MFA Admissions Requirements

Applying to MFA Programs at NYFA

NYFA offers a range of challenging, project-based Master of Fine Arts (MFA) degree programs in the film, performing, and visual arts. The ideal MFA applicant should demonstrate a sincere passion and aptitude for visual storytelling, graduate-level work, and scholarly research in their chosen discipline. To apply and enroll in a Master of Fine Arts graduate degree program at NYFA, prospective students must go through our application and admissions process, which includes a candidate interview and the submission of materials such as a creative portfolio and narrative statement.

Submitting Applications

To start the application process, prospective students must submit a MFA application. We recommend that students allow 20-40 minutes to fill out the application. This does not include the curation and submission of required creative materials, which will be uploaded through our online portal. Please note that students must submit a non-refundable $75 application fee, payable as part of the online application.

Required Application Materials

Once an application is processed, students will be assigned an admissions representative. The NYFA admissions representative will guide students through the admissions process, including the submission of required creative portfolio items, their narrative statement, and undergraduate transcripts, and more.

Graduate (MFA) applicants must submit the following materials for admission:

– Completed Graduate (MFA) Program Application
– Application Fee ($75)
– Undergraduate Degree Transcript
– Narrative Statement
– Letters of Recommendation
– Creative Portfolio / Audition
– Proof of English Proficiency (where applicable)

The following sections provide detailed information regarding each required application material. All transcripts and supporting materials must be submitted digitally.

Undergraduate Degree Transcripts

All students pursuing a graduate degree from the NYFA must submit an official, final undergraduate transcript in order to complete their application. These can be sent in sealed envelopes by mail or digitally.

Paper Transcripts: Hard copies of official transcripts are accepted, but email is preferred. Paper transcripts must be mailed to NYFA directly from the undergraduate institution in a sealed envelope.

Digital Transcripts: Students wishing to submit transcripts digitally can do so by contacting their NYFA admissions representative for instructions. Digital transcripts may be submitted using a digital submission service (such as Parchment) or your undergraduate institution’s own digital delivery service.

Experiential Learning: NYFA generally does not consider prior experiential learning as a substitute for the transcript requirements described above.

International Students: Students completing an undergraduate education in a foreign country where a language other than English is the official language, and who are able to produce an original transcript, must have it translated into English by an education evaluation service that offers translation services.

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Narrative Statements

Applicants must submit a self-reflective essay (max. 5 typed pages) describing the applicant’s reasons for pursuing a graduate degree in their chosen discipline and their intended contribution to the field and the department. The essay should take into account the individual’s history, formative creative experiences, contemporary influences, as well as inspirations and overall artistic goals.

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Letters of Recommendation

Students must submit two letters of recommendation verifying the applicant’s ability to successfully take on graduate study in their chosen field. Candidates should select recommenders that are in a position to evaluate the applicant’s readiness, such as teachers, supervisors, counselors, or coaches. Letters must be submitted directly to the Admissions Office by the individual writing on the applicant’s behalf. Hard copy letters must be sealed and stamped. Alternatively, letters may be sent via email by the individual writing on the applicant’s behalf.

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Creative Portfolio / Audition

To showcase their proficiency and enthusiasm for their chosen field, MFA applicants must submit a creative portfolio or audition.

Requirements by Discipline: Each discipline has different requirements for their creative portfolio submissions, which range from short films to photographic series to writing samples. Collaborative work may be submitted, but applicants must detail what role they had in the creation of the work. To see the requirements for a discipline, please visit the
MFA Creative Portfolio and Audition Requirements page.

Portfolio Submissions: All creative portfolio materials must be submitted digitally. Applicants should consult with their admissions representative for guidance on acceptable formats (such as pdf, text files, web links, etc.). All video submissions must be uploaded by the applicant to a streaming video site (such as Vimeo or YouTube), and a link to the site must be provided in the application materials. All portfolio materials must be submitted with an accompanying description contextualizing the nature and purpose of the project.

Please note that portfolio materials will not be returned.

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Proof of English Proficiency

Non-U.S. residents or international applicants, for whom English is not the first or native language, are required to submit proof of English proficiency, in the form of:

– TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) score of 550 or higher (213 for computer-based test or 79 for internet-based test); IELTS 6.5 or the equivalent.
– A report from a valid English Language School verifying completion of course level equivalent to a 550 Paper-based TOEFL Score.

Students might be eligible to receive an English proficiency waiver under the following conditions:

– Verification that the applicant has been studying in a college or university where the sole language of instruction is English for at least 1 full year at the time of their application
– Verification that the applicant studied in a high school where the sole language of instruction is English for at least 3 full years at the time.

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English Proficiency | COVID-19 Special Circumstances

For international students whose first language is not English, or are not eligible for an English language test waiver based on the below*, New York Film Academy has temporarily approved the use of the Duolingo English test in place of the in-person **TOEFL or IELTS English proficiency exams. Duolingo English tests taken between December 31, 2021 and August 2024, will be accepted.

The exam portion of the Duolingo English test contains a series of speaking, reading, writing and listening exercises. Following the exam, there will be an interview portion that will ask you to respond to various prompts in 30 to 90 seconds. The exam will take about 45 minutes to complete and you will need either a passport, driver license, or other national or state identification to show the camera. The score results are generally received within a few days of exam completion.

If you choose to take the Duolingo English test, the access information is linked here:  Exam Preparation and here. A verification email will be sent to you a few days after completing the exam containing a link to send your score to NYFA. For additional information, please review the frequently asked questions.

Please note that in order to gain admission to a NYFA degree program, students will need to score the following on the Duolingo test:

Master’s Degrees: 101

*Verification that the applicant has been studying in a college or university where the sole language of instruction is English for at least 1 full year at the time of their application; or
Verification that the applicant had studied in a high school where the sole language of instruction is English for at least 3 full years.
** NYFA prefers students to submit TOEFL or IELTS English Proficiency Scores – please note that TOEFL is now offering ‘at home’ testing.




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Candidate Interviews

As part of the admissions process, graduate applicants may be interviewed by phone, virtually, or in-person by an NYFA representative. The purpose of the interview is to identify the applicant’s goals and prior experience. The interview is also an opportunity to review the program curriculum with the applicant and to ensure that they fully understand the level of commitment required to successfully complete the degree.

Tuition Deposit

Once admitted to NYFA, students must pay a required deposit to secure their place in the MFA program. The deposit is $500, which is applied toward the first term’s tuition payment. Students who do not enroll and attend NYFA may have most of their deposit refunded. $100 of the deposit is non-refundable under any circumstances for an administrative processing fee.

Admission Stipulation

Please note that admission to any New York Film Academy program is based upon applicant information received during the admissions process. If, however, a student, after having been admitted but before starting classes, demonstrates that they are not fully prepared to commence studies at the Academy, NYFA will meet with the student to determine a proper course of action. This may include additional testing or instruction, deferring enrollment to a later semester, or enrollment in a different program of study better suited to the student.