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Graduate Program






Set in the striking landscape of the San Bernardino Mountains and in close proximity to Los Angeles’ international art scene, the Visual Art MFA program at UC Riverside offers an intensive environment of advanced art research and practice for highly motivated students. We provide a theoretically driven curriculum that prioritizes studio production. An explorative and open approach to both traditional and interdisciplinary media encourages students to experiment and pursue their aesthetic ideas in the media that most benefits their practice. MFA students receive beautiful generously-sized studio spaces (350+sq’ with 12’walls) and have access to excellent state of the art facilities.

The intimate scale of the program boasts an unusual student-to-faculty ratio of 12 to 8 that allows for deeply engaging interactions with the nationally and internationally exhibiting faculty members. Central to our program is the dynamic visiting artist lecture series which provides students with the opportunity to engage with eighteen internationally recognized artists, curators, and critics through lectures and studio visits each year, broadening and intensifying the discourse. The core of the program is independent creative work done in consultation with faculty. As a world-class research university, students are also encouraged to take advantage of the diverse course offerings in other programs and departments.

List of Visiting Artists

Full-time Faculty: John Divola, Brandon Lattu, Charles Long, Lynne Marsh, Yunhee Min, Amir Zaki, and Anna Betbeze


The MFA is designed to be completed in 3 years (9 quarters) of full-time work (at least 12 units per quarter). Students will receive a degree in Visual Art. The course of study is not characterized by medium.

Students that are accepted into the MFA program are given opportunities to participate in exhibitions including a first and second year exhibition at the Riverside Art Museum, solo and group exhibitions in the Phyllis Gill Gallery on campus, and their thesis exhibition at UCR ARTS. In addition, the department holds two MFA Open Studio Events annually which gives students artist publicity.

During the 3rd year, the Fall and Winter quarters are spent on thesis writing and artwork completion. In Spring, the thesis artwork is presented in a public exhibition along with a written component. A thesis committee comprised of a chairperson and 3 additional members reviews the thesis presentation and written document in an oral discussion.

The MFA program is housed in the Arts Building on the UCR main campus and in a purpose-built studio complex 10 mins away. Students have 24-hour access to state of the art facilities which include photography, video and digital labs and a fully equipped sculpture shop with 3D printing and CNC equipment. Each student is given their own studio to create work during the program.

MFA Handbook

Degree Requirements

The MFA is a Plan I (Thesis) Master’s degree program, requiring 72 units in graduate or approved upper-division undergraduate courses that must be completed with at least a letter grade of “B” or “Satisfactory.”

Required courses: 48 units in graduate courses in theory and criticism, as well as individual projects and tutorials:

  • Three courses of ART 285, Graduate Critique
  • ART 230, Contemporary Critical Issues
  • ART 240, Critical Theory
  • ART 299, Research for Thesis
  • ART History Graduate Seminar
  • 20 units of ART 293, Directed Individual Studio Production


Of the remaining 24 units in elective courses, at least one additional course must be in Art History or Media and Cultural Studies, and at least two additional courses must be taken from a department other than art. These courses may be graduate or undergraduate courses.

Professional development requirement: To meet the Professional Development requirement, students will enroll in ART 400: Art Practice Seminar, offered one time per year in the spring quarter. Students must complete the course a minimum of two times. Units earned through ART 400 do not count towards the 72-unit minimum degree requirement.

Foreign language requirement: None

Normative time to degree: 3 years (9 quarters)

Funding and Teaching Opportunities

Successful applicants receive excellent academic financial support through a combination of teaching assistantships that carry a partial fee remission, health insurance coverage, and a salary for each quarter of appointment, stipends, and competitive fellowships, offsetting the cost of tuition and fees for all three years of study. Given today’s climate of escalated cost of higher education in the arts, this is a significant benefit to our highly focused program. Typically, graduate students are appointed a minimum of one teaching assistantship per year and are offered a Gluck Fellows Program of the Arts Fellowship, which carries a $5,000 stipend upon completion of 12 hours of arts outreach education in local K-12 schools. Successful applicants are also eligible for additional funding from the UCR Graduate Division based on several factors including undergraduate academic achievement (GPA) and socioeconomic diversity.

International students are eligible to receive teaching assistantships, Gluck fellowships, and other departmental awards. The UCR Graduate Division subsidizes the Nonresident Supplemental Tuition Fee (NRST) for all international students who complete their MFA degree within the normative time of 3 years (9 quarters). International students who exceed the normative time to completion are responsible for funding tuition and fees independently.

Read more about financial verification and visa procedures on the Graduate Division website.


Acceptance into the Visual Art MFA program is predicated on acceptance by the UCR Graduate Division. All materials must be received by the January 11 deadline. Incomplete applications will not be reviewed.

Applicant interviews dates are TBD

NOTE: GRE scores are not required for application to Visual Art MFA program.

Application Instructions

The application process for the UC Riverside Visual Art MFA program is divided in two (2) parts. Students applying to the Visual Art MFA program at UCR submit an application to the University using the UCR Graduate Division Official Application, and submit a digital portfolio of their artwork through Slideroom. GRE scores are not required for domestic or international applicants. Both parts of the application are due on January 11 2024.


Part One: UCR Graduate Division Application. This application requires the following elements:

  1. Statement of Purpose
  2. Personal History Statement
    • Please include relevant information about your experiences and successes in the field of visual art to qualify for a Chancellor’s Distinguished Fellowship Award.
  3. At least three (3) Letters of Recommendation
    • Letters of recommendation are received electronically. Recommenders will receive an email at the email address provided by the applicant AFTER the application is submitted. Please be sure to allow sufficient time between the date you submit your application and the January 11 deadline for your recommenders to receive the electronic recommendation request and submit a letter on your behalf.
  4. Unofficial transcripts from all postsecondary institutions attended (including all community colleges).
    • Please only submit PDF copies of unofficial transcripts with your application. If you are offered and accept admission to the program, the Graduate Admissions office will contact you to request official transcripts.
  5. Graduate Division Supplemental Fellowship Information Form
    • To qualify for a Graduate Diversity Fellowship your statement should highlight any socioeconomic, educational, or other challenges you may have faced in your background. These may include but are not limited to being first generation to achieve a college degree, being from an academically underserved background (inner city or rural), from a low-income/single-parent family; from a foster family, etc. The criteria are broad but are primarily class and not ethnicity based.
    • Please note that completing this form is optional, but strongly encouraged.
  6. Curriculum Vitae (CV) – Should include applicant’s references


Part Two: Slideroom Digital Portfolio

Please note that there is a $10 fee to upload your portfolio files and artist statement to Slideroom.

  1. Create a profile at
  2. Copy the 9-digit Application ID from the UCR Graduate Division Application into your Slideroom application.
    • The Application ID will become available after you save your UCR Application. You should create and save a UCR Application before creating your Slideroom account and portfolio, so that you have an Application ID to enter into Slideroom, but you do not need to submit the full UCR Application before beginning or submitting your Slideroom portfolio.
  3. Upload your Artist Statement (up to 3000 characters). This is separate from the ‘Statement of Purpose’ and ‘Personal History Statement’ in the UCR Application. Your Artist Statement should provide explanatory details pertaining to your portfolio (specifically the files you choose to upload) and contextualize your practice.
  4. Upload up to 20 image, video, and/or audio files. Caption each file with title, date, dimensions, and medium.
  5. Pay the $10 fee to submit your portfolio.

International Applicants

International applicants are required to submit official TOEFL scores as part of their application. GRE scores are not required for domestic or international applicants.

International students are eligible to receive teaching assistantships, Gluck fellowships, and other departmental awards. The UCR Graduate Division subsidizes the Nonresident Supplemental Tuition Fee (NRST) for all international students who complete their MFA degree within the normative time of 3 years (9 quarters). This means that with regard to funding, tuition and fees, International students are treated in the same way as California residents during their 3 year tenure. International students who exceed the normative time to completion are responsible for funding tuition and fees independently.

International students who are accepted into the Visual Art MFA program are required to maintain a minimum 3.5 GPA. If an international student’s GPA falls below this minimum, the student runs the risk of losing their funding and having to pay for tuition and fees out of pocket. 

Read more about financial verification and visa procedures on the Graduate Division website.

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Frequently Asked Questions About the Application Process

What is the application deadline?

Applications must be received by January 11, 2024 in order to be considered for financial support.

Where can the online application be found?

There are two parts to the MFA program application:


What supplemental materials are required?

Please see the Application Instructions tab on this page for information about the materials required for the Graduate Application and Slideroom portfolio.

How much is tuition at UC Riverside?

Current tuition and fee rates for domestic and international graduate students.

Do international applicants need to submit other test scores or information?

International applicants need to take the TOEFL exam and submit official scores as part of their application.

International students also need to be aware of the Graduate Division financial verification and visa procedures.

Who should I contact if I have more questions?

For questions about the MFA program or the application process, please contact Art Department Graduate Coordinator Iselda Salgado at or (951) 827 7878


Prospective applicants are encouraged to attend a virtual or in-person information session to learn more about the MFA program and the application process. Sessions include a virtual tour of the campus facilities and graduate studios as well as a Q&A with faculty, current MFA students, and recent graduates. To register for an information session, click the link of the date you would like to attend and you will be taken to the meeting registration page. All event times are listed in PST. Online information sessions are offered free of charge.


Fall 2024 Applicants

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