How Much Does MFA in Studio Art Cost?

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$ $ MAs Average $13,800 a year at Public Universities; $36,300 at Private Universities.

A Master of Fine Arts in studio art has an intensive work in an area of painting and sculpture, printmaking and textiles, ceramics and metalwork, photography and jewellery making.

This MFA program takes two to three years to complete.

Typical Costs

  • According to the National Center for Education Services, the master’s degree program has tuition and fees for an average of $6,900 per semester at public universities and $18,150 per semester at private universities.
  • A two-year master’s degree program costs between $27,600-$72,600, while three-year program costs between $41,300-$108,900.
  • According to, among the top three fine arts schools is the Rhode Island School of Design, with tuition and fees of $66,200.
  • Some schools offer a low-residency MFA program, with only occasional campus visits scheduled each semester; and the rest of the work is done at the student’s home; where the tuition and fees are $33,100 for two years in the low-residency studio art MFA program at The Art Institute of Boston.

What Is Included

  • Studio art MFA program admission usually requires a slide portfolio with samples of the student’s artwork plus a personal statement of purpose.
  • The students have to attend graduate art history and theory seminars and sessions critiquing their artwork; however, the aim of most MFA programs is the time spent working in the studio.
  • Graduation in general means completing a written thesis, mounting a thesis exhibition and then successfully completing an oral review.
  • The MFA degree qualifies graduates to teach art at the college level.
  • Necessary information about studio art MFA programs is available at the Princeton Review.

Additional Costs

The cost of art supplies, books and other materials can run $1,500-$2,500 per year.

San Francisco Art Institute estimates that its MFA students need to spend $2,125 per year on supplies.

As a rule, health insurance is included in the tuition cost for some schools, but in general, it is an additional $800-$2,000 a year.

Many assistantships and fellowships include health insurance.

Naturally, the living expenses vary by location, and the information is available in the individual school websites for estimated local costs.


A great deal of the studio art MFA programs provides their students with strong financial support in the form of grants or ongoing fellowships, partial tuition waivers and teaching assistantships, as well as loans.

One should look for this information at the specific school to find out what sort of support is available.

Shopping For An MFA In Studio Art

  • The National Council on Education for the Ceramic Arts supports a database of US Ceramic Education Programs.
  • The International Sculpture Center presents a list of graduate and undergraduate sculpture programs.
  • One can check the faculty members who work in the area of interest and their accomplishments.
  • It is further possible to determine the level of contact of the MFA students with faculty or visiting artists.
  • presents state-by-state listings of graduate programs in fine arts.
  • When selecting a particular school, check who is on the faculty and what are their accomplishments as artists, the possible access to faculty members, and the achievements of the graduates.

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