Educational Programs

Bachelor of Fine Arts Program

A BFA degree prepares students for careers in their chosen artistic discipline or for succeeding in graduate programs in fine and design arts. PNCA’s curriculum features an intensive studio experience, beginning with a grounding in basic techniques, progressing through periods of innovation and critical study, and culminating in the development of an independent style.  PNCA is an independent visual art and design college with an intimate ratio of 12 students to every faculty member. Students can earn a BFA in Animated Arts, Communication Design, General Fine Arts, Illustration, Intermedia, Painting, Photography, Printmaking, Sculpture, or Video and Sound under the guidance of professional, practicing artists and scholars. Learn more about the BFA Program.

MFA in Visual Studies

Making art in the present tense inspires the program’s highly selective group of artists and designers. As part of PNCA’s exceptional graduate program, 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.

Low-Residency Master of Fine Arts in Visual Studies

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.

MFA in Collaborative Design

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.

Joint MFA in Applied Craft and Design

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 degree 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.

MA in Critical Theory and Creative Research

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.

MFA in Print Media: Multiples, Editions, and Objects

PNCA’s Master of Fine Arts in Print Media supports the idea that a print can be an image, object or take on site specific concerns. Print Media’s Lab is seen as an epicenter of intense making, professional collaboration, and creativity crossing pathways into industry, research, commercial applications, education and the broad fields of fine art and design. The print matrix’s capacity for unique, multiple, and widely distributed forms bridges fine art and mass media platforms. Topics such as craft, originality, communication, entrepreneurship, consumerism, social engagement, propaganda and protest are embedded in the curriculum.

Continuing Education Programs

PNCA has the oldest continuously running community art education program in the Northwest. PNCA’s Continuing Education is an open program for adults, teens and children, providing beginning through advanced education in the visual arts to the community,  In fact, many well-known artists in the region took their first art class as a child at PNCA. The youth program includes smARTworks, summer art camp, and the Pre College Program for junior and senior high school students. A large portion of children attending these programs are scholarship recipients. Learn more about the CE Program.

Pacific Northwest College of Art prepares students for a life of creative practice.