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School of Visual Art and Design

graduate student during a review

Graduate Applicants

All graduate students will apply to SVAD through the university's Graduate School. Supplemental materials required to apply to our programs are outlined below.

Graduate School Requirements

The following are required of all applicants to the Graduate School.

  • Application and application fee 
  • Official transcripts from all colleges and universities attended for course credit
  • Standardized test scores (GRE preferred)
    • Standardized test scores are not required for applicants to the Studio Art MFA and MA programs
  • 2 or more letters of recommendation
  • English proficiency requirement for International Applicants (a satisfactory score on the TOEFL or IELTS exams)
  • A baccalaureate degree (or the international equivalent) from an accredited college or university


Additional Application Requirements

For each program, you'll need everything listed above and these supplemental materials:

Supplemental Requirements:

Supplemental Requirements:

Supplemental Requirements:

Supplemental Requirements:

  • Statement of Purpose (not to exceed 500 words)

  • Cover Letter

  • Sample of Academic Writing

  • Resume/CV

    These supporting materials must be sent directly to the School of Visual Art and Design (not the Graduate School) at the following address:

    ATTN: Graduate Student Coordinator
    School of Visual Art and Design
    University of South Carolina
    McMaster College
    1615 Senate Street
    Columbia, SC 29208

    Please direct questions to the Director of Graduate Studies, Dr. Andrew Graciano, at

    Application Deadline: March 1.

Supplemental Requirements:

  • Portfolio*

  • Diagnostic Questionnaire

Supplemental Requirements

  • Diagnostic Questionnaire

  • Major/Minor Form

  • Portfolio*

Send a portfolio of 20 images of recent work and an image list as a PDF (20 MB maximum) either by email to with subject line "MFA Application Portfolio - Last Name" or on a flash drive to:

Attn: Graduate Student Coordinator

School of Visual Art and Design

University of South Carolina

1615 Senate Street, Columbia, SC, 29208


Admission as a degree candidate in the Master of Fine Arts Program in Studio Art is conditional upon the standards imposed by the faculty of the Studio Art area. Application materials must be complete in order to be considered for the program. The faculty reviews applications in regard to the estimated potential of the individual's ability to complete the MFA program. It is based on the portfolio, diagnostic questionnaire, letters of recommendation and the applicant's academic record. It is presupposed that a minimum of 60 semester hours in Art (Art Studio, Art Education and/or Art History) have been completed at the undergraduate level.


Applicants for the MFA must have a minimum grade point average of 3.0.

International students must have a TOEFL Score of 550 or higher for admission.



At the discretion of the Studio Art area, any deficiencies in the basic admission requirements may be taken at the undergraduate level before full admission to the degree program is granted. Waiver of these requirements may be granted in certain instances where the applicant is able to demonstrate his or her proficiency to the satisfaction of the area. 

Up to 6 hours of graduate credit earned by a non-degree candidate at USC or a transfer student prior to the effective date of admission may be applied to the MFA.

 Deadline for receipt of all materials is 5pm on January 15th. (if the 15th falls on a Saturday, Sunday or Monday holiday, materials are due by 5pm on the following business day).

Supplemental Requirements:

  • Portfolio: Provide a URL to a portfolio of recent media arts works. 
  • Statement of purpose:  The statement should frame the applicant’s current and future media arts practice and outline ideas and questions the applicant would pursue in the MA program (not to exceed 500 words).

 *We prefer that portfolios are attached to the official Graduate School Application online. Portfolios should include 20 images of works unless otherwise stated. 


Deadlines for Fall Admission: 

January 15th: Studio Art

March 1st: Art History, Art Education, and Media Arts

Deadline for Spring Admission: 

November 1st: Art Education


Challenge the conventional. Create the exceptional. No Limits.