Deepen your practice as an artist within a diverse and nurturing community of outstanding faculty and fellow graduate students who will help you explore new techniques, refine your artistic philosophy, and gain teaching experience at one of the top universities in the country. As a global Catholic research university, Notre Dame also offers opportunities for interdisciplinary collaboration and international engagement, including funding for research travel.

Why pursue graduate studies in studio art or design at Notre Dame?



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The College Art Association and most other professional institutions of higher education recognize the MFA as the terminal degree for artists and designers. This degree has become the standard prerequisite for those who intend to teach at the college level.

It is also appropriate for individuals seeking to further develop their professional careers as artists and designers. As a tier 1 research university, Notre Dame offers students access to world-class scholars and cultural events from across the university.

Our dedicated faculty work closely with graduate students to develop their work in a supportive critical environment augmented by a program of visiting artists, designers, critics, and art historians.

With easy access to the museums and galleries of Chicago (90 minutes away by car) and museums in Indianapolis, Toledo, and Detroit within a few hours of campus, students have ample opportunity to enrich their research and practice. 

Fully funded programs

We offer full-tuition waivers to all students admitted to the program. These waivers are renewable each year to students in good standing. In addition, generous stipends are available and are awarded to students of exceptional talent.

There are a variety of grants and awards available for students to apply to that can support travel, supplies, and other research-based costs. These resources, coupled with the relatively low cost of living in South Bend help us offer a terminal degree program that doesn’t burden artists and designers with significant debt. 

Our Programs

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MFA in Studio Art or Design

The MFA degree in studio art or design is a 3-year, 60-credit program. Graduate students pursue an area of interest through a system of independent study courses with the faculty.

A thesis adviser and a graduate committee selected by the student guide the student’s progress toward a thesis project in the final year. Students are expected to develop an individual direction in their work that culminates in a professional exhibition of visual work in studio art or design. The MFA program also allows qualified graduate students to gain college-level teaching experience during their second and third years of study.

Graduate minor in visual and material culture

In addition to the MFA in studio art and MFA in design, Notre Dame's Department of Art, Art History, and Design offers a graduate minor in visual and material culture.

Questions? Want to get started in graduate studies in studio art or design?

Jason Lahr
Director of Graduate Studies
Associate Professor of Painting

Nicolina Holt
Program Coordinator of Graduate Studies