Information for Applicants

Graduate Degrees and Certificates Offered by the School of Art

  • MFA in Studio Art Tracks:

    • Animation 
    • Ceramics 
    • Drawing and Painting 
    • Fiber 
    • Illustration
    • Metals
    • Photography
    • Printmaking
    • Sculpture/4D
    • Wood

*Please note that the Graphic Design Track is not available for fall 2024 admission

  • MA in Art History

In addition to providing advanced analytical and communication skills broadly applicable to numerous careers, the art history graduate program prepares students with the necessary research skills and experiences to enter the professional fields of teaching, museum work, art gallery management, art consultancy, arts management, and art writing, or to continue their studies at the doctoral level. Our faculty train graduate students in the following areas: Ancient Mediterranean Art and Archaeology; Asian Art/20th Century Asian Art and Architecture; Contemporary Art; Latin American Art and Architecture; Medieval Art and Architecture; Museum and Curatorial Studies; Renaissance and Baroque Art and Architecture; 18th and 19th Century Art and Architecture of Europe and the United States; and 20th Century Art. Additional areas of strength across disciplines include gender and sexuality studies, critical theory, colonial and post-colonial studies, critical race theory, materiality, empirical and archival research, reception theory, global art studies, the history of emotions, and Marxist and post-Marxist methodologies.

Please note that the Certificate in Museum Studies is not available for fall 2024 admission. However, Museum Studies courses continue to be available through, and applicable toward the MA in Art History.

  • MA in Art with a Concentration in Art Education

*Please note that the MA in Art with a Concentration in Art Education has been discontinued and is not available for fall 2024 admission.

Application Requirements

Both of these applications are required in order to apply for all graduate programs in the School of Art:

The School of Art only reviews applicants for fall admission. We do not currently offer spring admission. Admission to a graduate degree program at CSULB is a two-part process that requires application to and acceptance by both the University and the School of Art. There are two separate applications, reviewed by separate groups of university staff and School of Art faculty. Both need to be submitted before the deadline of January 15th . Individual programs may conduct interviews, in which case they will contact you directly.

  1. CSULB / Cal State Apply Application: available Oct. 1- January 15th;
  2. $70 application fee, payable online only through Cal State Apply;
  3. Official sealed transcripts from the college or university you earned your bachelor's degree, sent electronically or mailed directly (see CSULB's Graduate Transcript Information for more information);
  4. Any additional materials as requested by the university.
  5. In addition, International Students should review current admissions requirements on the International Admissions website.
  6. School of Art Slideroom Application: available Nov. 1- Jan.15th. There is no fee for the School of Art application. Applicants will need to create a Slideroom account if they don’t have one already and select the program they would like to apply to. 
  7. PDF (unofficial) copies of your transcripts.
  8. Two letters of recommendation. You will enter email addresses for your recommenders through Slideroom. They will be contacted and will upload their recommendations directly to Slideroom.
  9. Additional Supplementary materials based on the program you are applying to:
  1. MA Art History 
    1. Writing Sample: the standard sample is a term paper from a previous Art History course or a senior thesis.
    2. Listing of courses taken to meet prerequisites
    3. Statement of purpose (reasons for pursuing graduate study)
  2. MFA in Studio Art
    1. Portfolio of 20 images of your studio work (see image requirements below)
    2. Artist statement or statement regarding work submitted
    3. Statement of purpose (reasons for pursuing graduate study)

Preparing Images and Videos for Slideroom

Uploaded image files may not be larger than 5MB each. Supported image formats are: jpg, png, gif, tif, bmp, and tga. Slideroom processes all images so they have a maximum of 1280 pixels at the longest length. Information required for each image includes: Title, dimensions (H x W x L), medium, date. Videos, where required, can be embedded from YouTube or Vimeo, or uploaded directly to Slideroom. Longer works of film and video must be excerpted (max. 10 min). Uploaded videos can be no larger than 60MB. Supported video formats for uploading are: m4v, mov, mp4, wmv, flv, asf, mpeg, mpg, and mkv.

General Prerequisites for Graduate Admission

An applicant may be accepted if, in addition to having satisfied requirements set by the School of Art for the degree concentration, the applicant has satisfied the following minimum university standards. To qualify for admission in conditionally classified graduate standing, these conditions need to be met:

  1. Applicant holds an acceptable baccalaureate degree from an institution accredited by a regional accrediting association or has, as determined by an appropriate CSULB authority, completed equivalent academic preparation in a university outside the United States;
  2. Applicant has attained a grade-point average of at least 2.5* (A = 4.0) in the last 60 semester (90 quarter) units attempted;
  3. Applicant has been in good standing at the last college attended.

Prerequisites for Graduate Degrees within the School of Art

NOTE: Courses taken to fulfill prerequisites for a graduate degree may not be counted toward the graduate degree program of study. The School of Art requires a GPA of 3.0 in all prerequisite units for acceptance to our graduate programs.

MA in Art History Prerequisites

Applicants must complete prerequisite coursework approved by the Art History faculty to include:

  • 3 units of Art 448 (or equivalent theory and criticism coursework);
  • 9 additional upper-division units of Art History;
  • and four sequential semesters (or the equivalent) of college-level French, German, or a foreign language appropriate to the applicant's intended area of research with a 3.0 grade point average or better in these courses. Please note that admitted students may complete the foreign language prerequisite by completing the required coursework or by passing a departmentally administered foreign language exam by the end of the second semester of study.

MFA in Studio Art Prerequisites

The School of Art prefers, but does not require, that Studio Art applicants have undergraduate degrees in Art. Application to our graduate programs is competitive and most applicants to the studio programs will have an undergraduate degree in Art, many with a BFA in their chosen media. For Studio Art admissions, the part of the application that is given the most weight is the portfolio of work. The School of Art invites all applicants who feel they have strong portfolios to apply. If the reviewing faculty members feel the application is strong, but the applicant needs additional preparatory work, the School of Art may admit the applicant with Conditionally Classified graduate standing, with specific prerequisites stated on a case-by-case basis at the time of admission. Students who have deficiencies in prerequisites, but who are willing to engage in additional preparation to meet these requirements, are encouraged to apply.

Acceptance to a degree program in Art

After submitting the School of Art application materials, those who pass the program review are recommended by the faculty to be admitted as either Classified or Conditionally Classified. A Classified Graduate has satisfied all prerequisites. A Conditionally Classified Graduate has outstanding prerequisites to complete. Acceptance is not complete until the applicant has received both notification of acceptance from the School of Art and a formal letter of acceptance from the CSULB Office of Enrollment Services. Acceptance decisions are normally sent out before April 15th for fall admission.

Transfer Units

Transfer units are allowed on a case-by-case basis and must have been completed within the 7-year limit.

Additional Information

Additional information about the degree, committee procedures, and other graduate processes may be found in the “School of Art Graduate Guidelines,” given to each student accepted into a master’s program in the School of Art at CSULB.


School of Art Graduate Advisor: Rebecca Sittler 

Visit our FAQ Page

Prospective students are welcome to book an online appointment with the Graduate Advisor during the fall or spring semester.