Apply to the MFA Programs at CIIS
Admissions information and application requirements for applying to the MFA program.
Please visit Applying to CIIS for application deadlines and other important information.
Online Admissions Application: Begin the application process by submitting an online graduate application and submitting the non-refundable $65 application fee payment.
Minimum GPA: A GPA of 3.0 or higher in previous coursework is required. However, a GPA below 3.0 does not automatically disqualify an applicant and CIIS will consider a prospective student whose GPA is between 2.0 and 3.0. These individuals are required to submit a GPA Statement and are encouraged to contact the Office of Admissions to discuss their options.
Transcripts: Official transcripts from all accredited academic institutions attended where 7 or more credits have been earned. If transcripts are being mailed to CIIS, they must arrive in their official, sealed envelopes. Transcripts from institutions outside the US or Canada require a foreign credit evaluation through World Education Services (WES) or CIIS will also accept foreign credential evaluations that are in a comprehensive course-by-course format from the current members of the National Association of Credential Evaluation Services (NACES).
Degree Requirement: An undergraduate degree (BA, BS, or the equivalent) from a regionally accredited institution.
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 prepares you for undertaking the MFA now?
Art sample: For writers, 15 to 30 pages of poetry, prose, script, or mixed genre work. For visual, performing, sound or interdisciplinary artists: please provide links or URLs (or you may submit CDs or DVDs). Artists working in more than one form may submit samples in multiple forms.
Vision/Goal Statement: A one-page statement speaking to the following: What do you hope to accomplish during your time with us and how do you hope to develop professionally? Wheat do you hope to achieve artistically and professionally in the next five years? How is the MFA important to helping you achieve these things?
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.
Please note: International students and individuals who have studied at institutions outside the US and Canada have additional requirements. Please see the International Student page for additional details.
For students with an international academic history, please follow these steps for your foreign credential evaluation (e.g. WES – World Education Services):
Please provide your complete and entire academic history on the application form.
For degrees earned outside of the United States or Canada, we will need a foreign credential evaluation. You, the applicant, need to initiate and request this, at your own expense, through a CIIS-approved foreign credential evaluation provider.
CIIS favors foreign credential evaluations provided by WES – World Education Services, and specifically the course-by-course-report. CIIS accepts the WES 'Basic' report, but applicants may wish to complete the 'ICAP'.
CIIS will also accept foreign credential evaluations that are in a comprehensive course-by-course format from the current members of the National Association of Credential Evaluation Services (NACES).
The foreign credential evaluation is used in lieu of sending original transcripts from abroad to CIIS. Original or notarized copies of the transcripts should only be sent to the foreign credential provider, per the foreign credential provider's instructions; there is no need to send these to CIIS!
When requesting the foreign credential evaluation, choose the appropriate degrees to be evaluated for the degree that you are applying for. If applying for a PhD at CIIS, foreign degrees equivalent to a BA and MA must be evaluated. If applying for an MA at CIIS, foreign degrees equivalent to a BA must be evaluated.
If you have studied abroad as part of a degree received in the United States or Canada (i.e. transfer credits from abroad), no WES evaluation is needed - provided these units are showing on your US/Canadian degree transcript. If you wish to receive transfer units for any courses earned outside of the United States/Canada that are not showing on a US/Canadian degree transcript, we do need a foreign credential evaluation for these courses.
CIIS is a university deeply committed to diversity, inclusion, and advocating for social justice. The university, guided by these principles, is offering forty $5,000 Diversity Scholarships for the academic year 2020-2021. In line with our institutional mission of embracing traditions that enhance social and political liberation, these scholarships are intended to support the recruitment of a diverse student body, particularly students historically underrepresented in higher education. The deadline to apply for Fall 2020 passed on July 15th. For Spring 2021 applicants, the cycle will open on September 15, 2020. We will post a link at that time.
If you have any additional questions about admissions, please contact our admissions counselor: