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Massachusetts College of Art and Design: Academics, Admissions & Tuition

Learn what degree and certificate programs the Massachusetts College of Art and Design offers. Research its academics, and read about its admission and financial aid info to make an informed education decision.

About the Massachusetts College of Art and Design

The Massachusetts College of Art and Design, also known as MassArt, is a public, 4-year institution offering instruction in fine and studio arts, as well as architecture and other design fields. Founded in 1873, the school is located in Boston, Massachusetts, and was the first public art college in the United States. It was also the first art college in the country to offer degree programs.

The school strives to achieve three main goals. First, it serves as a cultural resource and community advocate for the arts. Second, it values diversity and technology as ways to expand and improve artistic vision. Third, it seeks to develop students' artistic abilities through a rigorous curriculum.


All degree and certificate programs offered at MassArt are in artistic areas of study or in arts education. The school has seven certificate programs in such areas as graphic, industrial, fashion, and furniture design. The school offers 22 bachelor's degree programs in painting, sculpture, jewelry making, fashion design, ceramics, art education, and photography, to name a few. Students can also choose from 11 master's degree programs in the fine arts, architecture, art education, film, and photography, among others. In 2010, the most popular bachelor's degree programs were in graphic design, fashion design, and art education.

MassArt employs many faculty members with real-world experience and offers students study abroad opportunities. The school has partnerships with foreign fine arts schools in Japan, China, Spain, Australia, Scotland, and the Netherlands, as well as art institutes throughout the United States and Canada. Additionally, certain courses at MassArt are held at least partially online through a Moodle service.

The campus houses seven galleries, the largest two of which are dedicated to contemporary art and host exhibits four to six times a year. One of the galleries is devoted to themes in art education and another is specifically designed to showcase student work.


The early action deadline is December 1, and applicants receive notification of their admission status in early January. The regular priority deadline is February 1. To apply, undergraduate students must complete MassArt's application (in paper or online) and pay a $50 application fee. Other requirements include a portfolio, a personal statement, two recommendation letters, official transcripts, a current resume, and ACT or SAT scores. Students can submit their portfolios on disk, through the mail, or online.

To be considered for admission to MassArt, students must have taken college prep classes in high school that included at least two visual arts classes and two foreign language courses. Prospective students must also possess a minimum GPA of 3.0, though some students with GPAs above 2.3 may still be admitted given other considerations. The school accepts AP credits for select studio arts and humanities classes.

Graduate students must apply online. All program deadlines in 2012 were January 15 for the fall semester. Students who apply to graduate programs must submit portfolios and complete interviews.

Of the students who applied for admission in 2011, 63% were admitted. Out of those, only 34% eventually enrolled. The student body in 2011 consisted of 31% male students, 73% full-time students, and 63% Caucasian students. The demographic was fairly young and local -- 75% of MassArt students were 24 or younger, and 65% of students were residents of Massachusetts.

Tuition & Financial Aid

Undergraduate state residents paid $10,400 in tuition and fees for the 2012-2013 academic year, undergraduate New England residents paid $17,600, and undergraduate nonresident students paid about $27,500. In addition, supplies and books cost about $2,100 per year. Though tuition for most graduate programs was $750 per credit hour, programs required differing numbers of credits, which altered the total cost. For example, a master's in architectural design cost approximately $78,660, while a master's in art education cost about $27,540.

MassArt offers full academic and merit scholarships for Massachusetts' students, students from the New England region, and students from out of state. The school also offers many partial scholarships, offering awards ranging from $2,000 to $10,000 per year. Students also can make tuition payments in installments.

School Type Public, 4-year*
Degrees Offered Certificates, bachelor's, master's*
Religious Affiliation None*
Academic Calendar Semesters**
School Setting Large city*
Student Body 2,258 undergraduates of 164 graduate students in fall 2011*
Student Housing Three residence halls offering suites for freshmen and apartments for upperclassmen**
Programs Seven certificate programs, 22 bachelor's degree programs, 11 master's degree programs**
Student-Faculty Ratio 10 to 1*
Most Popular Fields of Study by Degree Level (Number of Recipients) In 2010:
Bachelor's: Graphic design (37)
Master's: Fine/studio arts (23)
Certificate: Design and visual communications (6)*
Undergraduate Graduation Rates 43% in four years
68% in six years (for students admitted in fall 2005)*
Admission Rate 63% in 2011*
Entering Class Size 483 in 2011**
First-Year Retention Rates In 2011:
90% (full-time students)
100% (part-time students)*
Average SAT and ACT Score of Admitted Students Middle 50% in 2011:
ACT composite: 20-25
SAT composite: 1450-1780*
Undergraduate Application Due Date For fall 2013, early action due date is December 1; priority deadline is February 1**
Decision Notification Date January for early applicants**
Tuition $1,030 for state residents, $8,230 for New England residents, and $18,130 for non-residents (cost per year in 2012-2013, excluding fees)*
Financial Aid Sources Available (Percent of Full-time Beginning Undergraduates Receiving it) In 2010-2011: Federal grants (31%), state and local grants/scholarships (36%), institutional grants/scholarships (59%), federal student loans (73%), other student loans (8%)*
Percent of Students Receiving Some Form of Aid 87% of full-time beginning undergraduates in 2010-2011*

Sources: *National Center for Education Statistics, **Massachusetts College of Art and Design.

School Contact Information

  • Address: Office of Admissions, Massachusetts College of Art and Design, 621 Huntington Avenue, Boston, MA 02115
  • Phone: (617) 879-7222
  • Website:

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