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Graduate FAQs

Frequently asked questions (and the answers) for graduate applicants 

The College of Visual and Performing Arts at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth offers MAE (Master of Art Education) programs and the MFA (Master of Fine Arts) in the following areas:

  • Artisanry:  Ceramics, Jewelry/Metals, and Fibers
  • Fine Arts:  Painting, Drawing, Printmaking, and Sculpture
  • Visual Design:  Digital Media, Graphic Design, Illustration, and Photography

More information on CVPA programs.

Graduate assistantships are available on a competitive basis to qualified graduate students, including incoming, first-year students. Graduate Assistants are placed in a variety of positions (studio techs, gallery assistants, special projects, etc.) based on their skills and background.

Teaching assistantships (TAs) are offered on a competitive basis for second-year students once they have completed a course in instructional development in their first year. TAs receive a partial tuition waiver, a discount on curriculum support fees and a stipend. TA appointments are awarded on a semester basis.

For those who want to teach, students must first complete a course in instructional development (ART 590) during their first year of graduate study. Upon successful completion of ART 590 and reliant upon undergraduate enrollments, students are assigned a course in their second year, and in most cases, serve as the instructor of record of that course. 

You can defer for one year, with the permission of the CVPA Coordinator for Graduate Studies and Research and the Dean.

Our program is full-time.  Full-time is 9+ credits per semester. Part-time students can enroll if class and studio space is available.

UMass Dartmouth requires a minimum score of 533/200/72 (PBT/CBT/IBT) on the TOEFL or BAND 6.0 on the IELTS for entrance to any program and a minimum score of 550/213/79 (PBT/CBT/IBT) on the TOEFL or BAND 6.5 on the IELTS for consideration for a teaching assistantship.

All MFA degree candidates, either before enrolling in the graduate program or during their residency, must have successfully completed twelve credits of undergraduate art history. Deficiencies in students’ art history backgrounds are not uncommon and can be remedied during graduate study.

Applicants submit written materials to the Office of Graduate Studies. Detailed checklist and for application procedures.

To upload your portfolio, use our web viewing platform SlideRoom,

A portfolio is the equivalent of entrance examinations that other academic areas often require.  A portfolio must consist of 20 images of original artwork and should represent your processes of thinking, implementation of concepts and studio production. Your images should support your purpose for graduate work in the College of Visual and Performing Arts.

Images (jpeg), video (mov,wmv,flv) or PDF documents may all be uploaded. For good image quality and fast upload, it is recommended that the image files be sized no larger than 1220px @ 72dpi, and video files kept under 60MB each.  Technical assistance is available at the SlideRoom help desk.

If you cannot submit a portfolio via SlideRoom, contact the Office of Graduate Studies to make other arrangements.

UMass Dartmouth has rolling admissions but the application deadline for consideration for an assistantship is January 11th, 2023.

Graduate Program Directors and others are available to help you:

Art and Design Coordinator for Graduate Studies and Research: Suzanne Schireson,

MAE Graduate Program Director: Cathy Smilan,

MFA program secretary: Lin Dong,, (508) 999-8904

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