Undergraduate Admission

We're Interested in You, and We'll Make this Easy.

Bring yourself and your transcripts to campus or to Zoom, and we'll figure out a degree plan for you. We can do an audit in 24 hours, and let you know what it will take for you to get your degree. 

Scholarship and Grant Opportunities

Whether you  are awarded a California Transfer Scholarship that provide up to $20,000 a year or the Carlos Villa Scholars Grant that starts at $15,000, we will do everything we can to help you afford to be here. International and domestic students alike have equal access to our institutional grants and scholarships.

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Application Requirements

Acceptance is based on thoughtful review of your application materials:

Portfolio and Artist Statement

Submit your portfolio and artist statement via SlideRoom

For BFA applicants, your portfolio is a chance to introduce yourself and may include examples of your artwork across several different mediums or artwork you created within one medium. Creative writing, journals, and proposals may also supplement visual submissions.

Show us what you’re made of with 10–15 digital images and/or 3–4 video clips. Please include the Title, Medium, and Date in Slideroom.

For your artist statement, briefly explain the ideas and content of the work in your portfolio. What factors have influenced this body of work? What do you want to accomplish at SFAI in terms of your art-making? You may also include artists and outside sources that have influenced you.

Critical Essay

For BA applicants, the critical essay is a chance to demonstrate your writing skills and your ability to articulate a personal vision.

Please write 500–750 words on one of the three topics listed below.

  1. What do you see as the role of the contemporary artist in a global society?
  2. Write a critical response to a recent encounter you have had with contemporary practices of art or cultural production. You may have seen an exhibition in a traditional space (such as a gallery or museum); you may have attended a performance or a public intervention; you may have come across a web- or text-based project, or something else entirely. Be sure to consider the significance of both the mode of presentation and the content in your account.
  3. What is the role of art in urban culture? How, if at all, can art provide critical perspectives on issues of urban social and environmental justice, urban quality of life, community identity, the city as a space of diverse cultural encounters, or other issues? How does the practice of art interact with the production of urban visual culture more broadly speaking?

Submit your critical essay via SlideRoom

Letter of Recommendation

Letters of recommendation are submitted online via Slideroom, and should come from a teacher or another individual familiar with your abilities and goals.


As you complete the application you will be required to enter your recommender’s name, title, email address, phone number, organization and your relationship to your recommender, along with a personal message to your recommender.


An automatic email will be sent to each of your recommenders with instructions on how to complete the process. Please let your recommenders know in advance to expect this email.


You do not need to wait for your recommenders to send their letters to submit your application on Slideroom, SFAI will continue to receive recommendation letters after your application has been submitted.

Official Transcripts

SFAI requires transcripts of all high school, college, or university coursework, both completed and in-progress, or CHSPE Certificate of Proficiency, or GED certificate.

You can submit your transcripts 3 different ways:


1. Request an official transcript online via Parchment. Please take a screenshot or save a PDF of your transcript request to attach to your application in Slideroom.


2. If your official transcript is not available through Parchment, request an official transcript directly from your school.


If your school has the option to send official transcripts through an online service other than Parchment, these should be sent to admissions@sfai.edu .


If your school requires official transcripts to be sent by mail, please mail to the following address:



San Francisco Art Institute

800 Chestnut Street

San Francisco, CA 94133


Please take a screenshot or save a PDF of your transcript request to attach to your application in Slideroom.


3. If you have not requested an official transcript yet or your degree is still in progress, you can attach an unofficial copy of your transcript to your application in Slideroom. If you are submitting unofficial transcripts from multiple schools, please scan them all into a single PDF.

Final/Official Transcripts and Documents

Students who have not submitted final official transcripts by the end of their first term at SFAI will not be considered officially admitted and will be unable to register for a subsequent term in their degree or certificate program until all outstanding documents have been received. SFAI will return any disbursed Title IV funding to the Department of Education and the student will be responsible for any charges due to SFAI as defined by the financial policies in the Student and Campus Handbook.   

Summer-start students have until the last day of the fall semester following their term of matriculation to submit final official documents.