If you have a passion for books as a form of creative expression, look no further than the University of the Arts. Our Master of Fine Arts (MFA) program in Book Arts + Printmaking is one of the first of its kind in the country and is one of the few programs which offers students a dual MFA in both disciplines, allowing for a variety of career options after graduation-from teaching or conservation; to printing, designing and publishing. You will be part of a unique printmaking community that extends beyond graduation, taking advantage of Philadelphia's thriving print community.

The MFA in Book Arts + Printmaking is one of the most prominent and established programs of it's kind in the country and also one of the few programs providing a dual master’s degree in both disciplines. The unparalleled program offers students a profound conceptual and technical experience as presented through an intense, interactive and rigorous studio environment. The breadth and depth of possibilities exploring the art of the book, printmaking, papermaking, letterpress printing and the narrative are enormous and complex. The program encourages students to cultivate a hybrid methodology among these disciplines.

Truly interdisciplinary by design, the program provides students with access to a myriad of vibrant artistic and cultural programming across the University — exhibitions, performances and more. Students are encouraged to embrace and experiment with other artistic disciplines in the University — photography, graphic design, crafts and sculpture — to fully realize their visual voice.

Visit Department Website

2018 MFA Book Arts + Printmaking Exhibition Catalog

View the Catalog

Our faculty are well known within their respective fields and hold extensive networks to prominent professionals and institutions, affording students rewarding connections, both locally and afar. Notable faculty include book artist, letterpress printer and type designer Russell Maret and bookbinder Barbara Mauriello. Hedi Kyle, former head book conservator of the American Philosophical Society, garnered attention for the program with her innovative, complex and highly skilled bindings. She returns every year to deliver a master class in the bindery. Program Director Cynthia Nourse Thompson is a well-known and celebrated artist, professor and curator, having most recently served as curator and director of Exhibitions at the University of Arkansas, and prior to that as professor at the Memphis College of Art, overseeing the book arts, letterpress and papermaking areas of the college for over 12 years.

Visiting Artists
Visiting Artists lectures, critiques and workshops form a core component of the program. Each semester, a new line-up of artists visit UArts. While a partial list is provided below, please visit the department's website to explore more visiting artists and faculty.

Janine Antoni
Julie Chen
Daniel Kelm
Nicola Lopez
Leonardo Drew
James Siena
Karen Kunc
Julia Miller
Judith Brodsky
Betty Bright
Mindell Dubansky
Lesley Dill
Ruth Fine
Johanna Drucker
Buzz Spector
Ruth Rogers

The program champions the union of the head and the hand, the technical and the conceptual, and promotes critical thinking — a timely response to ethical, technical and social changes in current printmaking and book art pedagogy. Moreover, the program participates in the development and discussion of new media and digital technologies, advancing the existing rich interdisciplinary program of study. The city of Philadelphia, vibrant in history, culture and contemporary art, is a central component and well-acknowledged companion to our program. Of particular importance, the education our program provides extends beyond the University into the prominent historical institutions of Philadelphia and provides an arena for research, academic exploration and inspiration — it is a fluid classroom.

Sample Curriculum:

Total Credits: 60
Duration: 2 years, full-time

Year One

The History and Craft of Handmade Paper (3c)
The Book: Past and Present (1.5c)
Print Media (3c)
Letterpress (3c)
Bookbinding I (3c)
Graduate Seminar (3c)

Year Two

Thesis Studio I (3c)
Thesis Writing Seminar I (1.5c)
Bookbinding III (1.5c)
University Seminar: Criticism (3c)
Expanded Print Media (3c)
Elective (1.5–3c)

The Digital Province (1.5c)
Bookbinding II (3c)
On Paper: Collaborations in Print and Pulp (3c)
The Visual Voice: Image, Language, Typography (3c)
Elective 1.5–3 (c)

The Atelier (1.5c)
Thesis Studio II (6c)
Thesis writing seminar II (3c)
Bookbinding IV (1.5c)
Elective / independent study may be taken (3c)

Internship opportunities available for credit.


Internships & Off-campus Experiences

The University’s proximity to New York City and Washington, D.C. affords the ability to visit museums, galleries, printshops, papermaking studios and artists studios on a regular basis, and establish lasting relationships with professionals associated with these venues. The curriculum is flexible and allows for valuable internship experiences at such prominent historical institutions as the Library Company of Philadelphia, the Historical Society of Pennsylvania, the American Philosophical Society and the Free Library of Philadelphia. Additionally, Philadelphia offers a vital contemporary art landscape, from printmaking collectives such as Second State Press and Space 1026, to artist-run spaces such as Vox Populi, to the established Fabric Print Workshop and Museum and the Print Center.
For more information, including specific course descriptions, please the department's website and the course catalogue. 

Visit Department Website

Visit Course Catalogue

How to Apply

Application Deadline: The University is currently reviewing applications to this program on a rolling basis. Students may continue to apply after the February 1 priority deadline and will be considered for admission and scholarships on a space-available basis. Please review Graduate Tuition, Financial Aid and Scholarship for further information.

To apply, the following materials are required:

  • Application Fee of $60 (nonrefundable; submitted with your application)
  • Official Transcripts
    • Official transcripts from all prior undergraduate and graduate schools attended are required. Transcripts should be issued directly by the Registrar's Office at the college(s) attended and sent to the Office of Admissions, The University of the Arts, 320 South Broad Street, Philadelphia, PA 19102 or via email to gradcredentials@uarts.edu. For transcripts from outside the United States, please refer to the instructions provided below for international students.
  • 3 Letters of Recommendation
    • Letters of recommendation may either be requested through the online application form, or mailed to the Office of Admissions. At least two must come from professors or professional in your field familiar with your capabilities and credentials. The third may be from a colleague, collaborator or a peer.
  • Statement of Intent & Resume
    • Your Statement of Intent and your Resume are uploaded and submitted as part of your online application. When writing your statement, please detail your professional objectives for applying to the MFA Program, focusing on your accomplishments and progress within your work to date, and the directions you would like to further explore in graduate study. Why is graduate study a necessary and important part of your future as an artist? What will set you apart from other applicants? Your resume should highlight all of your professional accomplishments including employment, honors, exhibitions and publications.
  • Creative Portfolio
    • Applicants should submit a portfolio of 20-30 digital images. These should represent the applicant's full range of studio experience, preferably including printmaking and book arts. All digital images, time-based media and writing samples should be submitted for review online via SlideRoom.com. Applicants may upload images (jpg), video (mov, wmv, flv) or .pdf documents. For good image quality and fast upload, images should be sized no larger than 1280 x 1280 px @ 72dpi. Video files must be kept under 20MB. Further instructions are provided within the SlideRoom Portal. There is a $10 fee to submit a portfolio in addition to the $60 application fee.
  • Personal Interview
    • After the application has been processed, each applicant is contacted for a personal interview conducted by the program director. For applicants who cannot interview at the university, interviews can be conducted via telephone or Skype.

International Applicants

In addition to the requirements listed above, international applicants or those with foreign credentials must submit:

  • Official Transcripts
    • All transcripts from outside the United States must be in English and must be official. The Office of Admissions may request that international students obtain a transcript evaluation from a third-party credential evaluation service (such as World Education Services or Educational Credential Evaluators) in cases where further information is required to assess international credentials. 
  • Proof of English Language Proficiency
    • International students whose native language is not English must submit the results of the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL), the International English Language Testing System (IELTS), or the Duolingo English Test. A minimum TOEFL score of 79, IELTS score of 6.0, or Duolingo English Test score of 100 is required for admission. In lieu of the TOEFL, IELTS, or Duolingo English Test, completion of Level 9 in the University of the Arts ESL Institute will be accepted.   

Applicants who meet the academic and creative requirements for admission but whose scores do not meet the English proficiency requirement for degree study may receive an offer of conditional admission that first requires enrollment in the University of the Arts' English as a Second Language Institute (ESLI). Applicants who successfully complete Level 9 of ESL study in ESLI will then be able to begin their degree program studies.

In special circumstances, applicants who have not taken the TOEFL, IELTS, or Duolingo English Test can request a waiver of this requirement. The request should be submitted in writing and include the reason for opting not to take the exams. Requests will then be reviewed on a case-by-case basis and may require an interview. A waiver may be considered for those applicants who enrolled full-time in an accredited college or university in the U.S. and successfully completed two semesters of college-level English, not taken in conjunction with ESL study, and earned a minimum GPA of 3.0 in those classes.

I20/F-1 International Student Visa Information: Upon acceptance, students will be contacted by the University of the Arts International Student Programs Office regarding visa counseling and all materials required to create an I-20 in order to obtain an F-1 visa. Contact Mara Flamm, Director of International Student Programs, with any questions regarding your I-20 or F-1 visa.

Get Started

Start your application

Begin your application today. Our admissions team will help you throughout the process.

Apply Now

See UArts for yourself

The best way to get to know UArts is by visiting our campus in person. Come see a show, visit a gallery, and get to know the neighborhood.

Plan Your Visit

Not sure where to start?

We're glad you want to learn more. Our admissions team is happy to send additional information about our school.

Request More Information