School of Art, Yale

There is no question that Yale is among the most prestigious institutions of higher learning in the world. Its rich history, its superior faculty and resources, and its long list of distinguished alumni all contribute to Yale's grand legacy as a top school. Located in New Haven, Connecticut, this Ivy League school also boasts one of the top art programs in the country, and deservedly so as the students and faculty alike merit consistent acclaim for their innovation and contribution to the arts. Additionally, the School of Art maintains a long history of scholarship and has served as a strong influence for a great many artists and their respective schools. Though the School of Art was officially founded and linked to Yale in the year 1869, the founding of the Trumbull Gallery in 1832 marks the truest origination of the school as it was not only one of the earliest art museums in the Anglo-Saxon world, but also among the first to offer educational instruction in the arts. Today, the school is "devoted not only to the refinement of the visual skills, but to the cultivation of the mind." Students are expected to bring "creative force and imagination to their own development" and the school, in turn, provides "an educational context in which they can explore the potential of their own talents in the midst of an intense critical dialogue".

As is to be expected from a school such as Yale, the programs are rigorous, rewarding, and among the best in the nation. The School of Art offers professional instruction in four interrelated areas of study: graphic design, painting/printmaking, photography, and sculpture. The School offers an undergraduate art major in Yale College, while also allowing students to explore other elective courses in the other graduate and professional schools as well as in the College with permission. The degree of Master of Fine Arts is the only degree offered by the School of Art and is only granted after successful completion of coursework (minimum of sixty credits) and a thesis presentation approved by the faculty.

In addition to the exceptional programs maintained by the art department, the facilities and resources available to art students are second to none. The Digital Lab and Digital Media Center for the Arts offer well equipped technology, particularly in relation to the graphic arts. Moreover, the Ralph Mayer Learning Center, the Yale University Arts Library, the Sterling Memorial Library, and the Visual Resources Center all provide a wealth of information and materials to further enhance the academic experience. Most notably, however, the Yale University Art Gallery and the Yale Center for British Art are clearly the best resources for students. Founded in 1832 by patriot-artist John Trumbell, the Yale University Art Gallery offers a permanent collection that features works by van Gogh, Manet, Monet, Picasso, and Homer, as well as opportunities for valuable training and instruction in art history and museum training. Furthermore, the Yale Center for British Art houses the largest and most comprehensive collection of British Art outside the United Kingdom. Both facilities are nationally recognized and further enhance the already rich academic experience for art students.

Ultimately, the truest validation of a school's success lies in the quality of students it produces and, consequently, the distinguished list of art students who have graduated from Yale are to be considered the department's greatest achievement. Among this list of notables are painters Jennifer Bartlett, Chuck Close, John Currin, Mark Rothko, and Rackstraw Downes, photographers Gregory Crewdson and Philip-Lorca diCorcia, sculptors Richard Serra, Eva Hesse, and Nancy Graves, installation artist Matthew Barney, cartoonist Garry Trudeau, and "Hammering Man" artist Johnathan Borofsky. Any prospective student considering Yale should find comfort in the fact that the school has already served so many, so well.

The Numbers:

Enrollment: 119 (School of Art); 11,017 (entire Yale population)
Student Body: 13% Asian
7% African American
6% Hispanic
1% Native American
73% Caucasian
15% International (110 countries represented)
53% Female, 47% Male
Other Student Body Characteristics:

88% of undergraduates live in University housing.
98% of Freshmen return for their sophomore year.
95% graduate within five years; 96% graduate within six years.
85% are from out-of-state; 9% are from foreign countries.
The average age of an undergraduate is 20.

Student to Faculty ratio: 6:1 (ratio applies to University numbers)
Average SAT scores: 1490
Faculty: 103

Admissions and Cost:

Given its Ivy League status, admissions standards for Yale are highly selective. In fact, of the 19,451 students who applied in 2005, only 10% were accepted and 95% of those students were in the top 10% of their high school class.
Admissions requirements for the undergraduate art program require a completed application form, a copy of your high school transcript, an essay or personal statement, a standardized test score, and a statement of good standing from any prior institutions. In addition, prospective art students are encouraged to set up an interview through admissions, as well as submit supplementary art samples. According to the Yale Admissions web site: “Slides of your art work may be submitted as a supplement to your application for admission to Yale College with the following guidelines: (1) Submit no more than one sheet of 20 color transparencies of 35 mm size. These transparencies should be enclosed in a standard 8 1/2 x 11 plastic slide sheet designed for this purpose. (2) The slides should specifically include some drawing samples. Although digital cd portfolios will be accepted, slides are preferred. (3) Choose pieces of your work which demonstrate the fullest possible range of your talents. Try to ensure that your technical and expressive abilities are equally represented. (4) A simple typewritten inventory must accompany each plastic sheet. The inventory should include your full name (as it appears on your admissions application), your U.S. social security number (if available), your high school, and the state or country in which your high school is located. (5) Each slide must be numbered and the corresponding inventory entry should include the full name, medium, size, and date of the work. Please indicate if the work was done from life. Please keep in mind that any submitted materials will not be returned.
Tuition and Financial Aid*



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2004-05 Undergraduate Financial Aid
All scholarships and grants are awarded on the basis of demonstrated financial need.

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* Charts provided by Yale University website.


Bachelor of Art:         Art (Drawing, Filmmaking, Graphic Design, Painting, Photography, Printmaking, and Sculpture)

Master of Fine Arts:  Graphic Design, Painting/Printmaking, Photography, and Sculpture

Yale University Undergraduate
Admissions, 38 Hillhouse Avenue
New Haven, CT 06511
Telephone: 203-432-9300
Fax: 203-432-9392
Web Site:
Questions for Yale Students: