Illinois State University

Illinois State University

Master of Fine Arts Program

Photography Program in Studio Arts


The Illinois State University MFA Program in Photography is part of a multi-disciplinary graduate program within a large university setting, and provides highly motivated students the opportunity to work intensively toward their development as artists.  This three-year program provides students with the necessary time and a supportive atmosphere to develop a mature body of work by exploring the relationship between active studio practice and rigorous intellectual inquiry.  Every student accepted into the program is provided with a full tuition waiver and an assistantship for each of the six semesters.

The School of Art offers students an excellent faculty, extensive analog and digital facilities, visiting artist residencies and lectures, and individual graduate studio spaces.  Located in Normal, Illinois, just two hours south of Chicago, the program also offers easy access to the vibrant museum and gallery environment of the city.   In addition, the on-campus University Galleries’ active exhibition schedule provides graduate students with a critical survey of contemporary art.

The MFA in photography also offers an optional emphasis on documentary practice and theory. Students working in documentary photography may choose to work under the auspices of the Rural Documentary Collection, an extensive public archive of fine documentary photographs depicting social, economic and political realities facing rural communities in the American Midwest.  These students may receive support beyond the assistantship and tuition waiver in the form of materials grants and support for travel expenses.  Students with a background in social science investigation are especially encouraged to apply.