Digital Arts and New Media: MFA: Collaboration, Innovation, Social Impact

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Applying to DANM: Application Guidelines


Statement of Purpose (limited to 500-1000 words)

This should be a concise, well-written essay about your background and your reasons for pursuing graduate study in the field of Digital Arts and New Media. Our selection committee places particular importance on the statement of purpose. It should exhibit your ability to present ideas in clear, coherent language.

MFA candidates applying to a two-year terminal degree program must be prepared to pursue advanced, interdisciplinary work in the field of Digital Media Arts. Your statement should indicate:

1. how knowledgeable you are in relation to Digital Arts and New Media

2. how your undergraduate studies and other recent experiences (work, community involvement, and so forth) serve as a foundation for graduate study in the field

3. how and why you intend to build on this foundation of knowledge and apply your graduate training to social or theoretical problems

DANM is not a traditional MFA program. We seek students whose goals for graduate study and interdisciplinary research match our current research foci described under Collaborative Research on this site. Your statement should:

1. discuss your reason for applying to our program in particular

2. articulate your relation to/ interest in at least one of the collaborative research groups developed specifically for your cohort's first year

3. describe a project you would like to pursue while in the program

It is important to give serious thought to your choice (first and second) of project groups in these research areas -- Participatory Culture, Performative Technologies, Mechatronics or Playable Media -- in your statement of purpose. You will be accepted into a project group in one of these areas as part of  the admissions process and the project group leader will agree to serve as your adviser until your thesis committee chair is in place. Upon entering the program you will be working with specific faculty (as well as fulfilling the requirements of the core curriculum) and that faculty member will be making a definite commitment to work with you. You will be allowed to switch groups (or advisers) only through a successful process of appeal.

Think about how you prefer to work and learn how the project group you wish to join is structured. There should be no assumptions about the versatile relationships created through "collaboration."


Personal History (limited to 500 words)

Discuss how your personal background informs your decision to pursue a graduate degree in the field of digital arts and new media. Include any educational, familial, cultural, economic, or social experiences relevant to your journey. DANM is especially interested in how you might contribute to social or cultural diversity within the field; and/or how you might serve underrepresented segments of society with your degree.


Portfolio Requirements

Please provide a url for a web site showing representative work. The portfolio may include one or more of the following media:

1. 10-15 still images maximum

2. 10 minutes of video maximum

3. 2-3 links to interactive pieces maximum

Submit your most exciting and relevant work. Student projects are of interest only if they illustrate points made in your Statement of Purpose.

Physical portfolios are accepted in addition to the online portfolio if there is sufficient reason, i.e. the applicant is submitting a published book, a tactile interface, etc. Physical material should be sent to the following address:

UC Santa Cruz
Digital Arts and New Media Program
Digital Arts Research Center, Rm. 204
1156 High Street
Santa Cruz, CA 95064


Letters of Recommendation

Three letters of recommendation are required.  They must be requested and delivered through the online application. 

Make requests for the letters of recommendation as early as possible in the application process, it often takes several weeks or more for your letters to arrive.  Your application is not complete without them.



Official transcripts are not required at the time of application. Instead, you should upload a copy of your unofficial transcripts to your online application. This can either be a scanned version of your official transcript, or, if available, a downloaded PDF from your institution's online portal. See the Document Scanning Guidelines for information about scanning and uploading your unofficial transcripts to the admissions application. 

If admitted, we will require that an official, sealed transcript be sent directly from your degree-granting institution to the Graduate Division prior to enrollment at UC Santa Cruz. 


Useful Information

• Once you begin your online application, our graduate adviser will be able to contact you with additional tips for successful completion of the application.

• The Division of Graduate Studies has a very useful FAQ about applying to UCSC.

• For transfering transcripts, the UCSC School Code is 4860.