Undergraduate FAQs

How does PAFA compare in price to other art and design colleges?

Applicants should compare costs equally: while other institutions may offer larger scholarships, their tuition rates can also be substantially higher. Prospective students should consider each program’s value, and the return on investment. As an elite artistic institution, we think that no other college can match PAFA in these regards. Visit the Tuition and Fees page for more information.  

What scholarships are available?

PAFA offers both artistic and academic merit scholarships. All students are considered for these awards during the application process. Larger scholarships, ranging up to full tuition, are awarded on an selective basis. Students will be notified about any scholarship along with their admissions decision. 

What should a student do to prepare or improve their portfolio?

The Office of Admissions encourages students to speak with their Admissions Counselor to arrange a portfolio review. PAFA is happy to do an online or in-person review with any prospective student. 

PAFA also offers pre-college summer programs, designed to help students prepare their portfolio. Students should also consider Continuing Education courses,  which are offered year-round. Both may be taken for college credit. 

What housing options are available?

PAFA offers apartment-style housing at Stiles Hall, an amenity-rich community just a few blocks from PAFA’s campus. Focused on creating a supportive resident life experience with the unique needs of PAFA students in mind, Stiles Hall houses two floors exclusively reserved for our students. Please see our housing page for more details.

What dining options are available?

Students are welcome to purchase meals at PAFA’s onsite café, Tableau. Students can also take advantage of the variety of dining options within walking distance of the school, including Reading Terminal Market and many other restaurants and cafés in Chinatown and Center City.

Does PAFA have “study abroad” opportunities?

Yes. Students at PAFA may transfer studies for one semester at any Association of Independent Colleges of Art and Design (AICAD) affiliated institution. The list of schools can be found here

Students may also research and pursue opportunities to study abroad independently, under the guidance of the Student Services Office.

What career opportunities are available to art students?

While PAFA’s primary goal is to train students as professional, working artists, our graduates regularly pursue careers in teaching, gallery operation, arts administration, museum studies, conservation and preparation, design, illustration, and art fabrication. Since PAFA emphasizes both technical skill and mature conceptual expression, students are exceptionally well-prepared for any graduate-level study they wish to pursue.

PAFA also offers weekly workshops hosted by Career-Services to prepare students for life and work after graduation. 

Does PAFA offer teaching opportunities or assistantships? What about opportunities through PAFA’s museum?

PAFA does not offer teaching assistantships to undergraduate students. However, PAFA’s Museum Education Department has teaching opportunities for students through summer programming and weekend workshops.

What academic opportunities does PAFA offer?

PAFA’s various academic programs are designed to emphasize choice. Students can take their academic courses in-house through the PAFA BFA, or earn their degree from an Ivy League institution through the Coordinated BFA with the University of Pennsylvania. Visit the Degree Programs page to learn more.

What are the academic requirements to enroll? Do you require SAT/ACT scores? What are your GPA requirements?

For students applying to either of PAFA’s BFA programs, a 3.0 academic GPA is expected. ACT/SAT scores are not required for either application but students may choose to submit them for academic scholarship consideration.

Additionally, writing samples are required for both applications. Students should be prepared to write a short statement of purpose for the PAFA application. Students interested in the PAFA/Penn BFA should be prepared to write a series of short essays. For more information on personal statements please visit our Application Checklist.

Does PAFA have any prerequisite courses?

No. However, incoming students will undertake a rigorous foundations program in their first year. Many foundation courses will emphasize observational drawing and incorporate the nude model. This emphasis on technical ability distinguishes our program from any other, and prepares students to create strong work and develop a distinct voice.

Will my student need a car in Philadelphia? What parking options are available?

Students do not need a car in Philadelphia. Public transportation is abundant, and biking and walking are also popular methods of transportation. The city is pedestrian- and bicycle-friendly and many of the major streets have bike lanes.  

For those who choose to have a car, monthly rates for parking can be found here, and more information on street parking in Philadelphia can be found here.

How safe is PAFA’s campus?

Facilities offer 24-hour security, and ID cards are required for general entry and access to each floor. PAFA also offers a van service for students commuting late at night. For more information please see our Security and Safety page.

What is the student life like?

Students spend a significant amount of time in class, and often continue working in their studios once class is over. Student Services, along with the Student Activities committee work hard to put together numerous activities and events throughout the year. Current students should check out the flyers in the elevators for flyers regarding clubs, events, and opportunities to exhibit. Off-campus, students regularly visit galleries and exhibitions of alumni and the city’s many local artists. 

Will my student need a laptop computer to study at PAFA?

No. Computers in the library are available for student use, as well as the digital lab. Students in the BFA program have regular writing and research assignments, however, and may wish to have a personal computer. For students with a laptop, the Hamilton Building is equipped with wi-fi on all floors and Internet connections in all private studios.

Does PAFA accept transfer credit?

Yes. Visit our Transfer Students page for more information on PAFA's transfer credit policy.

What is PAFA's accreditation?

PAFA is non-profit college 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) and The Common Application.

What is the first year class schedule going to be like?

In their first year, full-time students will be in class Monday-Thursday from 8:30am to 4:00pm, with a lunch break. They will be in class Fridays from 8:30am to 11:30am with a recommended figure study session on Friday afternoons. More information on first year classes can be found in our course catalog.