Built around a core of research-intensive creative investigation, the three-year, full-residency Studio concentration of the MFA in Contemporary Art Practice degree focuses on interdisciplinary experimentation and the exploration of ideas through the experience of making. Students are supported in a range of production disciplines, from the traditional to the emerging, as they consider the multiple ways art can live in and beyond the studio.

Resources that promote an environment conducive to challenging and rigorous study include close ties with resident faculty; dialogue with visiting artists and scholars; seminars in current issues, theory, and contemporary art history; exhibition and travel opportunities; collaboration with students and faculty in other disciplines and comprehensive courses in pedagogy and professional practices. The School of Art + Design has multiple galleries, state-of-the-art computer graphics, and multimedia facilities, a foundry, a welding studio, a printmaking studio with etching and lithography presses, a wet lab for photography and screenprinting, textile rooms, and wood and metal workshops. PSU’s 50-acre urban campus serves as a laboratory for sustainable practices.

Applicants to Portland State’s Studio MFA program are invited from a variety of backgrounds, preferably but not exclusively with BA or BFA degrees in the fine arts. Interested in joining our program or learning more about it? See the Apply page for more information.

Course of Study

Working with designated faculty during the first and second years, students are encouraged to explore new media, models, and ideas as they develop a proposal for a culminating solo exhibition project. Individual faculty discussions, peer critiques, seminars on current issues and presentations by invited guests help students broaden their field of inquiry. Upon successful completion of the candidacy review at the end of the second year, students work with a faculty advisor to produce a solo public exhibition or present their work in another appropriate form in the Spring Quarter of the third year.

The School of Art + Design’s Studio MFA degree is a three-year, full residency program. Students complete at least 90 credits, distributed as follows

  • 40 credits Contemporary Art Practice/Directed Studies
  • 12 credits Visiting Artist Program
  • 12 credits Contemporary Art History/Theory
  • 12 credits Graduate Seminars
  • 8 credits Electives (outside the School of Art + Design)
  • 6 credits Exhibition Project

Studio MFA Visiting Artist Program

The Visiting Artist Program brings together artists and cultural producers from a variety of disciplines to explore the subjects of their own work by way of studio visits, remote conversations, live artist lectures, and artist-in-residence projects. Distinguished guests are often invited to conduct one-on-one visits with students at the MFA studios.

Distinguished guests to the Visiting Artist Program include Chitra Ganesh, Laylah Ali, Porpentine Charity Heartscape, Ronnie Quevedo, Arnold Kemp, Jamillah James, Samiya Bashir, Tannaz Farsi, Philip March Jones, Kemi Adeyemi, Nicole Pietrantoni, Richard Vine, Michelle Grabner, James Luna, Basma Alsharif, Dawn Kasper, Tony Feher, William Pope L., Sergei Tcherepnin, Amanda Ross-Ho, Critical Art Ensemble.