How to Apply

School of Visual Arts

Undergraduate Admissions

All applicants to the College of Fine Arts must apply through the Office of Undergraduate Admissions and meet the standards of admission to Boston University. In addition to completing an application to Boston University, all prospective CFA students must have an artistic evaluation by the College of Fine Arts. All portfolios must be submitted digitally at

Portfolio Requirements

Applicants to the undergraduate program in the School of Visual Arts at Boston University may either upload their portfolio online, or attend an on-campus portfolio review day. Portfolios are to consist of at least fifteen (15) and not more than twenty (20) samples of work. The portfolio review committee is especially interested in seeing examples of the applicant’s ability to work from observation.

Required samples of work
  • At least one portrait drawing (a self-portrait or portrait from life)
  • At least one still-life drawing (from actual objects)
  • At least one composition of recognizable objects (a drawing or painting)

Portfolios consisting primarily of photography are not acceptable.

The Early Decision portfolio submission deadline is mid November.

The Regular Decision portfolio submission deadline is at the end of January.

On-Campus Portfolio Feedback and Review Days

The Boston University School of Visual Arts offers Portfolio Feedback Sessions in the fall and Final Portfolio Reviews in January. Portfolio Feedback Sessions give students the chance to meet with a faculty member in order to fine-tune their portfolio before applying. Final Portfolio Reviews are for applicants who choose to present their final admissions portfolio on campus in addition to submitting it online. All events give prospective students the opportunity to meet with faculty members and staff and to take student-led tours.

Portfolio Feedback and Review Days for 2015-2016 will be announced soon.

Graduate Admissions

Graduate Portfolio Requirements

Graduate Application Instructions


The School of Visual Arts offers the Master of Fine Arts (MFA) degree in Graphic Design, Painting, and Sculpture and the Master of Arts (MA) degree in Art Education and Studio Teaching.

Prospective students must apply online. All portfolios must be submitted digitally at DVDs, CDs, and paper portfolios will not be reviewed or returned.

Applicants to the College of Fine Arts must submit a complete application, including all supporting materials before submitting a portfolio.

Your application must be completed online and submitted electronically once you have entered the required information. You may access your application and change your answers as many times as you like before submitting it by using your Web Login from any computer. Please note that in order to complete the online application, you must pay the application fee online using a credit card.

4 Steps to Apply

  1. Fill Out the Application: This is where all of your personal and application specific information is entered.
  2. Run the Application Checker: This gives you the ability to check if all the information needed to submit your application has been entered.
  3. Submit Application: This allows you to pay using your credit card and send your completed application to Boston University.
  4. Download Forms: Download all supplemental forms (résumé, essay, etc.) that are required.


  • February 3 for all on-campus graduate Visual Arts programs. The application, supporting materials, and portfolio are all required by this date. TOEFL or IELTS scores for international students must be received by this date.

International Students

International students must prove English proficiency in one of two ways.

1. By completing a degree from an institution in which English was the language of instruction before the time of enrollment at BU.

2. By submitting a TOEFL or IELTS score that meets or exceeds our minimum requirement. For more information, please go here.

Your questions are welcome and we are happy to assist you.

Requirements for All Applicants

  • Completed application online for graduate admission to the College of Fine Arts.
  • Portfolio digitally submitted—specific portfolio requirements for each major can be found here.
  • Non-refundable application fee of $80 submitted using online application.
  • Two letters of recommendation from professionals/educators. These may be submitted online using supplied Letter of Recommendation Form.
  • Official transcripts from all colleges/universities attended, requested by applicant. Transcripts may be sent directly to CFA Graduate Admissions by the institution or can be sent to us by applicant in a sealed envelope.
  • Personal statement indicating the applicant’s purpose in pursuing graduate work, career objectives, and particular interest in BU.
  • Artistic résumé.

Mailing Address for Supporting Materials

Please mail transcripts and other supporting materials to:

Boston University College of Fine Arts
Graduate Admissions, Room 230
855 Commonwealth Avenue
Boston, MA 02215