September 25, 2017

Call for applications: Master of Fine Arts in Visual Art

Sam Fox School of Design & Visual Arts at Washington University in St. Louis

Natalie Rainer (MFA '17), Telerrain, 2017. Multimedia installation with limestone, acrylic, lacquer, Mylar, and single-channel video projection on glass and audio, 7:13 minutes.

The MFA program in the Graduate School of Art at Washington University in St. Louis is currently accepting applications for fall 2018; the application deadline is January 15, 2018. The Graduate School of Art is located in a vibrant arts community and ranked twelfth among the country’s top MFA programs by U.S. News and World Report. The School offers a two-year, critically engaged studio practice program with myriad opportunities for collaboration, cross-disciplinary work, and research. It is an open landscape for the emerging artist—one that reflects the dynamic cultural shifts, global perspectives, and evolving technologies that shape today’s complex art world. While learning to articulate their place within broader social and political contexts, students challenge traditional hierarchies and embrace new forms of aesthetic thinking that range from embodied environments and site-responsive work to de-skilled, DIY/maker and/or post-studio forms of production. Graduate seminars provide a rigorous investigation of various historical and conceptual contexts for art making, while the thesis seminar supports students in the exploration of their formal and theoretical concerns. The program also offers a variety of professional practice and technology workshops.

Online application

Graduate studios
Newly renovated graduate studios opened in the fall of 2015 in a dedicated space, offering 24/7 access to facilities that support discipline-specific work, collaboration, and expanded practices.

Financial aid
A variety of financial aid options are available, including named scholarships, which are awarded on a competitive basis. Based on the strength of their applications and portfolios, MFA students are also offered teaching assistantships as part of their financial aid support and practical training. An application for financial aid will have no effect on the admission decision.

Study abroad
The Graduate School of Art offers opportunities for study abroad, including a Sommerakademie program in Berlin. Sommerakademie explores the international contemporary art center Berlin through lectures and discussions with artists, curators, and scholars, in addition to international exhibitions that include the Venice Biennale and documenta.

Recent distinguished visitors, critics, and fellows
Luis Cruz Azaceta, Mark Dion, Henrik Drescher, James Elkins, Karen Finley, Hal Foster, Coco Fusco, Ivan Gaskell, Mariam Ghani, Michelle Grabner, Ann Hamilton, Sam Durant, Candice Hopkins, Alfredo Jaar, Nina Katchadourian, Chelsea Knight, Ellen K. Levy, Won Ju Lim, Steven Henry Madoff, Lydia Matthews, Christopher Michlig, Wangechi Mutu, Danny Orendorff, Trevor Paglen, Andréa Stanislav, Renata Stih & Frieder Schnock, Jan Tumlir, Victoria Vesna, Carrie Mae Weems, and Eric Wesley

Sam Fox School of Design & Visual Arts
The Sam Fox School of Design & Visual Arts is an interdisciplinary and diverse community of artists, architects, and designers. Our unique structure, which brings together the academic units of Art and Architecture along with the Mildred Lane Kemper Art Museum, allows us to build an interdisciplinary environment that fosters collaborative creative activity, research, and exhibitions aimed to address the various challenges of our time.

Admissions decisions are based on the applicant’s portfolio, academic records, statement of objectives, and references. Students may be admitted to the MFA program upon completion of the BFA degree or equivalent academic preparation.

All application materials must be received by January 15, 2018. To apply online, visit:

To download the application instruction sheet for our current admission cycle, visit:

For more information, please contact Patricia Olynyk, Director of the Graduate School of Art and Florence and Frank Bush Professor of Art: olynyk [​at​]

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