2021-2022 Graduate Academic Catalog

Bachelor's Degree Waiver for MFA Program

On occasion, an outstanding individual who does not formally hold a Bachelor’s degree may be considered for admission to studies leading to a Master of Fine Art degree.

Candidates who have successfully completed the equivalent number of courses for an undergraduate degree (at least 60 semester credits, or 72 credits for financial aid consideration) from regionally accredited colleges and universities, but have not been awarded a formal undergraduate degree, can be considered. Such a person must be distinguished by outstanding professional performance or scholarly pursuits in areas appropriate to the field of proposed graduate study.

An applicant who does not hold a Bachelor’s degree must apply for acceptance through the Bachelor’s degree waiver procedure. 

Documentation must include the following: 

  1. In the judgment of the Director and selected member(s) of the MFA Faculty, the applicant’s submission of creative work must show extraordinary accomplishment, comparing favorably with the work of the strongest applicants. No applicant lacking a bachelor’s degree will be considered for admission without having met this threshold criterion.
  2. To ensure rigorous objectivity, the applicant’s creative work will also be reviewed by a faculty member in the relevant genre or area.
  3. The applicant's other application materials—personal statement, letters of recommendation, and transcripts from the credit equivalent of two years of undergraduate course work—should be uniformly excellent, demonstrating the candidate’s capacity to undertake graduate study in their chosen field.
  4. The applicant's life experience or professional work should be analogous, in breadth and depth, to the intellectual engagement normally associated with a completed undergraduate education. This shall be demonstrated through a detailed written rationale, beyond the personal statement, describing life experiences and addressing these issues:
    1. Life experiences that affected your undergraduate career.
    2. Your professional work, length of time, and range of responsibilities.
    3. Relation of life experience to the master's degree program to which the candidate is applying. This should include, but not be limited to, publications, exhibitions, and public performances, lectures, and talks.

The Bachelor’s waiver committee evaluation and decision process may take approximately two (2) months from the time all materials are received. After the final review is completed, the applicant will be notified if the waiver application has been approved, or not. Applicants not eligible for the Bachelor’s degree waiver may apply to enroll in the adult Bachelor’s degree program to complete the necessary requirements.

Students who apply for the waiver should be aware that the waiver procedure will not result in the awarding of a Bachelor’s degree. It is important to note that some doctoral programs, licenses for professional certifications, and other professional activities may require a Bachelor’s degree.

If the Bachelor’s degree waiver is approved, an applicant’s admission materials for a Master of Fine Arts degree program will be reviewed. It should be noted that the Bachelor’s degree waiver application and the Master of Fine Arts degree application are concurrent processes. However, acceptance into a Master of Fine Arts degree program cannot be given until the Bachelor’s waiver has been approved.