An Introduction to Graduate Education in the Visual Arts

Posted in: Graduate Education

Written by Ward Allebach, ArtSchools.com

“Can I afford it? How will I pay for it?”

“Where should I attend? What makes one graduate program better than the next?”

“How can I get into the school I want?”

“Should I get an MA or an MFA?”

“How will a graduate degree help me find a job?”

A flood of questions sweeps through your mind when you ponder the notion of entering graduate school, as so many art students do. And this is just the start!

To help you sort it all out, and to answer some of the most pressing questions that you may face in making these important decisions, Artschools.com has interviewed more than 30 teachers, administrators, students, graduates, employers, professionals, and other experts in the field to get their perspectives on graduate education in the visual arts. Their answers to our questions are summarized in this article, and links to the full text of their responses are also included for most of them.

We broke the article down into three sections to make it easier to sort through:

  • Academic Leaders: The leaders of graduate schools have great insight into what graduate school is all about. So, we interviewed 13 administrators and art faculty representing graduate schools from across the US.
  • Graduate Students: Who better to ask questions about graduate school than the people who have been or are going through it? We interviewed eight graduate students or recent graduates to get their perspective.
  • Employers: Quite often, the goal of graduate school is to make you more “employable” by expanding your artistic talents, abilities and knowledge. We interviewed eight decision-makers from companies that hire people with graduate degrees in the visual arts to see what they look for when hiring.

Also, keep your eye out for sidebars with some interesting statistics, quotes and links which we included after interviewing and reviewing reports from prominent national and regional organizations which work with art schools, employers and/or advanced degree students and graduates in the visual arts.

Take your time in reading through all of this, or scan to look for the questions you find most pressing. Either way, you’ll find many insightful answers.

Next Page

Academic Leader Perspectives   |   Student Perspectives   |   Employer Perspectives   |   Wrap-up