About PNCA


Pacific Northwest College of Art is a private, non-profit fine arts and design college. Founded in 1909 in Portland, Oregon, PNCA offers ten Bachelor of Fine Art (BFA) degrees, six graduate degrees including Master of Fine Arts (MFA) and Master of Arts (MA) degrees, a Post-Baccalaureate, and a range of Community Education programs for adults and youth.

PNCA is home to the Center for Contemporary Art & Culture which hosts exhibitions with artists such as James Rosenquist and Cauleen Smith. The college welcomes the community in each month for First Thursday arts celebrations showcasing student work and throughout the year with free public lectures by nationally-recognized visual artists, designers, and scholars. The recently launched Make + Think + Code, a center for art and technology, hosts artists- and technologists-in-residence as well as numerous art-tech community events.

At PNCA students learn to better understand the work they make and how it can make an impact in the world. Students hone skills and are introduced to entirely new ways of making. Just as importantly, they learn to think critically about their own work and that of others.

PNCA graduates are working artists who show internationally; successful, creative, small-business owners; animators and designers working for top firms such as LAIKA, Nike, Weiden + Kennedy; professional printers working for studios like Gemini G.E.L.; freelance illustrators with high-profile commissions; and commercial photographers.

Undergraduate Programs

PNCA students balance studies in the humanities and sciences uniquely tailored to students in an art college with hands-on art making in studios and labs. Undergraduate students choose from ten majors within four areas of concentration and benefit from interdisciplinary collaborations throughout their fine art and design education. Student galleries and project spaces throughout the main building offer students plenty of opportunities to show their work. Farther afield, students take advantage of PNCA Global Studios in Europe, Asia, Latin America, or Africa. Our Career Services Center and BridgeLab help students prepare for life after college through workshops, internships, and career counseling.

Graduate Programs

The Hallie Ford School of Graduate Studies at PNCA is the result of an historic $15 million gift to PNCA, the largest single gift ever made to an Oregon cultural institution. At the time Hallie Ford made her unprecedented gift, she wrote in a statement that it reflected her desire, “to see a globally recognized center for visual art and design education located in Oregon.” Since receiving the gift in 2007, PNCA has launched six graduate programs: the MFA in Visual Studies, the MFA in Collaborative Design, the MA in Critical Studies, the Low-Residency MFA in Visual Studies, the MFA in Print Media, and the MFA in Applied Craft and Design (offered jointly with Oregon College of Art and Craft in an innovative partnership).

Community Education

Complementing PNCA’s degree programs is a dynamic Community Education Program that provides year-round classes to more than 1,400 adults and children. Offerings range from the fundamentals of drawing and painting to master classes in printmaking, as well as Certificates in Communication Design, Graphic Design, Illustration, and Drawing + Painting. PNCA’s Pre-College Studios—a selection of week-long intensive studios for students ages 15 to 18 who want to experience studying at a top art and design college—help to prepare our community’s young people for the rigor of an art and design education. Our summer smARTworks youth camps are one-week themed workshops that guide children as they explore project topics and encourage their ideas to take form.

Programs and Degrees

Bachelor of Fine Arts with ten majors
Master of Fine Arts in five programs
Master in Critical Studies
Community Education Programs for adults and youth
Community Education Certificate Programs in Communications Design, Graphic Design, Illustration, and Drawing + Painting

Undergraduate Programs

Studio Arts
Creative Writing

Media Arts
Animated Arts
Video and Sound

Design Arts
Communication Design

Graduate Programs

MFA in Visual Studies
MFA in Collaborative Design
MFA in Print Media
Low-Residency MFA in Visual Studies
MA in Critical Studies
MFA in Applied Craft and Design offered jointly with Oregon College of Art and Craft


Pacific Northwest College of Art is a co-educational, nondenominational, independent college, providing professional education in the visual arts and granting the Bachelor of Fine Arts degree and the Master of Fine Arts degree. It is the oldest independent college of art in the Pacific Northwest. PNCA is an accredited institutional member of both the National Association of Schools of Art and Design and the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities. The Council on Postsecondary Education and the U.S. Department of Education recognize both institutional accrediting bodies.

Accredited by

National Association of Schools of Art & Design (NASAD)

The Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU)

PNCA is accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities.

Accreditation of an institution of higher education by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities indicates that it meets or exceeds criteria for the assessment of institutional quality evaluated through a peer review process. An accredited college or university is one which has available the necessary resources to achieve its stated purposes through appropriate educational programs, is substantially doing so, and gives reasonable evidence that it will continue to do so in the foreseeable future. Institutional integrity is also addressed through accreditation.
 Accreditation by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities is not partial but applies to the institution as a whole. As such, it is not a guarantee of every course or program offered, or the competence of individual graduates. Rather, it provides reasonable assurance about the quality of opportunities available to students who attend the institution.

Inquiries regarding an institution’s accredited status by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities should be directed to the administrative staff of the institution. Individuals may also contact:
Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities 
8060 165th Avenue N.E., Suite 100 
Redmond, WA 98052 
(425) 558‐4224 

Accreditation by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities refers to the institution as a whole. Therefore, statements like “fully accredited” or “this program is accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities” or “this degree is accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities” are incorrect and should not be used.


Association of Independent Colleges of Art & Design (AICAD)
National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities (NAICU)
Art Resources Consortium Northwest (ARC NW)
Oregon Independent College Association (OICA)
Foundations in Art: Theory and Education (FATE)
National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) College Navigator 

Students 2017-18


Undergraduate Students: 412
Graduate Students: 111
PNCA | PENSOLE Intensive: 26
CE Students (annually): 1,400


Faculty (full- and part-time): 94

Student Faculty Ratio: 9 to 1


Arlene and Harold Schnitzer Center for Art and Design, 511 NW Broadway
Falcon Building, 321 NW Glisan St
MFA in Applied Craft and Design Studios at The Bison Building, 421 NE 10th Ave.
ArtHouse, student housing, 33 NW Park Ave
The Lodge Gallery at Allied Works, 1532 SW Morrison St.
PNCA @ ZGF 1223 Southwest Washington Street #200

Community Programs

Youth Programs: Classes in art fundamentals for children ages 4-17, with scholarship support for those who are economically disadvantaged.
Pre-College Program: Four week intensive summer art school program for high school youth.

Nonprofit Statement

PNCA is a nonprofit corporation authorized by the State of Oregon to offer and confer the academic degrees described herein, following a determination that state academic standards will be satisfied under OAR 583-030. Inquiries concerning the standards of school compliance may be directed to the Oregon Office of Degree Authorization, 1500 Valley River Drive, Suite 100, Eugene, Oregon, 97401.

Enrollment and Degree Verification

PNCA has authorized the National Student Clearinghouse to provide enrollment and degree verifications. The National Student Clearinghouse can be contacted at:
Web: www.degreeverify.org
Mail: National Student Clearinghouse, 2300 Dulles Station Boulevard, Suite 300, Herndon, VA 20171