The two-year Master of Fine Arts (MFA) Program supports 12 graduate students per year and strives to graduate working artists who will continue to demonstrate significant artistic, critical and cultural impacts across a wide array of disciplines. Incoming MFA students are expected to already be deeply engaged in their creative practice and possess technical proficiency in their chosen media. Graduate coursework and independent study are designed to help students develop a critical understanding of their creative work in the multiple contexts of specific localities and global contemporary art. Our graduate students are encouraged to take university-wide and cross-disciplinary courses linked to their research interests, studying and collaborating 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.

The Program helps students develop a working relationship to audiences by facilitating the exposure of graduate student work through museums and galleries, public art, online, publications, and through other forms of engagement and dissemination. Peer-to-peer discussion and critique form the heart of Berkeleys MFA Program. Students respond to their peers work and learn to think, speak, and write critically about arts functions and possibilities. A Visiting Artist Lecture Series, along with studio visits, offers graduate students the chance to connect with internationally-known artists. Students also have opportunities to teach, and they are mentored and closely supported by a faculty member. Exhibitions in the first and second years of study require students to 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.