Painting MFA


About the Program

The Painting 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. The program, which is ranked among the top 15 MFA programs in the nation by U.S. News & World Report, offers students access to unparalleled facilities and strong, personal mentorship.

With eight faculty members devoted to 16 MFA students, Tyler Painting provides something that few other top programs can give their students: substantial, engaged, one-on-one access to a diversity of painters and thinkers. The breadth and interdisciplinary nature of the Tyler approach is reinforced by exposure to practicing faculty artists in the school’s other programs and its visiting artist and lecture series, which brings leading minds to Tyler to interact with graduate students.

Tyler MFA students take advantage of the school’s location in Philadelphia, a vibrant art center and affordable home base near New York and Washington, D.C., to grow their creative practices. Graduates join an alumni community that includes highly accomplished and influential artists and teachers.

Time Limit for Degree Completion: 4 years

Campus Location: Main

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

Interdisciplinary Study: Tyler’s rigorous Painting curriculum supports the development of a personal vision rooted in a deep knowledge of materials and techniques augmented by bold experimentation and study of the history of art. Students participate in Art History courses, seminars, studio electives, time with visiting artists and gallery visits, all of which reinforce the program’s emphasis on cross-disciplinary interaction and practice.

Study Abroad: Tyler Painting students have the opportunity to study abroad for a semester or a year at Temple University Rome, a home base for artistic, academic and cultural exploration for Tyler students since 1966.

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

Areas of Specialization: We encourage independent artistic exploration and development in an atmosphere of free and open exchange between students and professionally active faculty. Our aim is to produce artists who will be creatively active throughout their lives, enriching their communities in many different capacities.

Job Prospects: The MFA program prepares graduates 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

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 Painting 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 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 appropriate department chairperson and the Associate Dean, up to 9 credits of graduate work may be transferred into the MFA program as Art History or Studio electives. Only credits received within five years of the transfer request are eligible. No decisions are made concerning transfer credits 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 8583Graduate Projects: Painting (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 with Slide Show:
An approved thesis exhibition, written statement, and slide and/or CD portfolio are required at the final review in order to meet the MFA requirements. Approval of the student's graduate committee is required.


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:

Painting MFA Program Director:

Philip Glahn


Art Department Chairperson:

Byron Wolfe