Creative Visual Arts [Administered by the College of Architecture, Art, and Planning] M.F.A. (Ithaca)

Field of Study


Program Description

The Master of Fine Arts program requires four terms of residence with a minimum of sixty credits; it is intended for those who want to further their education as artists. Candidates must earn at least twelve credits for academic work outside the Department of Art.

Every M.F.A. candidate must (1) prepare a written statement, (2) offer a thesis exhibition of studio work completed during residency, and (3) give an oral defense of the written statement and exhibition. The written statement may deal with the major concerns of the student's own work or with some aesthetic or historical issue in art. The oral defense of the written statement is presented at the time of the thesis exhibition.

The art facilities are housed in buildings that are open twenty-four hours a day and are located near the Fine Arts Library (about 140,000 volumes) and the university's Herbert F. Johnson Museum of Art.

There are private graduate studios located in the Centre for Graduate Studies in Art/Foundry building, a 45 x 180 foot converted building with 14 foot ceilings that includes work and critique spaces.

Print Media located in Tjaden Hall includes relief, intaglio, lithography, serigraphy, and various photographic processes. Also includes etching presses, lithographic presses, and proof presses.

Photography located in Tjaden Hall includes processes such as black and white, color, non-silver, and large-format.

Sculpture is located in the Foundry and includes a bronze casting facility, complete gas-and arc-welding facilities, heavy-duty grinders, a drill press, a band saw, and a variety of portable power tools.

MFA students share AAP College production facilities in Rand, Sibley and Tjaden Halls.

Detailed academic requirements can be located in the graduate field handbook.

Contact Information

Phone: 607 255-6730

235 Sibley Dome
Cornell University
Ithaca, NY  14853

Concentrations by Subject

  • painting
  • photography
  • printmaking
  • sculpture
  • studio art


Visit the Graduate School's Tuition Rates page.

Application Requirements and Deadlines

Application Deadlines:

Fall, January 15; no spring admission

Requirements Summary:

Applicants to the Master of Fine Arts program must submit a portfolio of visual materials.  Details regarding content and submission can be found here.

  • Graduate School requirements
  • GRE scores are not required for admission to the M.F.A. program.
  • Resume or C.V.
  • The English Language Proficiency Requirement for all applicants.
    • TOEFL (iBT): The Graduate School’s official minimum sub-scores for each element of the TOEFL iBT are: Speaking: 22, Reading 20, Listening 15, Writing 20
    • IELTS: The Graduate School requires an overall band score of a 7.0 or higher on the IELTS Academic exam.

For a complete list of application requirements please visit the M.F.A. admissions webpage.

Learning Outcomes

  • Students will cultivate and develop unique and individual ideas appropriate for expressions in various studio/post-studio forms and demonstrate comprehensive technical knowledge and skills in their area of practice becoming competent and reflective practitioners.
  • Students will exercise professional standards in their understanding of theoretical, art historical and contemporary issues in the visual arts appropriate to their creative practice, as demonstrated in ongoing written and oral discourse.
  • Students will refine general professional skills supportive of their studio/post-studio practice, such as research, presentation and exhibition.