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Frequently Asked Questions (and the answers) for graduate applicants 

What programs do you offer?

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

For further information on CVPA programs go to

What is the cost of tuition and other fees?

Please note: Beginning in fall 2016, the University of Massachusetts is changing the way in which tuition and fees are calculated; please check with the Graduate Studies website for updated information.

Tuition and fees for Graduate Studies can be found at

Are there assistantships for graduate students?

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.

Are there teaching assistantships?

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.

Will I get teaching experience?

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. 

What are the studios like?

Grad studios, facilities and most classes for drawing, digital media, graphic design, illustration, photography, printmaking, painting, sculpture, metals, ceramics, and fibers are located in the Star Store in the historic district of downtown New Bedford, about 20 minutes from Main Campus in North Dartmouth; the design studios and studio courses are located and held on Main Campus.

For descriptions and images of our studios and facilities go to: 

From this page, use the navigation bar on the left to search specific areas then go to the navigation link on the right marked “facilities.”

Can I defer my entry into the program once I’ve been accepted?

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

Can I enroll part-time?

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

Who are the faculty?

To see the list of all faculty, their contact info, and details about their work, search the Directory by name or department (Art & Design, Art Education, Art History & Media Studies, and Music).

Links to faculty are also available on CVPA Academic Programs pages.

For Deans’ office, department chairs and graduate coordinators’ contact info, go to

What have graduates done since leaving the program?

To see the accomplishments of our graduates, go to

I am a foreign student. Do I need to take the TOEFL? Do you accept the IELTS?

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.

Are there other academic requirements for admission?

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.

How do I apply and submit my portfolio?

Applicants submit written materials to the Office of Graduate Studies.  For a detailed checklist and for application procedures, go to:

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

What should my portfolio include?

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.

What kind of image files do you accept for the portfolio?

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 at

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

What is the application deadline?

UMass Dartmouth has rolling admissions but the application deadline for consideration for an assistantship is January 11th, 2016.

Where can I find out more about the program?

Graduate Program Directors and others are available to help you:

Art and Design Coordinator for Graduate Studies and Research: Thomas Stubblefield, PhD, 

MAE Graduate Program Director: Cathy Smilan,

MFA program secretary: Donna Costa Pryor (508) 999-8904