Built around a core of research-intensive creative investigation, the two-year, full-residency Studio Practice concentration of the MFA in Contemporary Art Practice degree program is dedicated to 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 as they consider the multiple ways art can live in and beyond the studio.

A wide variety of resources promoting an environment conducive to challenging and rigorous study includes 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 a comprehensive teaching practicum. The Department 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 darkroom and wood and metal workshops. PSU’s 50-acre urban campus serves as a laboratory for sustainable practices.

Applicants to the Studio Practice concentration 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 year, students are encouraged to explore new media, models and ideas as they develop a proposal for creative activity that culminates with an exhibition project in the second year. Individual faculty discussions, peer critiques, seminars in current issues/contemporary art history and weekly visiting artists lectures help students broaden their field of inquiry.

Upon successful completion of the first-year candidacy review, students work with a faculty advisor to produce their exhibition project. The project is presented in a public exhibition or other appropriate form in the spring quarter of the second year.

The Department of Art’s Master of Fine Arts in Contemporary Art Practice Interdisciplinary Studio Degree is a two 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/Group Critique
  • 12 credits Contemporary Art History/Theory
  • 12 credits Graduate Seminars
  • 8 credits Electives (outside Art Department)
  • 6 credits Exhibition Project/Statement

MFA Studio Lecture Series

The new PSU MFA Studio Lecture Series brings together artists from a variety of disciplines to explore the subjects of their own work before a live audience. Lectures are held throughout the year, most often at 1914 SW Park Avenue in Shattuck Hall’s Central Auditorium (room 212) on Wednesday nights at 7pm. More information about the series can be found on the Lecture Series page.

Past Visiting Artists: Léonie Guyer, Joseph Park, Kenneth Goldsmith, Laurel Nakadate, James Yood, Hasan Elahi, George Kuchar, Sam Durant, Barry Sanders, Stephanie Syjuco, Hank Willis Thomas, Mark Dion, Frances Stark, Mierle Laderman Ukeles, Daniel Bozhkov, Lucky Dragons, Andrea Zittel, Buster Simpson, Andrea Bowers, Anissa Mack, Y0UNG-HAE CHANG (HEAVY INDUSTRIES), Edgar Heap of Birds


Individual studio spaces are provided for the duration of the program. The Department of Art has multiple galleries, specialized computer graphics and multimedia facilities, a materials lab, a foundry, a welding studio, a printmaking studio with etching and lithography presses, a darkroom and wood and metal workshops. For more information on our Facilities, please visit the Studios & Facilities page.