School of the Arts

How to apply to iArts

If you intend to study iArts at McMaster, you must meet the general entrance requirements to the Faculty of Humanities and qualify through the Creative Submission selection process. For more information on what iArts and McMaster has to offer, please visit the School of the Arts website. The iArts Program welcomes submissions from all applicants and all creative genres. We welcome applications from members of equity-seeking communities (including, but not limited to): Indigenous, Black, people of colour, refugees, newcomers, immigrants, Two-Spirit, LGBTQI+, gender diverse persons and persons with disabilities.

Electronic Creative Submissions

All applicants are required to submit a digital Creative Submissions through SlideRoom. There is a $10 fee for submitting or reviewing your portfolio this year. You can make only one creative submission per academic year.


Our program has a limited number of spaces available. The SlideRoom Portal opens on November 6, 2023 and applications should be submitted by February 1. If spaces in the program remain open, we will consider a second round of applications submitted by March 1. Reviews will continue until all spaces have been allotted.


Before you use SlideRoom, make sure that you have applied for admission online through the Ontario Universities’ Application Centre and that you have received an email from McMaster acknowledging receipt of your application. Use the same name and email address in your SlideRoom account as on your McMaster application.


You will be able to log in and edit your Creative Submission on repeat visits to SlideRoom, but once you click “Submit”, you will no longer be able to make any changes. Ensure that your SlideRoom application is SUBMITTED and not “pending” by pushing the “submit” button after you have done all final edits. We are unable to see any “pending” submissions in SlideRoom.


For questions regarding technical issues related to SlideRoom, please consult SlideRoom Help Centre for support. For questions regarding iArts program at McMaster University, please contact the School of the Arts (sota@mcmaster.ca).

Accessibility option

If you require accommodations for the written questions in SlideRoom you may record your responses to 1 or more of the questions in 1 video up to 3 minutes maximum. You will need to upload this as one of your creative submission entries. However, you may still submit an additional 5 video entries.


You may upload images (jpg, png, gif), video (mov, wmv, flv, mp4), music (mp3), PDF documents, scans or links to media. Please ensure video clip files do not exceed 3 minutes. File size is limited*


Learn more about acceptable file types and sizes.

Create an account and upload your portfolio.

Submitting Your Creative Submission Package for Consideration for Admission to iArts

A creative submission package is a compilation of creative work and/or practice that you have done either in school, at home, or possibly in your community. A Creative Submission package is similar to a portfolio or audition reel but we are welcoming interdisciplinary applications.


You can submit up to 15 digital files (written work, photographs, videos and/or sound files) that showcase your creative activities; up to 5 can be video of 3 minutes maximum, up to 3 written submissions at a limit of 1500 words each. The submission should demonstrate your creativity, curiosity, willingness to experiment and possibly your interests in multiple forms of creative expression. Submissions can include course-based creative work as well as creative work you do outside of school. Below is a list of possible submissions, other forms of creative expression are also welcome. You can also combine media and practices together.


The work you are presenting must be self-generated. Collaborative work is welcome, but all collaborators must be credited, and your own contribution made clear. Carefully edit your submission to ensure that the entries you provide represent your creative practice.

  • Acting: Modern monologue
  • Dance – traditional, contemporary, and non-western forms
  • Photography
  • Socially-engaged art
  • Hip hop
  • Fiction
  • Video art
  • Posters
  • Zines
  • Acting: Classical monologue
  • Academic research essays
  • Lighting
  • Design
  • Digital art
  • Costume
  • Design
  • Spoken word poetry

  • Devised theatre production (recording of selected sections)
  • Jewlery
  • Fashion
  • Mail art and/or artist trading cards
  • Creative uses of social media
  • Clowning
  • Musical compositions
  • Acting: Original Creation
  • Theatrical Sound Design
  • Short Stories
  • Printmaking
  • Set Design
  • Sound art
  • Drawing
  • Physical theatre
  • Installation art
  • Ceramics
  • Puppetry
  • Artist books

  • Environmental art
  • Curatorial writing
  • Public art
  • Sculpture
  • Performance art
  • Singing (either a written work or your own composition)
  • Sketch book pages
  • Textiles
  • Poetry
  • Creative writing
  • Comics and other graphic forms
  • Short films
  • Stickers, buttons, badges
  • Graffiti
  • Painting
  • Playwriting

Documenting using still photography

You do not need a complex set-up to get accurate documentation of your work. A simple camera or cell phone can provide accurate images or videos. In some instances, you may be able to scan small 2D items.


Follow these simple guidelines for best results if photographing 2D and 3D objects and images:


  • Ensure that the work is isolated in a clutter free area with plain background and avoid having any other distractions in the photograph. You may edit images by cropping to the edge (if possible).
  • Ensure that the camera lens is parallel to the work (work is not tilted or leaning) to avoid distortion.
  • Use a tripod or other resting devise to minimize movement when you are shooting.
  • Centre your camera lens in the middle of the work (horizontally and vertically) as shooting from an angle will result in distortions.
  • Get as close to the work as possible while maintaining a full view of the work.
  • Use natural, indirect light for most accurate exposure and colour.


If you are documenting work outdoors, try to be in the shade (but avoid shadows), or if possible, take your photographs on an overcast day and avoid direct sunlight.

Documenting using video

You can submit videos of acting and performance art, graffiti, installation art, sound art, and other creative submissions. Respecting the 3-minute limit for video entries may necessitate editing of more extended footage to feature your personal highlights. Select sections that feature the strengths of your work.


1) Recording Solo Performances

For recordings of monologues, spoken word poetry, dances, physical theatre, or songs:


  • Find a space where the light is behind the camera and illuminating your face.
  • Use the best camera you have available – webcam is OK if that is the best you have – but new phones are often higher resolution.
  • Use a tripod or other means to keep the camera still, or make sure the camera movement is intentional, i.e., part of the performance.
  • Think about the framing of your shot, the placement of your camera in the space, and your position within the frame of the camera.
  • For monologues, songs, spoken word poetry, default to a medium close-up (middle of chest to just above the head), but feel free to find ways to move creatively within the frame.
  • For dance and physical theatre, you may need a large space and a wider shot, but we are open to the creative use of your living spaces, or other locations indoors or outdoors.
  • When possible, either choose a neutral background (bare wall), or perform in an environment that makes sense for your monologue (feel free to think of yourself as a set designer too!)
  • You may edit together multiple takes of your performance if that is part of your creative practice, but it is not necessary.


2) Documenting Theatre Design and Performance


You may submit sound files that represent your work as a sound designer, composer, or sound artist. Documenting costume design, set design, and lighting design will necessarily rely on photography.


  • Document theatre productions is hard due to the low-light conditions. Arrange for specific shooting circumstances that can best highlight your work where possible. If not, then video record the live performance as best you can. You can use whatever recording you have regardless of quality and edit it to show your strengths.
  • You can submit documentation of the development of your work: photographs or digital versions of set and/or costume designs and sketches, and of lighting plots. See notes above on Documenting 2-D and 3-D artwork.
  • Annotating your designs and photographs to demonstrate your design thinking is acceptable.

When Will I Know if I Am Accepted?

Once your Creative Submission has been approved, the School of the Arts will send the names of successful applicants to the Registrar. In some instances, the decision on the creative submission may be postponed for a second assessment. The School of the Arts will send you an email to let you know your name has been submitted for academic evaluation and that a space is reserved in the iArts program for you, but this does not guarantee an offer of acceptance to McMaster University.


Many factors are considered before an offer of admission can be made to students.


  • You must meet the minimum grade requirement (2020 Humanities 78%)
  • Have a successful creative submission
  • Have completed at least three U or M courses in Secondary School to be considered for “an early conditional admission offer”.
  • As long as you complete the required 6 U or M courses and obtain your OSSD (diploma) with the minimum accepted final average, your conditions will be lifted. Meanwhile, you will be able to enrol at McMaster with a conditional acceptance, on the assumption that your conditions will be lifted.
  • If you have completed 6U or M courses, have met the admission average and have completed your OSSD (diploma) you may receive a “final acceptance offer”.
  • If you have completed a college program or you are transferring from another University, the University will need to calculate your admission eligibility as well as how many credits can be transferred to your McMaster degree and this may take some time.


Thousands of applicants are processed by Admissions within a few months so please be patient with us. If you have not heard from us by the time you need to make a decision with another institution, please let us know and we will investigate where your application is in the process.


McMaster offers a number of entrance scholarships to applicants who have achieved high academic averages. The School of the Arts selects an additional pool of applicants to receive awards specifically targeted to art students.


Learn more about the application process at McMaster