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How to Apply

Apply for our MFA in Visual Arts program as an international student.

Application Deadlines

Application Deadlines

Summer Start

Priority Deadline: April 1
Standard Deadline: May 30

For scholarship consideration, please submit your application by the priority deadline.

If you wish to apply and be considered after the deadline, please contact Graduate Admissions at 617.349.8300 or email luadmissions@lesley.edu to discuss a late application.

Application Form

Application Form

Apply online for your MFA program.

Create an account and password before you start your application. You can stop and save your application, and return to complete it later.

Check back here for the Summer 2025 application link.

Submit Documents

Submit Documents

You'll need to submit the following supporting materials.

You can send the documents separately, but we won't be able to make an admissions decision until we've received everything.

Official Transcripts

Have each institution where you earned an undergraduate or graduate degree send us your official transcript.

If your transcript is not in English, provide a notarized translation of it.

If you’re enrolled in a degree program when you apply, submit your transcript of the courses you’ve taken to date. Submit your final official transcript once you’ve completed the degree program.

Your transcripts need to be:

  • Conferred by regionally accredited colleges or universities
  • Original documents bearing the official institutional stamp
  • Received by Graduate Admissions Services in envelopes sealed by the sending institution, or sent electronically directly from the institution

Send transcripts to:

appstatus@lesley.edu or

Lesley University
Graduate Admissions Services
29 Everett Street
Cambridge, MA 02138

Foreign Academic Credentials Evaluation

A credential evaluation helps us understand the courses you’ve taken, the grades you’ve earned, or the degree you’ve received from an institution outside the United States.

Get an independent credential evaluation of your transcripts to determine U.S. equivalency.

Graduate Students

You’ll need a document-by-document evaluation. Exception: Expressive Therapies master's degree programs require a course-by-course evaluation instead.

Evaluation Agencies

Contact one of these agencies to get your credentials evaluated.

If you’re submitting a foreign academic credential evaluation, unofficial transcripts are acceptable for your transcript requirement if official transcripts were provided to the evaluation agency.

2 Letters of Recommendation

Include 2 recent recommendations from people you’ve worked with closely in an academic or professional setting.

  • Both recommendations should come from people who are familiar with your studio practice.

  • If you’re in school, or are a recent graduate, one recommendation should be from a professor and it should address your writing and art-making skills.

  • We don’t accept recommendations written by friends or family, or that were written more 2 years before your application date.

Within your online application form, include the names and emails of the people writing your letters of recommendation. They'll receive an email from you with an electronic recommendation form, and they can upload a letter if they choose.


English Language Proficiency

We want you to be successful in your program. If your native language is not English, we require that you provide proof of your English proficiency.

You can show your proficiency in one of these ways:

Option 1

Duolingo English Test

  • We require a minimum score of 105 on this test.

Option 2

TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language)

  • Minimum score of 80 on the Internet test.
  • Submit your score. Use Lesley University’s CEEB code: 3483.

Option 3

IELTS (International English Language Testing System)

  • A score of 6.5 or higher
  • Contact the center where you took the test. Request that they send your official Test Report Form to Lesley University.

Option 4

Official Cambridge English Exam

  • C1 Advanced (Certificate in Advanced English)
  • C2 Proficiency (Certificate of Proficiency in English)

Option 5

English as a Second Language (ESL) Program Partnerships

We have partnered with several language schools to help you meet the English requirement. Complete the curriculum at one of the schools, at the specified level.

Then, get a letter from the program coordinator or teacher. The letter should explain that your English is proficient for college-level study.

Here are our partner schools and levels we require:

Option 6

English Language Requirement Waiver

If English is not your native language, but you’ve graduated from a school or program that was taught in English, you may qualify to have the language requirement waived.

If it’s not noted on your transcript, request a letter from your high school, college, or university stating your language of instruction was English.

Written Personal Statement

Your written personal statement gives us insight into your motivation, purpose in pursuing a degree program, writing skills, and communication style. It’s an important part of our review process.

Write a 500–750 word maximum personal statement.

Your personal statement should discuss your work, and the art issues and ideas that your work addresses, including:

  1. What are the larger themes in your work? How have they changed as the work has progressed?
  2. What are your goals for your work?
  3. What do you hope to accomplish in the MFA in Visual Arts program?

Submit Your Statement

Submit your written personal statement in Slideroom.

Submit a current résumé.

Show your art education and work experience, exhibitions and awards, publications, and other relevant professional experience on your résumé. Submit your résumé in Slideroom.


Portfolio Requirements

Portfolio Requirements

As an MFA in Visual Arts applicant, you'll need to submit a digital portfolio as part of your application.

Think of your portfolio as an exhibition. We’re interested in seeing a cohesive body of your work that indicates clear authorship and intent.

  • Submit your portfolio.


    • 20 images of your strongest, most recent work (completed within last 5 years).
    • If you don’t have recent work, send a variety of work with an explanation as to why you are including these pieces.
    • Your images should demonstrate that you’re actively engaged with your work.

    Upload your images in Slideroom.

    1. Create a Slideroom account.
    2. Choose “Master of Fine Arts in Visual Arts.”
    3. Upload each image, adding the title, size, date, and medium.
    4. If you upload a film/video/new media, it shouldn’t be longer than 30 minutes. Cue it to a 5-minute section you want us to view.
    5. Pay the $12 fee.

Contact Admissions

Contact Admissions