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Yale School of Art

Yale University School of Art
Established 1869
Type Private
Dean Robert Storr
Academic staff 100
Students 126(MFA)
Location New Haven, Connecticut, USA

The Yale University School of Art is one of twelve constituent schools of Yale University. It is an art school, granting only Masters of Fine Arts degrees to those completing studies in graphic design, painting/printmaking, photography, or sculpture.

U.S. News & World Report's 2012 and 2013 rankings[1] rated Yale first in the United States for its Masters of Fine Arts programs. The Yale Daily News reported in February 2007 that 1215 applicants for its class of 2009 sought admission to fifty-five places. The Yale Alumni Magazine reported in November 2008 that the School admitted sixty-five applicants from among 1142 for its class of 2010, and that fifty-six enrolled.

Any student applying to the school must have an exceptional undergraduate record as well as a complete body of work for presentation. This is further followed by an essay and recommendations. The complete process for an applicant requires great preparation and the process must be completed in accordance with strict guidelines established by the school.[2]


  • History 1
  • Study 2
  • References 3
  • External links 4


The study of the visual arts at Yale began with the opening of the Trumbull Gallery in 1832. The Gallery was founded by patriot-artist Colonel John Trumbull with the help of Professor Benjamin Silliman, a prominent chemist.[3]

Augustus Russell Street donated funds for the establishment of an art school in 1864. The program was placed under an art council, one of whose members was the painter-inventor Samuel F. B. Morse, a graduate of Yale College. Yale alumnus Andrew Dickson White was petitioned by the school's faculty to become the first dean, but instead opted to be the first president of Cornell University. When the School opened in 1869, it was the first of its kind affiliated with a tertiary institution in America. Classes in drawing, painting, sculpture, and art history were inaugurated.

Architectural instruction was begun in 1908 and was established as a department in 1916 with Everett Victor Meeks at its head. Drama, under the direction of George Pierce Baker and with its own separate building, was added in 1925 and continued to function as a department of the School until it became an independent school in 1955.

The department of graphic design (initially called graphic arts) was begun in 1951 under the direction of Alvin Eisenman. It was the first graduate program in graphic design in the United States.

In 1959 the School of Art and Architecture was made a fully graduate professional school. Four years later the Art and Architecture Building was opened to much controversy. Designed by Paul Rudolph, it falls under the category of brutalism in modernist architecture.

In 1972 two separate schools, the School of Art and the School of Architecture, were established. They continued to share the Art and Architecture building until 2000. In 2000, the art school opened a new building at 1156 Chapel Street, near the Rudolph building. It is called Green Hall and houses BFA and MFA students in photography and graphic design. The painting MFAs have their own building behind Green Hall; sculpture MFAs, who used to be in Hammond Hall across campus (since demolished), are now in a new sculpture building at 36 Edgewood, designed by Kiernan Timberlake and Associates.[4]


The degree of Master of Fine Arts is the only degree offered by the School of Art. It is conferred upon recommendation of the faculty after successful completion of all course work in residence and after a faculty-approved thesis presentation. The minimum residence requirement is two years. All candidates’ work is reviewed by faculty at the end of each term. Yale College, the undergraduate division of Yale University, offers a Bachelor of Arts degree program with a major in Art. Undergraduate applicants wishing to major in Art at Yale must apply to Yale College directly.

The program in art offers courses that, through work in a variety of media, provide an experience in the visual arts as part of a liberal education as well as preparation for graduate study and professional work. Courses at the 100 level stress the fundamental aspects of visual formulation and articulation. Courses numbered 200 through 499 offer increasingly intensive study leading to greater specialization in one or more of the visual disciplines such as graphic design, painting/printmaking, photography, and sculpture.

The prerequisites for acceptance into the major are a Sophomore Review, which is an evaluation of work from studio courses taken at Yale School of Art, and five terms of introductory (100-level) courses. Four must be completed at the time of the Sophomore Review. Visual Thinking (Art 111a or b) and Basic Drawing (Art 114a or b) are mandatory. In exceptional cases, arrangements for a special review during the junior year may be made with the director of undergraduate studies in art.

For graduation as an art major, a total of fourteen 14 course credits in the major field is required. These fourteen course credits must include the following: (1) five prerequisite courses at the 100 level (including Visual Thinking and Basic Drawing); (2) five 200-level and above courses; (3) the Junior Major Seminar (Art 395a) or Critical Theory in the Studio (Art 201b); (4) the Senior Project (Art 495b); and (5) two courses in the History of Art. Suggested program guidelines and specific requirements for the various areas of concentration are available from the director of undergraduate studies. A suggested program guideline is as follows:

Freshman year Studio courses, two terms Sophomore year Studio courses, three terms Art history, one term Junior year Studio courses, three terms including the Junior Major Seminar Art history, one term Senior year Studio courses, four terms including the Senior Project.

The School of Art offers professional instruction in four interrelated areas of study: graphic design, painting/printmaking, photography, and sculpture.

The graduate student’s primary educational experience is centered on studio activity. Supporting this are structured courses such as drawing, filmmaking, and the relativity of color.

Among the list of notables artists who have graduated from Yale are painters Jennifer Bartlett, Chuck Close, John Currin, Rackstraw Downes, Janet Fish, Robert Mangold, Brice Marden and Kehinde Wiley; photographers Dawoud Bey, Gregory Crewdson and Philip-Lorca diCorcia; sculptors Eva Hesse, Nancy Graves, Wangechi Mutu, Martin Puryear, Frederic Remington, and Richard Serra; cartoonist Gary Trudeau and installation artist Matthew Barney.


  1. ^ 2013 Best Fine Arts Schools
  2. ^ [1] Yale University School of Art website
  3. ^ Yale School of Art: "History." Retrieved April 10, 2007.
  4. ^

External links

  • Official website
  • Yale Graphic Design Board

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