Hartford Art School

MFA in Illustration

This prestigious program is the only low residency MFA in the country that is dedicated exclusively to illustration. Whether you’re looking to pursue a career in education, revitalize your creativity, or reinvent your portfolio, you can earn an MFA in Illustration while maintaining your career and commitments at home. You’ll be surrounded by fellow students who are, themselves, highly motivated, established illustrators, illustrator/graphic designers, and illustration educators from across the country.

Degree Requirements

Our low-residency program takes two years (summer, fall, spring) and two weeks (final third summer) to complete. You convene with other students at our campus in West Hartford, Connecticut for two weeks in July for three consecutive summers. Visiting faculty include professionals from across the country.

Between the intensive, two-week studio and lecture-packed summer residencies, we meet in selected cities for one week in both October and March to interact with leading illustrators, illustration entrepreneurs, agents, and licensing experts. This completes the 10 weeks of contact time in the program.

Outside of the contact periods, you will maintain communication with the Program Director and Advisors as they guide you in the development of your thesis project, along with illustration and writing assignments. You will complete the program at the end of the third summer (totaling 10 weeks of contact time), with a thesis defense and exhibition.

Admission Requirements

All Master of Fine Arts in Illustration candidates are required to maintain continuous enrollment in the program and a minimum cumulative grade point average (GPA) of 3.0 on a scale of 4.0.

Inquiry

Contact Shayna Piascik, Program Manager at spiascik@hartford.edu to submit your initial inquiry. Please include a link to your online portfolio/website. There will be a follow-up phone interview with Chris Payne, Program Director.

Your Application and Materials

Upon the acceptance of your portfolio, complete the online application and submit your $50 application fee.
 
Please request that one official copy of your transcript from any college and/or postsecondary institution you attended be forwarded to:
Center for Graduate and Adult Academic Services
University of Hartford
200 Bloomfield Avenue
West Hartford, CT 06117-1599
 
Submit a letter of intent (within the online application). In no more than 500 words, this statement should address your influences, interests, brief life history, current direction, and reasons for applying to a graduate program at this time.
 
Request one letter of recommendation attesting to your ability and competence from a person practicing or teaching in the field in which the application is made.
 
Upload your portfolio (URL or PDF format) to the application portal.

Once You've Been Accepted

Following your acceptance into the program, you will need to submit a non-refundable $300 deposit to hold your spot within the cohort beginning that summer. Visit here and log in using the same ID/PIN you created at the beginning of the application process. Your deposit will be credited to your account and applied toward future tuition.

International Applicants

TOEFL—Official score to be submitted. The University of Hartford test code number is 3436. Visit TOEFL at ets.org. Minimum score: 550 paper-based or 80 internet-based.

SThe Pearson Test of English (PTE) minimum score is a 58. Visit the PTE at: pearsonpte.com.

SThe IELTS is also accepted with a minimum score of 6.5 or higher.

Guarantor’s Statement—As part of the application, international students must provide a bank statement to ensure adequacy of funds. This statement is also used to issue an I-20 form to students. The Guarantor’s Statement is necessary for obtaining a visa.

Deadlines and Dates

Admission into the MFA Illustration program occurs on a rolling basis. Applications will be considered until the year’s cohort of 20 for the start of the summer semester is full, with a priority deadline of January 14.

Merit Scholarships

Some partial tuition scholarships are available for entering candidates. The awarding of scholarships is determined by the Illustration Committee and is based purely on the merit of professional work. Portfolios are reviewed prior to May 1 and students are notified of awards by June 1.

Graduate Presidential Scholarships

The goal of this merit-based program is to recruit the very best applicants to the University’s graduate programs. The award defrays 25% of the student’s annual tuition, up to $5,000, for each of the first two years after matriculation and is paid directly to the student’s Bursar’s account. No extensions of the award beyond two years are possible. Nominations are made by the director. Recipients are not required to provide any services to the University in exchange for the award.

Financial Aid

Students enrolled in the program are considered full time and may be eligible for federal and supplemental loan programs.

Click here to goto Financial Aid.

Career Outlook

Whether you’re looking to pursue a career in education, revitalize your creativity or reinvent your portfolio, you can earn an MFA in Illustration while maintaining your career and commitments at home.

Illustration MFA Faculty, Advisors, and Leaders

Our program facilitators tap into what is happening right now among the best in the illustration field in cities such as Dallas, New York City, Los Angeles, and San Francisco. Learn about them here, or meet them in person when you join us.

Career Outlook

illustration by mfa student

Whether you’re looking to pursue a career in education, revitalize your creativity or reinvent your portfolio, you can earn an MFA in Illustration while maintaining your career and commitments at home.

Illustration MFA Faculty, Advisors, and Leaders

Our program facilitators tap into what is happening right now among the best in the illustration field in cities such as New York City, NY; Pasadena/Los Angeles, Calif.; and San Francisco, Calif. Learn about them here, or meet them in person when you join us.

MFA Illustration

Douglas Andersen
Assistant Professor
Illustration
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Chris Payne
Director, MFA Illustration
MFA Illustration
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Shayna Piascik
Manager, Illustration MFA
MFA Illustration
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Bill Thomson
Professor, Chair of Visual Communication Design
Illustration
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