Graduate Student

Beginning in Fall 2020, Watkins College of Art will merge with Belmont University to become Watkins College of Art at Belmont University. As of March 16, 2020, Watkins is no longer accepting applications for Watkins College of Art at Belmont University; however, those who applied prior to March 15, 2020 will still be processed for admissions decisions. For students contemplating matriculation beyond Fall 2020, we invite you to visit Belmont’s Admissions hub, speak to one of the university’s many admissions counselors, learn about their spectrum of arts facilities and career services for creative professionals, as well as discover all the Belmont community has to offer via these links:

Applying as a graduate student

Here’s how to apply if you are a prospective graduate student and have earned, or will earn, a bachelor’s degree before you start a graduate program at Watkins. In addition to providing the materials listed below, you must complete an in-person or online interview if you are a finalist for admission to one of our graduate programs.

Complete and submit these items using the online application service Slideroom:

  • Online application.
  • $50 application fee payable to Watkins College of Art.
  • Portfolio of your work (required for the MFA in Film Production Program or MFA in Visual Arts).
  • Statement of Purpose (800 to 1,000 words) that describes your reasons for applying to Watkins and your goals for graduate study. Your statement should address the following:
    • Formal and conceptual aspects of your current artistic practice.
    • Social, historical, and/or cultural context of your current artistic practice.
    • Strengths and limitations of your work (include formal, research, and writing considerations).
    • What you hope to achieve in the program.
  • Letters of recommendation (two or three)
  • Curriculum vita or résumé detailing education, work experience, exhibitions, prizes, awards, and publications.

Have these items sent directly to us:

  • For the MFA in Visual Arts—two letters of recommendation. These letters should discuss your qualifications as an artist for independent graduate study in art and the ability to interact productively with others in an intensive living/learning environment. If possible, one of these recommendations should be from a teacher who can reflect on your artistic potential from an academic perspective.
  • For the MFA in Film Production—three letters of recommendation. These letters should be completed by individuals who can speak to your potential to succeed at Watkins—people you know through school, work, or professional activity (not a relative or friend).
  • College transcripts showing a bachelor’s degree with a minimum 3.0 GPA. Any prior graduate study should show a minimum 3.25 GPA.


Portfolio requirements for the MFA in Film Production Program

You must have completed an undergraduate degree in filmmaking to qualify for entrance into the MFA in Film Production Program. Your portfolio of film work must demonstrate skills and a leading role in one or more of five areas—producing, directing, writing, cinematography, or editing.

  • Film projects should be a minimum of 15 minutes in length (multiple examples may be used) and a maximum of 30 minutes (longer projects should be excerpted).
  • Screenplays of which you are the author should be a minimum of 30 pages and a maximum of 120 pages. Submit this in lieu of a produced film if you are primarily a screenwriter.

Portfolio requirements for the MFA in Visual Arts Program

You must have completed an undergraduate degree to qualify for entrance into the MFA in Visual Arts program. Your portfolio must represent work completed within the last five years in one of the following categories:

  • Images—a total of 15 to 20.
  • Audio, installation, or time-based work—a total of 15 minutes.
  • Combination of images (a total of 10) and audio, installation, or time-based work (a total of 10 minutes).

Faculty committee review

A committee of full-time Watkins faculty will review your application materials to determine your potential to progress successfully through our curriculum. Committee members will evaluate your technical skills, aesthetic sensibilities, critical thinking, and writing skills.

If we discover deficiencies in your prior training or work, we may require you to take additional courses at Watkins before we fully admit you to the graduate program. We will determine additional course requirements based on our review of your portfolio and transcripts.