Application Deadline

All required application materials are due by January 15, 2018. Applicants will receive an admissions decision in writing by April 1, 2018.

Catalog & Application

To download a graduate catalog and learn more about application requirements, visit SVA Graduate admissions.

Applications for our program are done entirely online, Apply to MFA Design now.


Applicants must have a diploma from a four-year professional art school or a BFA, BA or BS degree from a regionally accredited college or university. Design applicants do not necessarily need to have a bachelor degree in graphic design/communications art to be eligible.

Applicant's portfolio must demonstrate a proficiency in typography. This usually translates into either three years of undergraduate design education or one to two years of professional design experience. Applicants who do not meet these criteria are advised to take appropriate continuing education classes before applying.


What should I put in my portfolio?

Remember you are applying to a design program. Your portfolio should reflect your ability and talent for design. Typography is crucial.

How should I submit my portfolio?

Applicants must submit their portfolio (still images and/or videos) through SlideRoom. To access the portal and find out more information, please visit SlideRoom will allow you to create an inventory of works with the following information for each file: title, date, medium, dimensions or running time, and optional notes.

Please submit 20 images for your SlideRoom portfolio. These images should be: .jpg format, not to exceed 5mb each in file size approximately 1920 x 1080 pixels at a resolution of 150 dpi. Application portfolios will be reviewed by the committee on a High Definition projector. Optional: If you would like to include examples of video work, please list your links in the provided form in your SlideRoom account.

Important Notes:

How important is type?

Very! This is the language you speak, and while this program emphasizes forms other than print and materials other than paper, you must start from a common denominator with all other students. Being literate with typefaces (styles and names), typography (composition), and type and image design is key.

What programs should I know?

As many as possible. This MFA involves numerous media, and the more proficient you are the better. We require InDesign and Photoshop as basic. We encourage you to learn After Effects, Final Cut Pro, and Illustrator. Any other image-making programs also will help in your class work.

How well versed should I be with design and design culture?

As much as possible. We urge students to be members of the AIGA and take part in design activities. Attending lectures, seeing exhibitions, and reading books and magazines on all aspects of the design world will add to your literacy and fluency.

How many applications does the program receive?

We receive more than 250 applications and accept only 20 students per year.

Can I talk to faculty?

Our faculty members are professionals and have their own businesses. They do not have offices on campus. Due to their busy schedules faculty members cannot meet with applicants.

Can I sit in a class?

Because of the nature of our program, we do not allow visitors to sit in on a class. It's been found disruptive to faculty or students.

Can I schedule a tour?

We offer weekly tours on Friday mornings. Please contact for more information and to schedule an appointment.

Can I bring my PC instead of a Mac?

We are a Macintosh-based studio and will not support a PC platform. The program requires all enrolled students to provide their own computer during their studies.