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MFA Application Info

Admissions Criteria

  • Applicants must have a bachelor's degree (BFA, BA) from an accredited college or university with a concentration in visual arts. Especially well-qualified candidates from other disciplines or degree programs who have exceptionally strong portfolios may be considered.
  • Applicants must submit a portfolio documenting their creative work. The portfolio should represent 15 to 20 works; the majority should represent the chosen field of study. The portfolio should consist of 20 images and an accompanying list that identifies the image, the size of the work and media used.
  • Applicants must have a minimum GPR of 3.0 in the last 60 major credit hours of undergraduate work.
  • Applicants will provide an unofficial transcript to the Graduate School.
  • Applicants must provide three letters of recommendation from professors, practicing artists or professional acquaintances that are familiar with the applicant's work and development in the visual arts.
  • Applicants should submit a 1-2 page artist statement that provides insight into the development of the work completed to date. The statement should address ideas and concepts relative to form and content.
  • Applicants must also submit a Personal statement of intent regarding their interest in pursuing the MFA degree.
  • Applicants should additionally provide a current resume/CV in the application materials.

All materials may be uploaded electronically here


January 15* - All application materials are due if applicant is wishing to be considered for a $2,500 University Recruitment Fellowship. To be eligible for this award, applicants must have a GPR of 3.5 or better and/or a very strong portfolio.

March 15* - Applicants are considered for review by the Art Department graduate faculty. All application materials must have been received; application must be complete. Applications initiated after March 15 will not be considered.

*Visit here for complete application details. 

A complete application consists of the following items, all of which may be filed electronically.

- Application Form
- Unofficial Transcripts
- 3 Letters of Recommendation
- Resume/CV
- Personal Letter of Intent
- Artist Statement
- Portfolio (see requirement details below)
- Image list detailing size and media of work

Portfolio Requirement - Applicants must submit a portfolio documenting their creative work. The portfolio should include 15-20 recent works, the majority representing the chosen field of study. The portfolio should consist of 20 images supplemented by an accompanying list that identifies the size of each work and media used. The portfolio should be uploaded electronically (preferable method) through the Graduate School Admissions website or be sent on a CD or Flash Drive (.jpg, .jpeg, .pdf formats only) to the Art Department, c/o Professor Dave Detrich, Graduate Coordinator, 2-142 Lee Hall, Clemson University, Clemson, SC 29634-0509.

Full/Part-Time Status - Given the nature of the curricular structure and large volume of yearly applications to the MFA in Visual Arts program, we will only consider enrolling full-time (9-12 credits hours per term) students. We do not currently admit part-time or non-degree applicants.

Eligibility for Tuition Waiver and Assistantships - SC State and Clemson University employees are not eligible for tuition waivers and assistantships given that it would constitute dual employment. Please refer to the Staff Tuition and Information link for interest in taking classes at Clemson.

The GRE is not required for application to the MFA program. 

Campus Interview - Given existing University restrictions related to COVID-19, we are not currently conducting in-person campus visits. If you wish to schedule a Zoom platform meeting with us, we are confident you will acquire a better sense of our one-on-one learning experience, as well as the interaction and crossover between disciplines. Please contact Dave Detrich at 864-656-3890 or via email at to schedule a meeting.

For additional graduate admission information, contact the Office of Admissions, E-209 Martin, Clemson, SC 29634-5124, Telephone: (864) 656-3195 or visit here

MFA Financial Aid

Tuition waivers and departmental assistantships are available for exceptional applicants.

Financial support is available to assist students who choose to spend a semester at our overseas center in Genoa, Italy.

Additional Financial Aid

Find out more about graduate student specific aid at the graduate school website.

If applying for financial aid, fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). The financial aid staff can help you understand the various financial aid programs that are available, and they work individually with those who face significant financial difficulties during their career at Clemson. Overall, 87 percent of Clemson students receive some type of financial assistance – which includes state, federal and university awards.

Please review the Clemson financial aid site for information about merit scholarships, need-based grants, loans and work study.