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MFA in Visual Studies

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  • Course description
    PNCA’s Master of Fine Arts in Visual Studies is a 60-credit, two-year program that is multi-disciplinary and mentor-based. The flexible character of this kind of program allows students to work within a singular discipline (traditional painting, for example) or to pursue a combined practice that bridges disciplines and media. This generalist structure compliments PNCA’s educational philosophy of supporting independent inquiry and encouraging cross-disciplinary dialog. Our students also benefit from a dynamic national and international roster of visiting artists and designers.

    Graduate work at PNCA offers motivated students the opportunity to work closely with professionals from the faculty and arts community. In our mentor-based program students are connected with a studio practioner who provides one-on-one support and guidance for their disciplinary practice. Mentors are chosen to match the focus and concerns of the individual student. The mentor relationship provides the backbone of our program, and participating faculty and community members bring diversity, richness and depth of experience to our MFA candidates.

    The MFA facilites at PNCA provide private studio spaces as well as a shared community environment. While graduate students engage in independent studio investigation they also meet as a group for critique seminars and on-campus activities. The critique seminar class allows students to engage in ongoing critical dialog around their own work and the work of fellow students. This class combines critique, readings, and a visiting artists program that emphasizes intellectual investigation into the language of visual studies.

    To receive information or updates on the MFA in Visual Arts , please contact the Admissions Office at admissions [at] pnca.edu, or fill our inquiry form.

    Since its founding in 1909, PNCA has continued to evolve into a leader in innovative programming that connects students to the world through fine art and design education. In addition to the mentor-based MFA in Visual Studies, the College’s programs include a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Communication Design, Illustration, Intermedia, General Fine Arts, Painting, Photography, Printmaking and Sculpture. Located in an award-winning campus in the heart of the Pearl district, PNCA is actively involved in Portland’s cultural programming through exhibitions and a vibrant public program of lectures and visiting artists.

    Year One Fall Semester


    Graduate Studio    
    Graduate Critique Seminar    
    Contemporary Art and Design Seminar    


    Year One Spring Semester


    Graduate Studio
    Graduate Critique Seminar
    Contemporary Theory Seminar

    Year Two Fall Semester

    Graduate Studio
    Graduate Critique Seminar
    Critical Studies/ Visual Culture

    Year Two Spring Semester

    Graduate Studio
    Graduate Thesis Writing
    Graduate Critique Seminar
    Critical Studies/ Visual Culture

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