Open Academy

Continuing Education (CE) and non-matriculated students now have the opportunity to take PAFA BFA and Post-Baccalaureate courses for credit or non-credit through the Open Academy. 

Application to this program is unavailable at this time due to COVID-19 restrictions for on-campus classes. 

PAFA's renowned studio arts program emphasizes excellence in technical skills and creative expression in painting, drawing, sculpture, printmaking, and illustration.  Liberal Arts courses offer students the opportunity to pursue studies in the humanities, in order to enhance their artistic abilities with critical thinking.  Open Academy students enrolled in BFA/Post Baccalaureate courses gain a firm grounding in studio art skills and liberal arts studies from master artist-teachers while working amongst dedicated full-time PAFA students.

  • Increased access to BFA faculty, allowing students to study under instructors previously unavailable to individuals not enrolled in PAFA's undergraduate programs
  • An expanded selection of studio art courses in drawing, painting, printmaking, sculpture, illustration and digital media
  • Access to art history courses as well as a range of liberal arts classes in literature, science, mathematics, history and social sciences, geared toward the concerns of working artists
  • A diverse, dedicated student population to cultivate new perspectives and relationships and to promote a more typical college-level experience
  • The opportunity to build a portfolio and accumulate undergraduate credits toward PAFA's BFA programs, for a headstart on becoming a full-time PAFA student*
  • The ability for non-matriculated students to take advantage of PAFA's exceptional faculty and facilities to fulfill fine arts credit requirements for transfer to other colleges or universities**

* Courses must be taken for credit and meet grade eligibility requirements to be transferred to PAFA or other college programs.  All courses must be evaluated for transfer to PAFA's BFA program, based on satisfactory completion of coursework and review of the student's course portfolio.  If approved, a maximum of 15 credits (CE or Open Academy) may be accepted as transfer credits. 

** Students seeking to transfer credits to another institution should first confirm with their School Registrar or Admissions Office that PAFA courses meet their school's eligibility requirements.  PAFA is accredited through the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD) and the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE).  PAFA is a member of the Association of Independent Colleges of Art and Design (AICAD). 


Students are permitted to apply to eligible PAFA BFA studio art classes, liberal arts courses, and Post-Baccalaureate seminars for credit or non-credit.  Some restrictions apply.  

View Open Academy Courses

How to Apply

Apply Now

Applications are not being accepted at this time. 

All New Applicants and Returning Open Academy Students must apply and be accepted to individual courses, based on a review of application requirements by the Continuing Education Director and the faculty of the requested course(s) and confirmation of space availability from the School Registrar.  Returning Students reapply each semester with reduced application requirements.

Students will be notified of acceptance decisions via email from the Continuing Education Programs office.  Because enrollment is subject to space availability, acceptance decisions for certain classes may be issued within one week of the semester start date.  For the Spring 2020 semester, students will receive decision letters by January 8.

Important:  Review PAFA's Open Academy Policy Information and Continuing Education's Policy Guide before applying.

Application Requirements - NEW STUDENTS:

  • Completed Open Academy Online (SlideRoom) Application Form (currently unavailable), including contact information, education history, and course selection.  Students will be allowed to select second- and third-choice courses, in case the student's first choice of class is unavailable or not approved.  See SlideRoom directions below.
  • Portfolio of 10 images.  Portfolios should consist of recent work demonstrating your abilities within (or related to) the medium of your selected course.  All portfolios must be submitted digitally via SlideRoom, see below.
  • Current artist's resume/cv reflecting education, abilities/experience, and exhibition record (if applicable).
  • Personal statement (1 – 2 paragraphs explaining your artistic experience and/or why you would like to enroll in courses through the Open Academy).
  • A high school/GED transcript may be requested to verify enrollment eligibility.

Applications are not complete, and will not be reviewed, unless all requirements have been received.

Application Requirements - RETURNING STUDENTS:

  • Completed Open Academy Online (SlideRoom) Application Form - Student Contact Information and Course Selection only.  Students will be allowed to select second- and third-choice courses, in case student's first choice of class is unavailable or not approved. 
  • Portfolio of 10 images.  Portfolios should consist of recent work demonstrating your abilities within (or related to) the medium of your selected course.  All portfolios should be submitted digitally via SlideRoom.  See below.

Directions for application and digital portfolio submission via SlideRoom: 

  • Click HERE to go to SlideRoom
  • "Login" to an already existing account, or “Sign Up” to make a SlideRoom account.  (SlideRoom is a free service.)
  • If creating a new account, open the email that was automatically sent to you and click on the activation link.  Log in to your new account.
  • Select "Open Academy" from the Directory. (Fall 2020 application not available.)
  • Complete the applicable sections for your application, depending on whether you are a new or returning student.  Application submissions cannot be included for consideration until all required items are received.
  • Once all sections are completed, review and submit your application.  Once submitted, it cannot be altered.  Logout when finished.  Be sure to make note of your SlideRoom login information:  you can use this account for future SlideRoom applications at PAFA and other participating institutions.  


Open Academy tuition is comparable to PAFA BFA per-class rates, based on available credits.

Studio Courses:

  • 1.5-credit courses (45 contact hours) = $2,000 for credit $1,700 for non-credit
  • 3.0-credit courses (90 contact hours, excluding lunch breaks) = $4,000 for credit / $3,400 for non-credit

Liberal Arts Courses:

  • 3.0-credit courses (45 contact hours) = $4,000 for credit / $3,400 for non-credit

Additional materials/lab fees may apply.

Payment in full is due to the Continuing Education Office upon acceptance/enrollment, prior to the first day of class.  The Spring 2020 payment deadline is Monday, January 13.

Review Open Academy's Payment and Refund Policies prior to application.

Academic Policies

By enrolling in a PAFA BFA/Post-Baccalaureate class through the Open Academy, students agree to abide by the policies and regulations defined by the program and detailed in PAFA's Student Policies.  Students are responsible for reviewing this important information prior to the first day of class.  Failure to comply with these policies and procedures may result in disciplinary action and possible dismissal with forfeiture of tuition and fees.

Please note:  Acceptance to Open Academy classes constitutes CE student enrollment, not full-time student status; as such, students are ineligible for BFA/MFA/Post-Baccalaureate extracurricular activities or studio rentals and will not be charged said fees.

Contact Continuing Education

Thank you for your interest in PAFA's CE programs. Join our community of dedicated artists of all ages and skill levels:  Continuing Education offers exceptional studio art classes and workshops for beginner to advanced artists outside of PAFA's degree programs, available to both museum members and the general public.

Telephone: (215) 972–7632