Admission

Students are admitted to Yale’s M.F.A. program for the fall term of each year only. Applicants are notified of the admissions committee’s decisions on preliminary selections in early February, and of final decisions in early March. No information about decisions will be given over the phone. To apply for more than one area of concentration, separate applications, fees, and supporting documentation must be submitted. The work submitted should be representative of the applicant’s experience in that particular field. Applicants are advised that applying to more than one program does not increase chances of selection.

Admission Procedures for Preliminary Selection

Instructions for All Applicants

An application to the School of Art requires forethought and planning. It is important to read all of the application instructions carefully. Following these instructions will ensure that your application is viewed to best advantage.

The Yale School of Art application for the 2021–2022 academic year is available online at https://apply.art.yale.edu/apply. The information that follows will assist you in filing the application online. For an explanation of specific requirements for each area of study, please refer to the departmental sections that follow.

Application deadline Online applications for programs beginning in the 2021–2022 academic year must be uploaded no later than 12 midnight EST on January 5, 2021. Applicants will not be allowed to submit applications after the deadline has passed. When many applicants are uploading simultaneously near the deadline, it is possible that lengthier pre-processing times will be experienced. To avoid this, please consider submitting prior to the deadline day.

Application materials The following materials are required for consideration of your application for admission. Note: All supporting documents that are submitted as a requirement for admission become a part of the official file and cannot be returned to the applicant or forwarded to another institution either in copy or original form.

  1. The online application and the nonrefundable application fee of $100. Please follow payment instructions at https://apply.art.yale.edu/apply. Forms of payment include Visa, MasterCard, and PayPal. Online applications can be worked on from October 1 until the deadline. As it generally takes several weeks to complete an application, it is strongly recommended that applicants prepare their materials early to ensure completion by the deadline. Please note that the School of Art is not part of the Yale Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, and it is not possible to apply by using application materials found on the Graduate School’s website. It is recommended that you read the online School of Art bulletin, available at https://bulletin.yale.edu, before beginning the application process.
    Yale School of Art, in its commitment to equity and access, practices need-blind admission, meaning that a candidate’s financial need or ability is never disclosed to the admissions committee during review of M.F.A. applications. For this reason, and because the processing and careful review of each individual application demands great time and human resources, we regret that the School does not waive the application fee under any circumstances.
  2. A one-page statement that addresses influences, interests, current work direction, brief life history (as it relates to art/design practice), and reasons for applying to graduate school at this time. Statements should be limited to one page or no more than 500 words.

    Applicants to the Painting/Printmaking program should make reference in their statements to the “representative work” in the portfolio; this is not critical for the other programs.

  3. References from three persons practicing or teaching in the field in which application is made, attesting to the applicant’s ability and competence in that field. Note: The admissions committee reviews applications shortly after the deadline. While it is not uncommon for letters of recommendation to come in past the deadline, please impress upon those who will be writing on your behalf that late submission of supporting documentation may risk exclusion from the review. Applicants can always view the receipt status of reference requests on the application status page.
  4. Transcripts of the academic record for the bachelor’s degree and/or transcripts from professional art schools attended. Student copies or unofficial transcripts may be uploaded for the preliminary jury. Official transcripts will be required for applicants invited to interview.
  5. Portfolio of work. Applicants who fail to upload a portfolio as outlined by the stated deadline will not be considered. The portfolio should represent images of your best work, indicate your current direction, and demonstrate your ability. At least half of the images should represent work done within the last twelve months, and all should be from within the last three years. Chronological order of year is embedded in our system, and you will not be able to override it. The application system used by Yale requires that one image from the portfolio be designated as a “representative work.” This selection is the default image for the cover page of each application file. As such, applicants have historically selected the piece that most strongly represents ideas central to their current body of work. Do not include more than one image on the screen, nor embed other pages of a publication or video within the images you place in your portfolio. Do not include detail photos of work in your portfolio unless you consider them absolutely necessary. Under no circumstance should more than two detail shots be included. Portfolio requirements differ depending upon area of concentration; be sure to follow the instructions for the area to which you are applying. We strongly recommend that you review your images on a Mac OS to be certain that they are accurately represented. Note: All supporting documents that are submitted as a requirement for admission become a part of the official file and cannot be returned to the applicant or forwarded to another institution either in copy or original form.

Graphic Design Portfolio Requirements

In addition to a portfolio, all graphic design applicants should upload a résumé, which will be reviewed for content as well as form of the typography; the résumé may not be longer than two pages.

Portfolio format Portfolios are submitted online as part of the online application. The portfolio submission interface will allow you to label each image with a title, date, the materials used, and a brief description of the work (please do not embed your name in the title or description). Titles should be limited to thirty (30) characters, descriptions to one sentence. Digital files must adhere strictly to the specifications outlined below.

Portfolio contents Upload a total of twenty (20) still image and/or moving image files that represent your strongest work. Please do not include only video in your portfolio; your portfolio should include both still and moving image examples of your work in design. A significant number of the images should represent work made within the last few years. As it’s necessary to view the work quite quickly and at a relatively small scale, each of the twenty (20) file uploads should be as simple and clear as possible. We strongly recommend that each individual image include only one work or one view of a project. The assessment of your work is compromised when you include composite or multiple views, pages, and/or works placed within one individual file upload. When presenting book-related designs, at maximum show a cover and one representative spread in a single image file. Alternately, you may prepare a short video showing a few spreads. For websites, show just one still web page per image file, or prepare a short video showing three to four frames being clicked or scrolled. A complex, systems-related project should be edited to two or three of the strongest components. Three-dimensional works should show the surrounding space and context. Limit the use of detail images to situations where you consider them absolutely necessary. If you are presenting both still and moving images, please present them in two groups, with all still images followed by all moving images. Within these groups, place your files in chronological order starting with the oldest and ending with the most recent work. Chronological order is embedded in our system, and you will not be able to override it.

File format for still images Still image files may be sent in jpeg, png, bmp, or tiff format. To conform to our viewing format, each still image file may be no larger than 16 MB. Do not format images in any presentation program (e.g., PowerPoint, Keynote, PDF) or include composite images (more than one work per file). PDFs and presentation program formats are not viewable in our system; only the first page/slide will display.

File format for videos and moving images Videos will be accepted in QuickTime (preferred), AVI, FLV, MP4, or WMV format. Video files should be no longer than two minutes in length, and the size of your video uploads is limited to 64 MB. If you upload a video that is longer than two minutes, it will automatically time out at two minutes. Please note that videos are considered as part of your selection of twenty files and should not be used as a method of showing examples of additional still images. Titles or credits within video files are not necessary.

If you are primarily a video artist and wish to submit a longer video, you may post the video to your own website and provide the link at the end of your statement.

Résumé In addition to its content, your résumé will be assessed for its layout and typography. The résumé should not be longer than two pages.

Painting/Printmaking Portfolio Requirements

Portfolio format Portfolios are submitted online as part of the online application. The portfolio submission interface will allow you to label each image with a title, date of completion, the materials used, and a brief description of the work. Please do not embed your name in the titles of your work; limit titles to thirty (30) characters. Digital files must adhere strictly to the specifications outlined below.

Portfolio contents Upload a total of sixteen (16) still image and/or moving image files. Only work completed within the last three years should be included, and at least half (8) should be work made in the last twelve months. In the review process, the admissions committee is concerned with scale and the tactility of the work. For this reason, paintings, drawings, and prints must be photographed showing the edges of the work, i.e., the edges must not be digitally masked in black. Three-dimensional works should also show the surrounding space and context. Do not include detail photos of work in your portfolio unless you consider them absolutely necessary. Under no circumstance should more than two detail shots be included. If you are presenting both still and moving images, please present them in two groups with all still images followed by all moving images. Within these groups, place your files in chronological order starting with the oldest and ending with the most recent work. Chronological order is embedded in our system, and you will not be able to override it.

File format for still images Still image files may be sent in jpeg, png, bmp, or tiff format. To conform to our viewing format, each still image file may be no larger than 16 MB. Do not format images in any presentation program (e.g., PowerPoint, Keynote, PDF) or include composite images (more than one work per file). PDFs and presentation program formats are not viewable in our system; only the first page/slide will display.

File format for videos and moving images Videos will be accepted in QuickTime (preferred), AVI, FLV, MP4, or WMV format. Video files should be no longer than one minute in length, and the size of your video uploads is limited to 64 MB. If you upload a video that is longer than one minute, it will automatically time out at one minute. Please note that videos are considered as part of your selection of sixteen files and should not be used as a method of showing examples of additional still images. Do not include titles or credits within the video files.

If you are primarily a video artist and wish to submit a longer video, you may post the video to your own website and provide the link at the end of your statement.

Photography Portfolio Requirements

Portfolio format Portfolios are submitted online as part of the online application. The portfolio submission interface will allow you to label each image with a title, date of completion, the materials used, and a brief description of the work. Please do not embed your name in the titles of your work; limit titles to thirty (30) characters. Digital files must adhere strictly to the specifications outlined below.

Portfolio contents Upload a total of twenty (20) still image and/or moving image files. A significant number of the images should represent work done within the last twelve months. If you are presenting both still and moving images, please present them in two groups with all still images followed by all moving images. Within these groups, place all still and/or moving image files in chronological order starting with the oldest and ending with the most recent work. Chronological order is embedded in our system, and you will not be able to override it.

File format for still images Still image files may be sent in jpeg, png, bmp, or tiff format. To conform to our viewing format, each still image file may be no larger than 16 MB. Do not format images in any presentation program (e.g., PowerPoint, Keynote, PDF) or include composite images (more than one work per file). PDFs and presentation program formats are not viewable in our system; only the first page/slide will display.

File format for videos and moving images Videos will be accepted in QuickTime (preferred), AVI, FLV, MP4, or WMV format. Video files should be no longer than two minutes in length, and the size of your video uploads is limited to 64 MB. If you upload a video that is longer than two minutes, it will automatically time out at two minutes. Please note that videos are considered as part of your selection of twenty files and should not be used as a method of showing examples of additional still images. Do not include titles or credits within the video files.

If you are primarily a video artist and wish to submit a longer video, you may post the video to your own website and provide the link at the end of your statement.

Sculpture Portfolio Requirements

Portfolio format Portfolios are submitted online as part of the online application. The portfolio submission interface will allow you to label each image with a title, date of completion, the materials used, and a brief description of the work. Please do not embed your name in the titles of your work; limit titles to thirty (30) characters. Digital files must adhere strictly to the specifications outlined below.

Portfolio contents Upload a total of twenty (20) still image and/or moving image files. A significant number of the images should represent work done within the last twelve months. Three-dimensional works should show the surrounding space and context. If you are presenting both still and moving images, please present them in two groups with all still images followed by all moving images. Within these groups, place your files in chronological order starting with the oldest and ending with the most recent work. Chronological order is embedded in our system, and you will not be able to override it.

File format for still images Still image files may be sent in jpeg, png, bmp, or tiff format. To conform to our viewing format, each still image file may be no larger than 16 MB. Do not format images in any presentation program (e.g., PowerPoint, Keynote, PDF) or include composite images (more than one work per file). PDFs and presentation program formats are not viewable in our system; only the first page/slide will display.

File format for videos and moving images Videos will be accepted in QuickTime (preferred), AVI, FLV, MP4, or WMV format. Video files should be no longer than two minutes in length, and the size of your video uploads is limited to 64 MB. If you upload a video that is longer than two minutes, it will automatically time out at two minutes. Please note that videos are considered as part of your selection of twenty files and should not be used as a method of showing examples of additional still images. Do not include titles or credits within the video files.

If you are primarily a video artist and wish to submit a longer video, you may post the video to your own website and provide the link at the end of your statement.

Application Status

Once an application has been submitted, applicants can track the status of their application and the receipt of required supporting materials (such as recommendations) online. Applicants are encouraged to check the status of their application materials and follow up as necessary.

Final Selection

Applicants who have passed the Preliminary Selection Jury will be notified in early February. At this time, applicants invited to interview are required to submit official transcripts and send or prepare to bring original work to the School. Individual interviews will be scheduled for mid–late February, depending on the program. The interview is an important component of the final selection process.

Applicants in Graphic Design Applicants should prepare a portfolio of their work in any or all of these areas: graphic design print work, environmental design, broadcast/video graphics, letterform design, interactive media, and other related projects in the visual arts. Applicants are encouraged to present bodies of work that demonstrate special areas of interest. Academic or research papers may also be submitted in support of the application. For two-year program applicants, at least twelve examples of physical work may be presented at the interview. For the preliminary program, at least ten examples of physical work may be presented at the interview.

Applicants in Painting/Printmaking Applicants should submit no more than four paintings and four drawings, studies, graphic works, or videos. (These are not required to be pieces from the application portfolio). It is common that finalists remove work from stretchers for ease of travel, and this completely acceptable.

Applicants in Photography Applicants should prepare a portfolio of no more than twenty unmatted photographic proofs that are no larger than 20 x 24 inches each.

Applicants in Sculpture Applicants should prepare digital files that document their latest work as well as additional images representing earlier work. Additional documentation related to the work in the preliminary portfolio may be brought to the interview.

All applicants All original works shipped to Yale should be accompanied by a complete inventory, and each work should bear the applicant’s name.

Final notification of admission will be e-mailed in early March. Offers of admission are good only for the year in which they are made. We do not practice deferred admission. The Financial Aid Award letter will be e-mailed shortly after notification of admission. No decisions will be given in person or over the telephone.

An individual’s acceptance of admission to the School of Art must be received by April 10. All matriculating students must submit a transcript that certifies their undergraduate degree. Admission is not binding unless this certification is received.

Return of work Original work delivered by hand must be picked up on weekdays during the hours and dates specified. Any hand-delivered work not taken during the specified time will be sent to a commercial warehouse for storage at the applicant’s expense unless other arrangements are made in advance.

Work shipped must be prepaid and must be accompanied by a prepaid return shipping label. If you send your work via United Parcel Service, you may purchase a “Call-Tag” for its return from UPS when you make your shipping arrangements. We cannot return or receive COD.

Every precaution will be taken to secure the safety of the works submitted for review. However, the School of Art assumes no responsibility for loss or damage to the works from any cause.