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How to Apply

Apply for our MFA in Visual Arts program.

If you are an international student, you'll have additional application requirements. Get the International Student application guide for this program here.  


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.

Apply online for 2024.

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.

If your degree is from outside of the United States, you will be required to submit a Foreign Academic Credentials Evaluation.

If you do not have an bachelor's degree and would like to inquire about the waiver process, please contact your admissions counselor or email luadmissions@lesley.edu.

Evaluation Agencies

Contact one of these agencies to get your credentials evaluated:

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

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.

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

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.


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