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Learn more about the Stamps Master of Fine Arts program.

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Graduate Programs: MFA

  • Do MFA students take graduate and undergraduate courses?

    MFA students can take upper level undergraduate courses or graduate level courses. Your advisors and the MFA Program Director work closely with you in identifying appropriate courses.

  • What role do faculty members play in my studies?

    Faculty are your advisors and mentors. You will have one consistent faculty advisor throughout the program. You’ll meet with this advisor at least seven times each semester to review your creative work and practice. In addition, students often seek out other faculty to review their work.

  • Do I have an option to change the faculty I want to work with during my studies?

    Ideally we’d like you to work with your faculty the full two years of the program. However, if necessary, a change in advisors can be made.

  • Do you accept applicants who do not have undergraduate degrees in art?

    Yes, occasionally. However, applicants must demonstrate the ability to carry out independent creative work and research, have a strong educational background along with an interest in interdisciplinary inquiry, and substantive life experience to draw on in charting new directions for creative practice.

  • What kinds of hands-on experiences do students gain?

    In our MFA program, there are multiple ways students gain hands-on experience. MFA students intern as studio assistants, they learn specific studio skill sets, they learn to prepare exhibitions and develop writing skills for professional practice such as grant-writing. Often MFA students will work with our long term visiting artists on an installation or new project. Some MFA students also teach and have hands-on experience working with undergraduate students. The Stamps School has strong connections with regional community engagement projects. MFA students also interact with departments across campus and their related hands-on experiences from building a solar powered car to an archaeological dig.

  • How do graduates use their MFA degree?

    The MFA degree is a terminal degree. The MFA is often a required qualification for certain teaching positions at universities in the United States. It is also recognized at higher education institutions in most countries. The MFA degree makes you eligible for certain residencies, post graduate programs and employment opportunities.

  • Do students focus in a specific medium?

    The Stamps MFA program is interdisciplinary. In other words, MFA students do not "major" in a specific discipline, such as "MFA in Ceramics". Students are free to work in the medium of their choice and encouraged to work across disciplines - within and outside the field of art.

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Graduate Programs: General

  • What is the student to faculty ratio?

    The Stamps School has a large faculty: 40 full-time tenured or tenure-track faculty, 30 full-time lecturers, and 20 affiliated faculty. There are approximately 20 MFA and MDes graduate students. If you include all the faculty, the ratio is more than 4 faculty to 1 student.

  • Where can I find the schedule of courses?

    The Stamps course schedule is available online.

  • What is an MDes degree as opposed to an MFA?

    The Master of Design (MDes) designation is increasingly used within US and international design education and better recognizes design as a particular form of creative professional practice distinct from the Fine Arts. It reflects a curricular focus on the preparation of advanced students for careers as design professionals in industry or design scholars in academia. The Master of Fine Arts (MFA) designation is traditional within graduate arts programs and reflects a bias toward independent creative practice leading towards careers in the arts.

Graduate Programs: Finances

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Graduate Admissions

  • What if I have additional questions?

    Request information, schedule a visit, and learn about information sessions for our MDes and MFA programs.

  • How competitive is the admissions process?

    Admission acceptance rates are similar to other selective programs - around 10%.

  • How can I check the status of my application materials?

    As long as you officially click "Submit" by the deadline, Rackham will continue to process application materials (transcripts, recommendation letters, etc.).

    The best way to check to see if your materials have been matched to your application is to log into Wolverine Access, select the “Students” tab, then click on the “New & Prospective Business” link. Due to the high volume of documents received by Rackham, we ask that you allow 10 business days to view your application and materials.

    You can confirm the receipt of the following via Wolverine Access:

    • Test Scores

    • Transcripts from institutions that awarded the Bachelor's, Master's, Professional, and/or Doctoral degree.

    • Recommendations can be tracked through the online application system, ApplyWeb Account, activity page, or in your Wolverine Access account.

    Documents that will not be confirmed in Wolverine Access are:

    • Application PDF forms

    • Written Essays (Statement of purpose, creative statements)

    • Resumes / CVs

    • SlideRoom Portfolios

    • Transcripts for Community or Junior college, non-degree study, and/or study abroad coursework.

  • Will application materials be processed after the deadline?

    As long as you officially click "Submit" on your Rackham application by the deadline, Rackham will continue to process application materials (transcripts, recommendation letters, etc.) after the deadline.

  • Is an English proficiency test required of non-native English speakers?

    Yes. The University accepts scores from the following organizations: TOEFL, MELAB, IELTS and ECPE. If you are an international student who has completed an accredited undergraduate degree in the United States, you are not required to take the TOEFL. For more information, visit the Rackham website.

  • Can I visit the campus?

    All admitted students will receive an invitation to visit campus in March. If you are planning your own trip to Ann Arbor in advance of this, you can access the Art and Architecture Building and the Duderstadt Center (two of the three main facilities at Stamps) during the hours that they are open to the public.

  • Is the GRE required?

    No. The Stamps School of Art and Design does not consider GRE scores when making admissions decisions.

Graduate Admissions: MFA

  • What kind of work would you like to see in my portfolio?

    The content of the MFA portfolio is entirely the decision of the applicant. The application committee looks for a strong body of completed work demonstrating a thriving, developed studio practice as well as potential in innovative areas of inquiry. As a general policy, due to the number of applications we receive, we do not provide individual online feedback or critiques of application portfolios.

  • What constitutes an established creative practice?

    Exhibitions, residencies, art commissions, site-specific work, performances, screenings, studio assistantships, grants, community projects and teaching experiences all constitute evidence of a creative practice.

  • The MFA application asks to describe outside interests and name external faculty. Please explain.

    As far as the Creative Work Statement essay is concerned, we are interested in learning about your interests outside of the Stamps School. The outside cognate is an important part of our program. As an art & design school within a major research university, we want to ensure that students take advantage of the extraordinary engagement with external departments and areas of study. All the external academic units at the university have faculty biographies listed on their web pages. Your selection of an external area of study and external faculty member does not constitute a "contractual" obligation. Your description should demonstrate an interest in an area that has connections with your work whether in a general nature or as a specialization. In our two year program, MFA students begin work with their outside cognate during the first semester.

  • Do I need to contact the three faculty I name in my application?

    It is not a requirement that you contact your potential faculty advisors. Some applicants are in touch with faculty and others are not during the application process.

  • Where can I find information about the MFA faculty?

    Information about our MFA faculty can be found online.