MFA in Studio and Social Practice

MFA in Studio and Social Practice

California College of the Arts (CCA)

Victoria Jang, Transshipments (detail), 2014.
Glazed ceramic and mixed media, 60 x 32 x
38 inches. Photo: Kristine Eudey.
November 6, 2014
MFA in Studio and Social Practice

California College of the Arts
1111 Eighth Street
San Francisco CA 94107

The Graduate program in Fine Arts (MFA) at California College of the Arts fosters critical thinking, self-awareness, and ambitious artistic production in a supportive, interdisciplinary environment. With distinct curriculum tracks in either Studio or Social Practice, the program prepares students for long-term engagement with contemporary arts practice through a combination of mentoring, coursework, and co-curriculum that is deeply engaged in contemporary issues and in dialogue with the global art world. We accept students through an interdisciplinary admissions process that looks for both conceptual ambitions and formal excellence.

Studio Practice: an individually crafted two-year program
The MFA Studio Practice program is defined by deep engagement with the practices, discourses, and histories of and between the disciplines of painting, drawing, photography, printmaking, sculpture, textiles, ceramics, media and performance, jewelry and metals, and glass. Our students build practices by examining the relationship between craft and concept in their work and the work of others, whether they choose to focus in one area or work across them. They also have the opportunity to take graduate electives in writing, curatorial practice, visual criticism, film, and design, or to participate in our dual-degree program with Visual and Critical Studies.

As students develop and/or reexamine their work, they are given the opportunity to individually craft a curriculum to best suit emergent practices. In addition to our exploratory core curriculum, students receive guidance in composing a balance of theoretical, practical, and project-based courses that best suits their areas and methods of inquiry. Throughout the program, students are fully engaged in a critical dialogue with faculty and visiting artists, which culminates in a significant public exhibition and a written thesis.

Social Practice: a dynamic, field-based course for art in the expanded field
Inaugurated in 2005, the Social Practice workshop at CCA was the first of its kind, and since then the field has continued to evolve and expand. The Social Practice emphasis is designed to support artists whose working methods cross the boundaries between contemporary art and the public realm, including long-term research, site- and community-specific strategies, and political engagement.

Students are based in a group studio and focus on questions of aesthetics, politics, the economy, environmental ethics, embodiment, decolonization, collaboration, and activism. Because much of their future work potentially involves public commissions, long-term residencies, or the creation of alternative institutions or collectives, students gain experience conceiving complex projects, articulating narratives that support them, and cultivating a network of fellow practitioners and supporting institutions. The curriculum is designed to support an individual final project that can be carried out in the Bay Area or farther afield.


About California College of the Arts
Founded in 1907, California College of the Arts (CCA) offers 22 undergraduate and 13 graduate programs in the areas of fine arts, architecture, design, and writing. The college offers BFA, BA, MFA, MA, MBA, BArch, MArch, MAAD, and MDes degrees. It has campuses in San Francisco and Oakland, and currently enrolls 1,950 full-time students. CCA students are encouraged to work in an interdisciplinary manner, undertaking projects and collaborations with students in other majors and engaging with outside communities.

Noted alumni include the artists Nathan Oliveira, Jules de Balincourt, Robert Arneson, Robert Bechtle, Viola Frey, and Peter Voulkos; the Oscar-winning filmmaker Audrey Marrs; the illustrator Tomie de Paola; the conceptual artists Harrell Fletcher, David Ireland, and Dennis Oppenheim; and the designers Lucille Tenazas, Michael Vanderbyl, and Gary Hutton. For more information about CCA, visit

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November 6, 2014

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