The Department of Art and Design offers graduate programs of study in art and design. The Master of Arts in Art is a 30-credit program with two areas of specialization: Studio Art and Design Entrepreneurship + Innovation.

Full-time students normally complete the MA degree within 4 semesters.

The Department’s facilities and services include fully equipped studios housed in the Kenilworth Square East building and the main campus Art Building.

The Peck School of the Arts’ Kenilworth Square East (KSE) Gallery provides a year-round schedule of exhibitions, with galleries that are housed in the Kenilworth Square East building, a research facility approximately one mile from campus. The Department of Art and Design offers a schedule of workshops and special lectures each year. In addition, graduate student studios are located in the Kenilworth Square East building.

Frederick R. Layton Fellowships are awarded each year to incoming and continuing graduate students. Information and application forms are in the Panthera Application.

A limited number of Teaching Assistantships and Project Assistantships are offered through the Department of Art and Design. Information and application forms are in the Panthera Application.


Admission Requirements 

Application Deadlines

Application deadlines vary by program, please review the application deadline chart for specific programs. Other important dates and deadlines can be found by using the One Stop calendars.


An applicant must meet Graduate School requirements plus these departmental requirements to be considered for admission to the program:

  1. An undergraduate major in art, or related field, including at least 40 studio credits and at least 45 academic credits outside the major.
  2. Submission of a digital portfolio with 20 images of original work.
  3. Submission of a written personal statement of the proposed program of study.
  4. Three (3) letters of recommendation.

See the department’s website for more details, including required file formats and submission process for application materials.

Applicants may be admitted to the program with specific program-defined course deficiencies. The student is expected to satisfy deficiency requirements within three enrolled semesters. The Office of Graduate Studies in the Department of Art and Design monitors the deficiencies. Deficiency course credits may not be applied towards the degree.

Credits and Courses

Minimum degree requirement is 30 graduate credits.

Art Design
ART 901Seminar in Art-Philosophy and Concepts3
Select 3 additional graduate credits in art seminars3
Select 18 graduate credits in studio arts18
Art History
Select 3 graduate credits in art history3
Select 3 credits in graduate-level coursework in a discipline related to the student’s research interests3
Total Credits30

All graduate students in the Department of Art and Design must be enrolled full-time for at least one semester, earning a minimum of 8 credits during that semester. Graduate students with a PA or TA appointment are considered full-time earning a minimum of 6 credits per semester.

Additional Requirements


Upon admission, the Director of Graduate Studies in the Department of Art & Design, in consultation with the Graduate Faculty, will assign the incoming graduate student to a First Year Advisory Team. The head Advisor will contact the student and the Advisory Team at the beginning of the student’s first semester to arrange a schedule for meetings to discuss course enrollment and the first year studio research agenda.

By the end of the student’s second semester in the program, the student must select a Major Professor, and in consultation with the Major Professor, assemble his or her Graduate Thesis Committee. The committee consists of three or more members (usually not larger than four). At least three members must be graduate faculty, and at least two must be from the Department of Art & Design. At least one member of the committee must be a faculty member in the student’s area of focus. If a student desires, the fourth member of the committee may be from outside the university. The student’s Major Professor will serve as the Chair of the student’s Graduate Thesis Committee.

A student who wishes to change his/her designated area of focus must first apply and be accepted into the new focus. The student would make this decision in consultation with his or her Thesis Committee and the Director of Graduate Studies. If the student is accepted into the new area of focus, he or she will assemble a new Thesis Committee and select a new Major Professor, if necessary.

If the student’s major professor takes a leave of absence or leaves the University, the student should contact the Director of Graduate Studies in the Department of Art and Design for advice in selecting a new major professor, and notify the Director of subsequent changes to the student’s committee.

Transfer of Credits

Upon admission, an applicant may be permitted to transfer a maximum of 12 graduate credits earned at another institution. However, the student must apply to the Graduate School for an evaluation of such credits to determine if they are acceptable for transfer to the MA program.

Graduate Review

Each year, the student must participate in at least one Graduate Review.

Thesis Exhibition

Upon recommendation of the Graduate Thesis Committee, the student presents a thesis exhibition or presentation of work centering on the student’s area of focus and executed during graduate studies.

Comprehensive Examination

The student must pass a final oral and written examination.

Time Limit

The UWM Graduate School requires that students complete all degree requirements within five years of initial enrollment.