University at Buffalo
Department of


Art & Design

Art History

Visual Studies

M.F.A. Admission, Application, Scholarships & Fellowships

Application Deadline

  • Application for Fine Arts (MFA) at UB GrAdMIT
  • The deadline for all materials to be received is January 15 of each year. Applicants meeting this deadline will be given priority consideration for scholarship. Late applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis until the program is full (we have studio space for up to 25 M.F.A. students in any given year).
  • Application to the M.F.A. program is for admission in the Fall semester only.

Applying for Teaching Assistantships and Scholarships

  • We assume all applicants to the M.F.A. program are interested in Teaching Assistantship (TA) and Scholarship support therefore all complete applications are reviewed with TA and Fellowship Awards in mind. No additional applications materials are necessary for award consideration.
  • If you qualify for under-represented / minority fellowships such as the Arthur A. Schomburg Fellowship Program, please self-identify. Information on the Schomburg program can be found on the College of Arts and Sciences website.
  • International students are also automatically considered for TA awards as long as the application is complete, including all official financial documents, transcripts and english language proficiency results as proscribed by the graduate school. (If you are an international applicant make sure you fill out the application form specifically for international students.)

Admission Requirements

  • Admission to all UB graduate programs require an undergraduate degree from an accredited institution with an equivalent GPA of 3.0 or above (on a 4.0 scale; B average or higher for international students). In exceptional cases, we can petition the graduate school to admit students with a GPA between 3.0 and 2.8.
  • GRE or GMAT test scores are not required or considered.
  • Official transcripts are NO LONGER REQUIRED for application purposes.  Once formally admitted to the program you will be required to submit official transcripts.

Tips for Preparing Your Application

  • When preparing the application and supporting documents such as statement of intent and portfolio, keep in mind that we are looking for students who we feel would be a good match for our program. No one measure that applies to all – we are looking for devoted makers and conceptual artists alike.
  • Overall, the portfolio should visually communicate a serious work ethic, compelling ideas, and the ability to chart and complete a course of personal development within the time frame of a 2-year program. We are looking for those who are prepared to hit the ground running.
  • The initial review of your work will take place quickly, in 10-15 minutes. For time-based works, short previews (1-2 minutes) for initial viewing are recommended. If you already have a website or blog you might want to consider making a separate website for the portfolio to make sure our faculty see the work you want them to see. A website with too much going on can be a detriment to an application.
  • The statement of intent should reveal the motivation for graduate study and provide insights about your work to date and where you feel it is going, and may discuss areas you are interested in researching further. Ideally your statement should communicate curiosity, intelligence, commitment, and demonstrate historical awareness of your field and your relationship to it. Feel free to include insights into your interdisciplinary interests, motivations, strengths and weaknesses, reasons for choosing our M.F.A. program over others as well as past accomplishments.
  • Letters of reference: As soon as you submit your application for formal review the referees that you have listed will be contacted by email and asked to upload their letters to your application.  At this point, you will still be able to log back on to the application to finish it and/or make changes.  For this reason, we recommend you do not wait until February 1st to submit your application for final review.  The referees you select should be able to your level of maturity, intellectual capability, preparedness and motivation for graduate study.

Application Checklist

Don’t forget to save your login information and password as you will need it to log back in to your application.

    1. Fill in all required portions of the online application
    2. Upload supplemental materials 
      • Statement of intent (you can include this on your website but also upload it here)
      • Resume (you can include this on your website but also upload it here)
      • A copy of the transcript from each undergraduate institution attended is required for initial review (official transcripts are not required). If accepted to the program you will be required to send an original transcript to us before we can finalize admission.
      • Names, titles and contact information for 3 references.
    3. Portfolio (url/website) and checklist with information about the work
      • Provide a URL (website address) where the faculty can view your portfolio. Some popular platforms include youtube or vimeo.
      • Checklist: upload a list or embed information on the work indicating the date, title (if any), medium/format, size/scale, duration and/or any other pertinent information.
    4. Submit application for formal review
      • When you submit the application for formal review the referees you have listed will be contacted to provide letters of recommendation. After your application is submitted for formal review you can log back in to make changes to your application. If you encounter problems contact the Director of Graduate Studies.
    5. Pay the application fee
      • If you log off before completing this step you can pay later. However, your application will not be reviewed until the application fee is paid.
    6. Additional Requirements for International Students
      • There is a separate online application form for International Students – be sure to fill out the correct form. Additional requirements for admission are detailed on the International Student Admissions website and include at minimum:
        • evidence of financial support
        • English translation of transcript and official proof of degree
        • Evidence of proficiency in English: TOEFL of 79 (iBT), 550 (PBT) or IELTS of 6.5 or above. Scores must be less than two years old at the time of admission. All non-native speaking Teaching Assistants are required to take and pass a SPEAK test upon arrival to UB and prior to teaching. Refer to the International Admissions and the Graduate School of Education websites for  more information.

M.F.A. Scholarships and Financial Details

Teaching Assistantship Scholarship Awards

The information below is meant to clarify and simplify the assistance the Department of Art is able to offer our M.F.A. students. This does not include comprehensive aid programs such as the Graduate Educational Opportunity Program (GEOP) or Financial Aid.

The Department of Art funds M.F.A. students through Teaching Assistantship (TA) Scholarship Awards. TA Scholarship Awards are designed to attract and support graduate students who have exceptional academic and artistic merit. The majority of TAs are given to incoming students and are renewable for the second year of M.F.A. study.

TAs receive a stipend (paid biweekly) equal to about $14,000 per academic year and also receive a full tuition scholarship (see below). Tuition Scholarships do not include university fees (estimated at $2,477 per year in 2016) or departmental lab fees ($250 per semester).

TA Scholarship Award amounts

The totals below include the approximate TA stipend of $14,000 plus tuition scholarships (these numbers are for Fall 2016)

  • New York State residents: $24,500
  • Out-of-State students = $35,000
  • International students = $35,000

TA Responsibilities

Teaching Assistants are the instructor of record and are assigned to teach courses in freshman foundations and introductory courses in printmaking, drawing, design, emerging media, photography, sculpture or painting. We try our best to match the skills of TAs to the courses being offered and make teaching assignments accordingly.

Teaching Assistants are provided with syllabi and course guidelines and individually assigned faculty mentors to assist with day-to-day guidance and help along the way. Several one-day workshops are organized each fall to help prepare new TAs for their classes: one is run by the College of Arts and Sciences and a second workshop is run by the M.F.A. program Director of Graduate Studies.

Extra Service

By New York State contract, TAs are required to contribute 5-10 hours per week to departmental service in addition to teaching. Hours are determined by TA position awarded. Most commonly TAs are assigned to monitor in labs where they are already working.

International Students with Teaching Assistantships:

Upon arrival at UB prior to classes, all non-native english speaking international students are required to take and pass a SPEAK test. Failure to pass the SPEAK test will disqualify TAs from teaching. See the International Student Admissions website for more information.

Applying for a TA Scholarship Award

All domestic and international on-time and complete applications to the M.F.A. program are automatically reviewed and considered for TA Scholarships as well as College of Arts and Sciences Dean’s Awards.

No additional application materials are required.

Other Scholarships and Sources of Funding

College of Arts and Sciences Dean’s Fellowships

College of Arts and Sciences (CAS) Dean’s Fellowships is a $4,000 “add-on” to the departmentally awarded TA Scholarship stipend. Candidates must have an undergraduate GPA of 3.4 or above. The department initiates and nominates qualified applicants for Dean’s Fellowships – no additional application materials beyond the M.F.A. requirements are needed. The College directly contacts all Fellowship recipients with a separate offer letter.

No additional application materials are required.

Arthur A. Schomburg Fellowship Program Fellowships

The Arthur A. Schomburg Fellowship Program is sponsored by New York State and offers support for historically underrepresented students in graduate programs across the university. Students in the program have outstanding academic credentials which contribute to an impressive graduation and retention rate of close to eighty percent. Schomburg Fellows participate in conferences and seminars and present papers in their respective disciplines. Since its inception in 1987, over 500 academically talented students have received support through this Fellowship program. It is helpful for applicants to indicate their interest in being considered for a Schomburg Fellowship.

Graduate Educational Opportunity Program (GEOP)

The Graduate Educational Opportunity Program (GEOP) provides tuition scholarships to graduates of Educational Opportunity Program (EOP); Higher Education Opportunity Program (HEOP); and CUNY Search for Education, Elevation, and Knowledge (SEEK) programs within New York State who wish to pursue further education at the graduate level.

See the College of Arts and Sciences Website for more information.

202 Center for the Arts, North Campus
Buffalo, New York 14260-6010
(716) 645-6878
(716) 645-6970 fax
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