Master of Fine Arts in Painting

Grow as an artist and critical thinker as you refine and expand your skills and forge a path into the contemporary art world with the Master of Fine Arts in Painting in the Tyler School of Art and Architecture at Temple University. The two-year, 60-credit master's degree program is ranked among the top graduate programs by U.S. News & World Report, and is widely known for its rigor, superb instruction, mentorship, and the critical acclaim of its alumni and distinguished faculty of practicing artists and scholars.  

The Painting MFA program supports the development of a personal vision rooted in the history of art and conversation about painting as it is practiced among other art-making forms and visual culture. The breadth and interdisciplinary nature of the program’s approach is reinforced by exposure to practicing faculty in the school’s other studio and academic disciplines and its visiting artist and lecture series, such as Critical Dialogues and the Jack Wolgin and Margo Margolis Visiting Artist programs, which bring leading minds to Tyler to interact with graduate students. Second-year MFA student work is featured in an annual catalog and solo exhibitions, and there are ample opportunities for all MFA students to show their work throughout the academic year. 

Students in the master's degree program have the unique opportunity to obtain in-depth, one-on-one access to a diversity of painters and thinkers, as well as a 2-1 faculty-student ratio. At the program’s core is an extremely supportive community of artists and scholars working collaboratively in studios, classrooms and beyond to engage critically in the problems and needs of our contemporary cultural environment. The MFA encompasses many different approaches to studio practice and, as part of an R1 research institution, this master's degree program is dedicated to creative making as research, pushing the canons and discourses of artistic production.  

Graduate students take advantage of the school’s location in Philadelphia, a vibrant art center and affordable home base, to grow their creative practices. Graduates join an alumni community that includes highly accomplished and influential artists and teachers. 

Hands-on Learning and Experiences 

MFA students expand the conceptual and technical approaches to their work through studio and seminar classes and become actively involved in the broader art community by curating an ongoing series of exhibitions by established and emerging artists. Close associations with city and regional arts institutions and alternative spaces and with faculty at other schools keep graduate students connected to their peers and current approaches to their craft. 

Many opportunities are available to extend learning through exhibitions and intensive professional career options. The proximity to New York and Washington enhances the educational experience and MFA students have gone on to careers as studio artists, curators, teachers, gallerists, art handlers, community activists and arts administrators.  

A student in black clothing paints in an art studio.
Photo credit: Joseph V. Labolito

Program Format & Curriculum 

With core courses aligned over two weekdays, graduate students have considerable flexibility and choice when selecting art history, elective and seminar classes, either within Tyler’s graduate curriculum or across the university. Courses in critique and critical discourse are foundational to the first year of study. Under the mentorship of a faculty member, students also participate in directed studio research and an MFA thesis gallery exhibition in their final semester of study.  

Professional practice courses are offered in a range of fields such as arts management, community arts and teaching in higher education. A few of the classes students in the Painting MFA program can expect to take include the following. 

  • Art History Seminar  

  • Critique and Critical Discourse I and II 

  • Directed Studio Practice 

  • Graduate Projects, Painting 

  • Master of Fine Arts Thesis 

Learn more about the Painting MFA program curriculum.

Related Graduate Certificates

Tuition & Fees

In keeping with Temple’s commitment to access and affordability, this Master of Fine Arts offers a competitive level of tuition with multiple opportunities for financial support.

Tuition rates are set annually by the university and are affected by multiple factors, including program degree level (undergraduate or graduate), course load (full- or part-time), in-state or out-of-state residency, and more. These tuition costs apply to the 2023–2024 academic year.

Pennsylvania resident: $1,266.00 per credit
Out-of-state: $1,682.00 per credit

Learn more about our tuition and fees.


Additional Program Information