Requirements by Major

Your portfolio is the single most important aspect of your application. Your portfolio must be oriented specifically to the one major for which you are applying.

Graduate Art

Portfolio

The MFA program in Art is open to candidates working in any medium. Applicants must present 15 to 20 samples of your most current work.

Written Essays



a. Letter of intent
A letter of intent (1,000 words or less) should include discussion of how you think the Grad Art program can help you realize your goals as an artist. Your letter should also discuss the artists and the types of art that have had the biggest impact on your thinking about art. These need not be visual artists, but if not, give us some idea of how their influence is manifested in your work.

b. Educational goals
Provide short responses to the following questions:
(i) Why have you decided to pursue a graduate degree in art?
(ii) What kind of artist do you want to be, and how would you like the Graduate Art faculty to help you to achieve this aspiration?
(iii) Why have you chosen to apply to ArtCenter’s Graduate Art MFA program?
(iv) What knowledge do you have of the program’s faculty, and how has this affected your decision to apply to the program?
(v) What knowledge do you have about the program’s alumni, and how has this affected your decision to apply to the program?

Resume


Include a short resume covering educational and relevant experience. 



Letters of recommendation


One to three letters of recommendation can be emailed to admissions@artcenter.edu, or mailed to the Admissions Office.

Graduate Environmental Design

Portfolio

Graduate Environmental Design offers two distinct tracks of study:

Spatial Experience Design, MS degree
Furniture & Fixtures Design, MS degree

The program’s two tracks have separate portfolio requirements, demonstrating the candidate’s design abilities, outlined below:

Spatial Experience track applicants: Students should have a rich background in spatial investigation and be experienced in the exploration of spatial projects in both hand and digital skill sets. Prospective students need to submit at least three completed spatial projects. These projects should be fully documented with indication of goals, research, hand sketch development, digital and hand model making. The conceptual design process should include variations on ideas as well as demonstration of the path that led to final solutions. Related artwork can be included if it informs the understanding of your background.

Furniture and Fixtures track applicants: Students should have a background in furniture and fixture investigation and be experienced in the fabrication process in both hand and digital skill sets. Submit at least three completed full-size prototype furniture or fixture projects, including sketching, model making and documentation of the complete design development process. The latter should include variations on ideas as well as demonstration of the path that led to final solutions. Related artwork can be included if it informs the understanding of your background.

Written Essay

Provide a written statement that delineates your motivation for pursuing a graduate program and your reasons for the choice of track. This should include topics and areas of interest as well as specific goals to be undertaken in the program. You should also describe specific skills and competencies you want to achieve. The statement should also include your goals beyond completion of the program and describe how a design education will relate to your career objectives.

Resume

Include a short resume covering educational and relevant experience. 



Graduate Film

Portfolio

Submit at least two completed film or video projects that demonstrate your visual narrative storytelling abilities as a filmmaker. The total running time of the work you submit should be at least five minutes but should not exceed 20 minutes.

Portfolios must include narrative films; i.e., those with distinct storylines, plot development and character arcs. Submitted work can include short films of any genre, documentaries, or multiple commercials or music videos, but all work must demonstrate your narrative storytelling abilities. Your work should also demonstrate a high level of proficiency in cinematography, lighting, staging, editing and sound. At least one of your projects should employ sync sound with dialogue. Submit only projects on which you played a key creative role as director, cinematographer or editor—this includes applicants interested in the Producing concentration.

Portfolio work is only accepted via link to Vimeo by indicating your link along with your application. Applicants can provide links to their work via email to filmportfolio@artcenter.edu. You must include your full name and address, plus the names of your projects and the creative role you played on each.

Written Essays

a. Personal statement
In a statement accompanying your application, we are interested in learning what inspires you to make films, what sorts of films you want to make, and a brief description of your favorite filmmakers. Explain why you feel they are important. In what ways do you want your own work to contribute to or make a difference in the world, and how? We are also interested in hearing about any professional experience that you have accrued in the film industry.

b. Graduate proposal
Submit a graduate proposal that defines a filmmaking project that will engage you during your course of study. While the proposal may be preliminary, it must nevertheless be specific and take the form of a one-page story treatment for a potential film project.

Resume

Include a short resume covering educational and relevant experience.

Graduate Graphic Design

Portfolio

Applicants must submit a portfolio that reflects a range of graphic design work across media and a fluency in typography. Pieces that exhibit an individual point of view, or a unique approach to a problem, are encouraged. The portfolio should be edited to highlight the applicant’s best and most relevant work. Include a minimum of 15–20 pieces or projects that show a range of skills. Where applicable, include a brief written description of the project. Collaborative or commercial pieces should clearly state the applicant’s contribution or role.

Written Essays

a. Statement of intent
Applications must include a personal statement of focus and intent. The essay should outline the applicant’s motivation for pursuing graduate study in Graphic Design at ArtCenter and identify a specific goal and focus of study. The statement of intent should be clear and concise, between 500–1,500 words in length.

b. Personal essay
In 750–1,000 words, provide detailed information about your relevant personal, educational, and professional experience. Include your skill level with software, typography, and any media-specific skills (coding, spatial design, etc.). The statement should also include goals beyond completion of the program and describe how a graduate degree from ArtCenter will relate to your career objectives. Personal statements can range in content; the goal is to discover your relevant life experience, goals and personal passion.

Resume


Include a resume that outlines your educational and professional background and relevant experiences and activities, including community work.

Letters of recommendation

Letters of recommendation (one to three) from academic and professional references are strongly encouraged. They can be emailed to admissions@artcenter.edu or mailed to the Admissions Office. References should be from people who are familiar with the applicant’s work and experience, and should speak to an ability to conceptualize, execute and communicate design.

Industrial Design

The Graduate Industrial Design (GradID) program is looking for bright, articulate and creative individuals who are driven to make a better future.  We consider the diversity of our students’ backgrounds and life experiences as important factors in creating a unique shared educational experience. Our student body typically comprises extraordinary individuals from around the world, preferably with some years of professional work and life experience that complements the completion of their undergraduate studies.

Innovation Systems Design (ISD) is a dual MS/MBA degree offered by ArtCenter College of Design and the Drucker School of Management. Students can apply for the ISD program after enrollment in the ArtCenter Industrial Design program. Applications are not considered at  the time of entry to ArtCenter, but will be reviewed after the students’ second term of enrollment.

Portfolio

Submit work that demonstrates your design and innovation abilities. Include examples of projects that show your process and how you develop your ideas into the project results. Sketchbooks and documentation of early idea development are welcome additions that complement more finished portfolios. We look for abilities to:

  • think and operate in terms of projects.
  • take a systems approach to design solutions.
  • write and communicate effectively.
  • envision and produce broadly desirable 3D objects and spaces.
  • produce a high level of aesthetic sensibility in production; e.g., style, proportion, shape, material, color, etc.
  • draw and/or otherwise visualize new ideas.
  • identify important opportunities and needs.
  • research, investigate and analyze design topics.
  • experiment, think laterally and engage in creative idea generation activities.
  • develop desirable solutions for real needs and problems that create value for the human condition.
  • consider and plan for related business dynamics.
  • exploit and employ appropriate technologies.
  • profess expertise and depth in specific areas or disciplines.

Written Essays

a. Please describe: (i) your motivations for pursuing study in GradID, (ii) why you think it is a good fit for you, and (iii) what you envision you would ideally be doing five to 10 years after successful completion of the program.

b. In 2,000 words or less, please answer the following: If you were given a budget of $10 million and an uninterrupted time period of two years to work creatively on anything that you wanted to, what would you pursue and why?

Resume

Please submit a formal resume and bio covering educational and relevant prior experience.

Letters of Recommendation

One to three letters of recommendation can be emailed to admissions@artcenter.edu, or mailed to the Admissions Office.

Media Design Practices

Media Design Practices / Lab + Field (MDP) brings interdisciplinary design practices to a world of cultural and technological change. MDP seeks individuals who want to use design to understand and change the world. We are looking for risk-takers with varied interests who pursue design and critical inquiry with depth, intelligence, empathy and passion.

Media Design Practices offers two tracks: Lab and Field.

In the Lab track, students work with emerging ideas from technology, science and culture using design as a mode of critical inquiry in a studio context. External partners bring expertise, resources and the latest advances into the studio.

In the Field track, students work in a real-world context where social issues, media infrastructure and communication technology intersect. In collaboration with Designmatters, ArtCenter’s social impact department, the curriculum includes firsthand experience in the field.

For either track, students can apply for either a two-year or three-year course of study.

MDP selects applicants for the two-year option who are designers with exceptional training and experience in the visual, spatial, interactive and graphic design fields, and who can realize high-level concepts with skill in visual communication and interactive design.

For three-year applicants, we accept both accomplished and burgeoning designers from a broad range of backgrounds who bring valuable perspectives to the practice of design. The Development Year provides a design curriculum that prepares applicants to integrate past experience into a design approach that is fully realized in their concept year and thesis work.

Portfolio

The design portfolio is the cornerstone of the application. The portfolio should be a curated body of work that demonstrates the applicant’s expertise in the conception and creation of sophisticated design and other relevant works (e.g., creative or critical writing, business plans, software, curriculum, research, grants, etc.).

The portfolio must demonstrate versatility, criticality, rigor, point of view, willingness to discover, and accomplishment working with graphic, visual, interactive, spatial or experiential media. Projects can be professional, self-initiated and/or class assignments. Applicants are encouraged to include work that demonstrates process, research, experimentation and a spirit of inquiry. We encourage applicants from other fields but projects from outside of media design must demonstrate the applicant’s ability to cross boundaries and think about issues in the realm of communication and media.

The portfolio should be edited to highlight the applicant’s best and most relevant work. Brief written descriptions of the projects should accompany each piece. Collaborative or commercial pieces should clearly state the applicant’s contribution or role.
   
All projects in the portfolio should be presented through SlideRoom. No physical portfolios will be accepted. Media Design Practices prefers all portfolios in the form of either a PDF or a website. The PDF or website should include stills, screen shots or photo documentation for all projects including print, interactive, motion or video. Where possible, dynamic media projects should be accompanied by links to working examples to ensure the full depth of the project is experienced. This content can be on a personal website or third-party service such as Vimeo or YouTube.

Written Essays

a. Statement of Intent
Applications must include a personal statement of intent. The essay should outline the applicant’s motivation for pursuing graduate study in Media Design Practices at ArtCenter and discuss personal goals for the future, along with areas of interest and relevant experience. Applicants also need to answer the writing assignment listed below for their chosen track only. The statement of intent should be clear and concise, between 500–1,500 words in length.
   
b. Required Essay Question
Applicants to the Lab track should address the following:
Choose two inquiry-led design projects (projects designed to pose questions) and discuss each project in terms of its questions, process, rigor, creative iterations, success and/or interesting failures. Which aspects would you take forward and which would you leave behind as you pursue new critical questions of your own? What would those questions be? We encourage you to include one of your own projects, especially if you have a self-initiated project in which you determined the process and critical direction.
   
Applicants to the Field track should address the following:
Choose two socially engaged design projects and discuss each project in terms of its process, engagement, orientation, scalability, sustainability, ethics and politics. Which aspects would you take forward and which would you leave behind as you pursue new critical questions of your own? What would those questions be? We encourage you to include one of your own projects, especially if you have a self-initiated project in which you determined the process and critical direction.

Resume

Include a resume summarizing your educational and professional background. It should highlight relevant academic studies, project work, awards and achievements, and work experience.

Letters of recommendation

Letters of Recommendation (one to three) from academic and professional references are strongly encouraged. They can be emailed to admissions@artcenter.edu or mailed to the Admissions Office.

References should be from people who are familiar with the applicant’s work and experience, and should speak to an ability to conceptualize, execute and communicate design.

Transportation Systems and Design

Portfolio

All Transportation Systems and Design applications must include a portfolio of work demonstrating design abilities. You may include vehicular projects that demonstrate high levels of transportation design competency. These should demonstrate creativity, critical thinking, problem solving, originality of solutions, excellent visualization/drawing skills, 3D exploration, good organizational ability, the ability to research, and a sense of curiosity and inquiry. Evidence of previous study of transportation design and competency will be expected. If your primary interest is in systems, you can incorporate a variety of projects, but should include some samples of transportation system concepts. Demonstration of critical thinking, problem solving, originality and organizational ability are important. Concepts should be demonstrated through drawing.

Written Essays

a. Statement of intent.
Provide a written statement that delineates your motivation for pursuing a graduate program in Transportation Systems and Design. This should include topics and areas of interest to be undertaken in the program as well as personal goals. Also describe specific skills and competencies you want to achieve. The statement should articulate goals beyond completion of the program and describe how a design education will relate to your career objectives. You may also indicate your particular interest in the future of transportation. This should make reference to the types of transportation systems that are of special interest and an explanation of their potential social impact.

b. Required essay question.
In a proposal of 2,000 words or less, please respond to the following: If you were the chief transportation officer for the city of your choice, in which you had adequate budget to pay for advanced transportation solutions, what would be your recommendations to make your city a better place to live, work and play? Explain your choice of city and what transportation challenges it faces, along with your specific solutions as they relate to the impact of transportation.

Resume

Include a short resume covering educational and relevant experience. 



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