The School offers MA (Master of Arts) and MFA (Master of Fine Arts) degrees. The objectives of the graduate program in all areas of specialization are to provide the essential education, technical training, and creative experience necessary for professional activity or college-level teaching in the visual arts. Interdisciplinary explorations across disciplinary boundaries are encouraged. Our graduate program is moderate in size, currently serving 40 students.
The MA is a 30-unit, 1½-2-year program. The M.A. concentration in studio arts is designed to prepare students for proficient and successful practice as professional artists. The MFA is a 60-unit, 3-year program. The MFA requires 30 units in the area of specialization and four professional seminars, with the expectation that the student will achieve a higher level of excellence and distinction in the chosen area of specialization. The M.F.A. degree is the terminal degree in studio arts.
Our School has expansive facilities offering the student excellent studio space and access to traditional and state-of-the-art equipment, including a 3-d printer, 3-d laser cutter, and a CNC machine.
In addition to our faculty of distinguished artists, designers, and scholars, students benefits from an active visiting artist/designer program. Recent visiting artists include Robert Irwin, Dave Hickey, Bill Viola, Kerry James Marshall, Alison Saar, and alumna Andrea Zittel. The Museum of Contemporary Art, San Diego, the San Diego Museum of Art, the Timken Museum of Art, and the internationally noted Stuart Collection are all within convenient public or personal transportation.
We would be pleased to have you visit our School, see the facilities, and meet faculty and current graduate students. If you have any specific questions about the program please contact David Hewitt, Graduate Advisor firstname.lastname@example.org.
Admission to Graduate Study
The application period begins October 1.
Step 1: Submit the CalState Apply Application – December 15
Step 2: Submit documents to Graduate Admissions – January 12
Step 3: Complete the Program Application through Interfolio – January 12
All application materials including departmental requirements must be submitted by the file completion date.
Domestic Applicants: Closed
International Applicants: Closed
Step 2: SUBMIT OFFICIAL TRANSCRIPTS AND TEST SCORES BY JANUARY 12
Submit to SDSU Graduate Admissions:
San Diego State University
5500 Campanile Drive
San Diego, CA 92182-7416
a) U.S. Postsecondary Institutions
- Official transcripts must have been issued within the last year. Transcript received with print dates older than one year will not be accepted.
- If you previously attended SDSU, you need only submit transcripts for work completed since last attendance. If you are a current SDSU student you are not required to submit an SDSU transcript.
- Electronic transcripts are acceptable. Please ensure that you indicate this preference when making your request. If you are required to provide an email address to send the secure online document to SDSU, please use email@example.com
b) International Institutions
- If you have international coursework, you must have your school send one official original-language record of all academic coursework and proof of degree also in the original-language.
- For each original-language document you must also send a certified literal English translation, which can come directly from the school itself or from a professional, certified translator. The translation must contain all information shown on the original-language documents.
- For details on which documents are required, visit the Requirements by Country page. Failure to submit the exact country-specific documents listed may result in your application being canceled
- Test Scores
a) GRE (Graduate Record Exam) Requirement
- MA Applicants–The GRE is required of all applicants to the MA program.
- MFA Applicants–The GRE can be waived for MFA applicants who meet one of the following criteria:
- Bachelor’s degree has been completed/earned at a U.S. accredited institution and the final cumulative Grade Point Average (GPA) was 3.0 or higher. The GRE waiver may be granted upon confirmation of the applicant’s GPA from the official degree granting transcript.
- Bachelor’s degree is in progress at a U.S. accredited institution and the current cumulative Grade Point Average (GPA) is 3.25 or higher. The GRE waiver may be granted upon confirmation of the applicant’s GPA from the official transcript.
All other MFA applicants are required to take the GRE.
Submit official scores to SDSU using the information below:
GRE (Graduate Record Exam)
SDSU Institution Code: 4682
b) English Language Proficiency (for international students only)
All graduate and post-baccalaureate applicants, regardless of citizenship, whose native language is not English and whose preparatory education was principally in a language other than English must demonstrate competence in English. Those applicants who do not possess a bachelor’s degree from a postsecondary institution where English is the principal language of instruction must submit official TOEFL or IELTS results:
- IELTS–Minimum Required Score: 6.5; score must be recent-within the past two years. Website: www.ielts.org
- TOEFL–Minimum Required Score: 80 for iBT; 550 for PBT test; score must be recent- within the past two years. Website: www.ets.org; SDSU Institution Code: 4682
Step 3: Complete the Program Application through Interfolio:
The program application requires the following:
- School of Art and Design application form (available at Graduate Application Form)
- A Statement of purpose addressing your professional goals and reasons for selecting the School of Art and Design at SDSU for your pursuit of these goals.
- Artist statement which describes the nature or content of the work shown in the portfolio
- Digital images of your work (15-20).
- Current resume
- Transcripts—one copy of unofficial or official transcripts for all college- and university-level institutions attended
- Two letters of recommendation from art instructors (or others) who are able to comment on your artistic potential in the area of specialization. Applicant must provide names and email addresses for recommenders. Recommenders will be invited to complete the recommendation electronically.
Visit the Interfolio website.
Assistantships and Tuition Waivers
Graduate assistantship and teaching associate positions in art are available to a limited number of qualified students. Application forms and additional information may be secured from the graduate adviser. Tuition waivers and scholarships for out-of-state and international students are also available on a limited basis. Applicants should contact the graduate adviser for more information.
California Residency for Tuition Purposes
To learn the details of California’s state policy on residency for tuition purposes, please visit SDSU’s registrar page (external link).
Thesis and Projects in Art
The project required for the Master of Arts degree with a concentration in studio arts and the Master of Fine Arts degree is an original body of work of creative art accompanied by a written report. All theses and written reports accepted in satisfaction of a requirement for the master’s degree are cataloged and maintained in the library. Color digital images of thesis exhibitions must be provided by the candidate and are retained in the School of Art and Design. One copy of art history theses must be given to the School of Art and Design.
Applications Specific to MA vs. MFA…
For specific Admissions info regarding the graduate offerings in SDSU’s School of Art + Design, please refer to the links on the left-hand side for Master of Arts (Studio Arts), and Master of Fine Arts.