Book Arts & Printmaking (MFA)
Earn your MFA in Book Arts and Printmaking at one of the most prominent and established professional master’s degree programs in the country. University of the Arts is also one of only a few programs that offers a dual master’s degree in both disciplines. Though book arts and printmaking are truly independent disciplines, they inform each other when studied in tandem. Many working artists in book arts are also printmakers and vice versa. UArts offers the combined master’s degree in Book Arts and Printmaking as these disciplines have gone hand in hand, both historically and in contemporary art.
An Interdisciplinary Master of Fine Arts Program
Through an intense, interactive and rigorous studio environment, you will have a profound conceptual and technical experience. The breadth and depth of possibilities for exploring the art of the book, printmaking, papermaking and letterpress printing are enormous and complex.
This master’s program focuses on book binding and book production; printmaking media such as letterpress, intaglio, relief, lithography, non-silver photographic processes, screen-printing and digital printmaking processes; and papermaking techniques. While you can study all types of book arts and printmaking, you may choose to concentrate in a particular medium. We encourage students to cultivate a hybrid methodology among these disciplines, delving into text and image, the temporal and the spatial, the three-dimensional and the two-dimensional and the traditional as well as the experimental.
Truly interdisciplinary by design, the Book Arts and Printmaking (MFA) program will provide you with access to myriad vibrant artistic and cultural programming across the University, including exhibitions, performances and more. Students are encouraged to embrace and experiment with other artistic disciplines in the university — Photography, Graphic Design, Sculpture and others— to fully realize their visual voices.
Engagement with Contemporary Artists
Book Arts and Printmaking students participate in a professional print and book collaboration with renowned artists during their second year in the Atelier course. For example, in spring 2022, artist Mark Thomas Gibson completed an editioned print with UArts MFA students and our master printer; artists James Siena and Wardell Milan have also completed editions with us. Additionally, high-caliber professionals engage and critique with students each semester.
Each year, the Holle Awards for Excellence in Creativity and Communication reward “innovative, out-of-the-box thinking” in media writing, public speaking, film, screenwriting and book arts. This year, Maria Welch ’20 (Book Arts & Printmaking) was selected for the Holle Award for Excellence and Creativity in Book Arts for her submission, "Erratic Obsession." Welch’s piece is a visual representation of mental illness to encourage dialogue around the topic.
Erratic Obsession uses text from Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s "The Yellow Wallpaper" and Annie Payson Call’s "Nerves and Common Sense," two impactful pieces that focus on mental illness in women. In "Erratic Obsession," Welch wove together lines from both works to represent struggles with mental health, specifically the dissonance “between what one presents to the public, what is suppressed, and what societal expectations cause mental strain on a person,” she explained.
In addition to the textual elements, Erratic Obsession includes patterns and images drawn from a 2018 performance centered on repetition as a coping mechanism when unable to stop thinking about a specific memory. Welch photographed the footprints from the performance and created stencil outlines that were used to create the images in Erratic Obsession. The Holle Award judges praised Welch’s work for how well the form accentuated the subject matter, calling Welch “a master of [her] craft.”
As part of the award, Welch will receive a $10,000 prize, which will allow her to fund her artistic projects and look for a studio space after graduation. “I am thrilled that I will have not only a studio to work in, but the necessary tools to continue making paper after I lose access to the school’s facilities,” she said. “This funding ensures that I have physical space and the essential equipment to make my work, and I am so grateful for this security in the progression of my practice.”
The Holle Awards are presented annually by the University of Alabama College of Communication and Information Sciences to honor Brigadier General Everett Holle, a 1950 graduate of the University of Alabama with a 40-year career at an Alabama-based NBC station.
Students and alumni of the Book Arts & Printmaking program produce a wide variety of projects. Explore recent works produced in the program.
UArts provides an environment that fosters technical and conceptual development and artistic growth, preparing students for a variety of professional careers or advanced studies in the printmaking, papermaking and book arts fields. Though prior experience in book arts and printmaking is recommended, it is not necessary. You will be able to engage in critical contemporary and historical discourse and apply it to methods of professional practices as a foundation for career development.
Our accomplished faculty are professionals in their field, and their work has been exhibited nationally and internationally. Our alumni are a diverse group of professionals who excel in careers in conservation labs, independent studios, museums, publishing and universities.
Since the program’s curriculum is interdisciplinary, you will be prepared for multidisciplinary applications in the contemporary art world. 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.
With faculty, you will develop and discuss new media and digital technologies, advancing ever-richer interdisciplinary study. Most significantly, your education will extend beyond the university to prominent historical institutions of Philadelphia, which offers an arena for research, academic exploration and inspiration, and acts as a fluid, vibrant and prolific classroom.
This master’s program can be individually tailored to your interests and experience and encourages the development of new concepts while offering proficiency in both traditional and contemporary processes. The core studies of bookbinding, printmaking and papermaking are augmented by investigations into related fields in studio arts through colloquia and seminars.
Courses in the first semester intersect, reflecting the integration of skills and concepts integral to book arts. You can use your elective credits for internships in professional laboratories and organizations.
In your final year, you’ll take Thesis Studio and Thesis Writing Seminar to prepare you for your thesis exhibition. These courses include guest critics, visiting artists, masterclasses and independent meetings to guide you in the planning, implementation and execution of a mature body of work.
Total Credits: 60
Duration: 2 years, full time
Fall: 16.5 credits
The History and Craft of Handmade Paper (3 credits)
The Book: Past and Present (1.5 credits)
Print Media (3 credits)
Letterpress (3 credits)
Bookbinding I (3 credits)
Graduate Seminar: Expanded Context (3 credits)
Spring: 12–15 credits
The Digital Province (1.5 credits)
Bookbinding II (3 credits)
On Paper: Collaborations in Print and Pulp (3 credits)
The Visual Voice: Image, Language, Typography (3 credits)
Graduate Seminar: Research and Engagement (1.5 credits)
Elective (3 credits)
Internship opportunities are available for credit.
Fall: 13.5–15 credits
Thesis Studio I (3 credits)
Thesis Writing Seminar I (1.5 credits)
Bookbinding III (1.5 credits)
University Seminar: Criticism (3 credits)
Expanded Print Media (3 credits)
Elective (3 credits)
Spring: 15 credits
The Atelier (1.5 credits)
Thesis Studio II (6 credits)
Thesis Writing Seminar II (3 credits)
Bookbinding IV (1.5 credits)
Explore the full curriculum
Maria Welch MFA ’20
Welch’s work has received recognition across a variety of platforms, in 2020 she was awarded the Holle Award for Excellence and Creativity in Book Arts from The University of Alabama College of Communication and Information Sciences. Welch has exhibited nationally at venues such as the Morgan Conservatory in Cleveland, OH, and Abecedarian Gallery in Denver, CO. Her work is also included in several permanent collections such as the Bainbridge Island Museum of Art, University of Nevada, and SGC International. Welch is currently the workshop manager at the Morgan Conservatory.
Kyle Anthony Holland MFA ’19
Holland’s work has been exhibited internationally, including in notable shows at the Robert C. Williams Paper Museum in Atlanta; the Morgan Conservatory in Cleveland; the Center for Book Arts in New York City; and the King St. Stephen Museum in Szekesfehervar, Hungary. Additionally, his work is in the collections of Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City; Nevada Museum of Art in Reno; New York City’s Center for Book Arts; and Yale University, among other institutions.
In 2012, Holland was awarded the Scholarship for Advanced Studies in Book Arts at the New York Center for Book Arts. He has also been employed at the Morgan Art of Papermaking Conservatory and the studio of artist Lesley Dill. He is currently serving as faculty and studio manager in the MFA Book Arts Program at the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa. Additionally, Holland continues to teach workshops at prestigious programs, such as the one at Wells College Summer Institute in Aurora, New York.
Evgenia Kim MFA ’19
Kim was featured in a two person exhibition New Prints In Focus at the International Print Center in NY in 2020.
In 2019, Evgenia Kim received the Artist-in-Residence Award at the International Print Center in New York City and the Wind Challenge Grant at Fleisher Art Memorial in Philadelphia; both awards include an exhibition in 2020. Her work is part of a number of prestigious collections, including the Tisch Library at Tufts University, Princeton and Stanford universities, and Thomas J. Watson Library at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. She has shown work nationally and internationally in countries including Japan, Russia, Spain, United Kingdom, France and Italy. She is currently represented by Booklyn, in Brooklyn, New York.
Candy Gonzalez MFA ’17
Candy Alexandra González is a Little Havana–born and raised, Philadelphia-based, multidisciplinary visual artist, poet, activist and trauma-informed educator. Currently, González’s artwork explores themes of body politics, fat phobia and self-healing, through photography, poetry, printmaking and papermaking.
González received their MFA in Book Arts and Printmaking from University of the Arts in 2017. Since graduating, they have been a 40th Street artist-in-residence in West Philadelphia; a West Bay View Fellow at Dieu Donné in Brooklyn; a Picasso Project Resident Artist at Kensington Health Sciences Academy in North Philadelphia; a Leeway Art and Change Grant Recipient and the 2021 Linda Lee Alter Fellow for the DaVinci Art Alliance.
Sue Carrie Drummond MFA ’15
Drummond is assistant professor of art at Millsaps College in Jackson, Mississippi. In 2017, she received the Artist’s Book Residency Grant at Women’s Studio Workshop in Rosendale, New York; that same year, she was awarded a College Book Art Association project assistance grant. Her work was included in the 2021 Mississippi Invitational at the MS Museum of Art, a state-wide juried biennial exhibition highlighting contemporary MS artists.
Drummond has been a studio assistant in papermaking at Penland School of Craft in North Carolina and an artist-in-residence at Minnesota Center for Book Arts (MCBA) in Minneapolis. She has taught workshops at MCBA and Purple Word Center for Book and Paper Arts in Jackson, Mississippi. She has also exhibited widely in numerous recognized group exhibitions at such venues as Abecedarian Gallery in Denver, Temple Contemporary in Philadelphia and Delaware Contemporary in Wilmington. Her work is included in several special collections nationally, including those at Bucknell University in Lewisburg, Pennsylvania; Wesleyan University in Middletown, Connecticut; and Baylor University in Waco, Texas. Additionally, Drummond has continued to teach at prominent institutions such as the Women’s Studio Workshop, among other locations.
Our faculty are well-known in their respective fields and are embedded in extensive networks of prominent professionals and institutions, helping students make rewarding connections, both locally and afar.
Contact Program Director Lori Spencer at firstname.lastname@example.org
Visiting Artists lectures, critiques and workshops form a core component of the program. Each semester, a new lineup of artists visits UArts.
Recent visiting artists include
Mark Thomas Gibson,
Barbara Takenaga and
As well as receiving individual private studio spaces, graduate students have access to newly renovated state-of-the-art facilities.
a fully equipped printmaking studio for intaglio, relief, lithography, serigraphy
a non-silver printmaking lab and polymer platemaking equipment
a fully equipped papermaking studio for Eastern and Western papermaking, as well as sculptural work
a letterpress studio furnished with wood and metal type and four Vandercook proof presses
a fully equipped graduate bindery
a private editioning studio with a Vandercook proof press, etching and lithography press
a digital lab furnished with a large format printers and film output
a digital makers space furnished with laser cutters, 3D printers, CNC router and more
Additionally, students have access to the offset lithography studio by working with master printers in the Borowsky Center for Publication Arts on the Heidelberg KORTS. There, students can participate in collaborations with renowned artists, as well as print their own editions. Utilizing the vast opportunities the University of the Arts’ studios offer, the MFA program proudly unites our students with renowned artists through the process of collaboration. Most recently, they completed a handmade paper- and letterpress-printed edition for artist Lesley Dill.
Gallery 224 is a vibrant open space located on the second floor of Anderson Hall. It is used for exhibiting student work, from works-in-progress to final thesis shows, as well as exhibitions curated by students, faculty and guests.
Internships & Off-Campus Experiences
UArts’ proximity to New York City and Washington, D.C., gives you ample opportunities to regularly visit museums, galleries, print shops, papermaking studios and artists’ studios, and establish lasting relationships with creative professionals and artistic leaders.
The curriculum is flexible and allows for valuable internship experiences at institutions such as the Historical Society of Pennsylvania, the Free Library of Philadelphia, and the Library Company of Philadelphia. Additionally, Philadelphia offers a vital contemporary art landscape, from printmaking collectives to artist-run spaces such as Fabric Workshop and Museum, the Print Center, Second State Press, Space 1026, the Soap Box: Community Printshop & Zine Library and Thomas J. Watson Library at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
How to Apply
Fall 2023 priority deadline: Applications received by February 15 will be among the first considered for admission and scholarship. We will not accept any applications or materials after August 12.
$60 nonrefundable application fee
If the cost of the application fee is a barrier, contact Admissions to request a fee waiver code.
Official undergraduate transcript
Official transcripts must be sent directly from the college where you have earned, or will earn, your undergraduate degree by mail, email or a secure electronic document-delivery service.
If you have earned, or will earn, your undergraduate degree outside the U.S., see our transcript requirements for international graduate applicants below.
Two letters of recommendation
Two letters of recommendation from professors or professionals in your field, who are familiar with your capabilities, are required. In the case that these recommenders are not available, you may request letters from colleagues, collaborators or peers, if necessary.
Applicants must enter contact information for their recommenders on the application. An email will be sent to recommenders providing a link for them to upload their letter. Letters of recommendation may also be submitted by the recommender via email to email@example.com.
Statement of intent
Statements should be a minimum of one to two pages and detail your professional plans, interests and goals. When writing your statement, 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 explore in graduate study. Why is graduate study a necessary and important part of your future as an artist?
Your statement of intent may be uploaded during the application process or added after submission via your applicant status portal.
Your résumé should highlight all your professional accomplishments, including employment, internships, honors, exhibitions and publications.
Your résumé may be uploaded during the application process or added after submission via your applicant status portal.
MFA applicants should submit a portfolio of 15 to 20 examples of work. The works should represent your strongest, and preferably recent, work and may include work across other media, in addition to work in printmaking and book arts.
The portfolio may be uploaded during the application process or via your applicant status portal after submission. You must confirm when your submission is complete via the linked electronic form before your portfolio can be reviewed for admission.
After the application has been processed, each applicant is contacted for a personal interview conducted by the program director. Interviews may be conducted on campus or by phone or Zoom.
In addition to the requirements listed above, international applicants or those with foreign credentials must submit
Official undergraduate transcripts
Applicants who have academic documents from institutions outside the U.S. are required to provide original, attested or certified true copies of academic records from the institution where they have earned, or will earn, their undergraduate degree. These records should be in the original language in which they were issued.
For postsecondary school records that are not in English, applicants must also submit an official translation of all their academic documents. Translations must be a complete, literal, word-for-word translation in the same format of the original academic document. Transcripts cannot be translated by the student or any members of their family. Acceptable translators include English teachers or other school officials, professional translators, or a local EducationUSA office.
Admissions might request that students obtain a course-by-course credential evaluation if we are not able to confirm the equivalent level to a U.S. undergraduate degree.
Proof of English proficiency
For international applicants whose primary language is not English, and who have not completed two semesters of college-level English in a college/university where the language of instruction is English, proof of English proficiency is required.
Recommended minimums for English proficiency exams are as follows.
- TOEFL iBT: 79
- TOEFL essentials: 8.5
- IELTS: 6.5
- Pearson PTE Academic: 53
- Duolingo: 100
Applicants who meet the academic and creative requirements for admission but whose scores do not meet the English proficiency requirement for degree study might receive an offer of conditional admission that requires enrollment in the university’s English as a Second Language Institute (ESLI). Applicants who successfully complete ESLI will then be able to begin their degree program studies in the fall semester.
In special circumstances, applicants who do not have access to the TOEFL, IELTS or Duolingo English tests can request a waiver of this requirement. The request should be submitted by email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Requests will then be reviewed on a case-by-case basis and might require an interview.
I-20/F-1 international student visa information: Upon acceptance, students will be contacted by 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.
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