Beyond Alternatives was a two-day symposium at the University of Illinois that focused on artist-led organizing taking place outside of large metropolitan areas. Paddy Johnson, the editor of “Art F City,” presented the keynote lecture.

The School of Art + Design at the University of Illinois is a thriving community of artists, designers, educators, and historians, committed to excellence and innovation in the practice, study, and teaching of the visual arts. Significant financial support packages are available to most graduate students in the form of fellowships and graduate appointments, which include a full tuition waiver and stipend.

Situated in the College of Fine and Applied Arts, students in the school have access to all the interdisciplinary resources of a research one university. We urge you to explore some of the institutions, resources, events, and opportunities that await our new cohort. Of particular interest to many of our graduate students are the School of Art and Design Visitor Series, the Krannert Art Museum, the Siebel Center for Design, Krannert Center for the Performing Arts, the Center for Advanced Study, and the Illinois Program for Research in the Humanities, among a number of others. 

We also invite prospective students to visit campus, meet with faculty and current students, attend an event or two, and experience our community. Due to the current pandemic, we’re currently offering virtual events, which include tours, open houses, and live-chat opportunities.

Graduate students can earn degrees from the University of Illinois’s Studio and Design Programs, which offer MFA degrees with concentrations in Metals, Studio Art (Painting, Sculpture, New Media, Printmaking, and Photography), Graphic Design and Design for Responsible Innovation, and Industrial Design, and the Art Education Program, which offers EdM, MA, and PhDs, as well as the Art History Program, which offers both an MA and a PhD degree as well as a Minor.

Explore the websites for Art + Design and the Graduate College for more information on the different programs and their application details, including deadlines and funding.

Interested in viewing work by the MFA Class of 2020 or meeting some of our current students? Visit

Please direct any questions regarding the graduate admissions process to Ellen de Waard, our Coordinator in Graduate Academic Affairs, at or (217) 333-0642.