Thank you for your interest in applying to the MFA degree program in Environmental Art and Social Practice at UCSC.
Below you will find a list of required application materials and a description of the application process. Applications will open on October 1, 2020, and the deadline to submit your application is February 1, 2021 for Fall 2021 admission. (Applications will be screened starting in January; early applications encouraged.) For more information about UCSC applications, consult the Graduate Division website and their Application Instructions for UCSC Graduate Studies Applicants.
Preparation for the program
Prospective students will be expected to have a foundation in the arts, with demonstrated experience in a specific area of art, environmental art and /or social practice. Many, but not all, entering students will have completed a Bachelor of Arts program in one or more arts disciplines (such as art, art history, film, video, animation, sound, dance, new media, etc.). Other qualified applicants will have a degree in another field, with demonstrated experience and promise in the arts. Applications should demonstrate the student’s potential to develop work and concepts that will contribute significantly to the evolution of the visual arts, and an ability to write about art and ideas in a way that promises the development of strong critical skills, teaching skills, and a rigorously self-reflective practice. The desire to admit a diverse group of students with a range of different backgrounds in the arts will be a factor in the committee’s selection process.
To apply you will need to assemble the following materials:
— A digital portfolio of up to 20 images and/or up to 10 minutes of video (total).
Your portfolio should represent your best work and support your statement of intent for applying to this program. If you come from a non-art background, and do not have an extensive art portfolio, please consider including documentation of projects and experiences and/or plans for future projects that demonstrate your direction and potential to develop as a practitioner of environmental art and social practice. Please format and submit your portfolio as a web page or upload a PDF to google drive and provide a URL. Include title, date, media, and dimensions of each work when relevant, and a brief description if you feel it is necessary to understand what we are looking at.
— A statement of intent: 500 - 1500 words
What do you want to do in this program? Your response might include both abstract goals and ambitions (educational, artistic, environmental, political…) and/or concrete project plans. Please ground your intentions in relation to your previous work and experiences, as documented in your portfolio, and discuss the connections to future plans. If you have a background in art, how do you see this MFA program offering you opportunities that other MFA programs might not offer? If your background is in a different discipline, why are you pursuing art as a new direction, and what is driving that change?
— A curriculum vita outlining education and relevant experience
— A statement of personal history: 500 - 1500 words
This should not duplicate your statement of intent. What do you want to tell us about yourself that we should know? How have aspects of your personal background (familial, educational, social, economic, etc.) contributed to your intention to pursue environmental art and social practice, and to study for a graduate degree? How has your perspective been informed by your life experiences, challenges, or opportunities? UC Santa Cruz is committed to creating a diverse and inclusive graduate student population. How might you contribute to social or cultural diversity at UCSC and in your work as an artist?
— Transcripts from all degree granting institutions you have attended in the past.
— 3 letters of reference: Names and contact information for three references.
— English language test scores for ESL applicants (see International applicants, below).
— Please note that we do not require the GRE.
Deadline: February 1
Students will apply online through the Division of Graduate Studies website between October and January for the following fall quarter: https://applygrad.ucsc.edu/apply/
No late materials will be accepted. Applications are not accepted for mid-year matriculation for this degree program.
After initial screening to insure that applications are complete, they will be reviewed in February by Art Department Faculty. A selection of applicants will be invited to interview by zoom with members of the Faculty in early March. Offers of admission, including financial support packages, will be extended to candidates by April 1. We expect to hear decisions from candidates by April 15.
Applicants whose primary language is other than English must take either the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) test. For more information, please visit: https://www.gradadmissions.ucsc.edu/international-applicants
UC Santa Cruz offers all MFA students basic support packages for 2 years with a minimum level of support equivalent to a 50% teaching assistantship. This covers fees, tuition, GSHIP (insurance), and a stipend. Students need to apply for specific TA positions.
The campus also currently offers an annual needs-based housing supplement of $2,500 for MFA students in good standing through the Office of Financial Aid until additional campus graduate student housing is available.
Other forms of support may be available including fellowships, scholarships, and graduate student researcher positions. Please discuss these opportunities with the Art Department Graduate Advisor and/or Director of Graduate Studies after acceptance, and visit the graduate division’s financial aid page for more information: https://graddiv.ucsc.edu/financial-aid/index.html