Graduate Programs

A low student-to-faculty ratio and individualized mentorship is PAFA's trademark. Graduate programs are not bound by the conventions and traditions of academic and technical systems but informed by them, engaging in a critical framework that strives for authenticity and open discourse.

The Master of Fine Arts (MFA) is an interdisciplinary, two-year program. At its core is the artist's individual studio work, along with seminars in contemporary art, theory, and professional skills. Candidates develop a thoughtful, sustainable professional practice.

The Low-Residency MFA provides the community, support, and rigor of the traditional MFA, with a more flexible structure to fit busy schedules. Candidates study remotely during the Fall and Spring Semesters and in person during Summer Semesters.

The Post-Baccalaureate Certificate is a one-year, graduate-level immersion where students develop and hone their artistic practice and portfolio.

Only at PAFA

World Class Faculty

The 7:1 faculty to student ratio means PAFA students have individualized mentors who are dedicated educators, practicing artists, and scholars. Plus, the Visiting Artist Program offers exposure to a wide range of artistic approaches and fosters discussion about contemporary art and ideas.


Personal studios for all semesters are complimented by:


  • Drawing classrooms in the Historic Cast Hall and Museum
  • Handmade papermaking and print shops* including digital, intaglio, lithography, silkscreen, relief, papermaking, photo processes, letterpress, and books
  • Painting classrooms with north-facing windows
  • Spray booths
  • Wood and metal shops, including foundry, and 3D printer
  • Still life & figure modeling studios
  • Stone carving, solid materials, and plaster rooms
    • *These spaces are also home to The Brodsky Center, a residency program which brings artists together with experts in handmade paper and print to collaborate. PAFA students have the opportunity to apply to work study and internship positions with the center. Artists-in-residence have included such contemporary innovators as El Anatsui, Luis Cruz Azeceta, Sonia Boyce, Magdalena Campos Pons, Mel Chin, Lesley Dill, Trenton Doyle Hancock, Leon Golub, Isaac Julien, Mona Hatoum, William Kentridge, Byron Kim, Hew Locke, Chris Ofili, Carolee Schneemann, Jaune Quick-to-See Smith, Faith Ringgold, Kiki Smith, Nancy Spero, Richard Tuttle, Sue Williamson, and Fred Wilson.

Digital Resources:

  • Computer labs and sound studio
  • Equipment rentals from the Arcadia Fine Arts Library (cameras, projectors, tablets, tripods, etc.)
  • Media lab for documentation of work
  • Print lab
  • Screening facilities including the Rhoden Arts Center and Historic Landmark Building Auditorium

Learning and Research:

  • Arcadia Fine Arts Library
  • The Center for the Study of the American Artist, which provides access to viewing and studying works of art from the museum's renowned permanent collection and institutional archives.

Career Services

Robust and practical career support allows PAFA students to develop the skills necessary to advance their careers in whatever direction they choose.

In addition to regular workshops and individual guidance, the PAFA Fine Arts Venture Fund engages current students in the grant-making process, many for the first time. Participants learn to develop a project proposal, craft a detailed budget, and, for semi-finalists, present a compelling case for support to a panel of business experts. From 2014 to 2021, PAFA has awarded students more than $270,000 through the Fine Arts Venture Fund.

Student Exhibitions

Throughout a student's time there are frequent opportunities to exhibit, including the capstone Annual Student Exhibition where students launch professional careers in a world class art museum. The preview event is widely attended each year by local art curators and collectors.

Museum and Research Resources

Each year student artwork is selected to enter the PAFA museum's renowned permanent collection, making possible its stewardship and preservation for the future public.

All students and Alumni enjoy museum access including the ability to study directly from painting in the galleries. Some students choose to apply for work study or internships to explore curating, museum education and development, and digital archiving.​​​​​

For a comprehensive view of our world-class facilities and studios, and to learn more about our graduate programs, schedule an in-person or virtual tour.

"I chose PAFA because of how experimental and explorative the program is. The faculty push you to try new things and really get to the seed of your work and practice." –Marley Massey Parsons (MFA '22)