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The MFA program at UNC-Chapel Hill is highly selective. An average of 5 to 6 openings are available each year. Successful applicants demonstrate an ability to carry out mature creative work, as well as present a strong educational background and maturity of life experience to chart new directions and possibilities for art-making.


  • A bachelor’s degree, which may be in any field, is required.
  • Students who do not have a bachelor’s degree in art should have at least one basic level and one intermediate level course in art history in preparation for the graduate-level course work in art history required of MFA students.
  • Applicants to the MFA program are not required to take the Graduate Record Exam (GRE).
  • The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill is committed to equality of educational opportunity and does not discriminate against applicants, students, or employees based on race, color, national origin, religion, sexual orientation, age, or disability.
  • Potential applicants who wish to contact the Director of Graduate Studies for Studio Art in advance of application can send them an email (contact information is included in Administrative Staff & Contacts).


  • Due to the considerably large volume of applications received just before the deadline, we encourage early submission of application materials to expedite and facilitate processing. The Graduate School recommended (but not required) deadline for admissions applications is December 12, 2023. The final deadline for applications is Jan 9, 2024.
  • The Department of Art reviews applications once a year for fall admission. There are no spring admissions. The department will consider only complete applications as outlined below. Portfolios of those admitted become the property of the Department of Art and are retained in the student’s file.
  • All applicants who submit their applications by January 9 will be considered for assistance in the form of merit or other fellowships. Students are encouraged to file a FAFSA at FAFSA on the Web.

Required Application Materials

Online Application via The Graduate School
  • Unofficial Transcript from each university attended
  • Email addresses for three recommenders
  • Statement of Purpose
  • A copy of your most recent Resume
  • Payment of a non-refundable Application Fee
Creative Work Review
  • A Portfolio of Visual Materials for Creative Review must be uploaded to There will be a small processing fee from SlideRoom to use their service.
  • Submit a maximum of 12 images.
  • Video, sound and animation may be submitted. Visit Slideroom for a list of acceptable file formats.
  • Provide an image for web-based work and include a URL in the file’s Description field.
  • For each uploaded image, you should provide a short description of the work beyond its title, year, medium and dimension.  Your description should be no longer than 75 words.
Letters of Recommendation

Secure letters of recommendation from individuals who can speak to the quality of your artwork as well as about the impact that graduate study would have on your artistic and professional development. Their assessment should include any character evaluation that would shed light on your assets and ability to be a contributing member to the MFA program at UNC.  On your application, you will provide the email addresses of three recommenders who we will contact and ask to submit letters.

Statement of Purpose

The Statement of Purpose is your Artist Statement.  It should succinctly outline your creative motivations, interests, and intentions as reflected in the work that you submit for review. You may include any particular reasons that have led you to UNC-Chapel Hill as a place for graduate study. This document should be approximately 1 page or 500 words.

Additional Information