Admissions Requirements and Deadlines

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*CCS Graduate Programs (MFA) offer one point of entry in the fall semester of each academic year.


CCS Graduate Programs (MFA) offer one point of entry in the fall semester of each academic year. Applications for the upcoming fall (2018) will open on September 15, 2017.

Priority Application Deadline: January 15

Rolling Application Deadline: We will continue to consider applications on a rolling basis as space remains available.

Program capacity is limited and it is recommended that students apply early to maximize opportunity for program consideration.



Complete your general application forms and upload the below admissions requirements through SlideRoom.



Upload items that communicate your technical and design expertise and problem-solving skills. NOTE: It is required that applicants for the Transportation Design program include a significant number of original sketches in their portfolio submission and/or an additional sketchbook.

Color and Materials Design

  • Portfolios should include projects that demonstrate an interest in color, materials and finish design, in conjunction with providing insight into your individual approach to design and creativity. 
  • Your portfolio should include a minimum of three projects including academic, personal and professional work. Your design projects should show all phases of the research and design process (research, initial sketches and development of concepts), with use of effective storytelling,  attention to detail and quality, and a well-developed design aesthetic. 
  • You are encouraged to include pieces that show your ability to work in a multidisciplinary team indicating clearly your role and contribution to the project.
  • The portfolio should reveal a high level of skill in creativity, originality, investigative skills and open mindedness. 
  • Your work should demonstrate your hand skills including drawing, model making, evidence of construction and making. 
  • Experience working with typographic space, layout and attention to detail.
  • Computer proficiency in Adobe Creative Suite including Photoshop, Illustrator and InDesign.

**We accept applications  from students with an undergraduate degree in a related discipline, for example Crafts, Textiles, Fashion Design, Industrial or Product Design, Interior Design,Transportation Design and Photography. 

We will also consider applicants with degrees in non related subjects who have an interest in materials and color, and who have the desire to explore this developing  and exciting field.

Integrated Design

  • Your portfolio should consist of a minimum of 4-6 projects including academic, personal and professional work.
  • Submit work that demonstrates your innovation abilities and projects that show your process and how you develop your ideas into the project results.
  • The portfolio must demonstrate versatility, criticality, rigor, point of view, and accomplishment working with graphic, visual, interactive, 3D or experiential media. 
    We look for abilities to:
    • Research, investigate and analyze design topics
    • Identify important user needs and desires
    • Take a systems approach to design solutions
    • Develop solutions for real needs and problems that create value for the human condition
    • Be attentive at related business dynamics
    • Draw and/or otherwise visualize new ideas
    • Write and communicate effectively
  • You are encouraged to include pieces that show your ability to work in a multidisciplinary team indicating clearly your role and contribution to the project.

Interaction Design

  • The MFA program in Interaction Design seeks students prepared for the maturity and discipline required to succeed in an intensive, multi-year commitment to become prepared for a fulfilling and long career. In general terms, candidate’s submissions will be reviewed for clarity of intent, organization, and process. Required attributes include critical thinking combined with creativity. Point-of-view about interaction design specifically and self-awareness as to career aspirations, which may not be fully formed, are also desirable.
  • Portfolios may display experience from a range of domains, including but not limited to interaction design, product design, industrial design, software design, and graphic design; however, they must reflect one or more of the following:
    • Design skills: conceptual organization, disciplined process, and strong aesthetics
    • Systems skills: holistic viewpoints and systemic modeling in order to understand complex situations and needs, and to design for their improvement
    • Making skills: evidence of craft, whether in physical materials, software interfaces, or human interactions, including iteration, refinement, and convergence toward explicit design goals.
    • Because of the demands of interaction designers in today’s work contexts, added consideration will  be given to applicants who possess one or more of the following optional skills:
      • Professional experience with design or implementation teams in any of the domains mentioned above
      • Empathy for social, economic, and global challenges, including but not limited to energy, natural resources, income disparity, and social justice
      • Implementation of web, app, or other general coding skills for front-end, back-end, platforms, cloud, and APIs
      • Proficiency in toolsets for 2D, 3D, animation, and prototyping of all kinds.

Transportation Design

  • Your portfolio should include a minimum of 3-4 design projects including academic, personal and professional.
  • All projects must have a clear representation of the phases of the design process - including your project brief, research, target market development, concept ideation, development and final renderings and models - presented in a fluid, clear, systematic manner.
  • Submissions should demonstrate your functional skills including freehand sketching in accurate perspective, use of Photoshop and Alias – or other use of 2D/3D modeling and rendering software.
  • Include a significant amount of original process sketches and/or a separate sketch book as a PDF attachment in SlideRoom, or if necessary, mailed or e-mailed to the Office of Graduate Admissions.
  • The portfolio should reveal a high level of skill in critical thinking, creative conceptualization and visual communication.

Portfolio Guidelines for applicants interested in pursuing the MFA degree as an entryway into design

Your portfolio should demonstrate that you can communicate complex ideas in a professional manner and that you have ability to work in one type of design discipline. We are looking for your unique approach to design solutions.

Please provide 3 examples of work that demonstrate your ability to:

  1. Be creative - photographs, illustrations, writing samples, movies, etc.
  2. Think critically - examples of quantitative and/or qualitative research where you derived meaningful conclusions and insights from your findings
  3. Synthesize and translate - samples of work that is about finding a solution to a given problem or an opportunity.

We strongly recommend attempting the work noted in the program specific guidelines.


Provide an unofficial/official version of your most recent or final transcript(s) from each college/university that you have previously and/or currently attending.

International transcripts: Upload a certified English translation of your transcripts, including the college/universities official grading scale. Please provide a translated degree certifications for any completed degree programs. The Admission Office reserves the right to request additional documentation and transcript evaluation if necessary.

Submission of official and final transcripts (as well as official certified translations and evaluations of the transcripts/mark sheets and degree certifications if the degree was earned outside of the U.S.) will be required for all admitted applicants. Details will be provided in the decision letter and additional communications.

Completion of an accredited BFA, BA, or BS degree is required prior to enrollment.


Submit a statement of purpose (500 - 1,000 words) using your SlideRoom account. The statement should outline your objectives for seeking an MFA at CCS. This document serves as your writing sample and should include your areas of interest and influences on your design/thinking practice. Submit Now

In the written statement, candidates should address the following:

  1. What is your motivation for studying design?
  2. What are you hoping to achieve in your graduate education? Career path and/or personal enrichment?
  3. Why do you think CCS is the place for you?
  4. What characteristics, both personal and professional, do you feel you will contribute to a team-based project?


MFA Resume iconRESUME/CV:

Provide a current resume/curriculum vitae detailing your educational, work and community service/volunteer experience using SlideRoom.


Provide two (2) recommendation letters. Recommendations should come from individuals who are able to address your creative ability, academic and/or professional record, learning style and potential for graduate education. At least one letter should be provided by an academic reference or professional supervisors. Applicants can submit up to three (3) recommendation letters as part of your application.


ENGLISH PROFICIENCY EXAM SCORES (International applicants):

CCS accepts TOEFL and IELTS exam scores. Enter the exam type (TOEFL or IELTS), score and date in the application. Request electronic delivery of scores provided to CCS. For the TOEFL, select school code 1035.

If the language of instruction for undergraduate degree was English, the English proficiency exam is not required.



Submit a $18 non-refundable application fee prior to finalizing your application.



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