MFA Design for Social Innovation Application Requirements
Applicants must have a bachelor's degree, or its equivalent, from an accredited college or university.
Note: All submissions become the property of the School of Visual Arts and will not be returned.
All Graduate applicants to the Fall 2020 (Summer 2020 for MFA Art Practice and MFA Visual Narrative) semester are required to complete the online application form and submit the non-refundable $80 application fee using a credit card.
- The online application is not officially submitted until valid credit card information has been supplied.
- Upon completion of this, an online confirmation is sent. We strongly recommend that applicants print this out and keep it with their records.
Applicants to all programs (except MPS Branding) are required to submit a Statement of Purpose (250-500 words) describing their reason for pursuing graduate study. For more information, applicants should review the department requirements section of their chosen program.
Online submission is available through the online application. If you already submitted the application without including your Statement of Intent, please email it to email@example.com and include your full name and date of birth in the email.
Applicants must submit a résumé, which should include professional experience as well as related activities such as research, awards and exhibitions.
Online submission is available through the online application. If you already submitted the application without including your résumé, please email it to firstname.lastname@example.org and include your full name and date of birth in the email.
Official transcripts are required from each college or university attended.
- In order to be considered official, transcripts must be submitted in an unopened envelope that is stamped and sealed by the college registrar of the issuing institution.
- Transcripts should be mailed or delivered by the applicant with all other application materials.
- The School of Visual Arts now accepts secure electronic transcripts from Parchment, National Student Clearinghouse and Scrip-Safe. Check with the registrar’s office at your institution to see if your school is a member. (Important Note: Please be sure that all electronic transcript submissions are directed to “Graduate Admissions” at email@example.com.)
- Applicants from institutions in India should request and submit official transcripts directly through TrueCopy Credentials. Requests are processed by TrueCopy Credentials and will be sent electronically to SVA Graduate Admissions.
- Transcripts from foreign institutions must be officially translated into English and U.S. grading equivalencies. For more information, see the below accordion.
To mail sealed transcripts, please address to:
School of Visual Arts
209 East 23rd Street
New York, NY 10010
Applicants who have academic documents from institutions outside of the U.S. are required to provide original, attested or certified true copies of academic records for all institutions attended. These records should be in the original language issued.
Records Not in English
For records not in English, applicants must also submit an official translation of all academic documents. Translations must be a complete, literal, word-for-word translation in the same format of the original academic document.
All foreign post-secondary (university level) transcripts should be converted into U.S. educational equivalencies. Those records that are not converted into U.S. equivalencies must be evaluated by an external evaluation agency. The evaluation should be course-by-course and include:
- Name of educational institution
- Country where institution is located
- Length of study
- U.S. educational equivalent (two-year or four-year college)
- Courses studied per academic year
- Conversion of grades/marks/final examination results into equivalent U.S. grades of A, B, C, D or F for each course evaluated
- Total credits earned
- Conversion of course hours into U.S. semester hours of credit
- Cumulative grade point average (GPA) on a 4-point scale
- U.S. degree equivalent
The School of Visual Arts should be listed as the recipient of the evaluation. Transcripts may take up to six weeks to be evaluated. The original academic records must be submitted in addition to the evaluation.
The School of Visual Arts strongly recommends that international academic records be evaluated by either of the following approved external evaluation agencies:
Educational Credential Evaluators (ECE): Course-by-course evaluations for both secondary school (high school) and college transcripts.
P.O. Box 514070 Milwaukee, WI 53203
World Education Services (WES): Course-by-course evaluations for college transcripts only.
Bowling Green Station
P.O. Box 5087
New York, NY 10274
Please note: Pending acceptance, all graduate applicants currently enrolled in school for their Bachelor’s degrees for the Spring or Summer 2020 semesters are required to submit verification of graduation before they attend SVA.
Applicants to all programs (except MA Design Research, Writing and Criticism and MPS Fashion Photography) are required to submit three letters of recommendation from instructors or practicing professionals.
- Applicants to the MPS Fashion Photography program are only required to submit two letters of recommendation.
- Applicants to the MA Design Research, Writing and Criticism program are only required to submit one letter of recommendation.
Online submission is available through the online application. Applicants will be required to provide the email address and full contact information for their references.
Letters can also be mailed or delivered with all other supplementary application materials. Recommenders should indicate the applicant’s full name and department of interest in the beginning of the letter as well as on the outside of the envelope. Each envelope must be sealed and signed by the recommender in order to be considered official.
Note: The School of Visual Arts does not provide letter of recommendation forms.
In addition to the general application requirements, international applicants whose primary/native language is not English must demonstrate proficiency in written and spoken English. The following are acceptable ways to demonstrate English proficiency:
A minimum score* of 79 (internet-based or paper-delivered) Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL).
- MFA Art Practice, MFA Illustration as Visual Essay, MFA Photography, Video and Related Media and MFA Visual Narrative applicants must obtain a minimum score* of 100 (internet-based or paper-delivered) TOEFL.
- MA Curatorial Practice applicants must obtain a minimum score* of 110 (internet-based or paper-delivered) TOEFL.
- The CEEB code for the School of Visual Arts is 2835. This is the code that must be supplied to ETS in order to have TOEFL scores mailed to SVA.
- *Please note this means a composite score for a single test date. We are not accepting MyBEST TOEFL scores.
A minimum score of 6.5 on the International English Language Testing System (IELTS).
- MFA Art Practice, MA Curatorial Practice, MFA Illustration as Visual Essay, and MFA Visual Narrative applicants must obtain a minimum score of 8.0 on the IELTS.
- IELTS is jointly managed by University of Cambridge ESOL Examinations (Cambridge ESOL), British Council and IDP Education Australia: IELTS Australia.
A minimum score of 6 in all categories of the English proficiency examination administered by the New York University American Language Institute in New York.
- MFA Art Practice, MA Curatorial Practice, MFA Illustration as Visual Essay, and MFA Visual Narrative applicants must obtain a minimum score of 9 on this exam.
- For information on taking the NYU test, call 212.998.7040.
- MFA Art Practice, MFA Illustration as Visual Essay, and MFA Visual Narrative applicants must obtain a minimum score of 68 on this exam.
- MA Curatorial Practice applicants must obtain a minimum score of 76 on this exam.
This requirement may be waived for native English speakers who are citizens of any of the following countries and attend schools where English is the primary language of instruction: England, Wales, Scotland, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand, Canada, Singapore, India, South Africa and Common Wealth Caribbean (Antigua and Barbuda, Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Dominica, Grenada, Guyana, Jamaica, St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Lucia, St. Vincent and Grenadines, and Trinidad and Tobago).
SVA will consider waiving the English proficiency exam requirement for students who have earned a degree at a regionally accredited U.S. college or university. Students seeking this waiver must submit a written request with their application materials.
There are two options for portfolio submission. Please submit one of the following:
- Case Studies reflecting initiatives that you have led, and that demonstrate social innovation. Up to three studies of complete campaigns, with written text explaining the problem, solution and results, if available, including thumbnail photos of any visual elements. Format: PDF, no more than 5 pages. Submission: email to firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject line: "DSI Case Study" and your name. Graduate Admissions will pair this submission with your online application.
- Visual Portfolio reflecting a wide range of communication, 3-D and interactive design, data visualization, service design, and system design. Format: A URL should be included with the online application, or a portfolio may be uploaded to the Graduate Admissions SlideRoom account. To access the portal and find out more information, please click here. Please upload 10–15 still images in .jpg format, not to exceed 5mb each in file size.
Design skills and mastery of applications are recommended, including all programs in Adobe Creative Suite, After Effects, Apple Final Cut Pro and HTML. At least 2 years of work experience, internships, or community service is helpful but not required. Remedial courses for those who do not have mastery of the core design applications can be arranged and should not discourage candidates from applying.
Applicants under consideration will be contacted to schedule an interview.
Submission of the following items will be considered supplemental: Writing Sample and/or Video Essay.