Apply: MDes in Interaction Design

The 2019 graduate application will open November 1, 2018.

Applications submitted by January 10, 2019, will be given priority processing for application reviews with faculty. The first round of application reviews will begin February 1. 

Application Requirements

  • Application ($70 nonrefundable fee required)

  • Portfolio ($10 SlideRoom nonrefundable fee required)

  • Personal essay and video answer

  • Résumé / Curriculum vitae

  • Two letters of recommendation

  • College transcripts



Applicants must complete and submit the application online.  

Personal Essay

Long-form, written answers to the following questions must accompany the application. For question 1, you must also include a video answer.  For the essay answers, please copy the following five open-ended questions -- in the order listed -- to your document and answer each of them (no more than 1,500 words total). In addition, please video record your live answer to question 1; your video can be a maximum of one minute long.  Please place the URL link to your video answer after your text answer to question 1.

1.  What draws you to the field of interaction design right now?

2.  What are your hopes and dreams as a designer and a future leader?

3.  What experiences have best prepared you to engage with community partners through the Social Lab

4.  What complex social challenge most inspires you right now? (Some people call these ”wicked problems”)

5.  Why is the challenge important, and what compels you toward it?

6.  What are your expectations for the program?

Please note essays must be in PDF document format and include a link to the video response to question 1.



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.

The portfolio should represent your practice in any studio-based field such as graphic design, industrial design, architecture, film, sculpture or the equivalent.

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.)

The portfolio can include up to 25 still images (not to exceed 5 MB each), video, time-based, or interactive media (not to exceed 60 MB each).
Important: Applicants who wish to submit a video or time-based media must submit a three-minute sample reel that the review committee will watch in its entirety in SlideRoom. The three-minute sample reel should be labeled clearly with the title, date, running time, and description of the piece, or pieces, it contains.

Once your portfolio has been uploaded and submitted to the college no further changes can be made.

For assistance with technical issues regarding your portfolio, email

Résumé / Curriculum Vitae

Please outline your educational and professional background and relevant experiences and activities including any community work. Please note resumes must be in PDF document format.

Letters of Recommendation

Two letters of recommendation are required from an academic or professional source. No personal recommendations, please. 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. Please note letters must be in PDF document format.

College Transcripts

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, 2018.

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, 2018.

Mail your official transcript to:

California College of the Arts
Enrollment Services Office -- Graduate Admissions
1111 Eighth Street
San Francisco CA 94107-2247

Additional Requirements for 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.

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