Applications for the graduate program are only accepted for admittance during the fall semester and must be received annually by February 1. The following requirements must be met to be accepted:

  1. The applicant must hold a baccalaureate degree, preferably a B.F.A. degree or its equivalent based upon experience and proof of technical and aesthetic abilities.
  2. Applicants must submit information in the following areas for review:
    • Portfolio containing 20 digital images of artwork. Fifteen images must focus on the major studio area of application and five images must demonstrate drawing abilities. Please include a numbered slide identification sheet.
    • Each digital image must be in jpeg format set for maximum resolution to compliment your work (CDs with PowerPoint presentations are acceptable). All images and presentation modes must be compatible with both Mac and PC formats.
    • Current professional resume.
    • Artist statement supporting the applicant's work.
    • Statement of purpose in which the applicant expresses interests, intentions, and expectations for wanting to attend graduate school generally, and more specifically, the M.F.A. program at the University of South Dakota.
    • Three letters of recommendation from professionals associated with the applicant's work and abilities.
    • One official transcript verifying receipt of an undergraduate degree and previous graduate credit earned.
    • Graduate Application for Admission.
    • Application fee.
    • Application for Assistantship, if desired.
    • International Students must also add the following:
      • TOEFL Scores in the Test of English as Foreign Language. A minimum score of 550 is required for entrance into The University of South Dakota.
      • Declaration/Certification of Finances.
      • Translated transcripts.

Finalists in the applicant review process will receive a phone interview as part of the review process. Following the review, students will receive a letter stating if they are accepted or denied into the M.F.A. program.

Completion of Degree Program Requirements

The Master of Fine Arts degree program is a 60 credit hour terminal degree that involves a 3 years of residential intensive study. In addition to meeting all the graduation requirements of the Graduate School, M.F.A. candidates must satisfy all degree program requirements, including the passing of a preliminary oral examination, presentation of a comprehensive thesis exhibition, completion of a final oral examination, and the passing of the written ACAT Art Exit Exam.