Art Practice

Graduate Degrees: M.F.A.

Apply for Admission: December 15, 2017


The Department of Art Practice offers a two-year program of study leading to the Master of Fine Art (MFA) degree.

Our two-year Master of Fine Art (MFA) Program strives to graduate artists who demonstrate an original vision in their approach to form and content and whose work will have a significant artistic and cultural impact. Incoming MFA students are expected to be already deeply engaged in their creative process and to possess technical proficiency in their chosen media. The MFA program supports 14 graduate students per year. Graduate coursework and independent study are designed to help students develop a critical understanding of their creative work in the context of arts, humanities, and sciences. A feature unique to Berkeley’s MFA Program is the requirement that our graduate students take courses from the broader university community. Our students study and collaborate with faculty and graduate students in areas as diverse as geography, environmental sciences, classics, art history, disability studies, philosophy, cognitive science, interactive design, rhetoric, film studies, and comparative literature. Art practice faculty are highly interdisciplinary in their work and can enable close connections between MFA students and colleagues in other fields across campus.

The program seeks to help students develop a keen sense of their audience and to consider how they will reach, or even create, that audience for their work. We facilitate the exposure of graduate student work to a broader audience, whether that be in museums, galleries, public places, or a venue uniquely suited to the artist’s creative format. A Visiting Artist Lecture Series and visiting artist studio visits offer graduate students the chance to make contact with internationally-known artists and to receive feedback on their work from these visitors.

Peer-to-peer discussion and critique form the heart of Berkeley’s MFA Program. Students are expected to make their own work, respond to their classmates’ work, and learn to speak and write thoughtfully about both. Students have the opportunity to teach in the second year, mentored and closely supported by a faculty member. Exhibitions in the first and second year of study demand that students maintain a rigorous pace of creative research and establish a professional art practice. The final thesis exhibition, completed after the second year of study, is held at the Berkeley Art Museum.

Source: Berkeley Academic Guide

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