MFA Social Practice: How to Apply

Graduate Admission

Application for admission to the MFA in Contemporary Art Practice: Art + Social Practice (three-year flexible-residency) must be made by early January prior to the fall term in which the student intends to begin work towards the degree.

Applying to the Art + Social Practice MFA program is a two-step process. In addition to the Portland State University application, the MFA Social Practice program requires the submission of a digital portfolio.

Step One

Begin your application process through Portland State University’s Office of Admissions. This link contains information about University level application procedures and fees.

Step Two

Submit your digital portfolio and other application materials (outlined below) to the School of Art + Design through SlideRoom.

The SlideRoom application portal for Fall 2021 opens December 1, 2020.

Deadline to Apply

 January 15, 2021, at midnight PST

Apply for Scholarships by February 1

Incoming students who are accepted to the program won't have another opportunity to apply for financial support during their first year, so be sure to apply!


Applicants to the Art and Social Practice MFA Program must have a B.A., B.S. or B.F.A. degree.

Application Materials

  • Digital portfolio
    Maximum 15 images, video, audio, or text-based examples of past work and/or proposals for future projects. Please do not submit traditional studio-based work samples unless the studio-based work connects to your socially engaged work. Please be explicit about this in your descriptions.
    • Guidelines: Images (jpg, gif, png) up to 5 MB each, videos (flv, wmv, mov) up to 60 MB each, audio (mp3) up to 10 MB each, documents (pdf) up to 10 MB each.
    • It is a requirement to supply a description for each work sample.
  • Statement of intent (500 words max.)
    Including the applicant’s reasons for applying to the MFA program, relevant aspects of significant past experience and achievements, future plans, and any additional information that may aid the selection committee in evaluating aptitude for graduate study.
  • Social Practice Curriculum Vitae
    Submit an alternative Curriculum Vitae specifically for Social Practice. The format should be modeled after a standard CV, but instead of only including traditional content (formal education, exhibitions, etc.), this CV should focus on less orthodox but equally important aspects from applicant’s life of experiences and research that have prepared the applicant for being a social practice MFA student.
  • Transcripts
    From all degree-granting institutions the applicant attended in the past (unofficial transcripts acceptable).
  • Three video assignments
    While the video quality is not important (cell phone/webcam videos are acceptable), the videos are an important part of the application because they allow us to meet applicants in a more personal way.
    • Tour of the highlights in your neighborhood
      Create a short video of what you consider to be the highlights of your neighborhood (3 min maximum).
    • Ask a stranger about the significance of the clothes they are wearing
      Create a short video of you having a stranger describe for you the significance of the clothes they are wearing (3 min maximum).
    • Demonstrate a talent
      Create a short video where you demonstrate a talent (3 min maximum).

Additional materials for shortlisted applicants:

  • Letters of Reference
    Names and contact information of three references.
  • Video Interview
    Shortlisted applicants are invited to a video interview with a committee of students and faculty. The decision-making process is part of the course curriculum and current students have equal weight to faculty in admissions decisions.


A $65 non-refundable application fee and a $2 processing fee will be required to successfully complete the application. Payment can be made with a VISA or MasterCard.

Financial Assistance

Each year, tuition assistance is available through Graduate Assistantships and Scholarships through Portland State University.

  • Graduate Assistantships (GAs) are offered to incoming students each year as they are available. Applicants do not apply for GAs. Assistantships provide students with opportunities to assist instructors and eventually teach their own courses. They also provide tuition remission and a stipend.
  • Scholarships are available through the College of the Arts and through Portland State University.