Fibers and Materials Studies MFA


About the Program

The Fibers and Materials Studies program at the Tyler School of Art and Architecture is a two-year, 60-credit program leading to the Master of Fine Arts (MFA) degree that pushes students to refine their aesthetic and embrace a broad definition of material exploration in relation to relevant global issues. Under the mentorship of an influential and diverse faculty and visiting artists on the cutting-edge of creative practice and critical inquiry, students find a compassionate, inclusive environment primed for experimentation, interdisciplinary collaboration and independent study.

Students have unlimited access to Tyler’s state-of-the-art equipment and the abundant resources of Temple, a large public research university, to drive their research-based concepts. Fibers and Materials Studies MFA students also collaborate across the school through projects like Tyler’s Natural Dye Garden, as well as leverage Philadelphia’s landscape and vibrant DIY art scene to conduct community-based projects; study social and political issues; and examine the relationship between materials, processes and concepts.

Time Limit for Degree Completion: 4 years

Campus Location: Main

Full-Time/Part-Time Status: Full-time status is required.

Interdisciplinary Study: The Fibers and Materials Studies curriculum embraces material exploration—from community-based projects to experimental performance, sound, and video—in relation to issues surrounding identity, power, sustainability and more. Through Art History classes, electives, and seminars, students are engaged in emerging topics in the field and the broader art world. Influential visiting artists and programs are matched to each cohort to accelerate their growth.

Study Abroad: Many Tyler MFA students choose to pursue summer study abroad opportunities at Temple University Rome, a home base for immersive artistic, academic and cultural exploration for Tyler students since 1966. Historically, students who have immersed themselves in interdisciplinary thought and practice abroad have returned with their focused work strengthened.

Accreditation: This degree program is accredited by the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD).

Areas of Specialization: In the Fibers program, equipment is available for traditional and contemporary techniques, including new technologies that allow the development of surface imagery with photographic stencils, as well as the creation of weave structures on a Jacquard Loom TC2. Students are encouraged to experiment with the materials, techniques and concepts previously developed in their work.

Job Prospects: A Tyler Fibers and Materials Studies MFA degree prepares graduates for a rigorous studio practice and develops their aptitude to teach at leading institutions. Graduates are prepared for careers as professional artists, craftspersons, designers and educators.

Non-Matriculated Student Policy: MFA courses are restricted to matriculated students.

Financing Opportunities: In addition to federal student aid, teaching assistantships and fellowships are available on a competitive basis to support Tyler MFA students.

Admission Requirements and Deadlines

Application Deadline:

Fall: January 6

All applications are evaluated together after the deadline date.

APPLY ONLINE to this graduate program.

Letters of Reference:
Number Required: 3

From Whom: Letters of recommendation should be obtained from college/university faculty members, gallery directors and/or curators familiar with the applicant's academic and artistic competence. The letters should be submitted with the application at, along with the statement of goals and resume.

Coursework Required for Admission Consideration: 40 undergraduate studio credits and 12 art history credits are required.

Bachelor's Degree in Discipline/Related Discipline: A baccalaureate degree and a portfolio specific to Fibers and Materials Studies are required. Official transcripts from all universities/colleges attended, whether or not a degree was awarded, must be sent to the Tyler School of Art and Architecture, Graduate Admissions Office, 2001 N. 13th Street, Philadelphia, PA 19122-6016.

Statement of Goals: In approximately 500 to 1,000 words, share your specific interest in Tyler's program, your research goals, your future career goals, and your academic and artistic achievements.

Standardized Test Scores:
Applicants who earned their baccalaureate degree from an institution where the language of instruction was other than English, with the exception of those who subsequently earned a master’s degree at a U.S. institution, must report scores for a standardized test of English that meet these minimums:

  • TOEFL iBT: 79
  • IELTS Academic: 6.5
  • PTE Academic: 53

Portfolio: As a Master of Fine Arts applicant, you must submit a portfolio that consists of 20 images representative of the immediate direction of your work. Portfolios are to be uploaded at, as instructed at the website. SlideRoom requires an additional fee for this service. Original work, slides, CD-ROMs, catalogs, photographs, books and/or binders are not acceptable substitutes for the SlideRoom portfolio and will not be reviewed or returned.

Resume: Current resume required.

Transfer Credit: Upon approval of the Department Coordinator, the student's advisor and the Vice Dean, up to 9 credits of graduate work completed at Temple University within a five-year period may be transferred into the program. Up to 6 credits of graduate coursework taken at other accredited institutions within the prior five years before matriculation may be considered for transfer into the program after the student has enrolled. No decisions are made until students have successfully completed 15 matriculated credits at Tyler. The maximum number of credits a student may transfer is 9.

Program Requirements

General Program Requirements:
Number of Credits Required to Earn the Degree:  60

Required Courses:

Project and Seminar Courses
ART 8004Critique and Critical Discourse I (2 terms)6
ART 8005Critique and Critical Discourse II (2 terms)6
ART 8201/8202Graduate Projects, Fibers (4 terms) 112
ART 9991Directed Studio Practice (3 terms)9
Art History Courses 29
Electives 315
Culminating Course
ART 9995Master of Fine Arts Thesis3
Total Credit Hours60

Culminating Events:
Thesis Exhibition:
An approved thesis exhibition, written statement of working philosophy, and slide and/or CD portfolio are required at the final review in order to meet the MFA requirements. The thesis exhibition should be the fruit of the two years' studio research and practice in which the student engaged. The student defends her/his thesis exhibition to the review committee. The committee then evaluates the exhibition as pass with distinction, pass or fail.


Program Web Address:

Department Information:

Tyler School of Art and Architecture

Graduate Admissions Office

2001 N. 13th Street

Philadelphia, PA 19122-6016


Mailing Address for Official Transcripts:

Tyler School of Art and Architecture

Graduate Admissions Office

2001 N. 13th Street

Philadelphia, PA 19122-6016

Submission Address for Portfolio:

Submission Address for All Other Application Materials:

Department Contacts:

Fibers and Materials Studies MFA Program Director:

Jesse Harrod


Art Department Chairperson:

Byron Wolfe