Design: How to Apply
APPLY NOW for fall 2013
Applications are now being reviewed for fall 2013.
Please contact Noel Dahl, Director of Graduate Admission at email@example.com for further information about submitting a late application.
* Application ($70 nonrefundable fee required)
* Personal essay
* Résumé / curriculum vitae
* Two letters of recommendation
* Official college transcripts
Applicants must complete and submit the application online. (Note: Due to the volume of applications received, CCA is unable to return any materials; please do not submit any original artworks or writings.) Apply online now.
A personal essay of 500 to 1,000 words must accompany the application. Identify three strong design influences on your thinking, process, and work. Influences can include designers, movements, design examples, or cultural events. Describe each influence and how it has shaped you.
Applicants should submit their portfolio online by registering for a SlideRoom account specifically for CCA applicants. Once an account is registered, instructions on how to create the portfolio will be provided.
Your portfolio should consist of 20 to 25 examples, submitted via SlideRoom or your own website. Applicants may also submit a URL to present interactive and web-based design work. Discs and slides are not accepted.
In addition to academic and professional work, applicants are encouraged to include examples of personal work. CCA faculty reviews all submitted portfolios. (Note: Supplemental portfolio materials sent separately to the Admissions Office are reviewed at faculty discretion.) Do not submit work for which your participation was in a production capacity only. Your portfolio should include a description of each piece by number, title, completion date, your specific role in the design, and production of the piece, and any other relevant information.
The portfolio can include still images, time-based media, interactive media, or other creative visual pieces. It should contain a maximum of 25 JPG images (not to exceed 5MB each). A single JPG image may be composed to include process sketches or diagrams along with finished work. Label each file with your last name, the first letter of your first name, and the slide number (e.g., Doe_J_01.jpg).
Videos should include one 5-minute (or shorter) preview on SlideRoom. Up to two projects may be sent separately: on DVD (NTSC format only), a YouTube posting, or web URL. Please enclose a corresponding reel list identifying each work in order, with titles, running time, completion date, and any other relevant information.
Portfolios are due January 5, 2012. Once your portfolio has been uploaded and submitted to the college no further changes can be made. (Note: A $15 administrative fee is charged at the time you submit your portfolio using SlideRoom.)
For technical issues with your SlideRoom portfolio, please email .
Résumé / Curriculum Vitae
Please outline your educational and professional background and relevant experiences and activities, including community work.
Official college transcripts are best to use for the application, however, unofficial transcripts are acceptable for review purposes only. These should be scanned, front and back, and uploaded with your other application documents. Should you be accepted and choose to enroll with CCA, the official, sealed transcript of your undergraduate coursework must be sent to Graduate Admission by August 1, 2013. Applicants who have taken graduate coursework are welcome to also send transcripts in support of their graduate application.
For international applicants, all transcripts must be in English or accompanied by a certified English translation of the original.
All admitted students who were still in the process of completing a bachelor's degree at the time of applying must send the final transcript before enrolling to verify completion of the bachelor’s degree, including official notation of date of graduation, no later than August 1, 2013.
Mail your official transcript to:
California College of the Arts
Enrollment Services Office—Graduate Admissions
1111 Eighth Street
San Francisco CA 94107-2247
Letters of Recommendation
Two letters of recommendation are required from academic or professional sources. No personal recommendations please. We highly recommend you take advantage of our electronic recommendation process. Doing so ensures we receive your recommendations in a timely fashion, as well as being convenient for your recommenders.
When completing your application online, please provide the email address for your recommenders. They will be sent the recommendation form via email, which is to be filled out by them and returned by email to CCA.
Applicants may be contacted to arrange an interview with a representative or faculty member of the Graduate Program in Design.
International applicants must submit additional requirements in support of their application to the graduate program.
Students interested in applying to the dual-degree program with the Visual and Critical Studies or MBA in Design Strategy must complete the dual degree application under the Visual and Critical Studies or MBA in Design Strategy application and follow the admissions requirements for each program.
Merit Scholarships: the graduate admissions committee selects a number of outstanding students for prestigious graduate merit scholarships. For the 2011–12 academic year renewable awards were up to $18,000 per year.
Diversity Scholarships: the graduate division awards several entering students special diversity scholarships. Last year these renewable awards ranged from $11,000 to $24,000 per year.
Teaching Assistantships: teaching assistantships are based on merit and are awarded in the second year by the graduate chairs in conjunction with graduate faculty.
Studio 0: MFA students accepted to CCA's Graduate Program in Design are required to begin course studies with the three-week summer intensive Studio 0. This intensive summer studio is specifically designed for incoming Graduate Program in Design students to introduce them to issues, ideas, and methods of making and thinking that will be pursued throughout their studies at the college and beyond.
Studio 0 explores design through an immersive approach. All students participate in the transdisciplinary seminar component to gain a grounding in the profession, including methodology, collaboration, and leadership. In addition, students choose two of three immersive studios in interaction, 2D, and 3D design. While applicants with exceptional skills and experience may not be required to take the summer Studio 0 course, it is designed to prepare all students to fully engage the program’s transdisciplinary curriculum.