Admission to SFAI's graduate programs is highly selective. Please submit the materials listed below to complete your application for admission review. Graduate candidates may also be asked to do a personal interview.
Most of your application materials will be submitted online via Slideroom. Your online application is not digitally connected to Slideroom, so you will need to create a separate Slideroom account if you don’t have one already.
International graduate applicants are required to submit additional materials. Learn more HERE.
MFA, Low-Residency MFA, and Post-Baccalaureate Requirements
The following materials are required:
The following materials are required:
Dual Degree Requirements
Applicants to the Dual Degree MA/MFA program must fulfill all application requirements of both the MA and MFA programs. The following materials are required:
Summer 2018 Low-Residency MFA
|June 16, 2018|
Fall 2018 Orientation for all Graduate programs
|Aug 22—24, 2018|
Accepting application to all graduate programs
|until space is full|
• Portfolios should demonstrate problem-solving and direction through a sequence of works completed in the last 2-3 years.
• Strong portfolios will demonstrate personal vision and point of view, an awareness of contemporary visual culture, and exceptional command of materials, ideas, and space.
• Portfolios should be submitted online via Slideroom and should include 12-20 still images (up to 5 MB each) or 3-4 video or audio clips (10 minutes total, up to 250 MB each or external media from YouTube, Vimeo and SoundCloud).
• If you are showing both still and moving images, please organize them in two groups, with still images followed by moving images.
• Portfolios should be accompanied by image details including title, year, medium, and dimensions for the images and/or videos submitted.
• If collaborative projects are included, please specify your individual role in each project.
• Portfolios should be submitted online via Slideroom. Please include your NAME, telephone number, and email address at the top of this document.
• In 500 total words or less, please describe the techniques, concepts and process of the work presented in your portfolio.
• Please also share at least one goal you plan to reach with your graduate education, and also outline why SFAI is the right place to attain that goal.
• Strong artist statements will provide an honest and sincere window into your intentions as an artist and individual, and will also demonstrate curiosity and originality.
Statement of Purpose + Writing Samples
Submit a copy of your statement of purpose and Writing Samples online via Slideroom. Please include your NAME, telephone number, and email address at the top of these documents.
Your statement of purpose should be 2-3 pages in length and should address your academic background in relation to the questions that follow:
Which artists and writers interest you most? Why? Which issues, images, or sites are you most curious about? How so? What role does contemporary art play in society? How will studying the History and Theory of Contemporary Art or Exhibition and Museum Studies in an art school environment help you reach your educational and professional goals?
Please provide an example of your academic writing, with citations and bibliography, of approximately 15 pages in length. Ideally, it should be an essay or excerpt from an essay or senior thesis in art history. The writing sample should demonstrate your critical thinking, research, and writing skills. If you have not studied art history, please provide an equivalent example from your work in the humanities. If you are applying for the Exhibition and Museum Studies program, please feel free to supplement your application with an exhibition proposal or review.
If you are submitting multiple writing samples, please save these documents in a single PDF.
Note: required for MA or Dual Degree MA/MFA applications only
Two Letters of Recommendation
Letters of recommendation are submitted online via Slideroom, and should come from professors, mentors, or artists familiar with your abilities and goals. These letters must be written in English.
As you complete the application you will be required to enter your recommender’s name, title, email address, phone number, organization and your relationship to your recommender, along with a personal message to your recommender.
An automatic email will be sent to each of your recommenders with instructions on how to complete the process. Please let your recommenders know in advance to expect this email.
You do not need to wait for your recommenders to send their letters to submit your application on Slideroom, SFAI will continue to receive recommendation letters after your application has been submitted.
Completion of an undergraduate degree from a regionally accredited institution (or the international equivalent) is required for all graduate applicants. All international transcripts should be in English or accompanied by an English translation.
You can submit your transcript 3 different ways:
If your school requires official transcripts to be sent by mail, please mail to the following address:
San Francisco Art Institute
800 Chestnut Street
San Francisco, CA 94133
Final/Official Transcripts and Documents
Students who have not submitted final official transcripts by the end of their first term at SFAI will not be considered officially admitted and will be unable to register for a subsequent term in their degree or certificate program until all outstanding documents have been received. SFAI will return any disbursed Title IV funding to the Department of Education and the student will be responsible for any charges due to SFAI as defined by the financial policies in the Student and Campus Handbook.
Summer-start students have until the last day of the fall semester following their term of matriculation to submit final official documents.