Graduate Application Process

First, decide which graduate program is right for you:

Application Deadline

Application TypeDeadlineStartProgram
Rolling AdmissionAugust 1 (Open)Fall Semester

MFA Program

Post-Baccalaureate Program

Rolling AdmissionMay 15 (Open)Summer SessionLow-Residency MFA Program

* Applications are open and scholarships are still available *

Prepare Your Application Materials

  • Portfolio
  • Undergraduate Academic Transcripts
  • Statement of Purpose
  • One Letter of Recommendation
  • English Language Proficiency Scores
  • Other Supplemental Materials: resume or curriculum vitae


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

Undergraduate 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.

Applicants currently enrolled in an undergraduate program should submit official transcripts with their courses in progress for their initial application. If accepted, PAFA will require 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

Statement of Purpose

Applicants are required to submit a 1-2 page Statement(s) 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 Admissions Portal 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 is required. This letter should come from an individual who are familiar with your abilities, such as teachers, mentors, guidance counselors, and employers. Applicants can send request(s) to their recommender(s) through the Admissions Portal.

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 ProgramTest TypeMinimum ScoreTest Code
Master of Fine Arts
Low-Residency MFA
Post-Baccalaureate Program
Master of Fine Arts
Low-Residency MFA
Post-Baccalaureate Program

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 Admissions Portal.

Finished Preparing Your Materials?

Picture Yourself at PAFA

The Admissions and Financial Aid staff at PAFA help you during all stages of the application and enrollment process.

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