The MFA program is dedicated to helping students understand both the making and theorizing of art against the background of the diverse intellectual environment of a major university, and within the context of local and international art communities. The MFA degree is also the standard qualifying degree for teaching visual arts at the post-secondary level. Most students are given the opportunity to teach foundation courses as Teaching Assistants, thus providing them valuable experience in visual arts instruction.
What makes the program unique?
Each MFA student receives his/her own private studio (approximately 250 square feet) and access to the department's extensive facilities including a state-of-the art Photo/Digital lab, Printmaking unit, and Workshop. MFAs participate in an intensive weekly studio seminar that is also a forum for critical discussions about leading issues in contemporary art, visual culture, and cultural theory. Students take additional academic coursework to enrich their particular focus, and present their Major Paper research and artwork to peers, faculty, and the public at their final oral presentation (occurring in the summer of their final year) and at a final critique (occurring during their graduation exhibition). Open Studios, interdepartmental critiques, and organised exhibitions showcase the students' art production and broaden their exposure to the local art scene and beyond.
The MFA Program requires two academic years of course work with completion of requirements occurring in no less than two calendar years and no more than five calendar years after initial registration in the program. The MFA Program can only be pursued on a full-time basis.
Students in the program may work in any area of contemporary art production including painting, drawing, printmaking, three-dimensional and installation work, photography, digital art, intermedia, video, performance, sound, or in any interdisciplinary form.
Admission Information & Requirements
1) Check Eligibility
Minimum Academic Requirements
The Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies establishes the minimum admission requirements common to all applicants, usually a minimum overall average in the B+ range (76% at UBC). The graduate program that you are applying to may have additional requirements. Please review the specific requirements for applicants with credentials from institutions in:
Each program may set higher academic minimum requirements. Please review the program website carefully to understand the program requirements. Meeting the minimum requirements does not guarantee admission as it is a competitive process.
English Language Test
Applicants from a university outside Canada in which English is not the primary language of instruction must provide results of an English language proficiency examination as part of their application. Tests must have been taken within the last 24 months at the time of submission of your application.
Minimum requirements for the two most common English language proficiency tests to apply to this program are listed below:
TOEFL: Test of English as a Foreign Language - internet-based
Overall score requirement: 100
IELTS: International English Language Testing System
Overall score requirement: 7.0
Other Test Scores
Some programs require additional test scores such as the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) or the Graduate Management Test (GMAT). The requirements for this program are:
The GRE is not required.
Prior degree, course and other requirements
Prior Degree Requirements
Applicants to the MFA in visual art normally hold a BFA, BA, or BEd degree with a major in studio arts.
2) Meet Deadlines
3) Prepare Application
All applicants have to submit transcripts from all past post-secondary study. Document submission requirements depend on whether your institution of study is within Canada or outside of Canada.
Letters of Reference
A minimum of three references are required for application to graduate programs at UBC. References should be requested from individuals who are prepared to provide a report on your academic ability and qualifications.
Statement of Interest
Many programs require a statement of interest, sometimes called a "statement of intent", "description of research interests" or something similar.
Course-based programs do not have a thesis component. While they may assign academic advisors to students, they do not require applicants to reach out to individual professors / faculty members to seek commitment as their thesis supervisor. Please do not contact faculty members for the purposes of thesis supervision if you are applying to this program.
Permanent Residents of Canada must provide a clear photocopy of both sides of the Permanent Resident card.
4) Apply Online
All applicants must complete an online application form and pay the application fee to be considered for admission to UBC.
Tuition & Financial Support
|Canadian Citizen / Permanent Resident / Refugee / Diplomat
|Installments per year
|Tuition per installment
|Tuition per year
(plus annual increase, usually 2%-5%)
|Int. Tuition Award (ITA) per year (if eligible)
|Other Fees and Costs
|Student Fees (yearly)
|Costs of living
|Estimate your costs of living with our interactive tool in order to start developing a financial plan for your graduate studies.
All fees for the year are subject to adjustment and UBC reserves the right to change any fees without notice at any time, including tuition and student fees. Tuition fees are reviewed annually by the UBC Board of Governors. In recent years, tuition increases have been 2% for continuing domestic students and between 2% and 5% for continuing international students. New students may see higher increases in tuition. Admitted students who defer their admission are subject to the potentially higher tuition fees for incoming students effective at the later program start date. In case of a discrepancy between this webpage and the UBC Calendar, the UBC Calendar entry will be held to be correct.
Applicants to UBC have access to a variety of funding options.
Organizations may provide their employees with tuition benefits as part of an employment package to support lifelong learning of their workforce.
Scholarships & awards (merit-based funding)
Professional / course-based programs usually do not provide merit-based funding. Some programs may offer bursaries.
Financial aid (need-based funding)
Canadian and US applicants may qualify for governmental loans to finance their studies. Please review eligibility and types of loans.
All students may be able to access private sector or bank loans.
Foreign government scholarships
Many foreign governments provide support to their citizens in pursuing education abroad. International applicants should check the various governmental resources in their home country, such as the Department of Education, for available scholarships.
Working while studying
The possibility to pursue work to supplement income may depend on the demands the program has on students. It should be carefully weighed if work leads to prolonged program durations or whether work placements can be meaningfully embedded into a program.
Tax credits and RRSP withdrawals
Canadian residents with RRSP accounts may be able to use the Lifelong Learning Plan (LLP) which allows students to withdraw amounts from their registered retirement savings plan (RRSPs) to finance full-time training or education for themselves or their partner.
Please review Filing taxes in Canada on the student services website for more information.
Applicants have access to the cost calculator to develop a financial plan that takes into account various income sources and expenses.
Enrolment, Duration & Other Stats
These statistics show data for the Master of Fine Arts in Visual Art (MFA). Data are separated for each degree program combination. You may view data for other degree options in the respective program profile.
Completion Rates & Times
The program provides a period of intensive conceptual and technical development for those students wishing to pursue a professional career in advanced contemporary art. The M.F.A. degree is also the standard qualifying degree for teaching visual arts at the post-secondary level. The M.F.A. program is dedicated to helping students understand both the making and theorizing of the art object against the background of the diverse intellectual environment of a major university. Students in the program may work in any area of contemporary art production including painting, drawing, printmaking, performance, three-dimensional and installation work, photography, digital, multimedia, or in any interdisciplinary form.