Portfolio Submission and Requirements 

Graduate Programs




The Division of Drawing, Painting and Photography offers an international MFA Program in Painting. The program operates jointly in the School of Art and Design at Alfred University and at our studio facility in Düsseldorf, Germany. Graduate students work with American and European artists and scholars, gaining an international perspective while interacting with art communities on two continents. Through concentrated studio time, significant research opportunities, and mentoring from art world professionals, this program offers a graduate experience that prepares students to become the next generation of professional artists and arts practitioners.

Applicants must be committed to extended international study and the practice of painting. Graduate students spend three months of each academic year in Dusseldorf engaging in intensive studio work, research, and professional practices. The program encourages a diversity of approaches within the unique language of painting, and fosters critical dialogue addressing contemporary global perspectives.


Why Düsseldorf

Since the founding of its Art Academy in 1773, Dusseldorf has been a leading center of painting. The “Düsseldorf School” of painting attracted many notable artists to study in the city, including Albert Bierstadt, Georg Caleb Bingham, Eastman Johnson and William Morris Hunt. These artists went on the form the “Hudson River School” of American painting.

In the twentieth century major artists such as Paul Klee, August Macke, Joseph Beuys, Gerhard Richter, Sigmar Polke, Gunter Grass and Nam June Paik were associated with the Art Academy, putting Dusseldorf in the vanguard of the development of Modern and Contemporary Art. Today internationally recognized artists such as Tomma Abts, Katharina Grosse, Peter Doig,  Andres Gursky, Rosemarie Trockel, Rita McBride and Tony Cragg continue to work and thrive in the city.

Düsseldorf has twenty world-class museums and over fifty Contemporary art galleries and non-profit exhibition spaces. In addition to the Art Academy, Düsseldorf is home to the Heinrich Heine University and the Robert Schumann University Music School. Düsseldorf attracts artists from across the globe, and is home to one of the largest Japanese communities outside of Japan. The city is both a hub and a crossroads for artists and students seeking a creative and supportive experience.


MFA in Painting Degree Requirements
Degree requirements include two years of full time residence (two semesters at Alfred University, two semesters at Alfred’s Düsseldorf Studio Facility) and a minimum of 60 graduate credit hours, submission of a written thesis and thesis exhibition. Reviews of work are scheduled at midterm and at the end of each semester.
Semester Structure
Semester 1, Alfred                               Credits
First Year Graduate Seminar                           2
Critique and Discussion                                  4
Graduate Painting                                            6
Art History/Criticism Course                          4
                                                                      16 credits
Semester 2, Dusseldorf
Professional Practice Seminar                        4
Graduate Painting                                           6
Critique and Discussion                                  4
                                                                       14 credits
Semester 3, Dusseldorf
Professional Practice Seminar                        4
Graduate Painting Thesis                                4
Critique and Discussion                                  4
Written Thesis Preparation                              2
                                                                       14 credits
Semester 4, Alfred
Critique and Discussion                                   4
Graduate Painting Thesis                                10
Written Thesis Preparation                              2
                                                                       16 credits
                                                                       Total: 60 credits


TUITION:     $24,570 per year

STUDIO FEES:     $1,700 per year.  Includes Visiting Artists, select museum entrance fees, local field trips, art shipping at the end of the third semester, common studio supplies like gesso, thinner, etc.

Dusseldorf Fees: $7300 per year. Includes three month housing in Dusseldorf private apartment with kitchen, two day Paris excursion (Spring), two day excursion to Amsterdam(Spring), three day excursion to Berlin(Fall), museum passes, six hours German language class, welcome and farewell dinners in Dusseldorf.

Graduate Assistantship: There are a selected number of teaching assistantships for the incoming class for a $2375 stipend per semester awarded.

Airfare: Flight costs to and from Germany are the applicants responsibility.

PASSPORT:  Students must have a valid passport. Non-US citizens must be able to obtain a tourist visa for travel to Germany.

HOUSING:  Students will be responsible for making their own housing arrangements while in Alfred. Housing in Dusseldorf (included in Düsseldorf fee) will be provided by our partner provider, which includes furnished single student apartments with private bathrooms and small kitchenette, free internet access, utilities, laundry facilities, and weekly cleaning. Linens and towels are not provided. A welcome dinner at a restaurant in Dusseldorf is included.

TRAVEL:  Students will be responsible for travel expenses to and from Dusseldorf.

ARTWORK SHIPPING: The cost of shipping artwork back to Alfred for the final thesis semester will be covered by the program up to a certain amount.

 A six hour German Language course is included the first week of class in Germany, as well as an orientation session covering health and safety, culture and living in Düsseldorf.