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Priority submission deadline: January 10, 2016

For general questions about the program, email

Application Requirements

  • Application ($70 nonrefundable fee required)
  • Portfolio ($10 SlideRoom nonrefundable fee required)
  • Personal essay
  • Résumé / Curriculum vitae
  • Two letters of recommendation
  • College transcripts
  • Interview


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 hard copy artworks or writings.)

Personal Essay

A personal essay of 500 to 1,000 words must accompany the application. The essay should be a clear statement of your work within the context of contemporary artistic practice and why mastery level exploration is desired. While personal statements can range in content, it is often best to focus your statement to your particular area of interest and any critical influences on your work.


Applicants must 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.

In addition to academic and professional work, applicants are encouraged to include examples of personal work. CCA faculty review portfolios submitted through SlideRoom. (Note: Supplemental portfolio materials sent separately to the Admissions Office are not accepted.)

All MFA in Film applicants must submit a five-minute sample reel that the review committee will watch in its entirety in SlideRoom. The five-minute sample reel should be labeled clearly with the title, date, running time, and description of the piece, or pieces, it contains. Supplemental reels of up to 10 minutes in length may be submitted, but will be viewed at the discretion of the committee.

Your role in the production of each piece must be clearly labeled as well.

Additional video files may be submitted via SlideRoom (limited to 60MB per file) or by submitting URLs to where the videos can be viewed online. Video hosted on YouTube, Vimeo, or QuickTime-compatible download links are acceptable. We encourage you to submit at least one completed recent work.

You may also submit a maximum of 10 still images, written work, and links to web-based work.

Please keep in mind that once your portfolio has been uploaded and submitted to the college no further changes can be made. For technical issues with your portfolio, please email for assistance.

Résumé / Curriculum Vitae

Please outline your educational and professional background and relevant experiences and activities, including community work.


Unofficial transcripts are used for review purposes. Applicants are required to upload their unofficial transcript as a PDF document with the online application form.

Accepted and enrolled applicants will submit the official sealed transcript of their undergraduate coursework to Graduate Admission by August 1, 2016.

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, 2016.

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 an academic or professional source. No personal recommendations please. We use an electronic recommendation process, which ensures that we receive your recommendations in a timely fashion and it is convenient for your recommenders.

When submitting your electronic application, you can provide the email address for your recommenders. Your recommenders will receive the recommendation form electronically and then return it electronically to CCA.


Applicants will be contacted to arrange an interview with the graduate program manager or a faculty member.

Added Requirements: International Applicants

English proficiency exams must be completed prior to submitting the application. Official English proficiency exam scores (TOEFL, IELTS, or PTE) must be sent to the college directly from the testing agency.

International applications will be considered incomplete, and not reviewed until proof of English proficiency has been received.

Detailed requirements for international applicants.