The SCA's Master of Fine Arts in Interdisciplinary Arts program provides advanced, professional interdisciplinary training in a university setting for artists in and across the fields of dance, film, music, theatre, and visual art.
The program develops student's individual artistic practice, creativity, interdisciplinary research, technical skill and critical awareness of art's relationship to contemporary society. Several kinds of artist thrive in this program: those who have a strong background in a single discipline and value the stimulation of an interdisciplinary environment; those whose studio practice fuses two or more disciplines; and those who want to develop the theoretical or scholarly context of their practice.
For information about applying to the program, please follow the links at the Future Students section of our site.
MFA students work closely with faculty members. Our faculty consists of nationally and internationally recognized dancers and choreographers; filmmakers, videomakers, and screenwriters; composers; directors, actors, and a dramaturge; visual artists; and historians and theorists.
MFA students normally pursue a five-semester program of original research and studio work, culminating in a graduate artistic project supported by an essay and documentation. The program is full-time, normally takes two years, and requires students to be in the Vancouver area.
Please see the MFA Handbook (online) for detailed information about the MFA program.
MFA candidates complete a minimum of 35 units, including 25 of course work, and a project which is the equivalent of 10 units. Normally, this project is an art presentation accompanied by appropriate documentation with an oral defence.
CA 811 – Interdisciplinary Graduate Seminar I (5)
Interdisciplinary Graduate Seminar I
Critical study of contemporary issues in the fine and performing arts, with emphasis on concerns common to diverse artistic disciplines and the interaction between art and society. Students with credit for FPA 811 may not take this course for further credit.
CA 812 – Interdisciplinary Graduate Seminar II (5)
Interdisciplinary Graduate Seminar II
Continuation of CA (or FPA) 811. Students with credit for FPA 812 may not take this course for further credit. Prerequisite: CA (or FPA) 811.
CA 813 – Interdisciplinary Graduate Studio (5)
Interdisciplinary Graduate Studio
A selected topics studio course with an emphasis on interdisciplinary artistic projects. Students with credit for FPA 813 may not take this course for further credit. Prerequisite: CA (or FPA) 811.
CA 883 – Studio in Fine and Performing Arts I (5)
CA 898 – Master of Arts Graduating Project (10)
Master of Fine Arts Graduating Project
Graded on a satisfactory/unsatisfactory basis. Students with credit for FPA 898 may not take this course for further credit.
And one of:
CA 885 – Studio in Fine and Performing Arts II (5)
CA 887 – Selected Topics in Fine and Performing Arts (5)
CA 889 – Directed Study in Fine and Performing Arts (5)
MFA Application Process
Application schedule for entry into the MFA in Interdisciplinary Arts program:
- Applications open October 17, 2022.
- The application deadline is January 15, 2023.
Applicants should have an undergraduate degree in visual culture, art history, cinema studies, performance studies, cultural studies, communications, literary studies, or other degrees focusing on the arts. Applications with Bachelor of Fine Arts degrees that include substantial scholarly studies will also qualify.
All applicants who submit complete applications will be notified of their status by the end of March. Candidates accepted into the MFA program will begin their courses in September.
Please be sure that your mailing and e-mail addresses are current, as you will be notified of application results by e-mail and by letter.
The only hardcopy documents we need to receive are your official sealed transcripts, please submit everything else online.
A COMPLETE APPLICATION REQUIRES:
1. Online Application for Graduate Studies.
If you have not submitted the online application, you will not be considered for the program. All graduate program applications are processed through Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies. In order to use the online application system, you will need to pay an application fee of $90 CAN (students with Canadian transcripts) or $125 CAN (students with international transcripts) by credit card (MasterCard or Visa). The online application includes a checklist of the documents that you will need to submit to us to support your application. This checklist will be updated online as we receive your documents. Please refer to the online checklist to ensure that all documents are received. NOTE: Due to the number of applications, it is not possible for us to monitor every applicant's checklist closely.
2. Official sealed Transcripts of all post-secondary education. Sealed transcripts should be sent directly to the address below by the academic institution. Non-English language transcripts must include an official English translation. (For the purposes of lowering costs, unofficial transcripts may be uploaded to an application for review. If an offer of acceptance is given, all official sealed transcripts will be required.)
Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies
Maggie Benston Student Services Centre 1100
Simon Fraser University
8888 University Drive
Burnaby, British Columbia
Canada V5A 1S6
3. A Curriculum Vitae.
4. An Artist's Statement indicating your background and the nature of your creative practice, including primary discipline and any interdisciplinary interest. Your goals in pursuing a Master's degree at Simon Fraser would also be of interest to the committee.
5. Three short scenarios (150-200 words each) of Artistic Projects you might undertake during graduate study. These will not necessarily evolve into your major project, but should indicate the creative directions you wish to pursue and your conceptual clarity.
6. A Portfolio of your work, including a list which prioritizes the viewing/listening order of materials. You may upload video, audio, images, or PDF documents (less than 10 Mb each). Unfortunately, we are unable to accept physical media (DVDs, CDs, etc.). For works that involve a creation and production team, please make your role (Director, Choreographer, etc.) clear.
7. A sample of Academic Writing. Acceptable samples include senior undergraduate essays or other academic writing, published articles, and grant applications.
8. Three (3) Letters of Reference from (preferably) academic or professional sources. Letters can be uploaded online directly by each reference. He or she will receive login information and instructions for uploading his or her letter once you have named him or her as a reference.
We do not have a template for reference letters; your referees can use their preferred format.
9. International students: English is the language of instruction and communication at SFU. The School for Contemporary Arts requires English proficiency as outlined on the Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies website. Please note that we must receive test results directly from the testing agency. Copies of documents sent directly by students will not be accepted.
What are the approximate tuition and fees for this program?
This is a rundown of the Fall 2022 fees (they tend to go up a bit each year). The application fee is about $125 CND. If accepted into the program, a deposit of $250 is needed to secure your place. It is a per-term fee schedule, not per-unit. Please note: international student pay the same tuition as domestic students.
These are the 2022 Fall Term fees in CND:
- All terms:
- U-Pass BC Transit pass Fee $176.80
- GRAD Student Athletic Fee $83.27
- GRAD Student Activity Fee $75.37
- GRAD Student Services Fee $49.99
- GRAD Tuition T2202A $2025.60
- Graduate Graduation Fee $12.00
- U-Pass BC Transit pass Fee $176.80
- Fall Term Only:
- Grad Health Plan Dental $269.10
- Grad Health Plan Medical $195.90
- 1st Fall Term Only (For international students only)
Fall Total International: *$3169.03 + $75 Per Month BC MSP Health Fee
Fall Total Domestic: *$2888.03
Spring Total: *$2423.03 (+ $75 Per month BC MSP Health Fee is only for International Students)
In the Spring and Summer Terms, students are not charged for the Graduate medical and dental plans because they are an annual fee, so roughly: *2423.03 CND for the other two terms of the year. Living expenses are separate.
After 6 completed terms of full-time fees in a regular fee master's program, tuition is reduced to half of the full-time fee as the continuing fee.
A completed term is defined as a term a student is not on leave, or has not withdrawn (extenuating or otherwise).
*These are approximate amounts and are subject to change each year.
More details on tuition and fees can be found on the SFU Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies website.
Do International students in this program pay an international rate for tuition?
International students pay the same tuition rate as domestic students.
Can my application fees be waived?
SFU and SCA are not waiving application fees at this time.
Where can I find information on housing arrangements and costs?
What kind of funding is provided for incoming MFA students?
MFA Students are eligible for:
- internal awards (Graduate Fellowships @ $3500/semester; special entrance awards of $2000+)
- external awards (MA SSHRC: $17,500: application deadline: December 2021. Canadian citizens and permanent residents only)
- private awards: see Grad Studies and SCA MFA websites.
- teaching assistantships (~$3500-$5000/semester)
- research assistantships
- travel and research funds ($500-$1500 per annual cycle)
- funds for presentation of artistic work ($450 for spring show; $900 for grad project)
Average funding packages (including TAships):
- 1st year: $13,000+
- 2nd year: $10-12,000
Will a Teaching Assistantship position cover some of the 2 additional international health care fees?
What are the Graduate English proficiency requirements?
International applicants will not be required to complete an English-language test if they have completed a degree at an institution where the language of instruction and examination was in English in a country where English is the primary language. All University Graduate English proficiency requirements can be found on the SFU Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies website.
Do you accept Duolingo English test results?
SFU does not accept Duolingo English test results.
Can I apply if I do not meet all the English proficiency test minimum scores?
All applicants must meet the Graduate English proficiency minimum requirements. Please note, meeting the minimum scores does not guarantee entrance into the SCA grad programs.
Can I still apply if my GPA is below 3.0?
Yes, on occasion we accept students with lower GPAs but only if they have demonstrated that their professional art practice is significant enough and they are a fit in this interdisciplinary program. Students with lower GPAs normally have a condition in their offer letter to maintain a CGPA of 3.0 in the first terms of the program.
Can I still apply if I do not have an undergraduate degree?
Yes, in rare occasions we accept students if they have demonstrated that their professional art practice is significant and they are a definite fit in this interdisciplinary program. Students without Undergraduate degrees normally have a condition in their offer letter to maintain a CGPA of 3.0 in the first terms of the program.
Does this program require GRE results?
The SCA Graduate programs do not require GRE results.
Will you look at my CV and Portfolio before I apply to see if I am eligible?
Due to the high volume of applicants, Staff and Faculty are not able to review application materials. The review process is part of the application process.
Do I need to contact and establish a potential supervisor before applying?
MFA students do not need to be matched with a supervisor upon admission. Students are assigned an interim Supervisor in the first term. Supervisors are later established in the second term of the program.
Is an interview part of the application process?
Yes, but only if an applicant is selected for an interview. The program selection committee reviews all applications in an initial round of assessment. Successful applicants from this initial assessment are then contacted for an interview.
Will you still accept applications after the deadline?
Due to the high number of applications each year, SCA does not accept applications past the application deadline.
If I am accepted into the program, can I defer my start in the program to the following year?
At this time SCA will not be granting deferrals for starting the following year.
Is there a waitlist for this program?
Yes, we have a waitlist for this program.
How many MFA students are accepted each year?
Approximately 10 to 11 students per year.
Does this program have a Spring or Summer intake?
No. All SCA Graduate programs start in the Fall Term.
Can I transfer course credits into this program from another institution?
No. All course credits for each SCA Grad program are to be taken during the span of the program.
Can I take classes remotely in this program?
No, SCA Graduate courses are in-person only.
What are the COVID-19 protocols for the University?
Please see the SFU Return to Campus Website HERE.
Can I study one discipline area such as painting in this program?
While each student has their artistic strengths and interests (in one or more discipline), our MFA program is focused on and designed to foster interdisciplinary work. So there is less of an emphasis on the program providing training in a specific discipline. Students are accepted into the program based on their previous artistic practices and it is their training and experience that they bring to the program. This program is not a conservatory program and the courses are focused on interdisciplinarity.
Can I take undergraduate SCA courses for credit in this program?
SCA Undergraduate courses can be taken with permission from the instructor. However, credit for these courses will not count towards your graduate degree. Many students opt to sit in the class or audit the course instead.
Can I take graduate-level courses from the MA and PhD programs?
Yes. With permission from the instructor, MFA students can usually take other 800-level courses as their elective course.
Do I need to supply my official transcripts in my application?
For the purposes of lowering costs and saving paper, unofficial transcripts may be uploaded to an application for review. If an offer of acceptance is given, all official sealed transcripts will be required.
Is there a minimum word length or limit for the Artist’s Statement?
The Artist’s Statement is approximately 400 words, indicating your background and the nature of your creative practice, including primary discipline and any interdisciplinary interests.
How many items should I include in the portfolio?
The average number of portfolio items is 5 to 7. More can be included, but please keep in mind the selection committee will be reviewing a fair number of other applications.
Can I provide links to sound recordings and videos in my portfolio?
Yes. It is much easier to review applications where links to sound recordings and videos are provided in a .pdf file. It is best to provide these examples in the order of importance/relevance to your application. If the videos or sound are hosted on a specific artist website, provide a link to the page where the video is rather than just a link to the entire website. Links to other media sites such as Soundcloud, YouTube, Vimeo, etc. are fine also.
I don’t have any art related samples of academic writing. What should I submit?
Acceptable samples include senior undergraduate essays or other academic writing, published articles, and grant applications.
Can my references come from non-academic email addresses?
Yes, SCA will consider non-academic references from professionals; however, it is preferred that there is at least one academic referee.
Can I get an un-conditional letter of offer?
It is best to meet the requirements of the University prior to submitting all of the application material. As many official transcripts will not have been received within the application period, a condition of receiving the official transcripts will likely be included in the letter of offer as detailed HERE.
If I am offered acceptance, when should I address any enrolment conditions in the offer letter?
As soon as possible, but definitely by July, before enrolment opens. Many conditions will prohibit enrolment in classes until they have been met.
Will you provide feedback on my application if I’m not accepted?
Due to the high volume of applicants, Staff and Faculty are not able to provide feedback on applications.
Is there an information session for this program?
There is usually an in-person information session each November. For the last couple of years, we have hosted our information sessions online. If you have missed the latest information session you can request a link to the video from the Graduate Program Assistant at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Projects & Activities
The Comparative Media Arts Journal (CMA Journal)
The CMA Journal is a newly established open-access, student-run, peer-reviewed journal, publishing the best of graduate and postgraduate essays, artworks and experimental content, created and run by SCA MA students.
MORE INFO: CMA Journal
Audain Visual Artist in Residence program
The SCA's Audain Visual Artist in Residence program brings artists and practitioners to Vancouver who have contributed significantly to the field of contemporary art and whose work resonates with local and international visual art discourses.
The program is generously funded by the Audain Foundation Endowment Fund.
With approximately four talks per term, the free and public 611 Talks series at the Alexander Studios, which is organized by the SCA Visual Art area, features curators, international and local artists, both distinguished and emerging, and other cultural producers presenting on their practices, projects, and ideas. The series is a productive occasion for working artists and students to discuss their methods and concepts and to explore the contexts and theories of contemporary art while also engaging with visual culture in a broader way.
As the location for yearly student exhibitions, SFU Galleries' Audain Gallery at SFU Goldcorp Centre for the Arts extends the pedagogy of the SCA. Through exhibitions, seminars, panels, artist talks, studio visits, and working directly with visiting artists, the programing and activities of the Audain Gallery offer our undergraduate and graduate students a unique opportunity to participate in high-profile, internationally focused and engaged artistic practices.
Simon Fraser University
Goldcorp Centre for the Arts
149 West Hastings Street
Vancouver, BC, Canada V6B 5K3
Hours: Tuesday, Wednesday, Saturday, 12–5pm & Thursday, Friday, 12–8pm
For an archive of past SCA exhibitions at the Audain Gallery, please click here.
Master of Fine Arts in Interdisciplinary Arts
Wladimiro A. Woyno R
Laura U. Marks
APPLY TO: MFA
Visit our Graduate information page to find out about the application process and timeline for the SCA MFA program.