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School of Critical Studies Application Requirements

Prospective students must complete the Admissions application process and the program portfolio requirements to be considered for admission. After the regular deadline has passed, The School of Critical Studies continues to accepts applications on a rolling basis until the programs are filled.  

The School of Critical Studies allows the submission of portfolios and writing samples online. You can use the online portfolio system to upload your portfolio or writing sample with digital files. The system allows you to create a corresponding inventory of works, listing for each image or document the following information: title, date, medium, dimensions and notes. You may upload documents, pdf files, still images or video works.

Creative Writing Program (MFA only)

A portfolio of current work representing your best writing and your aesthetic sensibility. An artist’s statement is required of all applicants and is a significant element in the portfolio review process. The statement should address your writing/artistic practice, history, style/s, genres and current direction/s, and reference your creative and/or critical influences.

The portfolio should include up to 40 double-spaced typed pages. There is no minimum length. Poetry does not have to be double-spaced. Applicants are invited to submit work in multiple genres. The MFA Writing Program encourages both multi-disciplinary and interdisciplinary work. The maximum running time for video material should be no longer than 10 minutes. Approximately 10 still images may be submitted and should be sorted in chronological order, ending with the most recent work. All web sites should be submitted as PDF; do not merely supply us with a URL.

If you are mailing your materials instead of using the online system, please include a completed Portfolio Information Form with each mailed portfolio package. Address your portfolio to the Office of Admissions at CalArts using the Portfolio Mailing Label. Do not send your portfolio directly to the School of Critical Studies. Doing so will cause a delay in the review of your work. Students who would like to apply for a first-year graduate or teaching assistantship should enclose a résumé and request in the application package. Teaching assistantships are assigned predominantly in the second year of residency.

Learn more about the Creative Writing Program.

MFA Interschool Degrees

To pursue an interschool course of study in writing and another arts discipline, students must be fully accepted by both the MFA Writing Program and a second CalArts program. Prospective students interested in such a curriculum are required to submit separate applications to the MFA Writing Program and to the second CalArts program. Applicants should clearly state any interschool plans in their statement of intent.

Aesthetics and Politics Program (MA only)

A writing sample is required in addition to a statement of purpose addressing your academic and/or artistic interests, the ways in which they relate to aesthetic and political concerns, and your goals in applying to the program.

The writing sample should have a theoretical or political focus and be up to 20 pages long. An optional portfolio of visual or performance works may also be submitted online or in the form of CD or DVD.

If you are mailing your materials instead of using the online system, please include a completed Portfolio Information Form with each mailed writing sample. Address your materials to the Office of Admissions at CalArts using the Portfolio Mailing Label. Do not send your materials directly to the School of Critical Studies. Doing so will cause a delay in the review of your work.

Learn more about the program, faculty, and curriculum 

Last edited by mryan on Sep 06, 2013
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