Visual Arts Degree

This field will no longer be accepting applicants after the spring 2017 admission cycle (March 15 to April 15, 2017). If you have started your admissions coursework, you may continue and apply during summer, fall, or spring (see Degree Program Admission for specific dates). To find courses, you can log into online services and choose Degree Program Admissions from the menu.

If you have not taken any admissions courses, you may be interested in either the graduate certificate in visual arts or the graduate degree field of digital media design

Explore various artistic forms, such as painting, mixed media, animation, photography, and film. By studying the important role imagery has played throughout history, you gain a deeper understanding of how visual representations reflect the complexities of humanity.

Key learning outcomes

Through the degree in the field of visual arts you develop:

  • Skills in visual arts media, including writing, drawing, film direction, production and editing, and digital storytelling.
  • An understanding of the use of visual arts and media throughout history and across cultures.

Program Overview

The degree includes nine courses—at least three taken on campus—and a thesis.

  • Get started. You begin by completing three admission courses from the program curriculum. This is your opportunity to demonstrate your commitment and ability to perform well as a Harvard student
  • Apply to the program. While you are completing your third admission course, you submit your application. We have application periods in the fall, spring, and summer.
  • Continue your studies, online and on campus. As you progress through the program, you choose from courses offered on campus or online, in the fall, spring, or summer. To fully experience Harvard, you take at least three courses on campus as part of your degree.
  • Complete your thesis. Working with a thesis director, you conduct in-depth research on a topic relevant to your work experience or academic interests, producing publishable quality results. You’ll emerge with a solid understanding of how research is executed and communicated.
  • Graduate with your Harvard degree. You participate in the annual Harvard Commencement, receiving your Harvard University degree: Master of Liberal Arts (ALM) in extension studies, field: Visual Arts.


Affordability is core to our mission. Our 2016–17 graduate tuition is $2,550 per course; the total tuition cost of earning the graduate degree is approximately $25,500.

There are a number of financial aid options available once you’re admitted to the program.