Call for applications: Visual Arts MFA & PhD programs

Call for applications: Visual Arts MFA & PhD programs

University of California, San Diego

Geisel Library. Photo: Erik Jepsen/UC San Diego Creative Services and Publications. © Regents of the University of California.

November 6, 2018
Call for applications: Visual Arts MFA & PhD programs

Application deadline: December 5, 2018
University of California, San Diego
Visual Arts Department
9500 Gilman Dr
La Jolla, California 92093-0327
United States
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The UC San Diego Department of Visual Arts was founded in 1967 and is one of the country’s leading centers for research in art and art history. Widely recognized for its unique concentration of faculty concerned with the production, criticism, and analysis of contemporary art, our department is also recognized as a nexus for innovative research that extends beyond the library, class-room, studio, gallery, museum, and performance space into science and engineering laboratories, the city, the region and the public sphere.

The Department of Visual Arts is one of the few art departments in the world to offer MFA and PhD degrees, making it especially well-suited to students who wish to work across the boundaries of theory, history, and practice. The Department is based on the principle that the production, critical analysis, and history of art are inter-related activities, and has long been recognized for its distinctive combination of faculty—artist and critics, theorists, and scholars.

The Master of Fine Arts program prepares students for the hybrid forms of cultural practice that are emerging in a changing world—a changing ecology of contemporary art production, scientific research, communication technology, and social and institutional space. Areas of interest include cinema, film, and media; critical design; digital media; nano/bio/neuro-technologies; painting and drawing; participatory and collaborative practice; performance; public culture, architecture, and urban practice; sculpture, objects, and installation; and theory/text. We prepare students for engagement with diverse publics, in sites that may involve the street or the marketplace as much as the museum. The MFA program has long been one of the top ranked in the United States. MFA alumni are often featured in important group and solo exhibitions at such leading events and institutions as the Whitney Biennial and the Museum of Modern Art in New York and are also a force in emerging alternative venues and online sites.

The PhD program in Art History, Theory, and Criticism at UC San Diego offers a distinct alternative to existing PhD programs in art history. The program’s unique curriculum places art objects and practices at the center of inquiry, even as it encourages examination of the larger historical, cultural, social, intellectual, and theoretical frameworks within which the category “art” has been contextualized in the most recent developments in the discipline. Students select one of the following concentrations for their studies: Ancient Art, Medieval Art, Renaissance Art, Early Modern Art, Modern Art (19th and 20th centuries), Contemporary Art, Media Studies (film, video, photograph, digital media), Meso-American Art, Asian Art, or Art Practice. The Art Practice concentration is designed specifically for established artists with a strong interest in history, theory, and new research methodologies. PhD alumni have gone on to post-doctoral fellowships at leading research institutions, curatorial posts at important museums, and tenure track teaching positions at colleges and research universities.

Apply now by starting an online graduate application to the Office of Graduate Studies. Once you have started your online application, you may begin your UCSD Visual Arts Portfolio

For more information about the admissions requirements, please visit our graduate program pages MFA or PhD. If you have any questions about the MFA and PhD programs, please contact vis-grad [​at​]

Please visit our website for information about our faculty, curriculum, resources, and departmental culture.

Please visit our events webpage to learn more about our Visiting Speaker Series.

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University of California, San Diego
November 6, 2018

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