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.

Explore the Master of Fine Arts, Low-Residency MFA, and Post-Baccalaureate Certificate.

Application Deadlines

Academic Transcripts

Portfolio Requirements

Statement of Purpose

Letters of Recommendation

Supplemental Materials

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Click here to select your preferred application:


There is an application fee of $60 which is paid online when submitting your application. PAFA does accept fee waivers from the CollegeBoard, NACAC, and School Lunch Program. Students experiencing financial hardship can request a fee waiver by contacting the Admissions Office.

"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)

Application Deadlines

March 1 (Scholarship Priority)

MFA Program
Low-Residency MFA Program
Rolling Admission Post-Baccalaureate Program

* Applications for the MFA and Low-Res MFA programs are still open after the Scholarship Priority deadline. These applications will be evaluated on a rolling basis. 

Academic Transcripts

A bachelor’s degree 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 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 gives framework and explanation to the submitted Portfolio and outlines their 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

One (1) letter 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 scores from the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL), International English Language Testing System (IELTS), and Duolingo English Test.

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 -
Master of Fine Arts
Low-Residency MFA
Post-Baccalaureate Program
Duolingo English Test 105 -

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.

Using the Self-Service Center Admissions Portal

During the admissions process, applicants may check the status of their application through PAFA's Self-Service Center. To track your progress in completing all the application requirements, use the Applications Summary option.

  • If you applied using PAFA's Application, you can sign in with your application login.
  • Common Application users will need to create a Self Service Center account. Use the same email entered on your Common Application.

Please note that only complete applications will be reviewed for admission. Applicants with missing requirements will be notified and should refer to the Application Summary page to see what materials are incomplete.

Picture Yourself at PAFA

The Admissions and Financial Aid staff at PAFA are 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

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