Apply to the MFA Program

Learn About:

Admissions Requirements
Art Sample
International Students
The Arts at CIIS
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• Applicants must meet the general admissions requirements of the Institute. Questions not answered below can be addressed in a phone call or in-person visit with Pauline Reif, the program's Admissions Counselor at 415-575-6155 or  

• Students must complete their bachelor's degree before beginning the programs; there is no requirement as to the field of study of the undergraduate degree. Students can demonstrate appropriate levels of accomplishment and commitment to their art by means of work samples and personal statements. We welcome students from all backgrounds; however, the Admissions Committee may ask students with limited arts or writing experience to supplement their degrees with some additional CIIS coursework. 

• The program admits students in the fall (beginning in late August) and spring (beginning in late January) semesters.

Applicants submit the following:

Application for Admission

Non-refundable $65 Application Fee

Transcripts: Official transcripts from all accredited academic institutions attended within the United States. Transcripts must arrive in their official, sealed envelopes.

Degree Requirement: An undergraduate degree (BA, BS, or the equivalent) from an accredited college or university.

Autobiographical Statement (5 to 7 pages) incorporating the following questions: What interests you about the MFA at CIIS and what prepares you for it right now? What project or projects are you currently working on? How would you describe yourself as a writer or artist and what influences or experiences have been central for you?

Vision Statement (1-2 pages): What would you like to accomplish during your MFA? Where do you see yourself five years after graduation?

Two Letters of Recommendation (one from an academic advisor, or someone familiar with the applicant's ability to do academic work, and one from a supervisor in a recent professional or volunteer setting).


15-40 page sample of imaginative writing (fiction, creative nonfiction, poetry, mixed-genre work, or some combination of the above)

Visual and Performing Artists:
Submit a work sample from your arts practice (15-20 page manuscript for writers, CD or DVD for performers or visual artists).


For International students there are additional requirements. Please see the International Student page for additional information.


Please visit Applying to CIIS for more information.

For any questions about admission, please contact:

Pauline Reif
(415) 575-6155