Fine Arts (MFA)

  • Guided by the belief that artists perform an essential role in society, the MFA in Fine Arts program provides a dynamic, challenging environment in which students develop diverse studio-based practices and pursue interdisciplinary scholarship. Students come from many backgrounds and cultures and work in media including painting, drawing, sculpture, video, performance, digital media, installation, and photography.

    This program is part of Parsons' School of Art, Media, and Technology (AMT). Learn about the AMT community and explore our blog to see what students, faculty, and alumni are doing in NYC and around the world.

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    Modes of Practice

    MFA Fine Arts encompasses modes of study and practice ranging from rigorous formal and aesthetic investigations to social and political engagement. The two-year, full-time curriculum includes 27 studio, 12 academic, 6 professional practice, and 15 elective credits. Students work independently in their own studios and participate in weekly critiques with an internationally acclaimed faculty of art professionals.

    Join the Global Discourse

    The program curriculum centers on one-on-one studio visits, group critiques, critical theory seminars, personalized classes, and writing and research for studio practice, as well as professional practices seminars. The Transdisciplinary Seminar reaches into the broader New School community and focuses on a range of topics such as art and feminism, art and science, and art and poetry. Academic classes expose students to global contemporary discourse on art and develop their critical abilities. Students interact with visiting artists of varied practices and cultural orientations. Recent visitors include Shirin Neshat, Paul Pfeiffer, Tehching Hsieh, Kara Walker, Fred Wilson, Mark Dion, and Ann Hamilton. Prominent curators guide students preparing for their thesis exhibitions.


    Resources for Growth

    Parsons’ industry and alumni connections yield abundant opportunities for collaboration and exhibition. Students have recently presented work at the Pulse Art Fair, The Kitchen, and Sydney College of the Arts at the University of Sydney and have held residencies at Skowhegan Institute and Jentel. MFA Fine Arts is housed in Parsons’ School of Art, Media, and Technology (AMT), alongside the Communication Design, Design and Technology, Illustration, and Photography programs. Shared faculty and collaborative projects allow students to explore the connections between art, technology, design, and social critique. Students can also draw on the extensive resources of The New School, a progressive urban university with a tradition of civic engagement and renowned graduate programs in the social sciences, media studies, and urban studies.

    Future Opportunities

    You graduate prepared for careers in fine art, arts administration, curatorship, museum management, art criticism, and teaching.

  • Curriculum

    The Master of Fine Arts degree is awarded for completion of 60 credits. A maximum of six credits of graduate-level liberal arts coursework can be transferred from another institution. Students must maintain a 3.0 cumulative grade point average and fulfill all requirements in a timely manner.


    Program Contact

    Full Time Faculty

      See All Program Faculty


      Learn more about what Parsons students, faculty, and alumni are doing throughout the city and around the world.
      Explore the Fine Arts Community

      Admission Requirements

      Application and Financial Aid Deadlines

      Application Deadline

      The application deadline is January 1. To be most competitive for admission and merit scholarship consideration, please apply before the deadline. We will continue to review applications submitted after the January 1 priority deadline pending space availability in the program. The Admission Committee will make a decision on your application only after all the required materials have been received. Spring term admission is not offered for this program. The fall term readmission deadline is August 1 (review readmission information below). 

      Financial Aid Deadline

      All applicants selected for admission into our program are considered for a merit scholarship award that is determined by the strength of their application. Scholarship award notification is communicated at the same time as the admission decision. International students are eligible only for merit scholarships. If you are a U.S. citizen or eligible noncitizen, we encourage you to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), which can be found on the Web at The FAFSA is available each year on October 1. You do not need to wait for an admission decision to apply for federal aid; we recommend submitting by our FAFSA priority deadline of February 1 for fall applicants. (The New School’s federal school code is 002780.)

      Application Instructions

      All applicants are required to apply online. Save your work frequently and print a copy for your records. You must complete all required fields and uploads prior to submission.

      Any additional supporting documents that need to be sent by mail must include an Application Materials Cover Sheet. All supporting materials must be received before your application can be reviewed.

      See below for additional information regarding submission of transcripts and recommendations.

      Some of your required materials will be submitted through SlideRoom:

      1. In addition to submitting the online application, Parsons requires that you submit a portfolio using SlideRoom.
      2. Finalize your portfolio at the time you submit your application. This will help prevent any delays in reviewing your application as we need all required materials to be received before we can place your application under review.
      3. Once you have submitted the required SlideRoom materials, a confirmation number will be emailed to you. Save this for your records and enter it on the online application when requested.

      Required Application Materials

      1. Application Form: Complete the online application. All applicants are required to apply online.
      2. Application Fee: A nonrefundable $50 application fee paid as part of the online application. A $10 SlideRoom fee is also required.
      3. Transcripts:
        Unofficial Transcripts: Applicants must upload an unofficial transcript, mark sheet, or academic record for each institution (even if you didn’t receive a degree) in the Educational Background section of the online application.
        • All transcript uploads must be accompanied by a key, a legend, or the back copy of the transcript.
        • Non-English transcripts must be accompanied by an English translation. Records from non-U.S. institutions must have grades or marks and contain a copy of diploma if the degree has been conferred.
        • Make sure your name appears on the transcript/record. Scans must be clear and legible.
        • Do not mail materials that have been uploaded with the online application or any other materials unless requested by the admission office.
        • If you experience trouble uploading your transcript, email and give a detailed description of the issue and attach the document in question.
        The New School reserves the right to require official transcripts at any time during the admissions process. Any fraudulent activity or discrepancies found between uploaded and official transcripts will result in the immediate revocation of admission and/or dismissal from The New School. Transcripts uploaded with the online application are considered unofficial.

        Official Transcripts: Applicants offered admission will be required to submit official transcripts (as well as official certified translations and evaluations of the transcripts/mark sheets and degree certifications if the degree was earned outside of the United States) to The New School. Admitted applicants must submit all official transcripts pertaining to their entire academic career.

        Your offer of admission will be contingent upon the receipt and verification of these official documents. New students will not be permitted to register for their second semester of study until all official transcripts (including degree-awarding transcripts) have been received by the Office of Graduate Admission. Transcripts uploaded with the online application do not satisfy this requirement.

        By Mail: Official transcripts should have an original signature or a raised university seal, and must be in a sealed envelope that has been signed or stamped by the issuing university’s registrar or records office. Applicants can either send official transcripts with an Application Materials Cover Sheet or request that institutions send transcripts directly to The New School. See “Mailing Address for Supplemental Materials” for our mailing address in the Additional Instructions and Information section below.

        Electronic Transcripts (U.S./Domestic Institutions Only): The New School accepts electronic transcripts only from our approved vendors. The New School’s approved vendors, in order of preference, are
        • Parchment Exchange
        • SCRIP-SAFE International
        • National Student Clearinghouse
        We do not accept electronic transcripts sent directly by a student or school offices. Note: All international academic credentials must be submitted as indicated in the International Academic Credentials sections below.

        International Academic Credentials: All transcripts not written in English must be accompanied by a certified English translation or be evaluated by World Education Services (WES), or by another member of the National Association of Credit Evaluation Services (NACES). A course-by-course evaluation must be prepared for each transcript. In the absence of an evaluation, the Admission Committee will do its best to render a decision. Please note: In some cases, a review cannot be made without an evaluation, and a committee decision will be delayed. The Admission Office reserves the right to request a transcript evaluation if necessary.

        If using WES, visit for instructions and to begin the application process. The “Required Documents” section will explain what to send. If you request your report online, search for “The New School” when selecting our institution. WES will send your completed evaluation directly to The New School.

        If using another NACES provider, follow instructions for that provider. Mailed evaluations and translations should be sent to the mailing address provided for supporting materials. Applicants forwarding these sealed documents should include an Application Materials Cover Sheet.
      4. Résumé: Submit a brief résumé/curriculum vitae summarizing your academic qualifications, relevant work experience, volunteer/community work, travel, exhibitions, public speaking, or any other relevant experiences as they may relate to your field of study, including dates and positions held. Please also note any special language or computer skills that you have.
      5. Statement of Purpose: Please outline your reasons for applying to this program. In what ways will you contribute to the subject matter of the program? You should include a thoughtful description of your background, tentative plan of study or area of inquiry in the field as you now envision it, your professional goals, and how this graduate program will help you realize those goals. If you have not been enrolled as a student in the past five years, please address anticipated opportunities and challenges in pursuing the degree, and future career expectations upon completion of the program. (500-750 word limit.)
      6. Recommendation Letters: You are required to submit two letters of recommendation from faculty or people with whom you have worked professionally. Recommenders can submit recommendations online; instructions are included with the online application. If preferred, the recommendation form can instead be sent by mail in a signed, sealed envelope. To send by mail, download the PDF recommendation form found in the online application, complete the personal information, save the form, and forward it to the recommender for completion and submission. Applicants can also send signed and sealed recommendations to the Office of Admission using an Application Materials Cover Sheet.
      7. Portfolio: The portfolio must be completed in SlideRoom only. Submit 20 images of fine art work, which may include painting, drawing, sculpture, printmaking, photography, video, installation, or performance. You can also submit up to four three-minute clips of time-based work in any medium. Be prepared to provide title, medium, dimensions (height first), date, and description for each image.
      8. Test Scores:
        TOEFL, IELTS, and PTE: All applicants whose first language is not English must submit valid TOEFL, IELTS, or PTE scores. The minimum score required for TOEFL (IBT) is 92, for IELTS is 7.0, and for PTE is 63. Our TOEFL institution code is 2638.

        The New School does not require TOEFL, IELTS, or PTE scores for applicants:

        • Whose native language is English
        • Who have earned a four-year degree from a U.S. college/university or from a university where English is the primary language of instruction (minimum of three years attendance)
        Upon review of your application, the Office of Admission reserves the right to request a TOEFL, IELTS, or PTE score.

        Arrange for the testing service to send your test scores directly to The New School using the codes listed above. We accept scores from the past two years. If your scores are older, you must retake the test. For more information, visit TOEFL, IELTS, or PTE.

        Applicants also have the option of enrolling in The New School English as a Second Language (ESL) program. Students must pass Level 6 in order to waive the TOEFL/IELTS/PTE requirement. Visit the ESL website for more information.
      9. Interview: All finalists for the Fine Arts MFA program must be interviewed by the graduate faculty.

      Additional Information and Instructions

      1. Applying to More Than One Program: In any given term, a student can apply to only one department or program within The New School. Applicants who file more than one application in a given semester will be required to withdraw one of the applications, and application fees will not be refunded.
      2. Application Materials: All materials submitted in association with The New School application become the property of The New School and cannot be returned to you or transmitted to a third party.
      3. Test Score Codes:
        • TOEFL: The institution code is 2638.
      4. Application Status: Applications become complete and ready for review once all required items have been received by the Office of Admission. You can check your application status online at the Admission Hub.

        Allow at least 14 days from the date you submitted your application for items to be matched and shown as received on the Hub. Applicants are responsible for following up with schools and recommenders to confirm that items have been sent.

        The Office of Admission will periodically notify applicants by email if their file is missing any documents and again when their file is complete for review. These notifications are sent to the email address provided in the online application.
      5. Readmission
      6. The Application for Readmission (PDF) should be completed by students who wish to return after an absence of four semesters (fall and spring). Students must reapply to the program to which they were originally admitted. Readmission is only available for current New School programs. If you are looking to transfer 24 or more semester-based credits, you should apply for admission as a transfer student according to the instructions outlined above. The following materials are required of applicants seeking readmission:

        • Application for Readmission (PDF)
        • Statement of Purpose
        • One letter of recommendation
        • Transcripts if you have attended another college or university since last at The New School
        • An updated portfolio upon faculty request
      7. Mailing Address for Supplemental Materials:
        Parsons School of Design
        Office of Admission (PS 300)
        79 Fifth Avenue, 5th floor
        New York, NY 10003