Graduate Application Procedures

Application Procedures for Fall 2025 Admission


Students pursuing graduate study should have an undergraduate degree from an accredited institution, ideally 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.


Minimum Requirements for Admission Consideration:


The Department of Art does NOT require the GRE, however, it does require a Bachelor’s Degree from an accredited institution with a minimum 3.0 GPA. If relevant, IELTS, TOEFL, or qualifying Duolingo Language Test scores are required for all applicants who do not hold a degree from an institution whose sole language of instruction is English. For more info on campus requirements for graduate studies, see the Graduate Division’s application checklist.


To apply to the Department of Art graduate program:


There are two stages of application for the MFA: the campus application via UCSB Online Graduate Division application, and the Portfolio and related statements/CV submission through an application called Slideroom.


The Online Graduate Division application will open September 2024, for admission in Fall 2025. Final deadline to complete your full application is Monday, January 6, 2025 (by Midnight PST). We recommend that you start your Online Graduate Application, as well as the Slideroom application, well in advance so as to start the letter of recommendation section and notify your recommenders via email.


Materials you will need to complete both stages of application:


* Three letters of recommendation are required. Please note that all letters of recommendation should be submitted online through the Online Graduate Application, and again with your portfolio materials through Slideroom.


* Statement of Purpose: 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. Submit the same statement on both applications. Note that the prompt for this statement given on the Graduate Division application will be more generalized in nature- please use the department prompt above when writing your Statement of Purpose.


* Personal History and Diversity Statement: UC Santa Barbara is interested in a diverse and inclusive graduate student population. Please describe any aspects of your personal background, accomplishments, or achievements that you feel are important in evaluating your application for graduate study (full prompt here).Your Personal History and Diversity Statement must be written in narrative (essay) form without duplicating content from your Statement of Purpose. A minimum word count of 250 words is required. There is no maximum length requirement. Most statements are typically 1-2 pages.


* Professional CV (curriculum vitae)


* Portfolio of 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). More details on portfolio submission below.


* Unofficial transcripts to be submitted online through the Online Graduate Application. Official transcripts will be required in the event of admission.


* Language Test Scores: if relevant, IELTS, TOEFL, or qualifying Duolingo Language Test scores.


* Application Fee: There is an application fee that must be paid online at the time of application with credit card (Visa or Master) or with a check/money order using the Check/Money Order Submission Form found on the last page of the application. Please do NOT send your check to the Department of Art.


Application Instructions:


Step 1:


Fill out a UCSB Online Graduate application at:


Application includes submission of:


*Information on address, citizenship, and other demographic data.


*A Professional CV


* Statements (Statement of Purpose and Personal History and Diversity Statement.)


*3 Letters of Recommendation– In both this and your Slideroom application, you will be prompted to supply the contact information of your letter writers, who will then receive instructions on how to submit their letters electronically. Please notify your recommenders that the letters MUST be submitted by no later than Monday, January 6, 2025.


Education history, including unofficial transcripts from all degree-granting institutions.


* For more detailed information on completing the main Graduate Division UCSB application, see:


Step 2:


Submit your portfolio via Slideroom (see below).


Portfolio Submission:


Your portfolio, statements, letters of recommendation, and a curriculum vitae are submitted through an easy to use on-line service called Slideroom. Applicants will go to the slideroom website upload their online portfolio materials and related documents via secure server:




See Portfolio Guidelines below for details and specifications.


Portfolio Guidelines:


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:


  1. Your ‘Statement of Purpose’ (pdf)
  2. A curriculum vitae (pdf).
  3. Your ‘Personal Achievements and Contributions’ statement (pdf).
  4. 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, 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.



Application Deadline: Both online applications must be completed and an application fee must be paid by midnight (PST) on January 6, 2025.


Note that 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.


Admissions Statistics:
Average size of ongoing class: 10-14
Number new students admitted yearly: ~6
Number yearly applicants: 90-100


For more information regarding our MFA program, please see our “Prospective Graduate Students” tab in the website navigation above, especially our Frequently Asked Questions page. You may also wish to explore our Graduate Handbook, which details the MFA program’s structure, requirements, and timeline. For additional information, please email