The Yale University School of Art

Founded in 1869, The Yale University School of Art grants purely Masters of Fine Arts degrees in sculpture, printmaking, photography, painting, and graphic design. Their application process is extremely thorough and accepts only undergraduate students with almost perfect records.

As an example of the schools’ exclusivity, in November of 2008, just 65 from 1,142 applications were granted admission to the School of Art for 2010. The Master of Fine Arts program in The School of Art for Printmaking/Painting allows just 21 students per year.

Global speakers and iconic alumni

One of the School’s biggest selling points is the number of art community connections accessible by students. Even those yet to graduate are believed to have agreed deals with galleries, as well as global exhibitions. World-famous speakers also treat students to their knowledge and experience, including renowned global sculptors and artists.

Students are assessed at the end of the semester when their work is evaluated based on the very highest levels of art criticism. This is a mere part of why Yale is among the most prestigious and best art schools in the U.S.

Alumni include iconic individuals of contemporary and modern art like Peter Halley, Richard Serra, Chuck Close, and more recently Matthew Barney and Wangechi Mutu. A number of members of the Yale faculty have defined what success means at the school, most notably Department of Design chair (1950-1958) Josef Albers, and photography teacher (1964-1972) Walker Evans.

Albers’ knowledge of art and its process, rather than the completed product, made a huge contribution to art and design as a taught profession in the 20th century. Other notable members of the faculty include Barbara London, Carroll Dunham, Huma Bhabba, Shirin Neshat, and Trevor Paglen.

Artistic standards

The Yale School of Art’s mission is to offer hands-on and intellectually informed instruction to its students in the array of artistic practices it offers. The School was founded on a belief that all art is an essential force in both national and global culture.

It also believes that the standards by which a society is judged include the technical and formal innovation, critical insight, creative freedom, and quality of the art they produce. The student body comprises those whose exclusive primary emphasis is art, along with those for who the subject is a critical part of a varied course of inquiry.

In 1869, students were first able to enrol in the School of Fine Arts. It was the very first of its type that was affiliated with an American tertiary institution. Benjamin Silliman Jr’s daughters, Susan and Alice, enrolled in the very first three-student cohort and the fine arts school became among Yale’s first schools to allow males and females to be educated together.

In the following 40 years, more than two in three of the students were female. The three-year program awarded a certificate of completion early on. In 1891, the school established a degree program, with the university’s governing body authoring a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree.