Our Mission: Memphis College of Art is dedicated to teaching the practice, history and appreciation of visual art and design, preparing graduates to succeed in their careers and change the world through their creativity.

  • MCA’s faculty are informed and passionate instructors, distinguished by their commitment to one-on-one student mentoring.
  • Our undergraduate programs combine traditional studio skills with innovative problem solving. Building on a freshman Foundations year that emphasizes hand and digital skills, writing, and art history our integrated curriculum foregrounds connections between Foundations and all majors. As a complement to studio work, critical and conceptual skills are developed and refined in MCA’s unique and highly varied Liberal Arts curriculum.
  • All programs are further connected by our pioneering P2 initiative, which emphasizes professional practices from the first class to the last.
  • Graduate MFA and Art Education programs deepen the professional and creative skills of our most advanced students.
  • Community programs extend the MCA mission into the city of Memphis and our surrounding region.

From its founding in 1936 as the Memphis Academy of Arts, the mission and purpose as been to provide a rigorous curriculum in an intimate, diverse community to empower generations of leading artists, designers, and educators to flourish professionally an contribute valuable ideas to society. Our current coursework reflects an increasingly broad blend of traditional artmaking practice and contemporary digital technologies. Our undergraduate programs are structured to provide a comprehensive education to those for whom art, in all its many forms, is a passion, while at the same time, providing guidance in establishing and achieving artistically centered career goals.

In 1981, the academy was renamed Memphis College of Art to reflect its degree-granting status and the addition of two new MFA programs. A new facility in the South Main Arts District was identified, purchased, and renovated for the Nesin Graduate School, home to our current MFA in Studio Art, Photography, and Art Education graduate programs. This building also includes the Hyde Gallery and the 477 retail store, extending the college’s public exposure in downtown Memphis. A renovated administration building, Gibson Hall, now houses Admissions, Student Affairs, Business Office, Facilities, Institutional Technology, Communications and many faculty offices. And to better accommodate our students’ housing needs, we added two new residences to our existing Parkside and At the Park apartments, Metz and Fogelman Halls, each accommodating 48 students. Rust Hall, nestled in Overton Park remains our architecturally award-wining building, which houses most of MCA’s academic activities and facilities, including the G. Pillow Lewis Library, Callicott Auditorium, the Sleaze and Slime Café, Main and Lower Galleries, Ernice Brode Gallery, and the Alumni Gallery.

Memphis College of Art offers the Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in:

  • Digital Media (with concentrations in Animation and Digital Cinema)
  • Fine Arts (with concentrations in Drawing, Painting, Photography, Printmaking, Sculpture
  • Design Arts (with concentrations in Graphic Design, Illustration, Sequential Narrative (Comics)
  • Photography
  • Painting/Drawing

Memphis College of Art offers the Master of Fine Arts degree in

  • Studio Art (interdisciplinary)
  • Photography

Memphis College of Art offers the Master of Arts degree in

  • Master of Arts in Art Education
  • Master of Arts in Teaching Art Education (with licensure)

The MCA campus is located at 1930 Poplar Avenue in Memphis, TN, 38104-2764. All mail should be sent to this address. Our main building, Rust Hall, is located within 342-acre Overton Park in Midtown Memphis. Student residences are adjacent to the park: Fogelman Hall is located at 139 N. Barksdale Avenue, Metz Hall is located at 149 N. Barksdale Ave., At the Park is located at 165 N. Rembert Ave., and Parkside is located at 1969 and 1973 Poplar Ave. Gibson hall, the administrative building, is located at 1939 Poplar Ave. The Nesin Graduate School, located at 477 S. Main St., houses MCA’s graduate programs, the Hyde Gallery, and 477 store (MCA’s fine art boutique.) The Nesin Graduate School is on the Memphis Trolle line and located in the historic South Main Arts District.

Two 15-week semesters begin in August and January with three (3) three-week summer sessions from mid-May through July. Applications for undergraduate study are accepted for fall and spring semesters on a rolling basis. Scholarships are available based on merit and need through the application process. Applications for our named full-tuition award are due by March 31 each year for fall semester applicants.

There are 22 full-time and 44 part-time faculty. 87% of full time teaching faculty have terminal degrees in their field.

Four student residences provide living space for over 160 students. Off-campus housing is available nearby. Assistance in finding housing to fit your lifestyle is provided through the MCA admissions office.

A diverse population of over 400 students represents 25+ states and three foreign countries, including Zimbabwe and Kenya. Students serious about a career in art choose an independent college of art to study with other serious art students in dedicated facilities with all resources available to provide a challenging art education and a directed career path.

Memphis College of Art is approved under Title 38, US Code for the training of veterans. MCA participates in the Yellow Ribbon Program and is a Veteran Friendly School.


    • Memphis College of Art is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC) to award baccalaureate and masters degrees. Contact the Commission on Colleges at 1866 Southern Lane, Decatur, Georgia 30033-4097 or call 404-679-4500 for questions about the accreditation of Memphis College of Art.
    • The Art Education and Teachers Education Programs of Memphis College of Art have been approved by the Tennessee Board of Education.

MCA Quick Facts:

    • There are 67 full- and part-time faculty members. Ninety-six percent of full-time teaching faculty members have terminal degrees in their fields.
    • Memphis College of Art has a student-to-faculty ratio of 10:1, and an average class size of 17.
    • Memphis College of Art’s student body consists of 400-450 students.
    • A diverse population of students represents 25 states and three foreign countries. Sixty percent are from the Mid-South. About half of Memphis College of Art’s student population is from outside Tennessee.
    • Memphis College of Art has more than 75,000 square feet of student housing.
    • Ninety-three percent of Memphis College of Art students receive some type of financial assistance and 74 percent receive loans. More than $2 million is awarded annually in institutional aid. Assistance programs include scholarships, loans, work study, and grants. Thirty-eight percent of students that are Tennessee state residents are Lottery Scholarship recipients.