Graduate Admissions

The options for graduate study at PAFA are interdisciplinary in nature and focus on individual artistic development. Studio practice is at its core and students work in a variety of media and pursue a wide range of interests. Students are encouraged to be independent, self-motivated, and open to new opportunities that arise from the process of research and art-making. Students’ individualized work is supported by studio and seminar courses and individual and group critique. The relationships you develop while working at PAFA will enrich your life and your art.

Application Deadlines

March 15 Post-Baccalaureate Program
May 3 MFA Program
Low-Residency MFA Program

After March 15th, applications are reviewed on a rolling basis for PAFA's graduate programs.

Academic Transcripts

A bachelor’s degree in art, or equivalent, is required for the MFA, Low-Residency, and Post-Baccalaureate programs at PAFA. Transcripts must show proof of an undergraduate degree, or degree in progress for those currently enrolled.

Official transcripts are required for each applicant, as they convey the academic history and serve as proof of eligibility. Transcripts must be sent directly from an applicant’s academic institution to be considered official.

Currently, enrolled applicants should submit official transcripts with their courses in progress and official, final transcripts upon graduation.

If your academic credentials are not written in English, they must be translated into English by an approved translator prior to submission.


Electronic Transcripts

PAFA accepts electronic transcripts via eSCRIP-SAFE, Liaison, Naviance, ParchmentStudent Clearing House, and other verified transcript servicers. Electronic transcripts may also be emailed to admissions@pafa.edu from the institution you attended.


Physical/Hardcopy Transcripts

Physical copies of transcripts may be mailed to the following address:

Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts
Office of Admissions
128 North Broad Street
Philadelphia, PA 19102

Portfolio Requirements

Admission to PAFA is contingent on the submission of your creative work through a portfolio. Portfolios consisting of 20 images must be submitted through SlideRoom. It is up to each applicant to choose works that best exemplify their skills, concepts, and ambition. Refer to PAFA’s Graduate Portfolio Guidelines for advice on how to select, prepare, and submit your work.

For good image quality and fast upload, we recommend all portfolio images are saved in JPEG format (.jpg).

When uploading your work, please include the following information for each piece of work—SlideRoom will prompt you to fill this information out as you go along:

  • Title
  • Medium
  • Size
  • Year

Statement of Purpose

Applicants are required to submit a 1-2 page Statement of Purpose essay (250-650 words, double-spaced), which clearly communicates their educational pursuits and artwork. Please answer the following prompt:

Outline your artistic goals and interests in pursuing graduate studies at PAFA.

The Statement of Purpose must be saved as a Microsoft Word (.doc.docx) or Portable Document File (.pdf), and uploaded through the Self-Service Center prior to submitting the application. PAFA does not accept any other file formats for the Statement of Purpose.

Letters of Recommendation

Two (2) letters of recommendation are required. These letters should come from individuals who are familiar with your abilities, such as teachers, mentors, guidance counselors, and employers. Applicants can send requests to their recommenders through the Self-Service Center.

English Language Proficiency Scores

Students are required to submit official language proficiency scores if their primary language is not English. PAFA accepts the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or International English Language Testing System (IELTS) tests.

Degree Program Test Type Minimum Score Test Code
Master of Fine Arts
Low-Residency MFA
Post-Baccalaureate Program
TOEFL 80 8499
Master of Fine Arts
Low-Residency MFA
Post-Baccalaureate Program
IELTS 6.5 -

Other Supplemental Materials

Submitting a resume or curriculum vitae (CV) is recommended. It is a helpful way to describe life experiences, exhibition history, and publications. These may be especially helpful for applicants who have been out of school for some time. Resumes and CVs may be submitted online through the Self Service Center.


Picture Yourself at PAFA

The Admissions and Financial Aid staff at PAFA are ready and available to assist you during all stages of the application and enrollment process.

Telephone: (215) 972-7625
Fax: (215) 569-0153
Financial Aid Telephone: (215) 972-2019