Applicants must submit a Statement of Purpose (250-500 words). Describe who you are as an artist, and how you think about the art you make. Tell us about the work we’ll see in your portfolio. Ask yourself: What am I trying to do, ask, or say with this work? Are there important life experiences that have influenced you? Why are you particularly interested in the MFA Fine Arts program at SVA? Which of our faculty are you most interested in working with, and why?
Online submission is available through the online application. After you submit your application, you will have access to a checklist to upload materials like the Statement of Purpose.
If you are experiencing difficulty uploading your materials via the online application, please email them to Graduate Admissions and include your full name and date of birth in the email.
Applicants are required to submit two letters of recommendation from instructors or practicing professionals.
Online submission is available through the online application. Applicants will be required to provide the email address and contact information for their references. A "Send Email" button for each recommendation is provided to send the online form to the email address you provided for your recommender.
If your recommender is experiencing difficulty (uploading the letter via the recommendation portal, receiving emails, etc.), please instruct them to email the letter to Graduate Admissions and include your full name and graduate program in the email.
Note: The School of Visual Arts does not provide letter of recommendation forms.
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.
Check with the registrar’s office at your institution to see if your school issues its own digital transcripts or if it’s a member of any of the organizations mentioned above. (Important Note: Please be sure that all electronic transcript submissions are directed to “Graduate Admissions” at firstname.lastname@example.org.)
Transcripts may also be submitted in an unopened envelope that is stamped and sealed by the college registrar of the issuing institution.
Please address to:
School of Visual Arts
209 East 23rd Street
New York, NY 10010
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.
All transcripts from foreign institutions must be officially translated into English and U.S. grading equivalencies. For more information, see the below accordion.
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.
Please Note: SVA does not review PDFs or screenshots sent directly via email from applicants.
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:
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.
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:
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.
Important Note: To access the Graduate Admissions SlideRoom Portal, please click here.
PARTS 1 & 2:
Upload a copy of your Statement of Purpose and Résumé from your online application. Submit each item as an individual PDF.
Statement of Purpose: In no more than 500 words, describe who you are as an artist, and how you think about the art you make. Tell us about the work we’ll see in your portfolio. Ask yourself: What am I trying to do, ask, or say with this work? Are there important life experiences that have influenced you? Why are you particularly interested in the MFA Fine Arts program at SVA? Which of our faculty are you most interested in working with, and why?
Résumé: Include professional experience as well as related activities such as research, awards and exhibitions.
PART 3: Portfolio
The portfolio you share with us via SlideRoom is the most important part of your application. We want to see your strongest work, and are generally most interested in recent work, work that relates to your current practice, and work that indicates the direction in which you are headed. It is not necessary to demonstrate your artistic training, skills, or range. It is generally best to include finished work, rather than work-in-progress.
We ask each applicant to submit 10-20 media files. These may be images, video, or audio. Still images are limited to 5MB each, and video is limited to 60MB each. All digital portfolio images and assignment files must be between 1500 and 2500 pixels in width or height at 72 dpi.
Do not submit images that combine multiple works. Layouts that include multiple images and text are difficult to view in SlideRoom and will not be reviewed. Instead, submit each image as a separate media file.
You are encouraged to take advantage of the Additional details field to explain important features of the work that may not be obvious to us, such as process, materials, context, concept and intention. SlideRoom will allow you to note title, date, medium, dimensions, or running time and optional notes for each file.
If your portfolio includes long videos or audio files, it may be wise to provide a one-minute excerpt and, in the “Additional details” field, indicate the work’s full duration and include a link to the full work on Vimeo, YouTube, SoundCloud, or another media sharing platform.
NOTE: We do not accept portfolios via email, postal mail, or other means of delivery.
Selected applicants are invited to interview with a member of the Admissions Committee. Interviews are usually conducted via videoconference (e.g. Zoom). Please check your email frequently for an invitation to interview; if you do not respond, we will not be able to proceed with your application.