Admissions requirements

Application materials are to be uploaded onto your admissions profile (NOTE: see instructions under application procedures).

All applicants must meet the admission requirements of the Graduate College (see also the Graduate College section of the UI General Catalog) and the department they wish to enter or the application will not be reviewed.

Note: Jewelry and Metal Arts is not accepting applications at this time.

Requirements for graduate admission

  • Applicants whose first or official language is not English and whose previous academic degrees were not earned at an English-language institution must score as follows on the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL): for art history applicants, at least 100 (internet-based). All applicants must have a minimum TOEFL iBT speaking score of 26 and a listening score of 25. An application will not be reviewed if scores are lower than the requirements specify. 
  • As an alternative to taking the TOEFL, students may take the International English Language Testing System (IELTS).  A total IELTS score of 7.0, with no subscore less than 6.0.  In addition, all IELTS test takers - regardless of score - will be required to take an on-campus English Proficiency Evaluation.
  • Prospective graduate students must meet the School of Art and Art History's admission requirements for the specific degree programs they plan to enter or the application will not be reviewed. Prospective students must submit application materials to the University's Office of Graduate Admissions and to the specific program they wish to enter. Program-specific application requirements and deadline dates are listed in the appropriate sections that follow.

  • ​All applicants must meet the admission requirements of the Graduate College; see the Manual of Rules and Regulations of the Graduate College.

  • Art history applicants: Although exceptions may be made when other components of the application are strong, applicants should have an undergraduate grade-point average (GPA) of at least 3.25 on a 4.00 scale.

Art history applicants must have a bachelor's degree, preferably in art history or a related field.

*Non-native speakers of English should note that most students are funded through teaching, and the Iowa Board of Regents mandates that all non-native speakers of English pass an oral English test in order to teach; the equivalent of an iBT speaking section score of 26 is required.  No applicant will be considered without the TOEFL exam.

NOTE: All students for whom English is not a first language and who have first-time appointments as graduate teaching assistants (TAs) are required to take a test to assess their effectiveness in speaking English before they are assigned assistantship responsibilities.  No applicant will be considered for an appointment without a TOEFL iBT speaking section score of 26 and a listening score of 25. The IELTS scores are not taken into consideration for TA appointments it must be the TOEFL exam scores.

The English Speaking Proficiency Assessment (ESPA) is the test the University of Iowa uses to assess these students' oral language and listening skills. The English Language Performance Test (ELPT) is a supplement to the ESPA test and is designed to measure prospective TAs' ability to communicate in English in a classroom context in their own field of study. The ELPT attempts to identify specific aspects of language likely to present communication problems for the new TA whose first language is not English. The ELPT is given to students who have scored 50 or 55 on the ESPA, and to foreign language TAs who have scored 45. 

Learn more about the ESPA and ELPT visit the English as a Second Language website.

  • You may apply online at the admissions website.
  • After you submit your application, you will receive email instructions on how to establish your HawkID and password in order to access your admissions profile on MyUI, our online portal for students. You will then upload the required supplemental documents (see list below) through a secure portal. 

Required documents are listed as follows (to be uploaded to your admissions profile):

  • Transcripts from all colleges and universities the applicant has attended (unofficial is acceptable for the application process-, official copies needed later)
  • Contact information for three people who will write letters of recommendation. The recommender will then receive an email from the Office of Admissions instructing them on how to upload a recommendation letter.  Letters should be written by persons able to assess your potential for graduate study.
  • Statement of Purpose


  • Art history: A research paper (preferably from an art history course) or thesis that demonstrates your potential to undertake graduate-level research in art history
  • A 1,000-word personal statement describing their intellectual development, academic interests, and career goals; the statement must name the University of Iowa faculty member under whose guidance the applicant hopes to work and tell how that faculty member's area of expertise, or how the art history program, is especially suited to the applicant's interests and goals.

Applicants should consult the Art and Art History policies and procedures.

  • Art historySupplemental information
  • Students who completed an MA at the University of Iowa and who wish to apply for entrance into the PhD program must make a formal application for change of status through the graduate program coordinator. Applications are evaluated in the context of the entire applicant pool.


  • Studio art: Portfolio (see the following requirements) Images in the portfolio should be uploaded as a PDF file. The images should be no larger than 72 dpi and 1240 by 1240 pixels. File size must not exceed 18 MB. Images must be numbered according to the order in which they are to be presented to the admissions committee, beginning with 01.
  • Studio art: Inventory list that includes each image's name, title, medium, size, and the approximate date of work, as well as the student's name and emphasis. Inventory list may be a separate PDF file. You may also include a link to your personal website.

Portfolio contents and submission requirements are as follows:

Ceramics: Ten to twenty images.

3D design and jewelry and metal arts: Eight images in the primary studio art medium and including two images in a second medium.

Graphic design: Documentation of 15 to 20 projects. Applicants should include a brief description of each work, illustrated with embedded still images and supplemented by links to online media. The precise number of images varies according to the nature of the work; contact the School of Art and Art History with questions.

Intermedia: Documentation of 5 to 10 projects. Applicants should include a brief description of each work, illustrated with embedded still images and supplemented by links to online media. The precise number of images varies according to the nature of the work; contact the School of Art and Art History with questions.

Painting and drawing: Eight images in the primary studio art medium (either painting or drawing) and two in a second medium.

Photography: Fifteen to twenty images.

Printmaking: Ten to twenty images.

Sculpture: Twenty images in sculpture, including details, and two or three images in a second medium.

No separate application is necessary for scholarships or teaching/research assistantships for either art history or studio art applicants.

The Office of Graduate Admissions notifies all applicants by mail of admission decisions. Acceptance notification cannot be given over the phone by either the admissions office or the School of Art and Art History.

Phone: 319-335-1758

Mail additional materials to:
School of Art and Art History
Graduate Program Coordinator
University of Iowa
150 Art Building West
Iowa City, IA 52242-7000

Important deadlines

Application deadline dates for submission of materials to the Office of Graduate Admissions are:

  • Dec. 1, 2024 for art history programs
  • Feb. 1, 2024 for studio arts programs

All applications are for fall admission.