UC Santa Barbara General CatalogUniversity of California, Santa Barbara


Division of Humanities and Fine Arts
Undergraduate Advisor
Email: arts-undergraduate@ucsb.edu 
Building 534, Room 1316
(Office Closed due to COVID 19)
Telephone: (805) 893-5962*
Website: arts.ucsb.edu
Department Chair: Lisa Jevbratt

*Phone lines temporarily inaccessible. Communicating via email is preferred and can be found on the department website.

Graduate Program

The Department of Art two-year MFA program provides graduate students with the opportunity to explore studio production, field exploration and theoretical work in a flexible structure that encourages individual development within an interdisciplinary context. The department stresses the importance of a rigorous understanding of the conditions in which art is produced. Students are exposed to methodologies of inquiry that foster innovative and problem-solving skills necessary for artistic development and creative production.

Students are given the opportunity to work one-on-one with our accomplished faculty who are actively engaged in a range of disciplines and areas that include art and cultural theory, art history, film, video, digital and print media,  photography, performative studies, painting, spatial studies and public practice, and related fields in the Humanities, Sciences and Engineering. The program provides graduate students with direct exposure to visiting professional artists for individual studio critiques in conjunction with an intensive curriculum which includes theory, studio critique seminars, professionalism, a range of directed media research courses, and the department's visiting artist lecture colloquium.

Each year, one graduating MFA student is selected by our faculty as the College of Creative Studies Teaching Fellow for one year. This honor includes teaching 3 courses, studio space, and access to the Department laboratories.

The department wishes to attract motivated students who will benefit from interaction with a diverse and challenging faculty. The environment offers focused research in a compelling natural setting while gaining exposure to the opportunities presented in the urban centers of Los Angeles and San Francisco.


In addition to meeting university requirements for graduate admission status (found in the “Graduate Education” section of the UCSB online catalog), each applicant to the graduate program in art must have earned an undergraduate bachelor degree with an overall 3.0 grade-point average or better. A research emphasis in visual art is recommended; however, applicants with degrees outside the visual arts or non–traditional backgrounds may be eligible, if their application shows promise and relevance to the current research environment. In all cases, the applicants must demonstrate outstanding accomplishment by submitting digital files of their work.

Applicants to this program are not required to take the Graduate Record Examination (GRE).

Applicants whose native language is not English, are required to take either the Test of English as Foreign Language (TOEFL) or the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) exam. Exemptions to this requirement will be considered for those students who have completed an undergraduate or graduate education at an institution whose primary language of instruction is English. The minimum TOEFL score for consideration is 550 when taking the paper-based test (PBT) and 80 when taking the internet-based test (IBT). The minimum IELTS score for consideration is an Overall Band Score of 7 or higher. TOEFL or IELTS scores must not be more than two years old at the time of application to UCSB.

Applications are reviewed by the faculty; admission is contingent upon approval of a majority of the tenured faculty. Applicants will be ranked, and offered admittance into the program depending on space availability. Admission is limited to fall quarter only. The application deadline is the first week of January. Applications are available at www.graddiv.ucsb.edu. A description of the program and its requirements is available at the departmental website: artsite.arts.ucsb.edu.

Master of Fine Arts – Art (Requirements - PDF)