Master’s in Fine Arts

One of the best and most affordable Master of Fine Arts degrees in the nation.

If you are driven to develop your technical, aesthetic and conceptual competencies to the highest level, PennWest Edinboro’s renowned three-year, 60-credit Master of Fine Arts (MFA) program is perfect for you.

Develop your unique talents by focusing on a plan of study in Ceramics, Jewelry, Painting, Printmaking or Sculpture, with supplemental studies in art history, theory, criticism and contemporary practice.

Your faculty advisor will work with you as you complete 30 hours of studio coursework in your areas of specialization plus an additional 30 hours of graduate-level work. You will mount a major studio exhibit and complete a required residency before earning your MFA degree.

The faculty and facilities of PennWest’s nationally recognized Art Department ensure you both develop your artistic skills and find ways to market them in the creative economy.

Our alumni boast a record of excellence throughout the U.S. in the fields of art practice, academia and arts administration. All are prepared for lifelong research and routinely exhibit and publish their work in their specific field of study.

PennWest Edinboro has been accredited by the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD) since 2007. The University recently celebrated its 100th anniversary of education in visual art and art education.

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Top Ranking

U.S. News & World Report names PennWest Edinboro's Master of Fine Arts degree one of the best in the nation. GradReports ranked Edinboro's MFA program #1 in 2020 based on tuition, median salaries and achievement.

A Place to Create

Immerse yourself in an exciting, artistic environment. Visiting artists provide inspiration, student organizations offer support, and studio facilities enable you to develop your own personal aesthetic.

Funding Supports You

You'll receive funding through a full graduate assistantship with stipend and partial tuition waiver.

Fast Facts


Access to your own studio where you can develop your artistic talents.




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Graduate Admissions

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Careers and Salaries

What Can I Do with an MFA Degree?

With a Master’s in Fine Arts, you will bring many skills to the workplace. Couple your creative talents with your discipline, attention to detail and ability to communicate with various audiences and you’ll find success in most businesses. Depending on your concentration, PennWest Edinboro’s MFA arms you with the toolset you need to succeed as an artist in your own studio, become a teacher of the visual arts, work in the field of advertising and communications as an art director, graphic designer or illustrator, or become a curator or administrator in a museum or gallery.

Graduate Outcomes

  1. The MFA is a terminal degree for those pursuing a professional career in visual art.
  2. The MFA student will develop expertise in visual communication skills in a culture where this is an increasingly important area of knowledge.
  3. The MFA student will become well-versed in art theory and related critical thinking skills.
  4. The MFA student will develop expertise in visual design skills.
  5. The MFA student will develop expertise in their studio discipline of choice.
  6. The MFA student will develop professional quality written and verbal presentation skills, as they relate to the field of visual art.
  7. The MFA student will develop knowledge, skills, and sensibilities for a career as a working artist, educator, or museum or gallery employee.
  8. The MFA student will consider art from diverse cultures and approaches.
  9. Through Art History and Graduate Seminar courses, the MFA student will develop an appreciation and awareness of arts from a diversity of cultures, backgrounds, perspectives, and experiences.
  10. The MFA student will consider how visual art can address concerns of culture and identity.
  11. The MFA student will develop expertise in creative problem solving.
  12. The MFA student will deepen their ability to contribute their artmaking skills responsibly and creatively to regional, national, and global audiences.
  13. The MFA student will work independently and collaboratively in a creative environment.
  14. The MFA student will create a body of professional quality artwork within their chosen discipline.
  15. The MFA student will develop a professional portfolio, resume, and artist statement to position them for career endeavors.
  16. The MFA student will mount, defend, and document a thesis exhibition of their artwork.

Admission Requirements

Priority Admissions Deadline: February 1

Extended Deadline: April 1

  • Bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited institution
  • Cumulative undergraduate GPA of 3.0 or greater
  • Electronic Portfolio using Edinboro’s SlideRoom
  • Resume
  • (3) Recommenders
  • Letter of Interest
  • Artist Statement

The Power of PennWest

PennWest’s three campuses, California, Clarion and Edinboro universities, have been delivering award-winning online programs for more than 20 years. You’ll graduate with a degree from Pennsylvania Western University, completely supported by the expertise and community of learners on our brick-and-mortar campuses.

Flexible. Affordable.
Designed to Meet Your needs.