Future MFA in Art Students

Are you ready to begin the next chapter in your development as a creative maker? Take the leap and apply now! We offer the MFA in Art with concentrations in ceramics, graphic design, metal design, painting, photography, printmaking, sculpture, and textile design. In the MFA you will refine your skills as a maker, explore art and design theory and criticism, and prepare for your career. With an MFA your opportunities are endless—from teaching in colleges and universities, starting your own business, to pursuing gallery representation, working as creative directors, and more!

The ceramics concentration encompasses all aspects of ceramics processes and maximize the benefits of community-based learning. Students have dedicated studio space and access to the full range of tools within Jenkins Fine Arts Center to pursue making. Graduate-level work focuses on individual research and one-on-one mentoring with faculty. Each semester students prepare a formal discourse regarding their work in both written and verbal presentations that discuss the project’s problem statement, project statement, and methodology and influences.

In the graphic design concentration students pursue advanced-level design inquiry focused both on issues related to professional practice and speculative issues. Our graduates can pursue employment in academia as a professor of graphic design, undertake high-level graphic design practice, or a variety of other options.

The nationally-ranked metal design concentration promotes creative thinking and innovative approaches to working in the jewelry and metal design field. This includes using a wide range of materials (not just metal) and both functional and non-functional, work. Our goal is to meet the needs of a broad base of students with diverse career goals, instilling in each a habit of research and experimentation to develop creative and personally expressive work.

In the painting concentration, you will explore the conceptual, contextual, and material potential of their ideas. Contemporary painting and drawing is an extremely rich and complex idiom and frequently its practitioners incorporate a variety of other mediums and ideologies into their creative practice. Our goal is to assist highly motivated students in their quest to give form to their vision through an energetic, diverse, and critically demanding environment.

The photography concentration develops students’ creative process and intellectual inquiry through photo-based artwork. Students are encouraged to explore current technologies and installations as they work with both traditional and digital photo-based media while engaging in critical discourse on photography and culture. Students have 24/7 access to personal studios, black and white darkrooms and film processing facilities, lighting studio and digital darkroom.

The printmaking concertation encourages a traditional understanding of all aspects of the medium. Students experiment throughout their students, focusing on developing an individual approach to the medium. A body of work is developed with the conceptual depth that considers the context of culture and society. As part of the printmaking program, you will be well connected nationally and internationally to the profession. Students have access to a graduate studio with access to comprehensive labs for lithography, intaglio, screen-printing and photo processing, including digital facilities.

In the sculpture concentration students develop a foundation of knowledge and skills in traditional sculpture media and techniques as they develop a personal aesthetic based on individual strengths and interests. The relationship between concept, media, and expression is a focus of critiques, readings, and research. Graduate students in sculpture have dedicated studios and access to welding, foundry, mold making, carving, outdoor yard, and studio space

The Low-Residency MFA Option in Ceramics

Are you interested in pursuing an MFA in Art but are unable to take a full-time break from your job? Do you have a passion for making and creative problem-solving? If so, the low residency MFA in Art with a concentration in Ceramics is right for you!

This program is geared toward the working professional. Online, remote, and on-campus instructions are joined in this unique degree program. Remote instruction occurs at the North Carolina Pottery Center, in Seagrove, NC. This centrally-located location is situated in the state’s historic center for ceramics and draws upon the rich heritage and traditions of the area.

Online courses in art history and theory are available to facilitate part-time or distant students. During summer sessions, faculty offer face-to-face graduate study either at a remote site or on ECU’s Main Campus.

You may apply for admission to the low residency MFA in Art, ceramics concentration, for the fall or spring semester.

Apply to the MFA in Art

You may apply for admission to the MFA in Art for the fall or spring semester.

Fall Semester Admission
All University and School of Art and Design admission requirements must be submitted by February 1 to be eligible for out-of-state tuition remissions, assistantships, and scholarships for the fall semester.

Spring Semester Admission
The deadline for spring semester admission is November 1. Because out-of-state tuition remissions and other awards are made in spring for the next academic year availability of these awards is limited for students entering in the spring semester. Please contact graduate programs Director Seo Eo to inquire about availability, eos@ecu.edu.


Admission to the East Carolina University School of Art and Design MFA degree program is a 2-step process.

STEP ONE — Application

Apply to the MFA in Art through The Graduate School

You will be required to provide the following items to complete the online application:

  • Graduate School online application
  • Application fee
  • Official transcripts
  • 3 letters of reference (References will be contacted via the Graduate School to submit their letters electronically)
  • Image list for your portfolio of 20 works that includes title, medium, size, and date for each piece work
  • A statement of purpose that articulates why you are seeking a Master of Fine Arts Degree. We want to know about your conceptual and research interests, historical and contemporary visual influences, and professional goals.
  • Resume with a link to your website
  • Link to your portfolio on Google Drive

STEP TWO — Portfolio Upload via Google Drive

Next you need to share your digital portfolio with the School of Art and Design through Google Drive.

  • Go to drive.google.com and log in to your account.
  • Create a folder named GradAppECU_YourName to upload your portfolio.
  • Upload individual files. Files must be PDFs for texts, JPEGs for still images, MP4 for moving images, and MP3 for audio-only work.
  • After uploading your portfolio, go to the Share setting for the folder. You may do this by clicking on the folder from the top menu (My Drive > GradAppECU_YourName) and selecting the Share option.
  • In the Share dialog box, enter eos@ecu.edu in the address field, then set the Share option to Can view, and click Send. Google will ask you to confirm the invitation, and click Yes.
  • Go to the Share setting for the folder again, and copy its shareable link shown in the dialog box. Paste this Link in the ECU online application form’s Image Portfolio Supplemental Item.
  • Your online portfolio is now submitted. A receipt confirmation will be sent to you within 2 days.


The School of Art and Design offers a variety of financial assistance to MFA in Art students through various methods. If you have an undergraduate GPA of 3.0 or higher, a portfolio and application materials that are meritorious, and your application is received by January 15, you will be considered for assistantships, scholarships, and out of state tuition remissions for the following academic year.

Tuition and Fees

Current information regarding tuition and fees

Graduate Assistantships

We offer a number of teaching and research assistantship opportunities for MFA in Art students. Studio art teaching assistantships are awarded to students once you have successfully completed 18 hours (6 classes) of studio art (ART) coursework. Most MFA students are given an opportunity to teach undergraduate courses and many are able to teach several different courses.

A full-time assistantship is 20 hours per week and pays $12,000 per academic year. Assistantships oftentimes include a variety of assignments such as monitoring and maintaining studios, working on special projects, gallery installation, teaching a class, or a combination of the above. MFA students receive their contract one semester in advance outlining their assistantship obligations and supervisor(s).

Out of State Tuition Remissions

To defray the cost of out-of-state attendance, we offer a limited number of one-year out-of-state tuition remissions, which cover the out-of-state portion of graduate tuition. Remissions are awarded by the School of Art and Design Graduate Committee.

Complete information on out of state tuition remissions


Merit-based scholarships are available to current and future students.

Learn more about scholarships

Federal Financial Aid and Additional Resources

To apply for grants, loans, and some scholarships you must complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). The FAFSA is used to determine your eligibility for federal, state, and university aid programs. Even if you think you may not be eligible, we encourage you to apply. The FAFSA is available on October 1. We encourage you to file your FAFSA online as soon as possible to avoid errors and ensure faster processing. ECU’s priority deadline is March 1.

More information about FAFSA