UW-Madison Art Department - Frequently Asked Questions



Main Office

UW-Madison Art Department
School of Education
6241 Humanities Building
455 North Park Street
MadisonWI  53706

Tel: 608/262-1660
Fax: 608/265-4593

Email: artinfo@education.wisc.edu
or by contact form

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Admissions FAQs

Undergraduate Studies:


Absolutely! To schedule a student-led tour of the art facilities, and/or speak with the undergraduate or graduate advisors, please call (608) 262-1660.


Portfolio submission is not currently required for undergraduate ART applicants, but is strongly encouraged, as it enables the Art Department to make a recommendation on the applicant's behalf. The UW-Madison Office of Admissions makes final acceptance decisions.   

Submit portfolio (8-12 images) through SlideRoom - Portfolio Submission for Incoming UNDERGRADUATE FRESHMEN and TRANSFER STUDENTS (Program 3).

Students working primarily in digital media should include a minimum of 4 hand-created works (drawings, paintings, prints or sculptures) in their portfolios. Make sure images are sharply focused and well-lit. Our program prioritizes original ideas in art-making. Select images that show us who you are as an artist!

How do I declare the BS-Art, Art Education or BFA degrees?

Incoming freshmen art majors will be classified as Art majors through SOAR, the orientation meeting held in the summer. Others may meet with an advisor to declare. For appointments, call 608-262-1660 or write ArtFrontDesk@education.wisc.edu. BS-Art majors wishing to switch to the BFA degree should plan on participating in the annual BFA Portfolio Review event when they have completed all their foundations and breadth studios. Announcements regarding the review will be sent by email early in the fall semesters. Students who are classified as Pre-Art Education should make an appointment with the Director of Art Education by emailing Mary Hoefferle at hoefferle@wisc.edu. For more information about our programs, visit the Undergraduate Catalog Website.

Financial Aid - What financial assistance is available?

Art Department Scholarship Competitions for current and incoming declared majors are held in spring semesters. Awards decisions are primarily based on quality of student portfolios and need. For questions about general financial assistance, please select link below. 
Learn more about financial aid


Yes. Potential art majors who are accepted to the university will be asked to apply for the UW-Madison Incoming Art Majors Scholarship. To be eligible, incoming freshmen must be declared art majors and participate in the Art & Artists First Year Interest Group program. Incoming transfer students must be declared art majors. Please email Julie Ganser for more information.
Learn more about scholarships

I scored high enough in my AP art studio class to receive college credit.  Can I skip a foundation class such as Drawing I?
Congratulations! AP art studio credits transfer as general elective credits. AP art credits don't automatically replace any of the foundation course requirements, but you are encouraged to send a digital copy of your AP portfolio to the Director of Undergraduate Studies, Julie Ganser julie.ganser@wisc.edu, for review and possible substitution of an art course.

Graduate Program:

Is studio space provided to graduate students?
Most graduate students have individual studio spaces in one of our two buildings: Humanities and the Art Lofts.  Studio areas are dictated by media.  For example, if you are in the Metals program you will have a studio in the Metals area.

Will I be awarded an assistantship or fellowship in my first year of graduate study?

The Art Department typically admits thirty applicants each year.  Of those, six are nominated for University fellowships based on the strength of their academic credentials and portfolio.  There are an additional fourteen Teaching Assistant fellowships and various Project Assistant positions for which newly admitted grads are eligible for apply. 

What is the cost of attending graduate school at UW-Madison?

Tuition for part-time students is determined by the number of credits taken each semester.  Full-time is designated by enrolling in eight or more credits per semester.  For information on tuition and fees, please see Tuition & Fees on the Registrar's Office site. 

How many students are in the program? 

There are approximately 60 graduate students in the MA and MFA programs (around 19 students in each class year), and about 210 undergraduates who’ve declared an Art or Art Ed major. An additional 230+ students are completing the Certificate in Studio Art.

What are the studio spaces like for Graduate Students?
Most graduate students have individual studio spaces, which are in one of our two buildings: The Humanities Building or the Art Lofts Building. Studio spaces are usually dictated by the area which you applied to.  For example, if you applied to 3D with a Metals portfolio and were accepted by the Metals area, you would be given a Metals studio.  I would suggest outlining your intentions and required studio needs in your statement of intent.

What other funding is available?

Please visit the Graduate School Funding web site to discover alternative funding resources. 
Visit the Office of Financial Aid for information on loans and student employment.

What will be the cost of attending? 

Anticipated costs 

How many years will it likely take me to finish?

Students working on their M.A. typically complete within two years.  Students wishing to complete the M.F.A. usually require a third year.  Those completing only their M.F.A. typically earn the degree within three years.

How are courses structured? Are there more lectures/discussions or more project-based research?

The M.A. requires 32 credits.  The M.F.A. requires 60.  For either degree, three credits of Introduction to Art Graduate Studies, six credits of Art History, six credits of Art Seminar, one credit Art Colloquium and three credits of an outside academic elective are required. The remaining credits are in studio.  Students have flexibility when selecting their studio courses, and should seek guidance from faculty members in their primary area of research.  Typically, every semester, students will sign up for Independent Study or Advanced Research credits with several different professors.  The structure of Independent Studies varies depending on the professor.  Some meet with a student one or two times per semester per credit.  Others organize a critique group.  You can also opt to take structured studio classes, especially when learning a new skill or process.

Do I need a car to attend this school or will a bike suffice?

Madison has an excellent transportation system, which includes miles of bike paths.  Students also receive a free bus pass.  Many students find they can do without a car.

What are my graduate housing options? 

Check out University Housing, there are options both on campus and off.  Eagle Heights offers housing for graduate students, their families, and for faculty.  

What is the best way for me to arrange a campus visit?

To schedule an appointment while school is in session, please call the Art Office at 608-262-1660. You may also wish to contact a faculty member in your area of interest. Generally, it’s best to avoid Friday visits, as there are few courses in session and it can be difficult to connect with other students and faculty.  It is also best to visit within the regular academic year, September-May, because most faculty and students are gone during the summer. The Department also hosts Program Information Sessions. These sessions are held twice each fall semester. Click here to register for one of these sessions. In addition to the department tour, you may wish to arrange an additional campus tour here.  

Within the MFA program, does one have to specialize on a particular area?

The Art Department is a multi-disciplinary department. We serve students who wish to focus in one discipline, as well as those with an interdisciplinary, diverse practice.  Once admitted to the program, students must take a 3 credit Intro to Graduate Studies course, 6 credits of Art History, 6 credits of Art Seminar, and 3 credits of an outside academic.  The remaining credits may be taken from the full spectrum of studio courses and independent studies available. 
There are 31 faculty members who investigate a wide range of concepts and techniques.  Their interests are vast, so you should be able to find a variety of professors who connect with you and your work on multiple layers.  Once students are admitted, they are able to work with professors from different areas.  

Will I be able to transfer credits from another school to your program? 

The Art Department can evaluate graduate-level coursework taken elsewhere to determine if they can count toward your degree requirements. Decisions are made on a case-by-case basis after the student has formed a committee. This evaluation will occur during the student’s qualifying exam (usually the 4th semester of the program). No more than ‚Äč9 transfer credits may be accepted toward the MFA under any circumstances, regardless of whether the candidate has done graduate work or even earned a degree in another department or another institution.

Is a Bachelors of Fine Arts required to apply?

No, we do not require an undergraduate degree in art.  The review of applicants is based on the strength of your portfolio and support materials. Students with extensive studio experience in their primary discipline will be the most successful applicants.

Was your question not answered here?
The search box on the University's website is very helpful for most topics. You can also search for contact information for any University employee using the search boxFor general questions related to graduate study, click here



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