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Graduate Admissions

Students in our Graduate Studies programs will address the issues of sustainable communities, new modes of mobility, human-technology experience, color and materials solutions and supporting art educators. They will develop deep knowledge and skills that will enable them to make a powerful effective impact on people’s lives through design.

Graduate Application Requirements Overview

Graduate applicants need to complete required forms, upload required materials and submit the $18 non-refundable application fee. Read below to learn more about each step of the process.

General CCS Application

Find the Graduate Admissions Application here

Provide general details including name, address, contact information, undergraduate program, etc. 

Portfolio/ Examples of Work

Upload the requested materials outlined in the Program Specific Requirements section below

 

Letters of Recommendation

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 supervisor. Applicants can submit up to three (3) recommendation letters as part of their application.

Statement of Purpose

Upload a statement of purpose that outlines your areas of interest, experiences, influences, as well as objectives for seeking a graduate degree at CCS. Essay criteria/questions can be found in the Program-Specific Requirements section below. 

CV/ Resume

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

Transcripts (official/unofficial)
  • Upload a current transcript(s) (unofficial or official electronic version) of your transcript. Official copies will be requested if offered admissions.
  • International Applicants:

    Submit a certified English translation of your transcript(s) from all postsecondary schools attended- undergraduate and higher.

    The documents should include the following:

    – A full translation of all courses and enrollment information: program, degree, dates of attendance, etc.

    – Complete listing of courses with scores/marks and credits for all years attended in your Bachelor’s degree and/or Master’s degree.

    – Official grading scale/system

International Applicants Additional Requirements

Read below for the additional requirements for CCS International students.

English Proficiency Exam

All applicants whose primary and/or native language is not English must submit TOEFL, IELTS, and Duolingo English Test scores. Request scores are sent to CCS electronically by the exam agency (ETS or Cambridge English Assessment). Our TOEFL (ETS) code is 1035.

Minimum test scores required 

    • TOEFL– Internet version: 80; paper-based version: composite score of 527; computer-based: 197
    • IELTS: 6.5
    • Duolingo English Test: 90

      If the primary language of instruction for your undergraduate degree was English, you can request the requirement be waived in your SlideRoom application. Please provide a direct link to institutions website with details of the language of instruction. Applicants requesting a waiver will be contacted directly by the Office of Graduate Admissions regarding the decision.
Transcripts

Submit a certified English translation of your transcript(s) from all postsecondary schools attended- undergraduate and higher.

The documents should include the following:

– A full translation of all courses and enrollment information: program, degree, dates of attendance, etc.

– Complete listing of courses with scores/marks and credits for all years attended in your Bachelor’s degree and/or Master’s degree.

– Official grading scale/system

Program-Specific Requirements

Read below for the specific requirements of each Graduate Program at CCS.

Art Education

The Portfolio/Examples of Student Work and Art Education Artist-Educator Essay will be uploaded to the program-specific SlideRoom application. 

Art Education Portfolios/Examples of Student Works should contain: 

    • Student projects/work
    • Examples of lesson or unit plans 
    • Examples of personal artwork, if applicable

Submissions will be assessed on the presence of the following criteria:

  • Ideation and Design thinking/Concept development
  • Creativity/Curiosity 
  • Craftsmanship and Presentation quality/ Communication  
  • Meaning Making/Social awareness/Empathy

Art Education Artist-Educator Essays Criteria:

  • Please specifically address the following (1 paragraph each):


Both teaching and art making are creative processes
.  

  • What do you wonder about as both an artist and a teacher? What kinds of questions do you find yourself asking? If you had time to pursue these questions through artistic practice and curriculum design, what would you hope to investigate and why? 
  • Describe how creating art informs what and how you teach and conversely, how teaching inspires your own creative processes. 
  • Art does something. It provokes, informs and can inspire action.  In designing lessons and encounters for students, describe your vision and core values around the importance of the creative process.   
  • Describe how an MA in Art Education from CCS will support your professional development goals as an artist and educator.
Color & Materials Design

The Portfolio and Statement of Purpose will be uploaded to the program-specific SlideRoom application.


Color and Materials Design Portfolio Guidelines
Portfolios may display examples of work and experiences from a range of undergraduate disciplines, including but not limited to Architecture, Crafts, Fashion, Fine Arts, Illustration, Interior Design, Industrial or Product Design, Photography, Textiles and Transportation Design.

Applicants to Color & Materials Design should include a minimum of six projects in their portfolio, including academic, personal and professional work. Submit a variety of work that shares the breadth of your skills, however seemingly unrelated to color and materials design.

Portfolios should show use of Adobe Creative Suite, specifically Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign and additionally, any rendering software if those skills are established.

We look for work that demonstrates:

  • A strong interest in color, materials and finish [CMF] design in conjunction with providing insight into your individual work
  • The use of CMF design to make aesthetic selections that express the functional and emotional attributes of products, artifacts or experiences
  • Both research and making practices e.g. hand skills including drawing, model-making and prototyping, evidence of construction and making
  • Good organization and design in presenting ideas and concepts
  • Engagement with sustainability and human-centered design methods in developing relevant ideas
  • Material based innovation
  • The ability to write and communicate in English at a professional level
  • The ability to work in interdisciplinary teams, e.g. group projects and collaborations. (Please see below regarding Submission of Collaborative Projects)

 

Color and Materials Design Statement of Purpose Criteria

Applicants for the Color and Materials Design program must submit a 750-1000 word statement of purpose that outlines the following:

  • Your rationale for applying to the Color & Materials Design Graduate Program
  • Your motivation for studying design
  • What are you hoping to achieve in your graduate education? E.g. Do your interests lie in research-based practice or professional color and materials design practice?
  • Describe the qualities and characteristics, both personal and professional, that you feel you will bring to an interdisciplinary collaborative project
Design for Climate Action

The Portfolio and Statement of Purpose will be uploaded to the program-specific SlideRoom application.

Design for Climate Action Portfolio Guidelines 

The graduate studies program in Design for Climate Action seeks students with the maturity and discipline to engage in an intensive, two-year commitment to prepare for a fulfilling career. Candidate’s submissions will be reviewed for clarity of intentions, structure of thinking, and demonstration of discipline and process. Critical thinking, curiosity, and creativity are essential. A well-informed point-of-view about design, the climate change emergency and climate justice specifically, and self-awareness as to career aspirations, which may not be fully formed, are also important.

  • Portfolios, and/or other forms of evidence such as dissertations and thesis projects, may display experience from a wide range of domains, including but not limited to design, engineering, technology, planning and architecture; expertise in social sciences, and the humanities are welcome. However, they must reflect one or more of the following.
    • Design skills: conceptual organization, disciplined process Research skills: the ability to gather and process relevant data for informed decision making, forming holistic viewpoints and understanding complex situations, systems. and needs, and to design for their improvement.
    • Visual thinking skills: evidence of the ability to visualize ideas and systems, and prototyping using images, plans, diagrams, and models. 
    • Visual presentation skills: The ability to visually present proposals clearly and persuasively
    • Applicants from non-traditional design and visual arts backgrounds will need to develop competency in Adobe® visualization software (Photoshop, Illustrator, and InDesign) before commencing the program.
    • 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
      • Excellent soft skills

 

Design for Climate Action Personal Statement Criteria:

Applicants for the Design for Climate Action program must submit a 1000 – 2000 word statement of purpose (with references) that outlines the following:

  • What is your motivation for studying design as a means for tackling climate change?
  • What are you hoping to achieve in your graduate education? Career path and/or personal enrichment?
  • Why do you think CCS is the place for you?
  • What characteristics, both personal and professional, do you feel you will contribute to a team-based project?
Motion Design

The Portfolio and Statement of Purpose will be uploaded to the program-specific SlideRoom application.


Motion Design Program Portfolio Guidelines 

The graduate studies program in Motion Design seeks students with the maturity and discipline to engage in an intensive, two-year commitment to prepare for a fulfilling career. Candidate’s submissions will be reviewed for creative expertise, strong visualization skills, and demonstration of discipline and process. Critical thinking and contextual curiosity are essential. Point-of-view about motion design, moving image, and visual narrative specifically, and self-awareness as to career aspirations, which may not be fully formed, are also important.

  • Portfolios may display experience from across the visual arts and design that show strong image making skills, and the ability to generate and manipulate narrative content. However, they must reflect one or more of the following.
    • Visual skills: strong image making and manipulation; disciplined iterative process; strong aesthetics and visual sensitivity.
    • Communication: strong sense of (audio-)visual narrative, good content generation. 
    • Digital skills: evidence of Adobe® visual software competency, and the ability to succeed in learning new complex 4D visualization software. 
    • 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 climate change, and social justice
      • Excellent soft skills

 

Motion Design Statement of Purpose Criteria:

Applicants for the Motion Design program must submit a 500-1000 word statement of purpose that outlines the following:

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

The Portfolio and Statement of Purpose will be uploaded to the program-specific SlideRoom application.


Transportation Design Program Portfolio Guidelines 

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.

  • 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 that is graphically composed.
  • All projects should be collectively presented in / submitted as a single PDF.
  • Submissions should demonstrate your technical creative skills including freehand sketching in accurate perspective, use of 2D rendering and 3D modeling and rendering software such as Photoshop, Alias, Blender, ZBrush etc.
  • Include a significant amount of original process sketches and/or a separate sketch book as a PDF attachment in SlideRoom.
  • The portfolio should reveal a high level of skill in critical thinking, creative conceptualization, overall project development, and visual communication of this development as well as final design results. 
  • All project design work presented in your portfolio should be exclusively created by you unless otherwise noted. (Creative work from another student participating in a group project with you should be clearly identified as not your work. However, research & inspiration imagery/video/animations do not need to be identified if it is evident they are not your work.)

 

Transportation Design Statement of Purpose Criteria:

Applicants must submit a 500-1000 word statement of purpose that outlines the following:

  • What is your understanding of and motivation for studying Transportation Design?
  • What are you hoping to achieve in your graduate education? Career path and/or personal enrichment?
  • Why do you think CCS is the place for you?
  • What characteristics, both personal and professional, do you feel you will contribute in team-based projects and to the field of Transportation Design?  
User Experience Design

The Portfolio and Statement of Purpose will be uploaded to the program-specific SlideRoom application.


User-Experience Design Program Portfolio Guidelines 

The graduate studies program in User Experience (UX) Design seeks students with the maturity and discipline to engage in an intensive, two-year commitment to prepare for a fulfilling career. Candidate’s submissions will be reviewed for clarity of intentions, structure of thinking, and demonstration of discipline and process. Critical thinking, curiosity, and creativity are essential. Point-of-view about user experiences and interaction design and self-awareness as to career aspirations, which may not be fully formed, are also important.

 

  • Portfolios and/or other forms of evidence such as dissertations and thesis projects, may display experience from a wide range of domains, including but not limited to interaction design, product design, industrial design, interior design and architecture, software design, and graphic design; even expertise in engineering, computing, technology, psychology, social sciences, and humanities are welcome. However, they must reflect one or more of the following.
    • Design skills: user research, conceptual organization, disciplined process
    • Systems skills: holistic viewpoints and systemic modeling in order to understand complex situations and needs, and to design for their improvement.
    • Technical skills: evidence of manual dexterity, whether in physical materials, software interfaces, or human interactions, including iteration, refinement, and convergence toward the exploration of ideas.
    • Visual thinking skills: evidence of the ability to visualize ideas and systems, and prototyping using images, plans, diagrams, and physical models. 
    • Technological awareness: Familiarity with new and emerging technologies in AI, AR, robotics, HMI, HCI and mobility systems.
  • Applicants from non-traditional design and visual arts backgrounds will need to develop competency in Adobe® visualization software (Photoshop, Illustrator, and InDesign) before commencing the program.
  • 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.

 

User Experience (UX) Design Statement of Purpose Criteria:

Applicants for the User Experience Design program must submit a 1000-2000 word statement of purpose (with references) that outlines the following:

  • What is your motivation for studying design in the context of technologically mediated user experiences?
  • What are you hoping to achieve in your graduate education? Career path and/or personal enrichment?
  • Why do you think CCS is the place for you?
  • What characteristics, both personal and professional, do you feel you will contribute to a team-based project?

Application Deadlines

January 15: Priority Application Deadline to be considered for our highest scholarships

February 15: Application Deadline

May 1: Enrollment Deposit Deadline

Enrollment Deposits can be made as soon as you make the decision to attend or by May 1st.

Eligibility

Individuals who have or will complete an undergraduate bachelor’s degree or higher by the below dates are eligible to apply for admissions to our graduate programs beginning in the 2022 Academic Year:

June 1, 2022: Art Education

August 2022: Color and Materials Design, Design for Climate Action, Motion Design, Transportation Design and User Experience Design

 

The College for Creative Studies admits students of any race, color, national and ethnic origin to all the rights, privileges, programs, and activities generally accorded or made available to students at the school. It does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national and ethnic origin in administration of its educational policies, admissions policies, scholarship and loan programs, and athletic and other school-administered programs.