A completed MFA application should include your Digital Portfolio, Personal Essay, Curriculum Vitae, two (2) Letters of Recommendation, and all unofficial transcripts listed in your education history. You can submit your application before recommenders submit their letters, but your application is not considered complete without your letters of recommendation on file.
How to Apply to MFA at MECA&D
We encourage applicants to complete their application by the earliest application deadlines stated for each program. Each applicant is considered for merit-based scholarships upon offer of admission, and applications are assessed with consideration given to the strength of the portfolio, personal essay, and academic achievement.
MECA&D offers various scholarships or fellowships to reduce the cost of attendance. The submitted materials of all officially accepted applicants will be further reviewed to determine scholarship or fellowship award eligibility. Consideration for these funding opportunities do not require the applicant to submit any additional materials.
Applicants are advised to read through the available scholarship or fellowship profiles. Each profile will include a purpose, an award range, inclusion criteria, and an evaluation criteria. Applicants who wish to be considered for any of the available sponsored scholarships or fellowships must meet the inclusion criteria and ensure that the indicated inclusion themes are adequately expressed throughout their Personal Essay.
If you are an international applicant, please also review the "International Applicants" section below to ensure additional requirements are met.
Both full and low residency students fall under the same cohort and program, so there are no differences in application process or evaluation criteria. All accepted applicants are also considered for merit-based scholarships, regardless of country of citizenship.
Deadlines for entry (Summer 2023)
Full Tuition Scholarship Deadline: Friday, January 20, 2023
Anyone who completes an application by this deadline will be considered for the one Full Tuition Scholarship, regardless of low or full residency interest. Applicants will also be invited to have a brief interview with an MFA Admission Review Committee member.
Priority Application Deadline: Friday, February 24, 2023
Applicants may be invited to have a brief interview with an MFA Admission Review Committee member, but it is not guaranteed for applicants who complete an application after the Full Tuition Scholarship Deadline.
After the Priority Application Deadline, applications are reviewed on a rolling basis as space permits. Although there are no differences in the admission process, students admitted during Rolling Admissions are not guaranteed decision extensions.
No interviews will be arranged after the Priority Application Deadline.
The MFA Admission Review Committee expects to return with an admission decision within a month of the Full Tuition Scholarship Deadline (approximately late-February). Afterwards, we aim to return with a decision within a month of application completion.
All incoming MFA students must start in June with the Summer Intensive. We do not offer Fall or Spring admission.
To apply for admission to our MFA program, regardless of low residency or full residency interest, please submit the following application materials to the Admissions Office:
You will need to pay a non-refundable application fee of $70 to submit your application. The fee can be paid by credit card within the web application before submission.
Please submit a digital portfolio directly in your application. Your portfolio should include 15–20 digital images of work, or up to 10 minutes of video.
A strong portfolio should be properly documented to convey your studio practice, and include detail shots as necessary. We strongly encourage you to submit your most recent complete works to demonstrate an active studio practice and your creative trajectory at the time of application. Although we are an interdisciplinary program, you are not required to submit a portfolio that spans different mediums if that does not represent your studio practice.
We do not accept portfolio submissions in any other formats, such as mailed in CDs, USB drives, or physical slides.
The Personal Essay for the MFA program consists of three prompts with a total word limit of 750 words. Please upload this document as one PDF attachment in your application:
- Please outline your interest in MECA&D’s MFA program. Why are you pursuing an MFA, and why now? How is MECA&D a good fit for you, and how do you see yourself being a strong addition to the cohort? If admitted, do you intend to be a low residency student or a full residency student?
- Please describe your creative practice in the context of your portfolio submission and the program application. Why are you presenting this body of work for the program application? Which contemporary artists’ work do you consider being in dialogue with your body of work, and why? How do you see your body of work evolve during your time as an MFA student at MECA&D?
- Please share your goals for graduate studies. What do you want to achieve during your time in our MFA program? What are your goals as an artist after graduate school? How can our community and network help you reach these goals?
A strong Personal Essay should place equal emphasis on all of the above, and show a clear understanding of the relationship between your own journey, your vision, and your goals for graduate study.
Please submit a curriculum vitae which includes your education, employment history, exhibitions, publications, honors, and any relevant experiences.
Please upload this document as a PDF directly in your web application.
Please submit two letters of recommendation, completed by your recommenders. Your letters should come from professional or educational references who can speak from direct experience about your potential to succeed in a rigorous, interdisciplinary graduate program. Letters should address your ability to work independently and contribute positively to an intensive learning environment. Ideally, at least one of your references should be able to speak about your artistic practice.
In the application, you will enter the name, title, email, and phone number for each of your two recommenders, as well as the nature of your relationships and how long you have known them. The web application will generate an invitation to your recommenders automatically with a link for them to upload their recommendation letter directly to your application.
As you identify your recommenders, be sure to take into consideration whether or not they are able to speak to the above at a professional capacity. Even if your recommender is a friend, refrain from citing them as such in your application as it introduces bias.
It is possible to submit an application without letters of recommendation, so please be diligent with following up with your recommenders. The MFA Admission Review Committee will not review incomplete applications.
All applicants should either be a bachelor degree holder or an undergraduate senior with an expected graduation date ahead of our program start date. We ask our applicants to have a cumulative grade point average (GPA) of 3.0 and above from all previous degrees.
Applicants can either submit unofficial transcripts in the web application as a PDF attachment, or request official college transcripts to be sent to us electronically to email@example.com, or to the following address:
Maine College of Art & Design
Attn: MFA Admissions
522 Congress Street
Portland, Maine 04101
Admitted and enrolled students must submit all transcripts included in the application as official documents with conferred dates (whenever applicable) either electronically by the issuing institution through a transcript delivery service, or by mail from the issuing institution’s registrar office.
Note: We reserve the right to rescind offers of admission for undergraduate seniors who do not meet the GPA requirements upon completion of their undergraduate studies.
Depending on the time of submission, applicants may be interviewed virtually by the MFA Admission Committee upon completion of their application. You will be notified via email when the application is approved for the interviewing stage. Please note that you must meet the requirements listed above in order for the Admissions office to move forward with your application.
Maine College of Art welcomes applications from international students. In addition to the above application process and future communications related to enrollment, below are additional steps required to successfully join us as an international student.
Pay close attention to the following sections. Any delays from filing errors may impact your ability to join our program on time.
Due to the time involved in fulfilling legal requirements, we advise international applicants to complete their applications by the soonest deadline or no less than three months prior to the start of the program. If offered admission, we also advise you to enroll well ahead of the decision due date.
Please note that all dates are in MM/DD/YYYY format, and all currency listed on our documents and website are in US dollars.
In addition to the above application materials, international applicants will also need to have their transcripts evaluated, as well as submit a demonstration of English Proficiency.
Applicants who attended postsecondary institutions outside of the United States are required to have their transcript(s) evaluated by a member of the National Association of Credit Evaluation Services (NACES.org), such as World Education Services (WES.org).
All documents must be in English and converted into a 4.0 GPA scale, therefore official evaluations are required.
Demonstration of English Proficiency
If your primary language is not English, you will be required to demonstrate proficiency in written and spoken English. The following are acceptable forms of documentation and their minimum test scores, if applicable:
- Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL)
- Written TOEFL Test: 550.
- Internet TOEFL Test: 79.
- Pearson PTE Test: 53.
- International English Language Testing System (IELTS): 6.5.
- Duolingo English Test: 100.
- Graduation from a US high school with at least two (2) years of high school English, not in conjunction with English as a Second Language (ESL), and documentation of a B average or higher.
- Completion of two (2) consecutive semesters of English Composition taken at a regionally accredited US college while carrying a full-time course load and not in conjunction with ESL. A minimum grade of B is required in each semester.
- Completion of the equivalent of two (2) years at an English speaking higher education institution and a minimum 3.0 GPA. A school official should provide a written statement that English is their primary language of instruction as documentation.
Evaluated transcripts, demonstration of English Proficiency, and other documents can be delivered electronically to firstname.lastname@example.org, or by mail to the following address:
Maine College of Art
Attn: Graduate Admissions
522 Congress Street
Portland, ME 04101
In addition to paying the enrollment fee, accepted international students must also submit a completed Declaration of Finances form, a Verification of Finances document and a scanned copy of the passport you intend to obtain your Student Visa with. These documents are required in order for us to issue your I-20 form. Once you have your I-20 form, you can then apply for a Student Visa (F-1) at your local US consulate or embassy.
Declaration of Finances (DOF)
The United States Citizen and Immigration Service requires that international applicants submit a DOF to MECA indicating that the applicant has financial resources adequate to provide for their expenses without resorting to unauthorized employment.
The amount declared in your DOF must be enough to cover the total sum of tuition, fees and living expenses for one academic year of study. The completed DOF must be dated within a year of initial enrollment at MECA.
You can download the DOF form here:
Verification of Finances (VOF)
For your DOF to be processed, all funds declared on the DOF must be supported by a VOF. This can be a bank statement either from your own bank, or your sponsor's bank (e.g. your parents or your partner). All documents must be in English, and the funds declared should be in US dollars or the equivalent under current exchange rates supplied by the bank. The VOF must be dated within a year of initial enrollment at MECA.
Scanned Copy of Passport
For your DOF to be processed, we will need a scanned copy of your passport in color. Make sure the entire page is legible and the information matches what you provided in your DOF.
Note: if your mailing address is different from the address provided in the DOF, please let us know so we can properly mail your I-20 form.
To ensure prompt processing, please submit your DOF, VOF and scanned copy of passport directly to your Graduate Admissions Coordinator Joel Tsui at email@example.com.
If you have any questions about the application and enrollment process as an international student, you can contact our Assistant Director of Admissions and International Student Counselor Emily Brighi at firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more information, contact email@example.com or call 207.699.5023
Banner image: Will Jacks, MFA ’20, Hand Prints (detail), Silver Gelatin, 2019