Frequently Asked Questions Regarding the MFA Program

We hope all of the information that 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 our website, please let us know.


When can I visit the MFA Program in Painting + Printmaking?
Each fall VCUarts organizes an Open House for prospective applicants; more information can be found on our main MFA Program page.

Is it recommended that I attend the Open House?
The Department does not make any recommendation regarding whether an applicant should visit prior to applying; attendance at the Open House is optional and has no bearing on admissions decisions.

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 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.

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 common for our students to work in other forms. Currently there are graduate students in Painting + Printmaking who are also making sculpture, installation, and video.

What are the graduate studios like?
Each of our graduate students works in his/her own private studio located on the third 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.

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.

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, but we typically receive between 180 and 210 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 other materials in advance of the application process.

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?
Yes; in February, The Department Chair and the Graduate Program Director interview finalists via Skype.

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

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?
All of our graduate students receive some 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.

I have a question that isn’t answered here. Who should I contact?
Please address any procedural questions regarding the application to:
Melanie Christian, Executive Assistant to the Dean and Graduate Studies Coordinator
School of the Arts Dean’s Office

Please address inquiries about the graduate program in Painting + Printmaking to:
Hilary Wilder, PAPR Graduate Program Director (until August 15, 2018)

Cara Benedetto, PAPR Graduate Program Director (beginning August 15, 2018)