Master of Fine Arts (MFA) Programs in Chicago, IL

Oct 11, 2019

Schools like Columbia College Chicago, the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, and DePaul University, offer numerous options for students who wish to earn a Master of Fine Arts.

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Master of Fine Arts programs in Chicago, IL, provide an opportunity for students to train to be professional artists in almost any discipline desired. Whether applicants are aspiring sculptors, performers, screenwriters, or photographers, they can probably find a program in this Illinois city. The list below includes six schools that offer an MFA in Chicago.

Schools That Offer an MFA in Chicago, IL

School of the Art Institute of Chicago

SAIC is home to 12 different departments that participate in the school's MFA program. These include sound, painting & drawing, ceramics, sculpture, visual communication design, fiber & material studies, architecture, photography, print media, performance, and film/animation departments. Enrollees can make their study as broad or as narrow as they choose. The MFA in Studio program is designed to be completed in two years, but students can complete it in a maximum of four years. The minimum credit hour requirement for full-time status is 12 hours per semester.

Columbia College Chicago

Columbia College Chicago provides a studio space for each admitted student to practice in their chosen media. Students also have access to sound equipment, cameras, a media center, printing bureau, lighting, and a fabrication facility. They can receive training in entrepreneurship as well. Each enrollee in this art MFA program must complete 60 credit hours. These are typically completed in two years, but part-time options are available.

University of Chicago

MFA students at the University of Chicago concentrate on sculpture, video & new media, performance, installation, painting, or photography. To graduate, students must complete 18 courses. Each course equals 100 credit hours, so students must complete 1800 credit hours total - 900 must be studio hours, 300 hours must be seminars, and 600 must be electives. A thesis presentation is required.

University of Illinois at Chicago

The MFA in Art program at the university's School of Art & Art History offers concentrations in studio arts, new media arts, photography, and moving image. The number of students admitted is limited. The small size of the programs gives enrolled students more one-on-one attention from the faculty. Enrollees receive a dedicated studio space to work in. A minimum of 64 credit hours is required to graduate, along with a thesis presentation.

Illinois State University

The Wonsook Kim School of Art offers a 60-credit-hour curriculum for their MFA in Art, which can be completed in two years. Coursework emphasizes art history and teaching in addition to the practice of art. Applicants must demonstrate strong abilities in either photography, video, painting and drawing, printmaking, sculpture and expanded media, glass, or ceramics. MFA candidates must complete one solo exhibition in the school's student gallery and have the option to participate in a number of group exhibitions.

DePaul University

DePaul University offers an MFA in documentary, game design, animation, film and television directing, creative producing, screenwriting, and animation. Enrollees must complete at least 64 credit hours of graduate work. The curriculum includes courses plus a master's thesis that requires students to exhibit their work. Production facilities available to students in these MFA programs include a production office, post-production and animation studios, film studios, and equipment centers.

Admissions Requirements

Most fine arts master's degree candidates can choose from a number of concentrations. Each concentration may be administered by a different school or college within the university. Admissions requirements, therefore, can vary depending on the department of admission. Generally speaking, however, applicants should have completed or be about to complete a bachelor's degree with a minimum GPA of around 2.5 and be able to demonstrate proficiency in the medium desired. Most applicants will be required to submit some or all of the following: transcripts, a resume or CV, letters of recommendation, test scores such as TOEFL (if a student is foreign), a personal statement, and a portfolio. In the case of digital media, the applicant might be required to submit a 5- to 10-minute reel of their best work.

Chicago, IL, is home to many MFA programs in studio art and digital media. Students can gain admission to these programs with a bachelor's degree and strong portfolio.

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