Memphis College of Art

Memphis College of Art

Memphis, TN
student ratio
total students
$29,550 | $29,550
in-state | out-of-state tuition
fall application deadline
acceptance rate
Moderately Difficult
admission difficulty
Average test scores for all first-year students that were accepted and enrolled.
sat math
sat reading
sat writing
act composite


An Art College with a Strong Liberal Arts Curriculum

Memphis College of Art (MCA), located in Memphis, Tennessee, is a small, independent college of art and design formerly known as Memphis Academy of Arts. Founded in 1936, the school is considered an important regional resource in a city widely recognized for its diverse cultural energy.

A rigorous program that combines the study and practice of visual arts with a well-rounded, forward-thinking liberal arts curriculum drives the learning environment at Memphis College of Art. Small by choice and purpose, the school is one of only 4 art colleges in the south to hold regional and national accreditation.

"U.S. News and World Report" ranks Memphis College of Art one of the best art colleges in the nation. According to a "Princeton Review" ranking, Memphis College of Art remains one of the nation's most affordable art colleges. Current undergraduate student population is about 400.

Satisfaction High Among Students and Alumni

Current and former Memphis College of Art students rate their experiences at MCA highly, citing the quality of faculty-student interaction and small class size as essential in preparing them for professional and personal lives of creative problem solving.

Alumni of MCA have gone on to enjoy successful careers as award-winning independent artists, art directors and designers, art therapists, gallery directors, department chairs, art professors, and instructors.

Comprehensive Undergraduate Degree Offerings

MCA offers Bachelor of Fine Arts (B.F.A.) degrees in a comprehensive variety of visual arts programs.

These include photography; digital media, with concentrations in animation; fine arts, with concentrations in drawing, painting, photography, printmaking and sculpture; and design arts, with concentrations in digital media, graphic design, illustration, and sequential narrative.

Liberal arts studies are an integral part of the MCA curriculum. Students are required to complete 33 hours of course work that emphasizes critical thinking, reading, writing, research, and presentation skills -- all of which are considered essential to the development of a well-rounded artist.

Full-time Faculty and Visitors Foster Individuality

The learning environment at MCA revolves around the artist as an individual. Classes are small, with a 10:1 student-teacher ratio. Memphis College of Art employs 61 full- and part-time faculty members. About 90 percent of the full-time teaching faculty hold the highest degree in their field.

In addition to regular full-time faculty, MCA hosts notable visiting faculty, artists, scholars, and critics from some of the most esteemed art communities in the U.S. and abroad. Students are given many opportunities to interact with these professionals in and out of the classroom.

Recent visiting faculty included award-winning food photographer Ben Fink, art historian Art DiFuria, and sculptor John Salvest, whose mixed media objects and installations have been exhibited throughout the country.

Creative Experiences at Home and Abroad

Memphis College of Art offers a variety of opportunities for extra-curricular study and experiences, including museum seminar trips to New York, Paris, Rome, London, and Berlin. The school also offers programs that enable students to study for a semester, for no additional tuition, at one of 30 other participating art colleges in the United States.

The nationally recognized Horn Island Workshop allows students to live and create art on Mississippi's rustic, pristine Horn Island. When they return, they present their work in the school's largest exhibition of the year.

Through MCA's New York Studio Program students can live, study, and create in the heart of the art world, with their own studios and regular critiques by professionals and mentors.

Tuition and Financial Aid

Financial aid is available in the form of institutional scholarships, state and federal grants, and loans. Work-study programs are also available for some students, depending upon need. Students, especially Tennessee residents, must complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) each year by February 1 to qualify for some state grants.

MCA also offers students assistance in meeting their educational expenses with a variety of merit scholarships.

Special merit scholarships are awarded for excellence each year by faculty nomination based on classroom performance and grade point average.

Living the Art of Memphis

Memphis College of Art is situated within the 342-acre wooded Overton Park section of midtown Memphis, in the heart of the city's cultural arts district.

From Beale Street's live blues, to the acclaimed Brooks Art Museum, to the glory of Graceland and everything Elvis, MCA students live, learn, and make art amid the sights and sounds of a vibrant, storied city.

There's also plenty to do on campus. MCA houses 5 campus galleries for faculty, student and visiting artist exhibitions. The college also hosts a variety of ongoing events and activities on campus including lectures, workshops, films, and forums.

Most of the city's sites and attractions are within 15 minutes of the MCA campus. Many students get around on bikes or use Memphis Area Transportation Authority (MATA) buses, which has stops throughout the city and most suburbs.

Location & Contact

Overton Park, 1930 Poplar Avenue
Memphis, TN 38104-2764

Gail Massey

Director of Enrollment

Phone: 901-272-5151
Fax: 901-272-5158

Request More Info

Majors & Degrees

Degrees Offered
  • Visual and performing arts
    • Design and Visual Communications
      Bachelor's Degree offered for this major.
    • Digital Arts
      Bachelor's Degree offered for this major.
    • Film/Cinema/Video Studies
      Bachelor's Degree offered for this major.
    • Fine/Studio Arts
      Bachelor's Degree offered for this major.
    • Painting
      Bachelor's Degree offered for this major.
    • Photography
      Bachelor's Degree offered for this major.


37% of applicants are admitted.
  • Acceptance Rate
    • Applied958
    • Accepted360
    • Acceptance Rate37%
    • Enrolled366
    • Female Applicants
    • Females Accepted
    • Female Acceptance Rate
    • Male Applicants
    • Males Accepted
    • Male Acceptance Rate
  • Applying
    • Application Fee$
    • Required for All Minimum high school GPA of 2
    • Required for Some
    • Average high school GPA for first-year freshman3.14
  • Application Deadlines
    • Type Application Closing Notification Date Rolling Admissions
    • Fall freshmen Yes
    • Out-of-state Fall freshmen Yes
    • Early decision plan Not Reported
    • Other early decision plan Not Reported
    • Transfer Yes
  • Test Scores Accepted
    • Test Average School Accepted 25th Percentile* 75th Percentile*
    • SAT Critical Reading
    • SAT Math
    • SAT Writing
    • ACT Composite 22 19 25
    • * 25th and 75th percentile is the score that 25/75 percent of students score at or below.

Tuition & Fees

  • Tuition
    • In-state tuition *$29,550
    • Out-of-state tuition *$29,550
    • In-district tuitionN/A
    • * Tuition costs are based on a full academic year typically extending from September to June.
  • Fees
    • Full-time student fees$700
    • Room and board *$8,500
    • Room only *$6,500
    • * Room and board charges vary according to board plan selected (i.e., 12-meal plan, 19-meal plan, etc.) and student level (freshman, sophomore, etc.)
  • Other Payment Considerations
    • Guaranteed tuition plan offeredNo
    • Tuition pre-payment planYes
    • Tuition payment plans offeredInstallments
    • Student groups that qualify for full or partial waiver of tuitionEmployees or children of employees

Student Body

  • Gender
    • Total Undergraduate Students366
    • Male Student Percentage35%
    • Female Student Percentage65%
  • Ethnicity
    • Hispanic/Latino7.92%
    • Black or African American25.41%
    • White or Caucasian58.74%
    • American Indian or Alaska Native.27%
    • Asian1.64%
    • Native Hawaiian or other Pacific IslanderNot Reported
    • Two or more races4.92%
    • Unknown.27%
  • Other Student Statistics
    • International Breakout.27% representing 1 other countries
    • Out-of-state Students52% out-of-state student

Campus Life

  • Housing
    • College-owned housing available Yes
    • Housing Requirements None
    • Housing options Not Reported
    • Percentage of undergraduate students who live in college-owned housing 44%
  • Student Activities
    • Student-run campus newspaper No
    • Drama / theater group Yes
    • Student-run radio station No
    • Student-run television station No
    • Marching band No
    • Choral groups No
  • Student Services
    • Legal services No
    • Health clinic Yes
    • Personal / psychological counseling Yes
    • Women's center No
  • Student Organizations
    • Greek fraternities No
    • Greek sororities No
    • Local fraternities No
    • Local sororities No
    • Other organizations No
    • Most popular organizations Student Alliance, Photo Club, Design Club-AIGA, Clay Club, Swiftness (Running Club)
  • Campus Security and Safety
    • 24-hour emergency telephone / alarm services Yes
    • 24-hour patrols by trained officers Yes
    • Students patrols Not Reported
    • Late-night transport / escort services Yes
    • Electronically-operated dormitory entrances Yes
    • Other Not Reported


  • Faculty Breakout
    • Total Faculty61
    • Full-time Percentage43%
    • Part-time Percentage57%
    • Female Percentage44%
    • Male Percentage56%
    • Student:Faculty Ratio10:1 or 366 students to 36 faculty




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