Art & Design

Visual Arts

Master of Fine Arts (MFA), two-year, low-residency graduate program

Integrate artistic practice into the existing structure of your life.

Pursue an MFA that’s rigorous yet individually tailored for the 21st century artist. Over a two year period, the interdisciplinary focus of the program allows you to craft a course of study that integrates creative work into your daily life. Flexible enough to mold as your interests evolve, our program—one of the oldest and most established low-residency MFAs in the country—will help you advance your art practice and develop necessary skills for a career in the arts.

Each January and June, you'll participate in 10-day residencies within a supportive arts community of diverse faculty and students. An immersion of critique, seminars, visiting artist talks, and exhibitions, the residency experience is catalyst for the development of your critical dialogue and personal vision. And our new Lunder Arts Center in Cambridge, Massachusetts, a center of academia and the arts, gives you access to a vibrant arts culture. 

Each individual residency is connected by a semester of academic advising from our MFA program faculty, as well as mentored independent studio work. Working with a local artist mentor over the entire semester, you'll be exposed to new feedback and conversations about your art, while gaining access to an arts community in your region.

As you work toward sharing your portfolio of work during your final thesis residency, you will establish the tools and community support necessary for promoting lifelong artistic inquiry and professional growth.

Program Structure

Master of Fine Arts (MFA), two-year, low-residency graduate program

60 credits
professor giving a critique
10-Day Residencies

In January and June, invigorate your practice during 10-day residencies in Cambridge, Massachusetts. The structured residencies include critique, seminars, presentations, exhibitions, and arts talks by our prominent MFA faculty and visiting artists, all designed to strengthen your approach to visual art.

artist in studio with art covering walls
Personally Crafted Curriculum

The interdisciplinary focus of the program is diverse yet independently guided, allowing you to craft a course of study that integrates creative work into your daily life. You'll advance your critical dialogue, become a member of dynamic art communities, and gain the necessary professional skills for a career in the arts.

student and mentor with art work
Community Mentor

Each semester, choose a new visual artist whose work is of particular interest to you to mentor you during your independent study. Through our network, students have worked with highly visible artists, including Jeff Koons, Alec Soth, and Mark Dion.

Visiting Artists & Faculty
Receive guidance and critique from internationally recognized visiting artists, art critics, curators, and art historians. Every residency, new thought leaders become active participants in our community's ongoing dialogue about art and art making.
“The visual arts are a place where one can really have a powerful voice—a place where social and cultural dialogues can truly exist.”
Ben Sloat, MFA in Visual Arts Interim Director
MFA in Visual Arts
Donna Woodley ’16
The female figure in my paintings is confrontational toward the visibility and value of black women within American society, both historically and in a contemporary context,” explains Donna Woodley, a Nashville-based artist who found the voice and confidence to push her work in a different direction during Lesley’s MFA program. Opening a new dialogue, her portraits began to feature female figures obscuring their eyes with white underwear, underscoring issues of self-esteem and a desire to be seen.
Careers
Careers Graduates Pursue

Faculty

Program Cost Description
Total approximate cost for this master's degree program.
Visual Arts
  • Tuition
    $975/credit x 60
    $58,500
  • Fees
    Residency Fee
    $1,750
    MFA Visual Arts Culmination Evaluation Fee
    $350
    Registration Fee
    $200
    Degree Completion Fee
    $75
  • Total
Estimated Cost

Review all graduate tuition and fees, and what they cover.

Tuition and fees are subject to change each year, effective June 1.

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Total approximate cost for this master's degree program. Tuition and fees are for the 2017-2018 academic year.
Use our step-by-step guide to apply for federal, state, and university funding. Scholarships, grants, Work-Study, and loans. It’s all right here.

Next steps to apply

Ready to get started? We're here to make the application process as smooth as possible. Just answer a few quick questions, and get your customized application guide.