Frequently Asked Questions Regarding the MFA Program

General Information

I would like to learn more about the MFA in Fine Arts with a concentration in Painting and Printmaking. Can you send me an information packet?
Rather than distributing hard-copy packets, we have been working to make our website as comprehensive as possible. We hope that all of the information prospective applicants need to become familiar with our program can be found on these pages. If you require information on a particular subject that is not addressed on this website, please let us know.

I would like to take a tour of the Department of Painting + Printmaking; when can I visit?
Each fall we post a list of dates when we will host information sessions for prospective applicants; the dates are available here under “Scheduling a Visit”.
Please note that due to the increasing number of prospective applicants visiting our program, we are no longer able to accommodate requests for individual tours or meetings.

Is it recommended that I attend an information session? Will attending an information session improve my chances of being accepted to the MFA Program?
The Department does not make any recommendation regarding whether an applicant should visit prior to applying. Our information sessions are provided as a courtesy to those prospective applicants who would like to get a feel for the MFA Program. Attendance at an information session is optional and has absolutely no bearing on admissions decisions.

About the Program

How many graduate students are enrolled in the Department of Painting + Printmaking?

Do you admit a specific number of painters or printmakers each year?
No, we do not have any established quotas or guidelines regarding how many graduate students are working in a specific medium. At any given time, we have graduate students who are working in painting, drawing, printmaking, digital processes, or any combination of these media. Our goal is to enroll the strongest applicants regardless of medium.

Is it possible for graduate students to pursue investigations in other media while enrolled in Painting + Printmaking?
Yes. While it is expected that all of our graduate students have a strong interest in and understanding of two-dimensional media, it is quite common for our students to work in other forms. Currently there are graduate students in Painting + Printmaking who are also exploring sculpture, installation, video, and performance.

What are the graduate studios like?
Each of our graduate students works in his/her own private studio located on the 3rd floor of the Fine Arts Building. Each studio is approximately 300 square feet, has permanent walls that span floor-to-ceiling, and has a locking door. All of the studios have natural lighting and are well-ventilated.

Is there a list of campus events/ lectures that will help me to get a sense of what is happening in the VCU School of the Arts?
Upcoming events and lectures hosted by the Department of Painting + Printmaking are featured on this website.In addition, the School of the Arts maintains a very informative website at esterknows.com; this is an excellent resource for those interested in learning about the many lectures, exhibitions, and other activities taking place in other arts departments on campus.

I began my graduate studies at another institution; will my credits transfer to VCU?
No. Our graduate students are required to complete all of their graduate coursework and thesis research at VCU.

The Application

When is the application deadline?
The deadline is January 15th for all applicants.

Can I apply to more that one graduate program in the VCU School of the Arts?

How many applications does the graduate program in Painting + Printmaking receive each year?
The number of applications varies from year to year. For Fall 2010, we received approximately 220 applications.

How many graduate students does the Department of Painting + Printmaking admit each year?
As we have a total of 15 graduate students, we admit seven or eight new grad students each year.

Will the Department of Painting + Printmaking review or provide feedback on my portfolio prior to my application?
No. The Department cannot provide advice on portfolios, nor can we review artist statements or any other materials in advance of the application process.

I have read the application guidelines regarding how to use the on-line application system. Should I also send paper copies of my materials? Should I send a copy of my portfolio on CD as a “back-up”?
With the exception of letters of recommendation and transcripts, all application materials MUST be submitted via the online upload interface. Please do not send duplicate materials as hard copies and/or on CDs. They are unnecessary and will be discarded.

I uploaded my resume and artist statement as pdf files, but I don’t see the text, only a “pdf” icon. Is that OK?
Yes. Uploaded pdf files are represented by a pdf icon on the applicant’s side of the database.

I uploaded a video and only see a quicktime icon. Is that OK?
Yes. Uploaded quicktime files are represented by a quicktime icon on the applicant’s side of the database.

To what address should I send letters of recommendation?
Letters of recommendation should be completed on-line by the applicant’s recommenders per the instructions available in the on-line application.  If a recommender prefers mailing letters as hard copies, please use the address below. We cannot accept letters via email.
Susan Martin, Graduate Studies Coordinator
Office of the Dean, School of the Arts
Virginia Commonwealth University
P.O. Box 842519
Richmond, VA 23284-2519

To what address should I send transcripts?
Transcripts should be mailed directly to the Graduate School:
Virginia Commonwealth University
Office of Admissions
P.O. Box 843051
Richmond, Virginia 23284-3051

I’ve submitted my application for graduate study. Can you tell me if letters of recommendation and/or transcripts have been received?
Due to the number of applications we receive, our staff cannot provide each applicant with confirmation of the receipt of his/her materials. Applicants are encouraged to track the receipt of their materials via the online application interface.

Does the Department conduct admissions interviews?
In February, The Department Chair and the Graduate Program Director interview those applicants selected as finalists by the Department faculty.

When will I hear from the Department regarding admissions decisions?
Final admissions decisions should be made by the end of March.

Financial Matters

How much do graduate students in Painting + Printmaking pay in tuition and fees?
General information regarding tuition and fees, as well as a link to a “tuition calculator”, can be found here.

What financial assistance is available to graduate students?
Many of our graduate students receive aid from the University in the form of either a Graduate School Assistantship (GSA) or a Graduate Teaching Assistantship (GTA). Decisions regarding assistantships are made at the time of acceptance. Many students also apply for federal student aid (www.fafsa.ed.gov/).

How do I apply for the Graduate School Assistantship and the Graduate Teaching Assistantships?
All applicants are automatically considered for assistantships. There is no separate application. Applicants are notified of awards upon acceptance.

For More Information….

I have familiarized myself with the on-line information about how to apply, but I still need more information and/or have a specific question about the application process. Who should I contact?
Please address any procedural questions regarding the application to:
Susan Martin, Graduate Studies Coordinator
School of the Arts Dean’s Office

I have read the Frequently Asked Questions, as well as the other information available on the Painting + Printmaking website, but I still need more information and/or have a specific question about the graduate program in Painting + Printmaking. Who should I contact?
Please address inquiries about the graduate program in Painting + Printmaking to:
Hilary Wilder, Graduate Program Director
Department of Painting + Printmaking

***Please bear in mind the following when contacting the Department:

  • the graduate program is not in session during the summer months; messages received during the summer will be answered in late August.
  • please do not send the same email inquiry to multiple staff members or faculty.
  • as we receive a very high volume of correspondence, it may take three or more business days to respond to an email inquiry.

Thank you for your interest in the Department of Painting and Printmaking.