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The ideal candidate for the MFA Art Practice Program has a cross-disciplinary set of interests and is eager to approach art making using both traditional and non-traditional media. Successful applicants will have completed a full undergraduate education and have been granted a BA, BS, BFA or the equivalent. Most candidates will have between two and five years experience as a practicing artist beyond their undergraduate education. However, we expect that some students may come directly from an undergraduate degree program. Applicants should be fluent English speakers and writers and be able to demonstrate technical proficiency in at least one visual art form. Because of the nature of a low residency program, candidates must demonstrate a high level of professional discipline, be self-reliant, and be prepared to take significant personal responsibility for the successful completion of their graduate program.


Applications submitted by December 1 will be granted Early Decision status, and applicants will receive an unofficial decision before the holidays. 

Applications received by January 15th will have priority. After that date, we will continue to accept applications, reviewing them in the order in which they are received, as space permits. Detailed application requirements can be found on the Graduate Admissions website.

  • All Graduate applicants to the Summer 2017 semester are required to complete the online application form and submit the nonrefundable $80 application fee using a credit card. The online application is available at the following link: sva.edu/apply (Note: 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.)

  • Official transcripts 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. SVA now also accepts secure electronic transcripts from DocufideNational Student Clearinghouse, and Script-Safe. Transcripts from foreign institutions must be officially translated into English and U.S. grading equivalencies. For more information, click here.

  • Three letters of recommendation from instructors or practicing professionals. Letters should be written on school or company letterhead and returned to the applicant in a sealed envelope with the recommender's signature across the seal. (Note: SVA does not provide applicants with letter of recommendation forms.) Online submission of letters is also available through the online application. Applicants will be required to provide the e-mail address and full contact information of their references.

  • Statement of purpose (250-500 words) describing the applicant's reason for pursuing graduate study, and desire to participate in the Art Practice program.

  • An additional 500-750 word writing sample. This may be an original essay describing an event in your life that has proven to be central to your artistic development. It may also take other forms, such as poetry, a short story, or an excerpt of a screenplay, if this is central to your artistic practice. You may also choose to submit an excerpt from a research paper on an art-related topic central to your practice.

  • Artist CV

  • Interviews will be scheduled with select applicants. The Art Practice Office will contact you if an interview is needed. All interviews are conducted via Skype.

  • Proof of English Proficiency (required of applicants whose primary language is not English). MFA Art Practice applicants must obtain a minimum score of 100 (internet-based) or 250 (computer-based) TOEFL. For more information about English Proficiency requirements, click here.

  • Nonimmigrant alien applicants are required to submit original documentation of sufficient financial resources to attend SVA.

Additionally, all applicants to the MFA Art Practice Program must submit a portfolio to the SVA Slideroom portal. The Art Practice Department WILL NOT accept any portfolios via cd, dvd, email or url. Please complete your online application form before submitting your portfolio. Portfolios must contain the following:

  • Still imagery: 15 - 20 images. All images should be in jpeg format. Digital images should be no larger than 1500 pixels on the largest dimension, at 72ppi and/or

  • Video: mov, flv, or wmv files, not to exceed 10 minutes in length, up to 60MB each and/or

  • Audio: mp3 not to exceed 10 minutes in length, up to 10MB each

We will request interviews with select applicants via Skype.