Frequently Asked Questions

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Get the Facts

Can I get a breakdown of the student body?

View our Student Body Breakdown Infographic
Of MCAD's 800 students:

  • 85% are undergraduate; 15% are graduate/post-baccalaureate
  • 60% are female; 40% are male
  • 65% are from the Midwest; 35% are from all over the country, including Texas, New York, Maryland, Colorado, Montana, California, and from around the world, including Great Britain, Chile, the Netherlands, China, Germany, Taiwan, Italy, and Korea
  • 97% receive financial aid
  • 29% of undergraduates are students of color
  • 25% of undergraduates come from private, parochial, and homeschools
  • 38% of undergraduates are transfer students
  • 90% of first-year students live on campus
  • 21 is the average age of our undergraduates
  • All undergraduates complete at least one internship
  • 96.4% of our graduates report working in their fields of study (full-time, part-time, or freelancing) within the one-year time frame that our most recent survey was conducted (750 respondents; conducted one year after graduation)
Do students get jobs after graduation?

Yes, 76% of our alumni report work in their chosen fields after graduation. Our Core Four curriculum and career services help students develop professional skills, network, and find open positions. Many alumni start their own businesses; others work for advertising companies, design firms, interactive agencies, and a variety of other organizations. Plus, the Twin Cities is ranked the number one metro area for employment rates of people ages 21–30, and a large percentage of our jobs are art/design-related.

How is MCAD different than a liberal arts college?

The main difference is that, after learning, MCAD students apply knowledge to make or create objects (typically visual). The process of learning, making, and critiquing are at the heart of the MCAD learning experience. The MCAD learning experience is a combination of theoretical learning, applied learning, and professional skills development.

Where can I find additional facts and figures about MCAD?

The National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), a division of the U.S. Department of Education, is the primary federal entity for collecting and analyzing data related to education in the U.S. and other nations. Visit MCAD's section on NCES's College Navigator to learn more about us.


Does MCAD offer study abroad options?

Yes, students can choose from a number of study abroad options as well as programs that allow you to study elsewhere in the United States.

Are the instructors and professors working professionals?

Yes, all of our studio instructors are working professional artists or designers as well as passionate and skilled teachers. Plus, with a 10:1 student to faculty ratio, students are easily able to receive personal attention. Learn more about our faculty.

What is the difference between a BFA and a BSc degree?

The bachelor of fine arts (BFA) is an undergraduate studio degree. 2/3 of the classes are spent learning and creating things (fine art pieces, websites, designs, etc.). The remaining 1/3 of the classes are in traditional liberal arts (writing, research, humanities). The BFA curriculum is rooted by Core Four—fundamental courses that are structured to enrich each student's professional development over four years.

The bachelor of science (BSc) is an undergraduate degree that comprises 2/3 communications, liberal arts, and business courses, and 1/3 studio courses. Students’ interests, goals, and strengths dictate which program is a better fit. The BSc curriculum integrates three critical dimensions of creative communication: creative management courses, studio courses, and liberal studies courses.

Do you have fashion or interior design? What about ceramics?

No, we currently do not offer areas of study in fashion design, interior design, or ceramics.

What if I am interested in taking classes that MCAD doesn't offer (e.g. chemistry)?

MCAD has a partnership with Macalester College for students interested in specific courses not offered by MCAD. Courses at Macalester may be limited based on schedule, availability, and prerequisites.

Does MCAD have any online programs?

Yes, MCAD offers two online programs: the post-baccalaureate certificate in interactive design and marketing and the master of arts in sustainable design. We also offer a post-baccalaureate certificate in graphic design for working professionals—this course is taught in a part-time, evening and weekend format.


What is a portfolio?

This documented body of artwork you have produced is required for admission to many of the academic programs at MCAD. Requirements differ depending on the program to which you are applying, but generally 12–20 images of your work are required. Learn more about specific program requirements.

Can I view a sample portfolio?

Yes, please contact to see sample portfolio work.

How many high school credits of art, math, science, etc., are required for admission to MCAD?

MCAD doesn't require specific high school classes or a count of credits, but an applicant's transcript and GPA are important parts of the application. Students must successfully meet their high school and state requirements for graduation. For students wishing to enter our BFA program, the portfolio of artwork is the most important component of the application, while the written statement is the most important for a BSc applicant. Learn more about undergraduate admissions requirements.

Do you accept AP/IB/PSEO/pre-college credits?

We may accept up to 21 transfer credits from advanced placement courses (AP), international baccalaureate programs (IB), post-secondary enrollment option (PSEO), and other pre-college programs. Learn more about this credit acceptance policy.

Do you accept transfer credits from other colleges/universities?

MCAD welcomes and values transfer students, as they add experience, insight, and knowledge to our creative community. While we are selective with transfer credits, we will apply any credits that meet our criteria toward an eventual MCAD degree. Learn more about our transfer credit acceptance policy.

What is a transfer student?

You should apply as a transfer student if you have graduated from a high school program (or an equivalent) and enrolled at a post-secondary institution. If you're thinking about switching from another college/university or are considering going back to college after a break, our admissions counselors are ready to help you transfer to MCAD.

What are the minimum GPA and ACT/SAT scores required for admission to undergraduate programs?

Because MCAD looks at the complete application package, we do not have minimum GPA or standardized test score requirements. Nonetheless, we are a selective college. The median ACT composite score for enrolled students is 23 and the median high school GPA is 3.2.

What is the acceptance rate?

MCAD's acceptance rate is about 60%.

What are international student admissions requirements and deadlines?

International students have the same requirements and deadlines as non-international students, however, there are a few additional materials international students must submit with their applications.

How can I schedule a visit to your campus?

Admissions counselors are available to meet with prospective students by appointment Monday through Friday during normal business hours. We also regularly host prospective student events.

What are your application deadlines?
What if I know I want to be an artist, but don't want to limit myself by getting an art degree?

Art degrees aren't limiting—just check out the variety of fields our alumni end up in. We'll give you what you need to succeed as a visual artist, but if you're not sure you want to eat, sleep, and breathe art, why not consider our bachelor of science degree?


What are the tuition and costs at MCAD?

To see the most up-to-date tuition and associated costs of attendance, please visit the admissions section.

What kinds of financial aid are available?

Grants, scholarships, loans, and work study are all ways you can offset the cost of your education. To see a list of financial aid types offered to MCAD students, please visit the admissions section.

How do I apply for financial aid?

Students and their parents should complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) between January 1 and March 1 to receive priority for need-based financial aid. You do not need to be accepted to MCAD before completing the FAFSA.

Do you participate in Tuition Exchange, GI Bill, Yellow Ribbon, SAGE Scholars Tuition, and other similar programs?

Yes! Visit our financial aid pages for undergraduates and graduates to see what opportunities are available to students.

Student Life

Do you have housing?

Yes, MCAD has co-ed, on-campus apartments located within easy walking distance to classes. Housing is available for 275 students on average. About 90% of first-year students choose to live on campus, but our campus is in a residential neighborhood near many shops and restaurants, and many students choose to live in nearby houses or apartments.

Are clubs or sports available to students?

MCAD has a club for everyone from classic movie buffs to recess lovers (and if you think of something new, you can always form your own). If you want to stay in shape, we have an on-campus fitness center as well.

What do MCAD students do for fun?

Aside from coursework, you mean? We regularly offer on-campus events for students, plus MCAD sits in the heart of a thriving arts and cultural neighborhood—we share a block with the Minneapolis Institute of Arts and are a few steps away from the famed Eat Street. A short bike or bus ride will take you downtown for shopping, live music, or sports, and an even shorter ride will take you to uptown for the same. Learn more about Twin Cities living.

Are the Twin Cities supportive of the arts?

Yes! The cities are a vibrant hub of creativity and activity with a strong arts and cultural presence (we are the sixth most creative metropolitan area in the nation). From visual arts to music, theater to sporting events, we have it all. And the MCAD campus is in the heart of it.

What is winter in Minnesota like?

Yes, it gets cold and snows in Minnesota in the winter, but many students from milder climates learn to like winter. The weather is no reason to stay inside all of the time. Student Life and Activities provides a number of opportunities for students to get outside and enjoy the winter.