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Vieux Carré. Photo Anna Robinson (2016)Vieux Carré (2016). Photo: Anna Robinson.

Application Information the MFA Program in Lighting Design

We thank you for your interest in the MFA Lighting Design Program!

To All Potential MFA Design Applicants: The UC San Diego MFA Design program will not be accepting any incoming MFA Designers in Fall 2023. We will resume accepting applicants in Fall 2024.

When we begin recruitment for a new MFA Design cohort, please see below for detailed application instructions. 

 Upload the following materials via the UC San Diego application portal

  • Official transcripts or official copies of academic records from all post-secondary institutions attended
  • A minimum of three letters of recommendation. For the online letter of recommendation process, you must provide the email address of each recommender.
  • Statement of purpose
  • Design applicants must upload a small representative portfolio of sketches, drawings, photographs, and/or color reproductions.

Your design portfolio is the most important part of your application to the Design program. It is a measure of your ability to communicate design ideas through visual and aural material, to work with space, color, sound, and form, and the use of research materials. It should document the growth of your work over time, and should include your own work from the last few years. Please do not include examples of work you assisted on, UNLESS the work shown is actually your own.

Please consider the following when creating your portfolio:

  • We would like to see rough sketches, research, work-in-progress, and finished work. This helps us assess your design process.
  • Light Plots, either hand drawn or computer generated, should include paperwork and production photos/slides where available.
  • Any Rendering or Drawing class example sketches should also be included, as well as photos/slides or examples of any artwork, in any medium, that expresses your individual artistic aesthetic.
These materials should be uploaded to the UC San Diego application portal. 


All design students are encouraged to apply early. Once your application materials have been received and reviewed, you will be contacted by email or phone to set up an interview appointment with the appropriate member of the design faculty.

If you have questions about the application process or about the materials required of you, please contact the Graduate Coordinator at (858) 534-1046 or by e-mail at 

Mailing address:

UCSD Theatre and Dance
Grad Admissions
9500 Gilman Drive
La Jolla, CA 92093-0344