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MFA in Visual Art

Study Visual Art at Azusa Pacific University

Explore the horizons of your talents in the midst of an intense, critical dialogue of both faith and art. You’ll generate this dialogue with distinguished visitors and a faculty composed of experienced artists and designers mature in their faith and craft. You’ll engage in highly collaborative relationships with MFA program mentor-professors, and hone your talent through critique and individual instruction.

Program at a Glance

The School of Visual and Performing Arts develops students’ talents through rich artistic experiences and comprehensive training in their chosen artistic discipline.

Application Deadline

Priority application deadlines:

  • Summer: March 13
  • Fall: July 10
  • Spring: November 6

Rolling admission is based on space availability each term.

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Program Information

  • Program Units: 60
  • Cost per Unit: $745
  • Base Cost: $44,700*


  • Online: Low Residency at Azusa (Main Campus)
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Yellow Ribbon and Military Friendly School

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Gain Hands-on Experience

  • Enjoy a low-residency program format that enables you to complete your MFA during four summer terms and independent studio practice during the fall and spring semesters.
  • Experience highly collaborative relationships with MFA program mentor-professors.
  • Learn from professors with a wealth of experience garnered from national and international exhibitions.

By the Numbers

1 of 126 Best Western Colleges according to Princeton Review's 2023 Best Colleges Guide
10 :1 Student-to-faculty ratio
100 % of incoming students receive financial aid

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Program Details

The MFA in Visual Art program is a terminal degree that seeks to cultivate the entire person, motivating students to achieve their highest possible level of development and articulation through their art. Along with intensive faculty-student mentoring relationships, students study art theory and practice, historical and contemporary precedents, social context and interaction, audience, and professional presentation.

Browse the tabs below—if you have questions, visit the Student Services Center page, and we’ll make sure you get the info you need.

Admission Requirements—Domestic Applicants

The university graduate and program admission requirements below must be met before an application is considered complete.

Applicants must possess:

  • Bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited college or university
  • Minimum 3.0 GPA on a 4-point scale. Students with a grade-point average of 2.50-2.99 will be considered for admission on a provisional basis.

Applicants must submit:

  • Graduate application for admission
  • $45 nonrefundable application fee
  • Official transcripts from all institutions leading to and awarding the applicant’s bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited institution and all postbaccalaureate study

    An official transcript is one that Azusa Pacific University receives unopened in an envelope sealed by the former institution and that bears the official seal of the college or university. A cumulative minimum 3.0 (on a 4.0 scale) grade-point average on the posted degree is required for regular admission status. Provisional admittance may be granted to individuals with a lower GPA if competency can be shown through multiple measures.

Send official transcripts to:

Office of Graduate and Professional Admissions
Azusa Pacific University
PO Box 7000
Azusa, CA 91702-7000
[email protected]

  • Current résumé of work experience
  • Two letters of recommendation
  • Letter of intent (not to exceed two pages, double spaced) that answers the following questions:
    1. During the past five years, identify some of the most significant events of your artistic development. What are your principal interests and concerns in making art?
    2. What types of materials (books, magazines, films, exhibitions, etc.) do you review on art, spirituality, and/or culture? If your reading materials minimally impact your art, explain what exerts maximum impact.
    3. Explain how your spiritual/religious perspective informs your art.
    4. What are your strengths and limitations as an artist? (Comment specifically on how this impacts your academic research and writing ability.)
    5. What do you hope to achieve in the MFA program? How does this coincide with your goals as an artist?
  • Portfolio submitted through SlideRoom consisting of either:

    1. Fifteen clearly labeled digital images of work accompanied by an inventory list, including the title, year, dimensions, and material.
    2. or A clearly labeled two-and-a-half to three-minute video indicative of work, portions of works, and/or details of works (performance art and video art applicants only).

Tips for Preparing Your MFA Portfolio

Preparing to apply to the MFA program? A good portfolio is a key part of the application process for any graduate school art program. Read more about how to take your MFA portfolio to the next level.

Instructions for SlideRoom Portfolio Submissions

  • Your portfolio must be submitted via SlideRoom, an online portfolio website, and should include approximately 15 images representative of your most recent or current work. You do not need to submit 15 distinct works or projects, but please make sure that each image you submit shows different content. Sketches and works-in-progress are welcome.
  • Enter any captions, descriptions, or titles of your work in the field provided by SlideRoom. Do not add captions, descriptions, titles, or other extraneous text within the area where you upload your image.
  • We are looking for personal work that gives us a sense of who you are as an artist, rather than academic work. Please do not include generic class assignments (i.e. technical exercises, figure/life drawing, still life drawings).
  • If your medium is video or performance, please submit a two-and-a-half to three-minute MOV or MP4 file that is less than 250 MB in size, indicative of work, portions of works, and/or details of works.

Admission Requirements—International Applicants

This program is not open to F-1 or J-1 international students, because the low-residency format doesn’t meet the full time face-to-face requirement set by United States Citizenship and Immigration Services. If you are an international student who does not require a F-1 or J-1 visa, you may be considered for this program.

To apply for a graduate program at APU, the following requirements must be fulfilled in addition to meeting the domestic applicant and program-specific admission requirements specified above.

International applicants must also:

  • Demonstrate proficiency in English through a TOEFL/IELTS score that meets program-specific requirements. Refer to APU’s English proficiency requirements to learn more. Request that official test scores be sent to APU. All other forms of proof indicated in the English proficiency requirements must be submitted directly to the International Services.
  • Submit a copy of a valid passport showing biographical data, including your name, country of citizenship, date of birth, and other legal information.

International applicants send official transcripts to:

International Center
Azusa Pacific University
PO Box 7000
Azusa, CA 91702-7000, USA
[email protected]

What to Expect

After the International Center receives all transcripts, a committee of department faculty reviews the applicant’s file. The applicant is then notified of the committee’s decision within approximately two weeks.

Note: This information is current for the 2023-24 academic year; however, all stated academic information is subject to change. Please refer to the current Academic Catalog for more information.

Delivering high quality graduate programs takes a comprehensive support system. Your investment in an advanced degree includes those services and personnel that partner with you in pursuit of higher education. Below is a detailed breakdown of the fees associated with the benefits and services included in your MFA degree program.

Department of Art Fees

Master of Fine Arts (MFA) (per unit) $745
Audit (per unit) half-price tuition

View a complete list of university fees.

All stated financial information is subject to change. Contact the Student Services Center at (626) 815-2020 for more information.

Financial Aid

Several types of financial aid are available to graduate students. The resources range from federal loans and state grants to, for some graduate programs, fellowships and scholarships. For details about financial aid available for your program, please contact the Student Services Center at (626) 815-2020.

Military Benefits

Military members—and in some cases their spouses and dependents—qualify for financial assistance covering tuition, housing, and books. Azusa Pacific is a Yellow Ribbon University and Military Friendly School, so you can be confident that you’ll receive the benefits and flexibility you need to complete your education.

To view specific requirements and coursework information, visit the current academic catalog:

If you have questions, we’re here to help! Connect with a representative who can walk you through the program details and application process.

Contact Your Admissions Representative

Additional Program Contact

Alisa Barsegyan, [email protected], (626) 387-5725

School of Visual and Performing Arts


(626) 815-6000, Ext. 5298


Monday–Friday, 9 a.m.-5:30 p.m.


Student Services Center

Contact (626) 812-3016 or [email protected], and visit apu.edu/ssc for details on the admissions process, financial aid, and class registration.

International Services

International students should contact +1-626-812-3055 or [email protected], and visit apu.edu/international/.

  • Azusa Pacific University is accredited by the WASC Senior College and University Commission (WSCUC). 

July Alumni Residency

The Master of Fine Arts in Visual Art Alumni Residency is a competitive program that brings one MFA alumnus each year back to APU to lead current MFA students while residing on campus during the July residency. This individual will offer critiques and workshops to students, host trips to gallery and museum settings around L.A., lead Wednesday lunch discussions, give an artist talk, and assist with various programming aspects of the MFA residency.

Candidates for this residency are Azusa Pacific MFA alumni with strong exhibition records who can demonstrate leadership and self-initiation skills. APU covers housing and studio space for the selected resident. Travel, food (other than the residency meals provided), and any other associated costs will be the responsibility of the resident.


  • Continue to build your résumé through the teaching and leadership opportunities this residency affords.
  • Expand your portfolio through the studio work completed while in residence.
  • Maintain relationships and initiate new ones within the L.A. art world by connecting with visiting lecturers and coordinating studio visits.


To apply, submit the following application materials by May 1, 2017:

  1. Curriculum vitae or résumé
  2. Portfolio: 10 digital images saved on a disc or USB drive
  3. Residency proposal: A brief essay describing what you would focus on during the residency and ideas for engaging with the program

Mail application materials to:

MFA Alumni Residency, Department of Art
Azusa Pacific University
901 E. Alosta Ave.
Azusa, CA 91702

Featured Faculty

Amy Fox

Amy Fox

Adjunct Professor, Department of Art

Nery Lemus

Nery Lemus

Program Director, MFA in Visual Art; Associate Professor, Department of Art

Brent Everett Dickinson

Brent Everett Dickinson

Associate Professor, Department of Art

Career Outlooks and Outcomes

Spotlight theater sign

College of the Arts Hosts Industry Spotlight at Warner Bros. Studios

Art students showcased their work at the College of the Arts Industry Spotlight hosted at the legendary Warner Bros. studios, including original comic books they illustrated by hand.

Note: This information is current for the 2023-24 academic year; however, all stated academic information is subject to change. Refer to the current Academic Catalog for more information.

*Base Cost (cost per unit x program units) is provided to aid in program comparison only.
All stated financial information is subject to change. View Tuition tab above.

Related Programs

Art Major

  • Azusa

Art Major (BFA)

  • Azusa

Available Concentrations:

Ceramics, Drawing and Painting, Interdisciplinary, Photography, Sculpture