Non-Discrimination Policy

Washington University encourages and gives full consideration to all applicants for admission, financial aid, and employment. The University does not discriminate in access to, or treatment or employment in, its programs and activities on the basis of race, color, age, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, national origin, veteran status, disability, or genetic information. Applicants with a prior criminal history will not be automatically disqualified from consideration for admission. Inquiries about compliance should be addressed to the University's Vice Chancellor for Human Resources, Washington University, Campus Box 1184, One Brookings Drive, St. Louis, MO 63130.