MFA in Visual Arts

The Master of Fine Arts (MFA) degree at William Paterson University, located in Wayne, NJ is designed as the professional visual arts degree for the fine artist, designer, and media artist. A stone’s throw from New York City, William Paterson’s MFA program is dedicated to providing the MFA candidate with a rigorous environment in which to focus on professional goals and artistic excellence. 

View required courses and course descriptions in the University Course Catalog
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Click here to view the MFA Graduate Candidate's Handbook 

Flexible Options

The MFA in Visual Arts is offered as a three-year, full-time MFA degree program, or as a five-year part-time MFA degree program. WPU serves the greater New York and New Jersey area, offering flexibility and excellence. MFA students choose from visual arts course offerings

Broad Range of Courses

MFA students choose from visual arts course offerings that include computer art and animation, painting, printmaking, sculpture and digital sculpture, ceramics, photography, and graphic design.

Fully Equipped Studios in All Areas

These provide the resources necessary for the actualization of a wide range of two dimensional (2D art), three-dimensional (3D art), and time-based work.

Easy Application Process

Everything you need to know about tuition, financial aid, requirements, deadlines, and more.

Graduate Assistantships

Graduate Assistantships, offering a $6,000 stipend and tuition waiver are also available. Interested students may contact the Office of the Provost; Lissette Dejesus 973-720-3093

An Artistic Community

Our Community of peers and mentors are all pursuing the enhancement of imagination through the creation and interpretation of meaningful work in art, design, sculpture, graphic media, and the visual arts. William Paterson Master of Fine Arts faculty Members have a substantial professional and educational background and are dedicated to the highest standards of artistic endeavor.

The University’s proximity to Manhattan and greater New York City gives ready access to the concentration of working art professionals, the availability of world-class museums, the proliferation of private galleries, and the accessibility of major libraries and collections. Visits to artists’ studios, guest lecturers, and possible internships complement the program of study at the Master of Fine Arts in Visual Arts program.

Admission Requirements

In addition to the University’s admission requirements:

  • A Bachelor’s degree, a Bachelor of Fine Art, or a Bachelor of Art Studio degree from an accredited college or university. In certain cases where an applicant has a number of years of professional art activity, the committee, based on the qualitative evaluation of the work and the sponsorship of a faculty member, can grant admission.
  • Official transcripts from all institutions of higher learning attended.
  • A minimum of at least 6 credits in Art History is required. Those applicants who do not have such experience may be required to take undergraduate courses in Art History before formally beginning the graduate degree.
  • Cumulative grade point average of no less than 3.00 on a 4.00 scale.
  • Digital portfolio of twenty images via Dropbox. Please send Dropbox link to and include a description of each image with title, medium, date, size (where appropriate).
  • Complete the Art Department Information Form and submit it directly through your Dropbox link.
  • 500-word artist statement that must discuss aesthetic interests, cite historical and contemporary influences on the work, and indicate career goals.
  • Resume documenting the chronology of all educational and work experience, including art experience, teaching experience, grants, honors, awards, exhibitions, and publications.
  • Two letters of recommendation

Application Deadline

August 1st: Fall semester
*Applications received after the deadline will be reviewed on a space availability basis

Contact Us

Professor Steve Rittler
Program Director, Department of Art

Career goals as an artist