Visual Arts (VA75)
This program is designed to provide intensive professional training for the student who proposes to pursue a career within the field of contemporary art—including art making, criticism, and theory. The scope of the UC San Diego program includes painting, sculpture, performance, installation art, public art, photography, film, video, and digital media. The program is unique in that the course of study provides for and encourages student mobility within this range of traditional and media-based components. It also offers opportunities for collaborative work.
|Area of Study||Arts & Humanities|
Cinema/Film/Media, Digital/New Media/Software/Hardware, Painting/Drawing, Participatory/Collaborative, Performance/Site/Event, Public Culture/Architecture/Urban, Sculpture/Object/Installation, Speculative Design, Theory/Text.
|Degree||Master of Fine Arts|
All application materials, including the Visual Arts Portfolio, must be submitted online. We do not accept hard copies of materials.
December 11, 2017 (Fall 2018)
English Proficiency Exams
(international applicants only)
A test of English language proficiency is required for international applicants whose native language is not English and who have not studied full-time for one uninterrupted academic year at a university-level institution in which English is the language of instruction and in a country where English is a dominant language.
The following test(s) are accepted by this department:
TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language)
The minimum score requirement is 80 on the TOEFL iBT (TOEFL Internet based test).
Request to send your scores from the TOEFL website. Our school code is 4836. The department code is 15. There are frequent internet-based test dates. Please make arrangements to take the exam no later than November.
IELTS is jointly managed by the British Council, IDP: IELTS Australia, and the University of Cambridge ESOL Examinations.
Arrangements for taking the IELTS Academic Training exam may be made through the website. The university-wide minimum IELTS Academic Training exam score required for consideration for graduate admission is Band Score 7. Applicants with marginal scores on the IELTS exam may be required to pass an English proficiency test upon arrival at UCSD or enroll in an English course until the required proficiency is attained.
The International English Language Testing System (IELTS) Academic Training exam -- Submit official test score reports to: Graduate Admissions, Mail Code 0003, UC San Diego, 9500 Gilman Drive, La Jolla, CA 92093-0003
The Pearson Test of English Academic (PTE Academic).
PTE Academic is a computer-based academic English language test bench-marked to the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEF). For registration and test information consult the PTE website.
English Language Requirement for International Teaching Assistants (TA).
International students whose native language is not English will be required to demonstrate English language proficiency before they may serve as teaching assistants.
International graduate students who are nonnative speakers of English must be certified as having requisite language skills before they can serve as teaching assistants (TAs; UC San Diego Graduate Division policy in compliance with Assembly Concurrent Resolution No. 41).
Evidence of English Language Proficiency: Certification as Teaching Assistant Recommended Scores
Students may be certified either on the basis of their score on one of the following:
• have a TOEFL iBT Speaking subscore of 30
• have an IELTS Speaking subscore of 9.0
• have a PTE Speaking sub-score of 90,
• be an international graduate student who serves as a language assistant in courses conducted in their native language.
Those students with TOEFL speaking scores of 23 – 27, IELTS speaking scores of 7-8, or PTE speaking scores of 65-82 are required to take the English Language Certification Exam.
Students who do not pass the English Language Certification Exam are given the opportunity to improve their language skills.
Those students who are admitted but have a speaking TOEFL score below 23 will not be allowed to take the certification test. Students who fall into this category may acquire the required English language proficiency skills via courses offered in the English Language Institute and the English for Academic and Professional Development Program.
Letters of Recommendation
Minimum of 3 recommendations required.
Letters of recommendation should come from individuals, preferably previous professors, who can best explain why you are prepared and would be successful in rigorous academic studies at the graduate level.
Statement of Purpose
Online Statement of Purpose Only. 750-1000 word limit, not to exceed 3 pages.
Visual Arts Portfolio Requirements
All applicants applying to the MFA in Visual Arts program must complete both the standard application via Grad Apply AND the Visual Arts Portfolio via SlideRoom. There is a non-refundable portfolio review fee of $5.00 (in addition to the university’s standard application fee) which you pay online via SlideRoom when you submit your materials. Applicants must submit the SlideRoom ID in the Grad Apply application. The portfolio consists of an Artist Statement and samples of your artwork.
See the following link to view instructions https://visarts-ucsd.slideroom.com/.
The Artist Statement should aim to explain, justify, extend, and/or contextualize your body of work, while placing your work in relationship to art history, theory, and the contemporary world. The Artist statement will be read by the admissions committee and your peers in the program, while the Statement of Purpose is reviewed by the admissions committee only. For this reason, applicants may upload their Statement of Purpose in the Artist Statement portion of the portfolio, given it addresses the prompt.
The samples of your artwork should best showcase your research abilities and current/recent projects. You may create your Visual Arts Portfolio in a number of different formats. Our program is cross-disciplinary and it is not unusual for an applicant to have several different artistic mediums within their portfolio. The admissions committee is interested in seeing your most accomplished, recent work, rather than a chronology of work done over the span of your career. A good gauge would be to include work you've done within the last two years.
The Visual Arts Portfolio in SlideRoom must be completed prior to finalizing your application in Grad Apply. We strongly suggest that you begin building your portfolio when you begin the application. Applicants must provide the SlideRoom ID in the section titled: "Visual Arts Department - Portfolio Submission Information" in their Grad Apply application.
U.S. Citizens and permanent residents may request a fee waiver before submitting the application. An Application Fee Waiver request may be submitted upon completion of all components of the application, including the Visual Arts Portfolio. For more information on how to request a fee waiver, please see the link below.