Interview with Ms. Carmina Cianciulli, Assistant Dean for Admissions

at Tyler School of Art, Temple University

  1. What are the top three reasons that students choose to pursue a graduate degree in the visual arts?
    Students choose to pursue a graduate degree to have two years of uninterrupted time to develop their work, to work with well known, well respected faculty, and to prepare for careers requiring advanced or terminal degrees.
  2. Professionally speaking, why should students pursue graduate programs in art? What advantages can they attain from it? When is the best time to pursue one?
    Most careers in academia require an advanced degree for positions as faculty or administrators. Many galleries and museums respect the dedication that is pursuant to obtaining an MFA. The best time to pursue an MFA is at least a year or two after receiving the undergraduate degree. Students who wait a while before entering an MFA tend to be more focused, and more motivated.
  3. What are the three most important factors that prospective students should consider when evaluating and choosing a graduate program in the visual arts?
    The three most important factors - does the school offer the curriculum/discipline in which the student is most interested? Does the school have the faculty with whom the student is interested in working? Is the school in a geographic area where the student wishes to be for the next two years?
  4. How is your graduate art program different than those at other schools? How is technology integrated into your programs?
    Tyler's graduate program has a nationally recognized faculty who bring to the program a reputation for excellence in teaching with a wide range of attitudes and philosophic positions. Tyler is always highly ranked in the US News and World Report Graduate School Rankings. Digital imaging and newer technologies are available across all disciplines.
  5. How selective are graduate schools for the visual arts, and what are some hot tips for getting accepted?
    Each graduate program has it's own level of selectivity; Tyler is highly selected. The best tip is to make sure that the slides are sharp and presented professionally, and that the resume, cover letter and artist's statement are well written.
  6. How do most students fund their graduate education? How available are scholarships and other forms of financial assistance at your school?
    Many students receive at least one semester of full financial support. Others do have the opportunity for assistantships or fellowships up to two years. Many of the students qualify for financial aid.
  7. Can an MFA include a focus on just about any visual art discipline? What's the difference between an MFA with a specialization and an MA in any given specialty?
    Tyler's MFA students each choose a particular focus or major, but many students are working in ways that are interdisciplinary.
  8. How does your school help its students to find jobs in the visual arts?
    Students make use of the faculty and alumni network, as well the Temple University Career Development Office in order to find jobs. Many students join the CAA (College Artists Association), and look for jobs via the arts-related internet sites.
  9. Tell us about some of your MFA graduates.
    Tyler's alumni include recent participants in the Whitney Biennial, Grammy Award winning designers, recipients of Pew, Fullbright and NEA grants, and are artists, art educators, designers, craftspeople, gallery owners, and scholars throughout the world.
  10. Tell us about some of your noteworthy faculty.
    Winifred Lutz, Sculpture, recent winner of the Pew, nationally recognized sculptor, Jude Tallichet, Fullbright award winner, Sculpture; Stanley Lechtzin, Metals/Jewelry/CAD-CAM, considered the Father of American Metalsmithing; noted metals artists Vickie Sedman and Daniella Kerner; Joe Scorsone, Graphic and Interactive Design, internationally recognized graphic designer; award winning graphic designers Alice Drueding, Stephanie Knopp, Scott Laserow, Paul Sheriff, Dermot McCormack; Stanley Whitney, Dona Nelson, faculty in Painting, both Guggenheim award winners; noted painters Charles Schmidt, Susan Moore, Richard Cramer, Frank Bramblett, Margo Margolis; noted printmakers John Dowell, Hester Stinnett, Dan Dallmann; award-winning Photographers Martha Madigan, Michael Becotte, and Vida; noted Glass artist Jon Clark; award winning Clay artists Robert Winokur and Nick Kripal; internationally recognized Fibers artist Rebecca Medel; art historians Therese Dolan, Gerald Silk, Marcia Hall, Jane Evans, Phillip Betancourt, Glen Benge, Elizabeth Bolman, Tracy Cooper, Kurt Behrendt, Abraham Davidson, Cynthia Lawrence
  11. Please write and answer three other questions you think of that would benefit prospective students.
    1. How do I find funding for my graduate education?
      Not all assistantships or fellowships are awarded by the individual department or major. Most art schools also offer technical or non-teaching assistantships in administrative areas. Be sure to ask the Admissions Office or Graduate program office about potential assistantships in admissions, dean's office, financial aid, or housing.
    2. How do I know if a school is right for me?
      It's important to visit the colleges that you are most interested in, and speak to the current graduate students. Many students wait to see which schools will accept them before making visits. Be sure that if you can the living expenses as well as the tuition.
    3. How do I research what programs might be right for me?
      Websites like and are good places to start. Also check out the National Portfolio Day Association's website at for National Portfolio Day events. The most important resource remains the art faculty in your baccalaureate program. If your school has a graduate program in the visual arts, go to some of the graduate students to ask about the graduate programs in their former institutions. Also, read the faculty bios in the schools that interest you and research the schools that the faculty attended.

Graduate Program Profile: Tyler School of Art, Temple University

Enrollment: 90 graduate, 900 undergraduate

School Tuition (in-state/out-of-state): No Response

Student/Faculty Ratio: 11/1

Graduation rate: 95% graduate, 78% undergraduate

Graduate degrees and programs offered in visual arts: MFA in the following majors: Ceramics, Glass, Graphic and Interactive Design, Fibers, Metals/Jewelry/CAD-CAM, Painting, Photography, Printmaking, Sculpture, MED in Art Education, MA, PHD in Art History

The mission of your graduate art school: The MFA program is intended for students whose work has achieved strong definition and who seek continued artistic growth and education within a specific discipline. The objective of the master's degree in Art History is to prepare the student thoroughly for further graduate work or for specialized training as the foundation of a career. The doctoral degree is intended to prepare a student for college teaching or for other research-oriented positions requiring advanced specialized study.

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