Students pursuing graduate study should have an undergraduate degree with some emphasis in visual studies, however, a significant criterion for eligibility is based on portfolio review of creative activity, which may include a wide range of study such as theory/criticism, film studies, performance, design, architecture and media studies. Graduate students are given the opportunity to cultivate their teaching experience at the college level through the department’s Teaching Assistantship award program, preparing them for appropriate teaching careers in college art programs. Please note that formal curriculum in teaching as a career, especially for training at the secondary (high school) level, is not emphasized. Students wishing to pursue teaching as a career should consult the department’s graduate advisor for assistance in planning an appropriate course of study. It is recommended that applicants visit the campus and meet with faculty in their areas of interest.
There are two stages of application, the campus application via UCSB Online Graduate application, and the Portfolio and related statements/cv submission through Slideroom.
* Fill out a UCSB Online Graduate application at: https://www.graddiv.ucsb.edu/eapp
Online application will open September 2020, for admission starting Fall 2021. Final deadline to complete the application is Monday, January 4, 2021 (by Midnight PST). We recommend that you start your Online Graduate Application well in advance to complete a letter of recommendation section so that your recommenders will be notified via email.
Note: Fall admission only; paper applications no longer available
* Three letters of recommendation are required. Please note that all letters of recommendation should be submitted online through the Online Graduate Application as well as uploaded with your portfolio materials through Slideroom. Please notify your recommenders that the letters MUST be submitted by no later than Monday, January 4, 2021.
* For information on completing UCSB application, see:
There is an application fee that must be paid online at the time of application with credit card (Visa or Master) or a check must be mailed to the Graduate Division. Please do NOT send your check to the Department of Art.
* Submit your portfolio via Slideroom (see below).
* Unofficial transcripts can be submitted online through the Online Graduate Application and to Slideroom.
Final/Official transcripts will be required for all applicants who are admitted and have indicated their intent to enroll at UC Santa Barbara by submitting a Statement of Intent to Register (SIR). UC Santa Barbara reserves the right to require official transcripts at any time during the admissions process, and rescind any offer of admission made if discrepancies between uploaded and official transcript(s) are found.
The Department of Art does NOT require the GRE, however, it does require a Bachelor’s Degree with a minimum 3.0 GPA. The official TOEFL or IELTS score is required for International students.
Note: Applicants who have earned Liberal Arts degrees or students with non-traditional backgrounds are also considered on a case-by-case basis.
Your portfolio, statements, and a curriculum vitae, are submitted through an easy to use on-line service called Slideroom. Applicants will be going to https://ucsb.slideroom.com to upload their online portfolio materials and related documents via secure server. See Portfolio Guidelines below for details and specifications.
FIRST Prepare and gather your materials needed to apply:
1. Portfolio: 10-20 (20 is recommended) images and/or video and/or audio files; including title, date, dimensions, media, and short descriptions of portfolio pieces. You may include pdf documents if needed; for example, that may contain url for web network specific projects (not personal web sites).
Image guidelines: (jpg, gif, png) up to 5 MB each (The optimal size for good image quality and fast upload is a maximum of 1280 x 1280 pixels @ 72 dpi. Scalable thumbnails will automatically be generated from image uploads.)
Video guidelines: (mov, wmv, flv, mp4) up to 60 MB each, 10 minutes total.
Audio guidelines: (mp3 files) up to 30 MB each, 5 minutes total
Documents (pdf) up to 10 MB each.
2. A ‘Statement of Purpose’ (pdf): a 1-2 page statement that expounds descriptively, philosophically and theoretically on your practice, outlining your conceptual and aesthetic approaches, influences, interests and goals for your time in the MFA program and beyond.
3. A curriculum vitae (pdf).
4. A ‘Personal Achievements and Contributions’ statement (pdf).
5. You will need a credit card to pay the submission fee of $10.00.
* You will need to be able to make a PDF documents, which is easily done on Apple computers by saving Word or Text Edit documents as a ‘PDF’. If you are using a Windows computer and do not have Adobe Acrobat, you can download a free PDF Windows utility here.
After installation, the utility creates a PDF printer- you simply print to that and it creates a PDF document.
SECOND Apply on-line:
Step 1- Sign up for a new account at https://ucsb.slideroom.com, and follow the instructions to start a new submission.
Step 2- Graduate Application: Input your information.
Step 3- References: Input the contact information for your 3 letters of reference/recommendation writers. The letter writers will be contacted to upload their letters.
Step 4- Add Media: Follow the instructions to upload your Portfolio files and pdf’s of your curriculum vitae, ‘Statement of Purpose’, and ‘Personal Achievements and Contributions’ statement on the ‘Add Media’ page. After uploading your files, add title, year, dimension, media, and description information in step 2 on the Upload Media tab.
Step 5- Complete Submission: Proceed to submission payment- there is a $10 fee to apply, the fee goes directly to the Slideroom licensing program, the school does not receive any money.
You can make changes to selections, or save changes and return to or delete your pending submission, any time before the deadline. After the deadline your access will be closed.
Online application must be completed and an application fee must be paid by midnight (PST) on January 4, 2021.
Any letter of recommendation that cannot be submitted electronically can be sent to:
Graduate Review Committee
Department of Art
University of California, Santa Barbara
Bldg. 534, Room 1316
Santa Barbara, CA 93106-7120
Departmental 4 digit code is 7120.
Average size of ongoing class: 12-20
Number new students admitted yearly: ~10
Number yearly applicants: 90-100
For more information regarding our MFA program, please call:
Department of Art
Phone: (805) 893-8710
Fax: (805) 893-7117