Apply to the MFA Program


• 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.


  • Online Admissions Application
  • 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:A five to seven page essay incorporating some or all of the following questions:  What experiences, interests, goals, and preparation do you bring to the MFA at CIIS? What projects are you currently working on? How would you describe yourself as a writer, artist, performer, community arts activist or inter-artist?  What influences and experiences have been central for you? What do you hope to accomplish during your time with us? What do you hope to achieve artistically and professionally in the next five years?
  • Art sample:Depending on your practice, please submit a 15-30 page manuscript or collection of writing (fiction, nonfiction, poetry, mixed-genre) or links (with URL and Password)  to performances or artworks.  You may also arrange to submit CDs or DVDs.
  • CV or Resume
  • Two letters of recommendation: one from an academic advisor or someone familiar with your ability to do academic work, and one from a professional artist in your general field.  Alternatively, one of the letters may be from a  supervisor in a recent professional or volunteer setting.


International students have additional requirements. Please see the International Student page for details.


Please visit Applying to CIIS for more information. For any questions about admission, please contact our admissions counselor:

Pauline Reif
(415) 575-6155