Graduate Frequently Asked Questions

Here are the answers to some frequently asked application questions.

Do you accept applications from people who do not have an undergraduate major in design?

Yes, we welcome applications regardless of your undergraduate major. Approximately half of our current graduate students have an undergraduate major in design or a related field, and approximately half do not.
 

Is the GRE required for this application?

No, the GRE exam is not required. If you have the GRE test already taken, then please forward us your score on the Writing Analytical Exam. If you have not taken the GRE, it is not required.
 

Will taking the GRE affect my chances of admission to the program?

No. It will not affect it at all.
 

What are you looking for in a portfolio?

We are looking for evidence that indicates that you would be a good candidate for graduate study in design. This might include: design projects that you worked on as an undergraduate, projects that you worked on professionally, written examples that highlight your skills and experiences, websites or graphic design tasks that you worked on, artistic works, etc. Depending on the person, you might have some, but not necessarily all, of these represented in your portfolio.

If you do not come from a design background, you may have other evidence that shows you are a good candidate for graduate study. For example, perhaps you have done drawing, photography, painting, or other arts in the past and you could include some samples of your work for consideration.

Or maybe you are a published author and you can include some examples of articles that you have written. Or maybe you come from a technical background and you can upload technical briefs or diagrams from your past work. Or maybe you have done some computer graphics work in the past. Any of these would be welcome in a portfolio.
 

How many pieces of work should I show in my portfolio?

We encourage you to show your best work in whatever medium it is. We suggest that your portfolio should include a minimum of 5-7 works and possibly more.

We also encourage you to include a brief paragraph explaining the nature of the work so that we can better understand what the project/document/picture represents.
 

Do you accept late applications?

Occasionally, we will accept late applications on a space available basis. Please try to get your application in on time in order to maximize your chances of admission. Please contact the School of Design, design@sfsu.edu in case you wish to file a late application.
 

When will I find out my application decision?

We review all application materials thoroughly. Depending on when your application is completed, we hope to give you a decision within 4-6 weeks. Sometimes it will be longer due to university breaks, holidays, etc. Keep in mind that your application must be complete in order for us to give you a decision.
 

Do you maintain a waitlist for people who were not immediately admitted?

Yes, a subset of applications are usually waitlisted and additional students may be added in on a space available basis.
 

Where can I go for more information?

If you have further questions about your application, please contact us at design.sfsu.edu. Your question will be routed to the appropriate party.