The mission of the Art Department at the University of WisconsinMadison is to educate students in studio art and design to form lasting contributions to knowledge and culture. Our mission mirrors the guiding principles of the University, whose outreach efforts influence lives within the classroom, the state of Wisconsin, and beyond.

Seated within the School of Education, the MFA curriculum allows students to join their academic and studio disciplines to source the potential of the University. Research offerings at the University of Wisconsin rank among the highest in the world, including our libraries, museums, laboratories, collections, faculty, staff, and visiting scholars. Student learning and curriculum are also supported on campus by the Chazen Museum of Art, Tandem Press, and the Division of the Arts. Our prominent and diverse faculty work across creative disciplines to teach hands-on skills, critical thinking, observation, and innovation.

Graduate students engage with interdisciplinarity, professional practices, and standards for scholarship to develop meaningful research and social engagement in the visual arts. The Art Department values the diverse contributions, backgrounds, and experiences of each student who serves as a catalyst for the extraordinary within the contemporary practice of art at the University of Wisconsin–Madison and the world.

Students can study with any of our distinguished faculty, drawing from a wide breadth of instruction or focusing on a particular discipline. Students partner with faculty to develop a thesis body of artistic work. A strength of the graduate program lies in the diversity of its faculty and its strong commitment to student mentorship. The program places artists in the upper tier within any visual arts specialization.

Our department is well-equipped to support student studio ambitions. Students benefit from having access to the studio facilities, state-of-the-art shops, and equipment. Students are encouraged to challenge themselves and their research through the program's unique interdisciplinary approach to studio practice.


Please consult the table below for key information about this degree program’s admissions requirements. The program may have more detailed admissions requirements, which can be found below the table or on the program’s website.

Graduate admissions is a two-step process between academic programs and the Graduate School. Applicants must meet the minimum requirements of the Graduate School as well as the program(s). Once you have researched the graduate program(s) you are interested in, apply online.

Fall Deadline January 6
Spring Deadline The program does not admit in the spring.
Summer Deadline The program does not admit in the summer.
GRE (Graduate Record Examinations) Not required.
English Proficiency Test Every applicant whose native language is not English, or whose undergraduate instruction was not exclusively in English, must provide an English proficiency test score earned within two years of the anticipated term of enrollment. Refer to the Graduate School: Minimum Requirements for Admission policy: https://policy.wisc.edu/library/UW-1241.
Other Test(s) (e.g., GMAT, MCAT) n/a
Letters of Recommendation Required 3

For up-to-date application instructions, see Graduate Application on the Art Department website.

Admitted applicants must meet the minimum Graduate School requirements.

Submit an online application through the UW–Madison Graduate School and pay the application fee.


Graduate School Resources

Resources to help you afford graduate study might include assistantships, fellowships, traineeships, and financial aid. Further funding information is available from the Graduate School. Be sure to check with your program for individual policies and restrictions related to funding.

Program Funding

Students entering the UWMadison MFA in studio art program are offered tuition remission, generous monthly stipends, access to UWMadison health benefits, and other annual funding opportunities. Students are assigned Teaching Assistantships within their first year of study. Second- and third-year students are appointed Lecturing Student Assistantships; in addition, they may be selected by faculty for Project Assistantships or be awarded Fellowships based on their eligibility.

MFA funding packages reflect our commitment to students and require students to perform both academically and professionally at the highest level while studying on campus. Funding support is contingent on the student’s performance as a TA, LSA, or PA; academic performance; and satisfactory progress toward the completion of the MFA program. Students on assistantship are expected to provide 20 hours of service through their appointment each week during the 9-month academic year. 

Teaching Assistantship (TA): Incoming MFA students are assigned teaching assistantships. Students assist a faculty member who administers weekly lectures in Art 100, Art 107, and Art 108/208. Teaching Assistants are responsible for knowing the course content and leading three undergraduate discussion sections per semester. 

Lecturing Student Assistantship (LSA): Rising second and third-year graduate students are assigned LSA appointments. LSA-assigned courses are taught with support from a supervising faculty member. The graduate student is responsible for the content and delivery of the course curriculum and assessment of student coursework through group critique. LSAs are assigned two sections of undergraduate foundations or beginning level studio courses per semester. Department courses taught by LSAs are Art 102, Art 104, Art 112, Art 212, and Art 176. Additional beginning level undergraduate courses may be assigned at the discretion of the department.

Project Assistantship (PA): Rising second- and third-year graduate students may be appointed a project assistantship. Faculty hand-select students to assist with their studio research. 

Fellowships: Fellowships support graduate student research without the expectation of weekly work requirements. Fellowships are awarded to rising third-year graduate students through the department’s annual application process. 

Non-departmental funding

Financial Aid information for graduate student grants, employment appeals, and general loans is available from the Office of Student Financial Aid. Please note that student financial aid awards are not connected with the Art Department.


Work-study is awarded through the Office of Student Financial Aid. Work-study positions are listed in the work-study office. Many professors in the Art Department hire work-study students to assist them in lab courses.

Minimum Graduate School Requirements

Review the Graduate School minimum academic progress and degree requirements, in addition to the program requirements listed below.

Major Requirements

Mode Of Instruction

Face to Face Evening/Weekend Online Hybrid Accelerated
Yes No No No No

Mode of Instruction Definitions

Accelerated: Accelerated programs are offered at a fast pace that condenses the time to completion. Students typically take enough credits aimed at completing the program in a year or two.

Evening/Weekend: ​Courses meet on the UW–Madison campus only in evenings and/or on weekends to accommodate typical business schedules.  Students have the advantages of face-to-face courses with the flexibility to keep work and other life commitments.

Face-to-Face: Courses typically meet during weekdays on the UW-Madison Campus.

Hybrid: These programs combine face-to-face and online learning formats.  Contact the program for more specific information.

Online: These programs are offered 100% online.  Some programs may require an on-campus orientation or residency experience, but the courses will be facilitated in an online format.

Curricular Requirements

Minimum Credit Requirement 60 credits
Minimum Residence Credit Requirement 30 credits
Minimum Graduate Coursework Requirement 30 credits must be graduate-level coursework. Refer to the Graduate School: Minimum Graduate Coursework (50%) Requirement policy: https://policy.wisc.edu/library/UW-1244.
Overall Graduate GPA Requirement 3.00 GPA required.
Refer to the Graduate School: Grade Point Average (GPA) Requirement policy: https://policy.wisc.edu/library/UW-1203.
Other Grade Requirements No other specific grade requirements.
Assessments and Examinations First-Year Reviews
Near the end of the second semester students will exhibit the work and research they have achieved during their first year. Including new processes, conceptual/narrative developments, current challenges, and future goals. The committee comprised of departmental faculty will use a review rubric to assess the students standing in the program. A completed assessment form with adjoining notes will be returned to each student and their first-year faculty advisor. The assessment is in addition to critique and feedback from the committee during the review.

Students will either pass or be placed on probation. Probation is a recognition of subpar performance based on the review rubric qualifications. Any prevailing concerns will be addressed by the student's first-year faculty advisor and re-evaluated by their Graduate Committee during their qualifying exhibition the following academic year.

MFA Qualifier
Students will host a solo exhibition of their work during the fourth semester of the program. This exhibition serves as an opportunity for the student to meet with their committee to discuss their research as it relates to contemporary studio practice and content, historical context and formal issues. The qualifier functions as a critique in which students can expect to defend the work and field specific questions asked by their committee. After the hour long meeting the committee will give the student a list of questions that the student will write responses to. Two weeks following the exhibition the student submits their written responses for evaluation. The committee will then approve the student to advance in the program.

Final MFA Exhibition
After the successful completion of the qualifier, students will host a solo exhibition of their work. This exhibition takes place during the sixth semester of the program. The students’ committee will come together one time to discuss the candidates’ masters body of work along with the decisions the student made in presenting both their work and research. At this meeting students should expect to defend not only their practice, but be able to articulate evidence of their academic research as it relates to the exhibited works. After the hour long meeting the committee will convene and make their recommendations for the conferring of the MFA degree.
Language Requirements No language requirements.

Required Courses

ART 700 Introduction to Graduate Studies in Art3
ART 740 Interdisciplinary Graduate Critique (Students must complete in their second, third, and fourth semester)3
ART 908 Seminar-Art (Students must take one Art Seminar course)3
ART 508 Colloquium in Art1
Art History3
Students must take one ART HIST course that is numbered 300 or above
Outside elective numbered 300 or above3
This course must be taken in subjects other than ART or ART HIST
Additional coursework44
Students work with their graduate committee chair to meet the minimum credit requirement.
Total Credits60

Additional Coursework

Below is a partial list of additional coursework students may take while in the program. 

Art Studio
ART 722 Graduate Painting I2-3
ART 726 Graduate Intaglio Printmaking I2-3
ART 736 Graduate Graphics Workshop I2-6
ART 912 Advanced Research-Drawing1-4
ART 914 Advanced Research-Sculpture1-4
ART 922 Advanced Research-Painting1-4
ART 924 Advanced Research-Ceramics1-4
ART 944 Advanced Research-Art Metal1-4
ART 996 Advanced Research-Graphics1-4
ART 999 Independent Study1-4
ART 309 Digital Art and Code4
ART 316 Lithography4
ART 334 Wood Working3-4
ART 336 Serigraphy3-4
ART/​DANCE  341 Sound Design for the Performing and Visual Arts3
ART 343 Metal Fabrication and Welding in Sculpture3-4
ART 354 Glassworking4
ART 376 Photography4
ART 409 Digital Fabrication Studio4
ART 414 Art Foundry3
ART 446 Artists' Books4
ART 454 Neon: Light as Sculpture4
ART 456 Illustration3
ART 466 Papermaking: History, Elements and Techniques4
ART 470 Special Topics in 4D Art3-4
ART 511 Art Performance3-4
ART 518 Artist's Video4
ART 521 Installations and Environments4
ART 528 Digital Interactive Studio4
ART 531 Screen Performance3-4
ART 608 Interdisciplinary Critique in the Visual Arts3
ART 636 Computer Augmented Printmaking4

Graduate School Policies

The Graduate School’s Academic Policies and Procedures provide essential information regarding general university policies. Program authority to set degree policies beyond the minimum required by the Graduate School lies with the degree program faculty. Policies set by the academic degree program can be found below.

Major-Specific Policies

Prior Coursework

Graduate Credits Earned at Other Institutions

With program approval, coursework from a previous graduate program completed within the past ten years may be considered for transfer. Credit transfers will not be granted if the student fails to disclose their intent to transfer credits within their first semester of study. The student must schedule a meeting with the Graduate Program Manager and provide a transcript from the previous institution.

Undergraduate Credits Earned at Other Institutions or UW–Madison

No credits from a UW–Madison or other institution undergraduate degree are allowed to transfer toward the degree.

Credits Earned as a Professional Student at UW-Madison (Law, Medicine, Pharmacy, and Veterinary careers)

Refer to the Graduate School: Transfer Credit for Prior Coursework policy.

Credits Earned as University Special Student at UW–Madison

With program approval, coursework numbered 300 or above taken as a University Special student at UW-Madison may be considered for transfer. Coursework earned ten or more years prior to admission to a master's degree is not allowed to satisfy requirements.


Refer to the Graduate School: Probation policy.

Good standing (progressing according to standards; any funding guarantee remains in place).

Probation (not progressing according to standards but permitted to enroll; loss of funding guarantee; specific plan with dates and deadlines in place in regard to removal of probationary status).

Unsatisfactory progress (not progressing according to standards; not permitted to enroll, dismissal, leave of absence or change of advisor or program)

Advisor / Committee

All students are required to conduct a yearly progress report meeting with the chair and members of their committee. The committee will meet at the end of the student's sixth semester to review work for the MFA degree.

Credits Per Term Allowed

15 credits per semester

Time Limits

The MFA show of creative work must be completed by the sixth semester of the candidate's studies. Refer to the Graduate School's Time Limits policy.

Grievances and Appeals

These resources may be helpful in addressing your concerns:

School of Education Grievance Policy and Procedures

The following School of Education Student Grievance Policy and associated procedures are designed for use in response to individual student grievances regarding faculty or staff in the School of Education.

Any individual student who feels they have been treated unfairly by a School of Education faculty or staff member has the right to file a grievance about the treatment and receive a timely response addressing their concerns. Any student, undergraduate or graduate, may use these grievance procedures, except employees whose complaints are covered under other campus policies. The grievance may concern classroom treatment, mentoring or advising, program admission or continuation, course grades (study abroad grade complaints are handled through International Academic Programs), or issues not covered by other campus policies or grievance procedures. 

For grievances regarding discrimination based on protected bases (i.e., race, color, national origin, sex, disability, age, etc.), contact the Office of Compliance (https://compliance.wisc.edu/eo-complaint/).

For grievances or concerns regarding sexual harassment or sexual violence (including sexual assault, dating/domestic violence, stalking, and sexual exploitation), contact the Sexual Misconduct Resource and Response Program within the Office of Compliance.

For grievances that involve the behavior of a student, contact the Office of Student Conduct and Community Standards in the Dean of Students Office at https://conduct.students.wisc.edu/).

For grievances about, or directed at, faculty or staff in a School of Education department, unit, or program, students should follow these steps:

  1. Students are strongly encouraged to first talk with the person against whom the concern is directed. Many issues can be settled informally at this level. If students are unable to resolve concerns directly or without additional support, step 2 or 3 should be pursued.
  2. If unresolved after taking or considering step 1:
    1. If the concern is directed against a teaching assistant (TA), and the student is not satisfied, the student should contact the TA's supervisor, who is usually the course professor. The course professor will attempt to resolve the concern informally.
    2. If the concern involves a non-TA instructor, staff member, professor, academic department, or School of Education office or unit, the student should contact the chair of the department or the director of the office or unit, or their designee. The chair or director, or their designee, will attempt to resolve the concern informally. If the concern is about the department chair or office/unit director, the student should consult the School of Education Senior Associate Dean for guidance.
  3. If the concern remains unresolved after step 2, the student may submit a formal grievance to the chair or director in writing within 30 business days1 of the alleged unfair treatment. To the fullest extent possible, a formal written grievance shall contain a clear and concise statement of the issue(s) involved and the relief sought.  
  4. On receipt of a written grievance, the chair or director will notify the person at whom the grievance is directed with a copy of the written grievance. The person at whom the complaint is directed may submit a written response, which would be shared with the student.
  5. On receipt of a written grievance, the chair or director will refer the matter to a department, office, or unit committee comprised of at least two members. The committee may be an existing committee or one constituted for this purpose. The committee, or delegates from the committee, may meet with the parties involved and/or review any material either party shares with the committee.  
  6. The committee will provide a written description of the facts of the grievance and communicate recommendations to the department chair or office/unit head regarding how the grievance should be handled.
  7. The chair or director will offer to meet with the student who made the grievance and also will provide a written decision to the student, including a description of any related action taken by the committee, within 30 business days of receiving the formal grievance.

    For the purpose of this policy, business days refers to those days when the University Offices are open and shall not include weekends, university holidays, spring recess, or the period from the last day of exams of fall semester instruction to the first day of spring semester instruction. All time limits may be modified by mutual consent of the parties involved.

If the grievance concerns an undergraduate course grade, the decision of the department chair after reviewing the committee’s recommendations is final. 

Other types of grievances may be appealed using the following procedures:

  1. Both the student who filed the grievance or the person at whom the grievance was directed, if unsatisfied with the decision of the department, office or unit, have five (5) business days from receipt of the decision to contact the Senior Associate Dean, indicating the intention to appeal.   
  2. A written appeal must be filed with the Senior Associate Dean within 10 business days of the time the appealing party was notified of the initial resolution of the complaint.
  3. On receipt of a written appeal, the Senior Associate Dean will convene a sub-committee of the School of Education’s Academic Planning Council. This subcommittee may ask for additional information from the parties involved and/or may hold a meeting at which both parties will be asked to speak separately (i.e., not in the room at the same time).
  4. The subcommittee will then make a written recommendation to the Dean of the School of Education, or their designee, who will render a decision. The dean or designee’s written decision shall be made within 30 business days from the date when the written appeal was filed with the Senior Associate Dean.  For undergraduate students, the dean or designee’s decision is final.

Further appealing a School of Education decision – graduate students only

Graduate students have the option to appeal decisions by the School of Education dean or designee by using the process detailed on the Graduate School’s website.

Questions about these procedures can be directed to the School of Education Dean's Office, 377 Education Building, 1000 Bascom Mall, 608-262-1763.




Professional Development

Graduate School Resources

Take advantage of the Graduate School's professional development resources to build skills, thrive academically, and launch your career. 

Learning Outcomes

  1. Demonstrate a critical awareness of the relationship of artwork to its social, cultural, historical, theoretical and contemporary contexts.
  2. Develop, hone and clearly articulate artistic goals, manifested in a substantial body of artwork and communicated through oral presentations and professional art writing.
  3. Engage actively in a wider visual arts culture and community (local, regional, national, or international) and present exhibition/s in a public gallery or other cultural venues.


For more information about faculty, see UW/ART.


Faisal Abdu’Allah (Printmaking)
Yeohyun Ahn (Graphic Design)
Emily Arthur (Printmaking) 
John Baldacchino (Art Education)
Lynda Barry (Comics)
Derrick Buisch (Painting & Drawing)
Anna Campbell (Digital Media) 
Julie Chen (Book Arts & Papermaking)
Laurie Beth Clark (4-D)
Sarah FitzSimons (Sculpture)
Gerit Grimm (Ceramics)
Stephen Hilyard (4-D)
John Hitchcock (Printmaking)
Katie Hunall (Wood Working)
Tom Jones (Photography)
Tomiko Jones (Photography)
Helen Lee (Glass)
Taekyeom Lee (Graphic Design)
Meg Mitchell (4-D)
Darcy Padilla (Photography)
Michael Peterson (4-D)
Tim Portlock (Digital Media)
Douglas Rosenberg (4-D)
Leslie Smith III (Painting & Drawing) 
Fred Stonehouse (Painting & Drawing) 
Michael Valliquette (Art Foundations) 
Christina West (Ceramics)

Faculty Associates

Mary Hoefferle (Art Education)