MFA Art Practice Admission

Stanford University is committed to building a diverse student population. To that end, we encourage applications from students of all ethnic and economic backgrounds.

Through a combination of fellowship funds and teaching assistantships, each Art Practice graduate student normally receives an aid package that includes tuition and salary, as well as small materials grants. Additional information about graduate financial aid, including a student budget and tuition calculator, is available at

University Application Materials

The application for admission as well as general information about applying is available from the Graduate Admissions website; please visit Graduate Admissions to apply. Prior to applying you must first determine if you are eligible - application eligibility (undergraduate degree requirements). International applicants, please also see Bechtel International Center and Graduate Admissions International Applicants for more information and any additional application requirements.

Prospective students may begin to apply late September (please verify this date on the Graduate Admissions website). The following documents are required by the university and can not be waived. Please click on the links for more detailed information about each:

  • Letters of Recommendation: Three letters of recommendation are required. The department does not accept applicant recommendation via a letter service (i.e. Interfolio or other service). It is the applicant's responsibility to ensure that letters are submitted to the electronic application by the published deadline. Please only submit three letters.

  • Transcripts: Upload a scanned copy of your official transcript(s) with the online application. Applicants must upload transcripts from every post-secondary institution attended as a full-time student and for at least one academic year. Transcripts from current degree programs also need to be submitted. (Note: The department does not accept electronically delivered transcripts.)

  • Statement of Purpose: You must indicate in the first sentence of your SOP the name of the program to which you are applying and the area you wish to study (e.g., MFA in Art Practice–Painting). The Statement of Purpose should describe succinctly your reasons for applying to the proposed program at Stanford, your preparation for this field of study, research interests, future career plans, and other aspects of your background and interests which may aid the admissions committee in evaluating your aptitude and motivation for graduate study. The Statement of Purpose should not exceed two pages.

  • Application Fee: The application fee $125, is non-refundable, and must be received by the application deadline (fee waivers are available to eligible students. Please see Graduate Fee Waivers for more information). Please do not contact the department requesting to waive the application fee.

  • GRE Scores: Graduate Record Exam (GRE) General Test is no longer required for admission to the Department of Art & Art History.

  • TOEFL Scores: Required when first language is not English; IELTS is not accepted. Please note that the department can NOT waive the TOEFL requirement. If you wish to submit a request for TOEFL waiver, please see GRE and TOEFL Requirements. It is the applicant's responsibility to ensure that the scores are submitted to the electronic application by the published deadline. (Note: To bypass the entry of TOEFL scores in the application, enter a future test date. You can add in the additional information section of the application that you have received a waiver from Graduate Admissions.)

* Please note all application materials, once submitted as part of your application, become the property of Stanford University. Materials, including your portfolio, will not be returned and copies will not be provided for applicants nor released to other institutions. Please keep a copy for your records. Re-applicants must submit new supporting documents and complete the online graduate application.

Portfolio Requirement

In addition to the above University and departmental application requirements, applicants must submit an online portfolio by the application deadline. All applicants are expected to have a substantial body of work represented in their portfolio, which is the most important part of the application, and should give evidence of the applicant’s maturity, imagination and skill.  Your portfolio must be submitted through SlideRoom (please note your name and email address on your online graduate application must match the name and email address on your portfolio in SlideRoom. Otherwise, the department will not be able to identify your portfolio and/or online application). Please follow the instructions on how to upload your portfolio in SlideRoom (for technical assistance with this process, please email There is a $10 fee.


For all mediums you must include a typed list identifying works by date, medium, size, title and other information as appropriate (please include this list with your portfolio in SlideRoom). Also include any special viewing information on this list.

  • Still Images.  Images should be sized at 1024 x 768 @ 72 DPI.  Limit the total number of still images to 20.
  • Audio & Video. Limit the total time-based media selection to 10 minutes, cued to your preferred 5 minutes.


For admission in Autumn Quarter 2022-23, all required application materials, including your test scores and recommendation letters, must be received on-line by no later than Wednesday, December 1, 2021 at 9:00pm (PST).

  • All required application materials, including your test scores and portfolio, must be submitted electronically and uploaded by the application deadline date (late applications will be not accepted).

Note: The Graduate Admissions period opens in late September each year for applications to be submitted by the published deadline in December (for matriculation beginning in the following academic year). After April 15th each year, the Graduate Admissions period is closed, and the online application will reopen during the following September.

Selection Process

The application review takes place between mid-January and mid-March. Accepted students are admitted for the following Autumn Quarter; no applicants for mid-year entrance will be considered.  You will be contacted via e-mail regarding your application status after the deadline (by mid March); please do not contact the department.

Applicants who are chosen as finalists will be required to travel to Stanford for an interview conducted by a faculty and student committee; interviews will be held at the end of February.

Knight-Hennessy Scholars

The Knight-Hennessy Scholars program cultivates and supports a highly-engaged, multidisciplinary, and multicultural community of graduate students from across Stanford University, and delivers a diverse collection of educational experiences, preparing graduates to address complex challenges facing the world.

Knight-Hennessy Scholars participate in an experiential leadership development program known as the King Global Leadership Program and receive funding for up to three years of graduate study at Stanford. To be considered, you must apply to the Knight-Hennessy Scholars program separately.

Deadline: Applications for the 2022 cohort are due by Wednesday, October 6, 2021 at 1 pm PT (please note that this is earlier than the application deadline for the art practice graduate degree program). Please visit Knight-Hennessy Scholars to learn more about eligibility requirements and to apply.