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ART, THEORY, PRACTICE, at Northwestern University is one of the nation’s most competitive MFA programs. Each year we only accept five candidates and fully support ten graduate students during their tenure with full tuition waivers, health care coverage, and yearly stipends ranging from $22,000 to $29,000. GRE scores are not required to qualify for Financial Aid.

Financial Aid comes in two forms: University Fellowships and Teaching Assistantships. Every one of our MFA students is given the opportunity to build teaching experience by completing multiple Teaching Assistantships during their two years of coursework. This allows graduates to gain experience in classes at varying levels and in diverse media. Such breadth of familiarity proves invaluable to those who intend to teach after earning their degree.

Application for Financial Aid must be completed and submitted online through the Graduate School’s website. Questions about Financial Aid should be directed to the Graduate School. Additional internal and external funding opportunities are available to A,T,P, graduate students during their two-year residency. Of the awards administered through Northwestern, our MFA students are eligible for Graduate Research Grants (GRG) as well as support from the Center for Interdisciplinary Research in the Arts (CIRA) and Conference Travel Grants. The Graduate School website also lists external funding sources particularly suited to A,T,P, students.


The official application forms must be completed and submitted online through the Graduate School’s website here.


As part of the application process, you will be asked to submit scans of your official transcripts. Upon admission the Graduate School will ask you to submit the original paper copies of your official transcripts.

You will also be required to submit 2 letters of support by your recommendors through the Graduate School web site, according to the instructions provided in conjunction with the Graduate School online application. A word of advice on choosing your recommenders: Ideally your recommenders should be professionals in the field that can speak about you as an artist and about the potential of your work (employers in non-art- related fields and fellow students may not be the best choices). GRE scores are not required or requested.

As a second step all applicants must submit their portfolio materials, artist statement and CV to the department with our online application here.


Applicants may submit materials starting on September 1st.
Online applications will not be accessible until this date.


Your portfolio should consist of 20 images, video and/or MP3 files. If you are submitting only still images, we recommend that you submit the full 20 images rather than fewer images. If you are submitting a combination of still images and works documented in other media, you may only submit a total of 20 files. If you are submitting time-based work only, please provide up to 5 samples. Video artists may choose to mail a DVD of full length work to the department office in addition to these samples. If your work is web interactive, please provide a screen shot and place the url in the title information.

Applicants may upload images (jpg), audio (mp3), docs (pdf) or video (mov, wmv, flv). For good image quality and smooth upload, your image files should be under 1MB and have a resolution of 72 dpi with the largest dimension around 1220px. Video clips must be under 60MB and saved as mov, flv or wmv. The online portal offers additional instruction and help support for submitting work.


You must submit your artist statement, and CV with the online application. Your artist’s statement, which should not exceed 750 words, should address the issues and concerns that inform your practice in some detail. For additional questions concerning the MFA application process, please contact the Program Assistant, Matt Martin.


Prospective graduate students are invited to tour the graduate facilities with the Director of Graduate Studies, Lane Relyea. Tours will be held October 7th from 1–3PM and Nov 19th from 10–12PM. To reserve a space on the tour, email Matt Martin.