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This page details all the application materials and admissions requirements for DigiPen’s MFA in Digital Arts, a degree program focused on 2D or 3D digital art production. Read all sections carefully and please contact if you need clarification on any of these requirements.

All applicants to the MFA in Digital Arts program must meet the following minimum requirements to be considered for admission:

  • Completed a bachelor’s degree with a recommended 3.0 cumulative grade point average (GPA)

  • Demonstrate a strong foundational art and observational skills through the completion and submission of an Art Portfolio

  • In addition, the ideal candidate will have experience with some of the following: drawing, figure drawing, art history, composition, 3D modeling and animation, sculpture, color theory, and digital painting.

Application for Admission

You must submit an online application to be considered for admission. You can start your application, save, and return to it as many times as needed until you’re ready to review and submit it. Your essay, letters of recommendations, and portfolio can be uploaded after submission. We recommend submitting your application and application materials two to four weeks after starting. Please review the application instructions on this page and prepare the necessary materials prior to beginning the online application.

Apply Online

Application Fee

You must include a $60 application fee along with your application. This can be done via the application portal. Application fees can also be paid by credit card, cash, check, or money order (made out to DigiPen Institute of Technology).

DigiPen provides application fee waivers to applicants who visit us for an on-campus admissions outreach event or who attend an online information session or virtual admissions meeting.


Applicants must provide evidence of completion of a bachelor’s degree with a recommended 3.0 cumulative GPA for the MFA in Digital Arts program. In-progress transcripts are acceptable if you are currently completing your bachelor’s degree.

All applicants are required to submit official transcripts from all colleges attended before they can be enrolled at DigiPen. During the application process, we will accept unofficial transcripts. These unofficial transcripts can often be downloaded from your college’s website.

For Accepted Applicants

Official transcripts from all colleges and universities attended showing completion of a bachelor’s degree should be sent directly to DigiPen by the issuing institutions. You may, however, send the transcripts yourself if they are first sealed in an envelope and stamped across the seal by the issuing institution’s registrar. Transcripts should be mailed to:

DigiPen Institute of Technology
Attn: Office of Admissions
9931 Willows Rd. NE
Redmond, WA 98052

DigiPen can also accept transcripts submitted electronically by the issuing institution using the following services:

  • Parchment
  • eScrip-Safe
  • National Student Clearinghouse
  • DigiPen cannot accept opened, faxed, or emailed transcripts as official.

Statement of Purpose Essay

Applicants to the MFA in Digital Arts program should use the following outline to write their statement of purpose essay:

  1. Introduction
    Introduce yourself and give your general reasons for pursuing graduate study.

  2. Interest
    Explain why you want to attend DigiPen’s MFA in Digital Arts, and how its curriculum will serve your interests. You may also identify one or more specific areas you might like to investigate for your thesis research

  3. Goals
    Indicate why you want to be a digital artist, and what you hope to do after completing the program.

  4. Qualifications
    The aim of this section is to build a foundation for your forthcoming work. You should discuss:

    • Your expertise and accomplishments in your major field and any research you have performed. Mention the project and the name of the professor who supervised your work.

    • Your undergraduate or other formal studies in the arts and how they relate to what you intend to do in the graduate program.

    • Your specific experiences that demonstrate your competence, motivation, and inspiration for continued study in digital arts.

    • Other relevant experiences (e.g., jobs, community activities, leadership in school organizations, awards, and honors). Be sure to include names of people, organizations, and other important details.

    • Briefly explain any discrepancies on your transcript, which might include a lower GPA in a particular semester or year.

    • Any formal art studies outside of your degree program, such as a digital art course with an instructor or an art atelier.

  5. Personal Background
    Tell us about yourself. Describe your background and important people in your life, such as family members or mentors, and how you came to your field of interest.

  6. Conclusion
    Describe why you are qualified to enroll in and will be successful in this graduate program.

Essay Submission Guidelines

Follow these guidelines for submitting your statement of purpose:

  • Each page must be typed and double-spaced.
  • Spelling, grammar, and legibility will be considered.
  • Your statement must not exceed seven pages.

Statements of purpose should be submitted by uploading directly via the online application. You can also submit your statement of purpose by emailing a copy to

Art Portfolio

Applicants to the Master of Fine Arts in Digital Arts degree are required to submit an art portfolio. This portfolio must contain original artwork by the applicant as outlined below and must demonstrate that the applicant has the strong foundational art and observational skills necessary to handle the rigors of the curriculum. Master copies (reproductions of other artists’ work) must not be used except when producing a drawing of a sculpture through live observation (no photo reference). In all instances, the original work must be cited. The portfolio, as a whole, should demonstrate an applicant’s artistic range and skill.

Samples of digital art are encouraged, but please note where traditional media are requested. Please include the date for all artwork and note the length of time spent on each piece. If necessary, DigiPen may request more samples for review.

The portfolio should contain the following items. Each item category is described in the File Descriptions tables at the bottom of this section. We encourage the demonstration of artistic process by including sketches or studies along with a final piece.

Throughout these instructions, Observational means work produced by direct observation of a subject in real life, not from the applicant’s imagination or from two-dimensional references such as photographs. Free Form means images from the applicant’s imagination but is not to be from two-dimensional references such as photographs.

Required Submission Pieces

CategoryNumber of Pieces Required

2 pages of either:


4 drawings:


2 drawings:

Composition and Color

5 drawings or paintings:

  • 3+ must be Observational
  • 3+ must be in color
  • Please include any available preliminary sketches or planning drawings, whether hand-produced or digital layers.
CreativityAt least one image satisfying the Creativity criteria below, plus a Word document or PDF describing your choice. Please create a new work for the creativity submission based on the process description. Do not repurpose an existing piece.
Range of SkillSupplement the required application portfolio with Range of Skill artwork. These can be a variety of pieces of the applicant’s choosing, demonstrating their artistic skill. It can include 2D and 3D digital art, animation, or any type of general artwork.

Please see the File Descriptions section for explanations of each type of work. The overall portfolio must include no more than 26 files total.

File Descriptions


The Gesture drawings or Urban Sketches must be Observational and done using traditional drawing media, not on a digital tablet or computer. They are not to be done from the applicant’s imagination or from two-dimensional references such as photographs. The emphasis should be on representational accuracy, gesture, and structure rather than on cartooning or stylization.

Number of Pieces Required

2 pages of either:

  • Gesture drawings OR
  • Urban Sketches

Process and Media:

GestureApproximately six gesture drawings composited on each page. These must be from poses of a nude model, including the entire figure with an emphasis on weight and kinetics. They should evoke life, movement, volume, attitude, and structure. Pose duration of 30 seconds to five minutes.
Urban SketchesObservational drawings of people or animals going about the everyday routines of life. These drawings must be done quickly out of necessity, and explore the gestures and attitudes of their subjects. At least one drawing per page.


The human figure Intermediate Pose and Sustained Pose drawings should be done using traditional drawing media and a live model (not from the applicant’s imagination or from two-dimensional references such as photographs). Directly observed drawings of figure sculpture may also be included, but the source must be cited. The drawings should clearly communicate the structure and three-dimensional form of the subject. The emphasis should be on representational accuracy rather than on cartooning or stylization.

Number of Pieces Required

4 drawings:

  • 2 Intermediate Pose
  • 2 Sustained Pose

Process and Media:

Intermediate PoseDrawings of a nude model showing an ability to synthesize the figure in the pose with accurate proportion, weight and gesture. Pose duration of 20 to 30 minutes.
Sustained PoseDrawings showing applicant’s ability to resolve the figure in an anatomically accurate way. This could be a portrait or full body pose, of either a nude or clothed figure. Pose duration of at least three hours.


These will be evaluated for the ability to use western linear perspective and the ability to create a pleasing composition combining architecture and nature.

The Interior and Exterior drawings should be made directly from observation and not from the applicant’s imagination or from two-dimensional references such as photographs.

Please include any preliminary sketches or planning drawings, whether hand-produced or digital layers.

Number of Pieces Required

2 drawings:

  • 1 Interior
  • 1 Exterior
Interior ArchitectureRoom interior drawing from direct observation in perspective, illustrating walls, furniture, and other contents.
Exterior ArchitectureExterior architecture drawing from direct observation in perspective and including some trees or vegetation.

Composition and Color

Drawings or paintings of subjects such as still lifes, landscapes, or other subjects. These will be evaluated for composition, use of value, observation, and ability to mix and control color. All pieces must be original compositions, not to be produced from two-dimensional reference such as photographs. Submitted pieces are either considered Observational or Free Form.

Number of Pieces Required

5 drawings or paintings:

  • 3+ must be Observational
  • 3+ must be in color


Pick a story from recent newspaper headlines. Use the story as your creative starting point for a new work in any medium that displays your creative and aesthetic point of view. Interpret through your personal lens and demonstrate what is interesting about this story.

Document your choice, including the story being referenced. Describe how your piece relates to the story, and include it in your portfolio as a Word document or PDF.

Your work will be judged on creativity as well as aesthetics and execution, and is not expected to be a literal interpretation. This item may be comprised of one or more images.

Number of Pieces Required

  • At least one image satisfying the Creativity criteria
  • A Word document or PDF describing your choice

Range of Skill

These samples demonstrate the applicant’s range and skill. In particular, samples of digital media are highly encouraged. The works will be assessed on their strength of design, composition, and technical facility with the chosen medium. These pieces could be used to demonstrate a particular interest, for example, a character artist could include drawings, renditions of the same character in different positions, and three-dimensional models sculpted in modeling clay or digital media.

Number of Pieces Required

Supplement the required application portfolio with Range of Skill artwork. These can be a variety of pieces of the applicant’s choosing, demonstrating their artistic skill. It can include 2D and 3D digital art, animation, or any type of general artwork.

Examples of Range of Skill pieces include (but are not limited to):

  • General Work

    Art works in painting, sculpture, animation, figure/animal studies, character designs, garment designs, constructed environments, architectural renderings, landscape studies, or other work.

  • 2D Digital Work

    Designs or illustrations done with digital media demonstrating work showing appeal, compositional mastery, or overall fluency in applying artistic skill with digital illustration tools.

  • 3D Digital Work

    3D digital examples, each piece consisting of one unique item such as a character, vehicle, or lit scene. Images of models should include textured versions and examples showing polygonal structure.

  • Animation Reel

    Either 2D or 3D character animation. Ideally, multiple characters, and at least 15 seconds in total duration. Assessment will be done in categories of personality, physicality, and timing, among others.

Portfolio Terminology Index

ObservationalDrawings or paintings from direct observation of real subjects, and should not be from the applicant’s imagination or from two-dimensional references such as photographs.
Free FormImages from the applicant’s imagination, and should not be from two-dimensional references such as photographs.
TraditionalCreative work produced using analog materials (pencil, ink, paint, paper etc.)
DigitalCreative work produced using digital tools and software.

Portfolio Submission Guidelines

Upload the portfolio via the application portal.

The application portal can support media files as large as 5GB, but please be advised that larger files will take longer to upload from your Internet connection and may stall if you are on a wireless connection or one that cannot sustain a connection for the necessary period of time. Uploaded documents may contain no more than 75 pages. We support the following file formats:

  • : .3g2, .3gp, .avi, .m2v, .m4v, .mkv, .mov, .mpeg, .mpg, .mp4, .mxf, .webm, .wmv

  • Audio: .aac, .m4a, .mka, .mp3, .oga, .ogg, .wav

  • Slide: .bmp, .gif, .jpg, .jpeg, .png, .tif, .tiff

  • Document: .doc, .docx, .odg, .odp, .odt, .pdf, .ppt, .pptx, .rtf, .wpd

Label all artwork with the date of completion and the medium used. If a reference was used; be sure to cite the reference in the description. Please note: DigiPen prefers that the artwork submitted be less than two years old, but may consider older work.

Avoid samples that rely heavily on exaggerated physical features such as large eyes, big hair, and elongated limbs, or samples copied directly from manga, anime, Disney, and similar sources. Instead, focus on creating works that demonstrate your ability to draw from observation and your own imagination.

Letters of Recommendation

Graduate applicants are required to submit two letters of recommendation with their application. Letters of recommendation must be from individuals familiar with your academic background or work ethic (e.g., an instructor, school counselor, or employer). Recommendation letters from family members will not be considered. In their recommendation letter, references should explain how long they have known you and in what capacity.

You should ask your references for recommendations before including their names on your application. Ask them to add to their safe senders list or address book, then tell them to expect a reference request via email. Enter the contact information for your references in the online application, and each reference will receive a link to an electronic recommendation form.

If your references do not receive an electronic recommendation form, they may send their letter of recommendation to

Other Materials

For International Applicants

In addition to the typical requirements for undergraduate applicants, international applicants must also provide additional information to be considered for admission to DigiPen. Visit our International Applicants page for details about the Financial Responsibility Form and about providing Proof of Proficiency in the English Language (for non-native English speakers).

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