Apply to Cranbrook

Apply to Cranbrook

Applications Will Open in Fall 2024

Cranbrook’s MFA/MArch full-time, two-year program is studio critique-based and focused on the creative act of making. Theory serves as a conceptual tool, but in the end, it is the connection between idea and form that matters most. It is this principle that forms a common dialogue across disciplines at Cranbrook, making it a truly unique place.

In 2021, Jennifer and Dan Gilbert established the Gilbert Fellowships which provide up to ten full-tuition scholarships each year for students from diverse backgrounds.

The Gilbert Fellowship aims to create a more diverse and equitable community by removing financial barriers to graduate art and design education and bringing voices to Cranbrook that represent the world in which we live. In addition to tuition support, the Gilbert Fellows will be part of a supportive cohort that will have opportunities to collaborate, participate, and engage in special projects and initiatives in Detroit and surrounding communities. Please review the additional statement requirement within the application.

Jerry Li, 2021

Admission Requirements

Completion of a bachelor’s degree from an accredited educational institution is required for admission to the Master of Fine Arts program. Applicants holding a bachelor’s degree in a field other than the arts may be considered on an individual basis, based upon a review of the candidate’s portfolio and experience.  International applicants must have earned the equivalent of a U.S. bachelor’s degree in order to be considered for admission.

Completion of a Bachelor of Architecture or its equivalent undergraduate degree from an accredited educational institution is required for admission to the Master of Architecture program. Applicants holding a degree in a field other than architecture may be considered on an individual basis, based upon a review of the candidate’s portfolio and experience.  International applicants must have earned the equivalent of a U.S. bachelor’s degree in order to be considered for admission. International applicants should review all requirements below, and also visit the International Student page.

Students interested for the Master of Fine Arts degree program will apply to one of eleven departments (2D Design, 3D Design, 4D Design, Ceramics, Fiber, Metalsmithing, Painting, Photography, Print Media, or Sculpture).  Students interested in the Architecture department will apply for the Master of Architecture degree program.

Take the Next Step

Application Review Timeline
Be Prepared in the Event You Are Accepted
Online Application Procedure

Submitting Your Materials

  • 1. Statements
    Statement prompts vary by department.
  • 2. CV / Resume
    Submit either a curriculum vitae (CV) or a resume.
  • 3. Letters of Recommendation
    Provide email addresses for referees, who will be asked to submit letters through a confidential online link. Refer below for more information.
  • 4. Portfolio
    Attach up to 20 examples of recent work and provide title, date, materials, and dimension for each image/file uploaded. Instructions on acceptable file types will be provided during the upload process in Slideroom. We recommend that no single video exceed 3 minutes. This is just a recommendation, though, and you can submit a longer video if necessary. See below for “tips for putting together a great portfolio.”
  • 5. Transcript(s)
    Submit an unofficial transcript for your bachelor’s degree. You are also encouraged to submit transcripts that reflect additional coursework if you would like to have them considered in the application review process. Refer below for detailed information.
  • 6. Application Fee
    $85 application fee is collected directly through Slideroom via credit or debit card. We are unable to grant requests for application fee waivers.
  • 7. TOEFL Scores
    International students must provide an official TOEFL exam score that meets or exceeds the minimum score requirement; results from other tests are not accepted. The minimum TOEFL score requirement is 90. For information regarding possible TOEFL exam waivers, please refer to the International Students page.


Statements must be inserted as unformatted text in the Slideroom application.

  • Statements of Purpose and Autobiographical Statements should be between 1 and 2 pages in length (or 1200 words or less).
  • Applicants interested in being considered for the Gilbert Fellowships are asked to upload an additional statement of no more than 500 words, please see the application for details.
  • Applicants to the 2D Design department will also be asked to upload formatted and stylized versions of the Statements and CV for review.

Please read the instructions for statements carefully. There are no “right” or “wrong” answers; your responses provide important insight into your background, interests, influences, etc. Respond to the questions that are asked in a manner that makes the most sense to you.


You must submit an unofficial transcript for your bachelor’s degree. If your degree is still in progress, please provide a transcript that includes the courses you have completed to date (including grades) and the courses in which you are currently enrolled (please note that if you are admitted, you will be required to provide proof that you have been granted your degree before you matriculate in September).

In addition, you are encouraged to provide unofficial transcripts for any other degree or program (master’s, post-baccalaureate, certificate, classes) that you would like to have considered as part of the application review process. Information that assists in understanding your relevant background is important to include in your application.

International students. Please go to the International Students page for Transcript requirements.

Letters of Recommendation

You will be asked to list the name, position, and email address for three people who will provide letters of recommendation.

An email will be sent to them automatically providing a confidential link where they may upload their letters of recommendation on your behalf.

Hint: Complete the References section earlyThis cannot be stressed enough. It is in your best interest that all of your references are received when applications go forward for review in early February. Complete the References section as early as possible to allow your referees more time to complete the letters. Do this even if you are not ready to submit. You are strongly encouraged to let your referees know that an emailed request for a recommendation will be coming to them from, so they can watch for it (the email request is sent as soon as you click the Send Request button). 

Note: You may submit your application for admission before your letters of reference are received by the Academy. Referees are still able to attach letters to your application even after you have submitted!

After you have submitted your application you can log back in to view the status of your letters. “Complete” means the referee has successfully submitted their letter through the electronic system. If the status is labeled as “Requested,” this means the referee has not yet completed the online submission process. You can choose to resend the request or supply an alternate email in case your referee’s spam filter blocks the original request or has removed the link.

References are required to be submitted electronically through the Slideroom process. In the rare instance, your referee is unable to submit via Slideroom please contact the Admissions Office (248-645-3300 or for guidance.

Reapplication for Admission
Alternative to Online Applications
Tips for a Great Portfolio

When putting together your portfolio, remember to include only great images of your work.

Tips for a Great Portfolio

If you need help photographing your work, get help. Powerful photos showcase powerful work.

Tips for a Great Portfolio

It always helps to get a second-opinion; a friend or mentor can “see” your work in ways you might not.

Tips for a Great Portfolio

Think of your portfolio as a creative project of its own – consider sequence, pacing and how one image moves to the next.

Tips for a Great Portfolio

It’s a good idea to group pieces in a series together. In fact, working serially can help develop an idea or approach fully.

Tips for a Great Portfolio

When sequencing your images, start with strong work and end with strong work.

Statement of Non-Discrimination

Statement of Non-Discrimination

Statement of Non-Discrimination

Cranbrook Academy of Art is a true community.

We value the contributions of all our members, so naturally, the Academy does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, religion, creed, sex, height, weight, marital status, disability, veteran status, age, sexual orientation, gender identity, genetic information, or any other basis prohibited by local, state or federal law in its programs and activities. Inquiries regarding the non-discrimination policies may be addressed to: Director, Cranbrook Academy of Art, 39221 Woodward Avenue, P.O. Box 801, Bloomfield Hills, MI  48303-0801.