Graduate Programs at PNCA
For over 100 years, PNCA has served as a creative hub for artists and designers with an educational philosophy that emphasizes individualized curricula, independent inquiry and cross-disciplinary exchange. Graduate studies at PNCA are designed to support students as they grow and define a sustainable, engaged and dynamic artistic practice that will continue to evolve years after graduation. The five graduate programs are part of a growing series of innovative educational opportunities of the Ford Institute for Visual Education (FIVE).
With over 200 years of combined experience, Oregon College of Art and Craft and Pacific Northwest College of Art’s joint MFA in Applied Craft and Design fosters a new, forward-thinking model of art and design education that gives students access to the resources of both colleges. The unique, two-year program merges the highest level of craft with design practice and entrepreneurial strategies. The program is designed for students eager to explore the fusion of tradition, innovation, and practice with design theory and hands-on making.
Design Ecologies, Systems Thinking, and Cultural Entrepreneurship
Celebrating creative practices that require collaborative, experimental, and interdisciplinary approaches to problem solving, this unique program offers students the opportunity to take an entrepreneurial and critical approach to addressing “wicked” problems such as resource depletion, emerging technologies, climate change and global demographic shifts. The MFA in Collaborative Design draws on the city of Portland as a learning lab for graduate students seeking expanded design practices to meaningfully address the emerging challenges of the 21st century.
Making art in the present tense inspires the program’s highly selective group of artists and designers. As part of this exceptional MFA in Visual Studies, students respond to the art world’s constant evolution with rigorous creative and critical investigation. Independent inquiry and close mentorships drive PNCA’s uncommonly flexible and challenging program, enlivened by the non-stop energy of Portland’s creative community and visiting artists from around the globe.
Rooted in critical investigation and rigorous creative practice, the Low-Residency Master of Fine Arts in Visual Studies is strategically designed to be both generalist and flexible in nature. It draws from both the discipline-specific and the interdisciplinary practices that the college has to offer. Over three, eight-week summer sessions and two short winter retreats, this program spans three to four years, and is ideal for artists, teachers, and other art professionals with an active studio practice who need to maintain other life or professional responsibilities.
The Master of Arts in Critical Theory and Creative Research is an accelerated, seminar-based program at the crossroads of art, theory and research. The program combines socio-political critique with process-driven inquiry, pushing both theory and research in new directions within the context of a 21st century art school.
Tours for the MFA in Applied Craft and Design, MFA in Collaborative Design and MA in Critical Theory and Creative Research can be scheduled through the Admissions office, admissions [at] pnca [dot] edu, or call 503 821 8972.
Tours for the MFA in Visual Studies and the Low-Residency MFA in Visual Studies are offered on Fridays at 12 pm at the Visual Studies Studios, 1830 NW 19th Avenue. All tours are by appointment only. To schedule a tour, please contact Sean Carney at scarney [at] pnca [dot] edu, or call 503 821 8893.
Graduate work at PNCA offers motivated students the opportunity to work closely with professionals from the faculty and arts community. In our mentor-based program, students are connected with a studio practitioner who provides one-on-one support and guidance for their disciplinary practice. Mentors are chosen to match the focus and concerns of the individual student. The mentor relationship provides the backbone of our programs, and participating faculty and community members bring diversity, richness and depth of experience to our graduate candidates.
The graduate facilities at PNCA provide private studio spaces as well as a shared community environment. While graduate students engage in independent studio investigation, they also meet as a group for critique seminars and on-campus activities. The critique seminar class allows students to engage in ongoing critical dialog around their own work and the work of fellow students. This class combines critique, readings, and a visiting artists program that emphasizes intellectual investigation into the language of visual studies, applied craft and design.
The PNCA Graduate Visiting Artist Program is based in experiential learning, knowledge transfer and exchange. Artists, curators, scholars, and critics from around the globe are invited to PNCA to engage with the students and community, fostering an exchange of ideas and practices. Art practitioners from diverse backgrounds contribute and challenge the academic and artistic discourse within the current PNCA curriculum, extending the possibilities for innovative instruction and learning.
Visiting artists use the PNCA campus as a site of possibilities where exchange can take a wide array of forms, including lectures, conversations, panel discussions, investigations, interruptions, and disruptions. The forms of exchange may sometimes be surprising but are always inspired by present-day concerns. This is an essential part of the graduate curriculum and all Master’s candidates engage in one-on-one studio discussions and critiques with visiting artists.
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