The Master of Fine Arts in Studio Art at The City College of New York is a two-year, 60-credit program comprised of a close-knit community of exceptional students, working with committed faculty with expertise in a wide range of mediums and approaches to art-making. Students have their own studio space, where they spend the first year on work emphasizing experimentation and growth, and the last year focusing those experimentations into a solo thesis exhibition mounted in the Art Department’s spacious gallery. This takes place on the historic City College campus with neo-gothic architecture on Convent Avenue in Manhattan.
Our faculty prides itself in valuing each artist’s deep individuality. A non-discipline-specific approach is used in preparing the students for careers as visual artists. The students’ command of the overall process of creating and communicating through a body of work, and the ability to sustain that over a lifetime, is the primary focus. Individual and group critiques, visiting artist lectures, and group discussions are an important part of this process. The thesis exhibition mounted in the fourth semester is done in consultation with faculty mentors, and a written thesis and an oral defense are part of the MFA project requirement.
The applicants are accepted on a competitive basis. Admitted students are in full-time residence for four semesters. At the end of each semester, the students are reviewed in the format of a critique by the faculty before progressing to the next term. Each semester the students take a Studio Critique course that focuses on the development of their thesis body of work. In addition, they take studio elective courses focusing on a variety of mediums, participate in graduate art seminars, take a course in professional development, a course in teaching art at the college level, and take two graduate Art History courses. Many of these courses are taken side-by-side with students in the other Masters programs at City College: the DIAP MFA, MA in Art History, MA in Museum Studies and the MA in Art Education program. The City College of New York Studio Art MFA is an affordable program, it is in New York City, and the Art Faculty are a significant group of artists, art historians, and educators including fulltime faculty members Tom Thayer (director), Becca Albee, Patterson Beckwith, Colin Chase, Carl Fudge, Leo Fuentes, Lise Kjaer, Hajoe Moderegger and Sylvia Netzer. Current and recent part-time faculty members include gallerist Bridget Donahue, experiemental theater maker Richard Maxwell, multimedia artist and writer Andrew Lampert, fiber artist Caroline Chandler, painter Dave Miko, multimedia artist Raha Raissnia, and Curator Fionn Meade.
Recent City College of New York Studio Art MFA alum have participated in programs and residencies including Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture, Lower East Side Printshop, Lower Manhattan Cultural Council’s (LMCC) Swingspace Program, Picture Berlin, The Wassaic Project, Artist in the Marketplace (AIM) Program, Art Funkl, Center for Book Arts, Atlantic Center for the Arts, Marie Walsh Sharpe Foundation Studio Program, Henry Street Settlement, Stiftung Kunstlerdorf Schoppingen, and Zentrum für Kunst und Urbanistik. They teach at the graduate and undergraduate level, exhibit in galleries, museums, and artist-run spaces internationally, and have started up independent businesses, organizations, publications, and spaces. City College is a nominating school for the annual Joan Mitchell MFA Grant Program and the Dedalus Foundation Master of Fine Arts Fellowship.
For a glimpse of the program, please check out the MFA Instagram Account
Contact Studio Art MFA Program Director, Tom Thayer with inquiries at firstname.lastname@example.org
Application to the MFA in Studio Art
You will need to apply through the online admission application. Please see the information below for applying.
Application for admission must be made by March 1 prior to the fall term in which applicant intends to enter the degree program. Application for admission must be made by October 1 prior to the spring term in which applicant intends to enter the degree program.
All applications completed by the deadline will receive full consideration. Late applications will be reviewed at the review committee’s discretion, contact us to inquire about late application.
Applicants will receive a decision in mid-April. Those accepted to the program must notify the Art Department in writing by June 1st of their intention to attend the program. Matriculation fees to The City College must be paid by August 1st to confirm studio space.
Applicants must have a BA, BS, or BFA degree with a concentration in any of the following: drawing, painting, printmaking, sculpture, photography, installation, intermedia, multimedia, performance art, or related field.
Candidates are required to have a substantial number of undergraduate credits in art, preferably at least twenty-eight credits or the equivalent in studio art, and twelve credits or the equivalent in art history. Exemptions from these requirements may be made at the discretion of the Departmental Graduate Committee and the Divisional Dean.
Applicants who show strong artistic promise, but do not meet the above degree requirements, may be granted admission on a provisional basis. The student may be required to take undergraduate courses that do not count towards fulfilling the MFA requirements.
Students admitted on a provisional basis will receive a review at the end of their first term and based upon their progress will either be fully admitted to the program or requested to leave.
Application Guidelines and Digital Portfolio Requirements
Applications to the program should include the following materials:
- MFA application form
- Transcripts from each degree-granting institution attended (unofficial copies are not acceptable)
- Curriculum vitae or artist’s résumé Personal statement (about one page)
- Digital online portfolio consisting of 20 images in jpeg or tiff format List of works documenting the artwork (title, medium, dimensions, date)
- 2-3 letters of recommendation
Please follow the guidelines below.
Please do not submit the transcripts separately. Please include them with the rest of your application materials. Unofficial transcripts are not acceptable.
Curriculum Vitae or Artist’s Résumé
Guidelines for artist’s résumés can be found on the College Art Association website.
Please discuss your artwork and your reasons for pursuing an MFA at City College.
Digital Portfolio Requirements
To be considered for the MFA Studio Art program, you must provide a portfolio of twenty images to support your application to the program. You must provide a URL to a shared folder such as Dropbox, WeShare or Googledrive where we can review your the portfolio online.
*Please do not send us material on a CD or DVD. It is mandatory that you submit your portfolio online for application review.
Digital Portfolio Requirements • Still images must be either JPEG or TIFF files, maximum dimensions of 1024 x 768. • Each file must be named with the applicant’s Lastname_Firstname_xx.ext. • Smith_Josephine_01.tif • Smith_Josephine_02.tif • etc. • Files sizes larger than 3 MB will not be opened or reviewed. • Applicants must also include a file in the folder as a MS Word (.doc), a plaintext (.txt) or Adobe Acrobat (.pdf) file with an inventory of images (name and title, medium, dimensions, dates). • Powerpoint, Flash or similar presentation formats are NOT acceptable.
Letters of Recommendation
Two to three letters of recommendation should be submitted. The letters should discuss the quality of the creative work, potential and other related aspects. These should be from former instructors or creative professionals who know your work. Letters should be written on letterhead and should be sealed with the recommender’s signature. Please include the letters in the online application.