Applicants are currently being accepted on a rolling basis.
Please contact us for more information at dsiinfo [at] sva.edu or by calling 212.592.2173.
Department tours: Mondays at noon
How To Get In
Applications are a combination of important records and information, and opportunities for you to show us who you are:
There are three places where you can tell us the unique story of you: your portfolio or case history, your statement of purpose, and your interview. Use them to communicate with us beyond facts and artifacts.
We are looking for passionate, committed individuals who are curious about the world’s diverse people and species. We welcome generalists, with breadth of experience, who might find other disciplines too confining for them – people who like to do as much as they like to think, and vice versa – people who want to engage with the world and are filled with creativity. Tell us about the whole you. Tell us why you care about getting in, about the life you want to begin here on the first day. If you have hobbies that you are awesome at, let us know. And oh, yes, we’re looking for good communicators.
We are looking for visual thinkers. You have a choice of sending a portfolio or a case history of something you’ve done. We don’t expect for you to have solved the world’s challenges already. We’ll get started on that together.
If you want to send both a portfolio and case history, please feel free.
The essay is important – we want to hear your voice. We’ll be spending a lot of time together, and want to know as much about your hopes and ambitions as we can. Write from your heart as well as your head.
Here’s a quote we love:
“Even in literature and art, no man who bothers about originality will ever be original: Whereas if you simply try to tell the truth, you will, nine times out of ten, become original without ever having noticed it.”
Catalog & Application
If you would like to receive a graduate catalog, please visit Applications and Catalogs to download a PDF or request a copy mailed to you. To apply to MFA Design for Social Innovation, go to Online Application for Graduate Admissions. There is an $80 application fee that must be paid at the time of submission.
Applicants to the MFA Design for Social Innovation Program must have an undergraduate four-year degree from an accredited college or university. Core design skills and mastery of applications are required, including all programs in Adobe Creative Suite, After Effects, Apple Final Cut Pro, HTML and Flash. Remedial courses for those who do not have mastery of the core design applications can be arranged and should not discourage candidates from applying. After applying through the SVA portal all materials should be sent digitally in an email to the Director of Operations, Raolat Abiola at rabiola[at]sva[dot]edu.
As mentioned, all students must be able to prove that they have received a bachelors degree from an accredited institution. SVA now offers electronic submission of transcripts, please contact our Director of Operations, Raolat Abiola at rabiola[at]sva[dot]edu if you have questions.
This should include your professional experience as well as any research, awards, or exhibitions
If English is not your primary language you will need to prove proficiency through TOEFL (minimum scores of 79 internet-based, 213 computer-based, 550 paper-based) or IELTS score of 6.5 or higher.
Essay articulating the individual’s vision for how he or she will contribute to the betterment of the world, of up to 500 words in length and submitted in Word or PDF format.
Option 1: Portfolio reflecting a wide range of design work from communication design, product design, 3-D and interactive design, data visualization and system design. Portfolios should be submitted on a CD in Apple OS X-readable format, titled with last and first name. This folder will contain any combination of the following: 15- 25 still images of print or photography, in jpeg format, no more than 1 MB each, and including a one-page digital slide sheet in .pdf format, titled with last and first name which contains a thumbnail and description of each image. Up to 3 video files, in Quicktime format, no larger than 5MB each, and no longer than 2 minutes. A word document with up to 5 urls of websites.
and/or Option 2: Case Histories reflecting initiatives that the applicant has led, and that demonstrate social innovation. Up to 3 case histories of complete campaigns, with written text explaining the problem, solution and results if available, with thumbnails of visual elements.
Applicants under consideration will be contacted to schedule an interview.
Difference from SVA Application
Unlike other SVA departments, we do not require the following and these materials if submitted will be considered supplemental:
Statement of Purpose (we require our essay question instead)
How We’ll Decide
A group of the faculty members will review all portfolios. We will choose our first cohort as individuals, and as part of an extraordinary team that will collaborate and help each other grow.