Graduate MFA

The MFA programs at Memphis College of Art bring students together in a trans-disciplinary, trans-professional environment among teaching professionals, full-time studio artists, and graduate education students. The Office of Career Development offers graduate students support and opportunities for professional development and preparation for a career as an artist, designer or college professors. Visiting artists and scholars enrich students with professional perspectives and offer opportunities for mentorship and networking. Each semester, graduate open houses and exhibitions highlight work from the programs and provide valuable exposure to the public in the greater Memphis area.

“Why an MFA Will be Your Next Hire” –Michael Graber on Inc. BrandView

Admission to the MFA program at the Memphis College of Art is contingent on the completion of a BA or BFA or an approved equivalent. As diversity adds strength to the program, applicants with degrees in areas of study other than the visual arts are encouraged to apply, however they may be required to take additional undergraduate coursework to reinforce critical skills and/ or experiences. We have a rolling deadline for all applications, but candidates who submit their applications by the priority deadline will be considered for graduate and teaching assistantships. Priority deadlines are:
  • February 1 for fall admission in August
  • November 1 for spring admission in January


  • Completed Graduate Application Form (click here to apply online)
  • Two letters of recommendation (at least one should be from an academic advisor or instructor)
  • Statement of purpose (250 word minimum)
  • Portfolio (see details below)
  • Artist's Statement
  • Official copies of all transcripts
  • Resume or CV
  • $50 application fee Pay Here
  • Please send all supporting materials to or Attn: Admissions Memphis College of Art 1930 Poplar Avenue Memphis, TN 38104

Portfolio Guidelines

The portfolio is an important criterion for acceptance into the MFA program. It should represent the most sophisticated and accomplished work from the applicant. Consider bodies of work that involve a similar theme or content, as this will demonstrate the abilities of the applicant to work with and develop complex content.


  • 20 images
  • Time based works should be limited to 5 min, and must be in NTSC format.
  • An image list that includes the title of the work, the date, medium, and scale. Collaborative and group efforts should have the applicant's role clearly stated.
  • Images may be in slide form, CD-Rom, (jpeg images should be 2mb or less), or DVD.
  • Powerpoint and PDF files are acceptable.
  • Do not send .exe files, as they will not be considered.
  • Do not send original materials.


Memphis College of Art provides budget estimates for the cost of attending MCA for one academic year. The budget for living in the student residences includes tuition and fees, the cost of student housing (in the most expensive of MCA housing options), living expenses including food, transportation, books and art supplies, and personal expenses such as clothing. All budget costs outside of tuition and fees are estimated and therefore can vary according to preference and lifestyle. The cost of a private school education is an investment in your future. To make your education affordable we encourage all students to apply for federal, state, and institutional financial aid along with outside scholarships for which you may be eligible. See our information on outside scholarship search tips under Scholarship Resources. Estimate college cost using our Net Price Calculator. As a private college, MCA does not have an in-state or out-of-state tuition cost. The price is the same for all applicants.

Tuition Payments via PayPal

We do accept payments via PayPal. To make a payment via Paypal, go to or the Paypal app and send your payment to with a description of the payment, or the student's name in the description.

2019-20 Undergraduate Annual Cost of Attendance

Tuition and fees for one year $33,100
Housing (estimated based on Fogelman and Metz Hall) $6,890
Food (estimated) $2,000
Art supplies and books (estimated) $1,650
Transportation (estimated) $1,500
Personal expenses (estimated) $1,500
TOTAL $46,670

2019-20 Housing Annual Costs

Parkside $5,820
Parkside efficiency $6,330

2019-20 Undergraduate Part-Time Costs

Undergraduate tuition and cost of attendance amounts will be prorated for part-time attendance. Cost of attendance is prorated at ¾ time, ½ time, and ¼ time. Tuition is charged per course (see below). Undergraduate fees are not prorated.
Tuition per 3 credit hour class $4,050
Semester fees (not prorated) $365

About Financial Aid

The fund may come from the federal government, the state of Tennessee, MCA or even a combination. There is also guidance for you to seek private scholarships and other awards.

How to Apply

To apply for grants, work-study, scholarships (including HOPE), and loans, you need to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). The annual priority deadline is February 15. MCA's federal school code is 003507.

Types of Aid







Learn how to keep your financial aid.


MCA participates in a quality assurance program verifying the information provided on the FAFSA. The Department of Education randomly selects FAFSA applications that the Financial Aid Office is required to “verify” specific information. Verification is a process that requires the student and/or parents to submit household and tax information to verify the information provided on the FAFSA application in order to receive federal and state aid. Learn more about FAFSA Verification.

Estimating Costs

Costs vary by degree program and level. Visit our Cost Estimate page to learn more.

How Aid is Applied

Your aid may be applied toward tuition, fees, and housing charges and will be based on the total number of credit hours taken in a term. Refunds from excess financial aid are delivered to students after the beginning of the term. These funds are not available until enrollment has been confirmed and charges are credited or paid. Financial assistance must be used for immediate payment of all current term fees. Financial aid recipients who withdraw from MCA may be put into repayment for any disbursed financial aid. Students considering withdrawal are encouraged to notify Student Affairs before withdrawing from MCA.  

Outside Scholarships

Scholarships or “free money” are the best way to help pay for college because they don’t have to be paid back. All scholarships will have specific criteria as to who qualifies for the award, what the guidelines are for applying, and what amount will be paid. Scholarships may be offered by an organization, government, or by private sources. The best place to begin your search is by exploring organizations that you or your family may be part of: employers, schools, churches, professional associations, unions, and foundations. MCA recommends free scholarship searches on the Internet. Here is a list of resources that may be a good starting point:

Outside Scholarship Search Tips

Scholarships or “free money” are the best way to help pay for college because they don’t need to be paid back. Awards can range from small amounts up to covering the cost of tuition. Any scholarship amount can help create a financial aid package that makes college costs more affordable.

Scholarships are offered by many organizations including federal and state governments and private organizations. You may want to begin your search in your own backyard, exploring opportunities at organizations to which you or your family may belong:

  • Employers
  • Schools
  • Churches
  • Professional Associations
  • Unions
  • Civic Groups
  • Foundations

Applying for Scholarships

Different scholarships will have different requirements and use their own criteria to select recipients. You will want to gather as much information about the award and the criteria during your search.

Consider the following when you begin your scholarship investigation:

  • You may be required to write an essay, pass an exam, send transcripts, or complete a project demonstrating your potential
  • Programs may specify how the scholarship funds may be used, set time restrictions for the award, or set a ceiling on the qualifying family income
  • Scholarship funds may be paid directly to the college
  • Failure to meet requirements could jeopardize your ability to keep the scholarship

Scholarship Tips

Here are some very basic guidelines that may help give you the best potential for a successful search:

  • Be organized. Stay on top of deadlines, gather pertinent documents, and make copies of everything you submit. Send your application materials by certified mail to ensure receipt or send in plenty of time prior to the deadline.
  • Be honest. Don’t exaggerate grades, skills, or qualifications. Focus on scholarships for which you are eligible.
  • Follow instructions carefully. Some scholarships require you to write an essay, while others may want a letter of recommendation. Send what is requested, within the time designated and proofread absolutely everything!

Writing Essays

Many applications will require an essay. The personal essay is critical to winning a scholarship because it lets the selection committee get to know you beyond your grades, test scores, and activities that may be asked on the application. It is your best opportunity to make a strong and lasting impression.

A good essay is:

  • Original
  • States clearly why you deserve to win (or answers whatever question the application asks)
  • Has a main point
  • Avoids meaningless information
  • Honest

Get others to review your essay when you have finished. Get feedback from others to see if it answers the application question asked, is clear, free from mistakes and convinces them that you should win the award.

Beware of Scholarship Scams

Be alert for unsolicited scholarships applications by email, or services that solicit money in exchange for guaranteed scholarship or even help in doing a scholarship search for you.

Be aware of pitches that boast:

  • “You’re a finalist!” or “You’ve Won!” especially for a competition you never entered. Never give out your personal information for these offers.
  • “First-come, first-served.” While you do need to get your application in before the deadline, the first-come, first-served” rule does not apply to scholarships.
  • “Millions of dollars go unclaimed.” Legitimate scholarship awards are predetermined. Sponsors work hard to find the most qualified applicant.
  • “It’s guaranteed!” Scholarship searches can guarantee search results. They can’t guarantee you the scholarship money.
  • “We’ll do the work for you… for a fee.” The fee may be nominal and the offer may look official, but searches should be free. Don’t pay anyone to do this for you.

Remember, if the offer sounds too good to be true, it probably is!


Your first step is to complete the FAFSA. The priority deadline is February 15. MCA's federal school code is 003507.



- only complete if directed

Verification forms:
Tax documentation:

IRS Information

Request an IRS Tax Return Transcript

You must submit an official IRS TAX RETURN TRANSCRIPT, (not an Account Transcript.) There are three ways to do this: 1) Request one electronically on the IRS website at
  • In the Tools section of the homepage, click “Get a Tax Transcript.” You can choose to get the transcript online or have it mailed to you.
  • After you select your method of delivery, then choose “Return Transcript.”
2) Call the IRS at 1-800-908-9946 and follow the prompts to request a Tax Return Transcript. 3) File Form 4506T-EZ If you filed an Amended Return:
  • Submit the IRS Tax Return Transcript (using one of the methods listed above), AND
  • Submit a signed copy of Form 1040X showing the changes that were made to your tax return.
REMEMBER: Include your student ID number on your tax return transcript before you submit it. NOTE: If you are applying for aid at other schools, please make a copy of your tax transcript for your records before you submit to us. We will not keep paper copies of any documents, and the IRS will currently only accommodate one request.


Satisfactory Academic Progress Forms Special Circumstances - only complete if directed to complete a specific form


Once you've been hired into a work-study position, there are forms you are required to complete before you may begin work. Learn more about the work-study forms needed.
Schedule a Visit Request Info Contact Admissions MFA Catalog Upcoming Events

Admissions office:
901-272-5151 and

Apply to MCA


Memphis College of Art does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, disability, religion, age, veteran status, gender identity or expression, sexual orientation, or other status protected by law. Additional Information