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The New York Academy of Art is a graduate school of fine art focused on progressive representational and figurative art. The MFA at the Academy requires students to learn traditional methods and techniques in the service of creating vital contemporary art. Potential Academy students align with the Academy’s mission through observational skills and a balance of conceptual awareness and technical proficiency.

The MFA is a specialized terminal degree at the graduate level for students seeking advanced education in fine arts. It is a concentrated two-year, 60-credit program that requires 85% of coursework to be completed in studio art. Students specialize in one of three concentrations, Drawing , Painting or Sculpture. Applicants must declare their intended concentration. Students may also elect to complete a track in Anatomy or Printmaking. Tracks supplement the concentrations with focused attention on additional areas of study.

Central to the curriculum is the study of figurative and representational art and the reinterpretation of traditional methods for the contemporary artist. An MFA student is expected to achieve mastery of traditional techniques and practices as well as successful engagement with current art methodologies and critical discourse. The achievement of these goals allows students to develop an authentic visual language as a means to communicate their personal vision, resulting in technically and formally sophisticated work that is engaged with the contemporary art world.

Applicant Qualifications

The Academy seeks to enroll and retain qualified students who connect with the institution’s mission, philosophy and vision. Applicants are required to have a Bachelor’s degree or the equivalent. Each candidate must have comprehensive knowledge of the standard technical proficencies expected of a serious art student. These include familiarity with basic drawing, painting and sculpture techniques. Candidates must also be knowledgeable about the canon of Western art and contemporary critical discourse. In addition, candidates must have basic skills in research methods and the ability to utilize analog and digital resources.

Applicants are encouraged to attend an Academy open house event and participate in a portfolio review. For more information on attending an open house or scheduling a tour of the Academy see Visit the Academy. Applicants that attend an Open House will receive a $20 discount on the application fee.

All applicants for the MFA program must submit the following:

  • The application form and an $80 non-refundable application fee. Please make check or money order payable to New York Academy of Art. If a check is written for you by someone else, be sure your name appears in the memo line. International Applicants may pay by International Money Order or by a check drawn from a United States bank.
  • A one-page statement of educational objectives and career goals indicating why you believe these will be advanced by study at the Academy. Applicants are encouraged to discuss work in the portfolio and indicate how study at the Academy will progress individual development.
  • A portfolio of no more than twenty images arranged in chronological order andaccompanied by a printed slide script (see sample slide script here). The portfolio should represent your best work, indicate your major interest and direction, and demonstrate your ability; at least half of the images should represent work done within the last twelve months, and all should be from within the last three years. Those submitting images of sculptures should include no more than two views of each sculpture. The Academy recommends each applicant submit 5 figure drawings as part of the portfolio.
  • Applicants are strongly encouraged to submit work on CD that can be read by both MAC and PC operating systems. Images must be in jpeg format (without any text overlay on images) and no larger than 1600 pix in any direction, image resolution must be between 72 and 100 dpi and each file must be less than 1MB.
  • Applicants submitting slides must have the slide number, applicant name and orientation of the slide located on each slide. Slides must be arranged chronologically in a slide sleeve.
  • Two letters of recommendation from individuals familiar with the applicant’s work; letters from academic professionals are strongly recommended. Letters must be signed and sealed in an envelope. Letters may be sent with the application or directly from the recommender.
  • Official transcripts from all undergraduate colleges attended. Official transcripts are documents sealed in an envelope issued by the institution that bears the signature of the Registrar and the seal of the institution. If you have attended more than one post-secondary institution, a transcript is required from each one. Transcripts may be sent with the application or directly from the institution.

All application materials should be sent to:
New York Academy of Art
Attention Admissions
111 Franklin Street
New York, NY 10013

Filing Dates & Notification

Applicants have the option of submitting their completed applications by one of two
submission dates for fall admission and will receive notification by mail no later than six
weeks from that date. The schedule for the annual admission cycle is as follows:

Filing Date Notification Deposit Due
February 1 March 10 April 1
April 15 May 5 May 25


Above schedule indicate postmark dates.

Tuition Deposits

The Academy requires an $850 non-refundable deposit from accepted applicants to
confirm their place in the MFA program. The deposit will be deducted from the first
semester tuition bill. For more information on tuition click here.
Questions may be directed to admissions@nyaa.edu or 212.966.0300

"The figure is nothing unless you can twist it around like a strange miracle."

Willem De Kooning

Learn more

about the New York Academy of Art Graduate Program by viewing our catalogue.