Pre-College Summer Session

Stay Tuned for 2015 Dates!


MCAD’s Pre-College Summer Session is a highly structured and challenging classroom- and studio-based experience developed to guide serious art students in the process of maturing as artists and individuals. 

“It was a once-in-a-lifetime experience that I will forever be grateful for. I learned more about myself as an artist and a person than I could have ever imagined.” —J. Mason

This three-week, three-credit, fully residential program is geared toward committed art and design students who are currently in their sophomore, junior, or senior years of high school.  


Through a combination of personal investigation and group collaboration, the program encourages the sharing of ideas, exploration of new concepts, and development of studio practice. Students learn what an art college education is like, allowing them to:

  • Explore individual creative abilities
  • Improve critical thinking skills
  • Try new techniques under the instruction of professional artists
  • Sharpen aesthetic senses through critiques from fellow students
  • Develop time-management skills and classroom participation

“It really opened up my world to one where everyone around me, as well as myself, were motivated and interested in art. It taught me more things than I can likely list, and it was one of the most fantastic experiences I've ever had!” —2013 Student

Students spend full days under the guidance of professional instructors, immersed in both foundational and intensive major classes. Evenings and weekends provide a chance to build new friendships, explore Minneapolis, and spend dedicated time working in the studios and labs. Trained staff and professional faculty will be with them every step of the journey. Download a sample student schedule for more information.


Read an interview with Brianna Quintero, a recent Pre-College Summer Session alum who majored in animation.



The program closes with a celebratory final student exhibition and graduation ceremony, during which four exemplary Pre-College students will be awarded a $1,000 scholarship to attend MCAD as an undergraduate.

“What a life-changing opportunity. It increased my daughter’s self esteem and gave her a true college experience. I highly recommend it to others.” —Parent of Student

Students May Choose One of the Following Majors

  • Animation
    Students learn stop motion and hand-drawn animation, and are introduced to digital tools for editing and compositing their output. Students experiment with short, animated sketches and produce a finished product. They also learn skills in storyboarding and composition, while becoming savvy storytellers, using drawing or sculptures to spin tales.
    MCAD is committed to cutting-edge technology, while also being known as one of the few schools to teach hand-drawn 2D techniques. Graduates have found positions with Nickelodeon, FOX, ScyFy Channel, Disney, Children’s Theatre Company, and more.
  • Comic Art
    Students are taught the fundamental lessons of storytelling, character development, penciling, and inking to create short comic book stories and learn the production skills necessary to produce their own edition of comic books. View last year’s Volume 1 and Volume 2.
    MCAD is one of the only colleges in the country to offer comic art degree programs. Graduates have taken positions at Marvel Comics, BOOM! Studio, Lucid Publishing, 2D Cloud Studio, Periscope, and have developed thriving freelance work.
  • Graphic Design
    Students learn to combine text and graphics in support of a message, gaining technical skills in Adobe Creative suite, the same programs used by professional designers. They may create projects as diverse as logos, posters, branding systems, packaging, and more.
    MCAD is one of U.S. News and World Report’s “Best Graphic Design Schools.” Students learn from industry professionals and receive guidance from current MCAD design students, opening them up to the expansive career opportunities for designers, which have included positions at MTV, Target Corporation, Trek Bicycles, Motorola, Pentagram, and more.
  • Painting
    Students learn skills in perception, conceptualization, and imagination, as well as knowledge of color, form, and composition. Students work in a shared studio with still life setups, live models, self-portraits, and digital photographs to see how contrast, color, light, and shadow can illuminate the complexities of their subject matter. Professional nude models may be used in this program.
    MCAD has a fine arts tradition that extends beyond a century, helping to develop artists who have established themselves as pre-eminent creatives whose work can be found everywhere from on Broadway to at the Walker Art Center.



Questions? Find more program information below or contact MCAD Continuing Education at or 612.874.3765.