MFA in Visual Studies

PNCA’S MFA IN VISUAL STUDIES is a multidisciplinary, mentor- based program that encourages independent inquiry and supports critical approaches to the production of visual art. The program’s flexible structure and generalist nature allow students to pursue a single discipline, such as painting, or a combined practice that bridges multiple disciplines and media, such as animation, communication design, illustration, installation, painting, performance, photography, printmaking, sculpture, sequential arts, sound, and video. As a complement to intensive one-on-one faculty mentorships, students benefit from contact with a rich network of instructors, critical thinkers, writers, and curators in the Portland area, as well as from exposure to a dynamic roster of acclaimed visiting artists and designers. In addition, seminars, lectures, exhibition opportunities, and national and international travel add to a rigorous and investigative educational experience. This is a program for experienced makers who are looking to refine and expand their creative practice.

Performance by Tim Stigliano, 2012 MFA in Visual Studies graduate from PNCA in Portland, Oregon

Maggie Condit, MFA '16, Sugar Coated, performance, Thesis Exhibition, 2016. 

The MFA 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.

The program offers students exhibition and travel opportunities, as well as the opportunity to connect with a network of visiting artists and alumni. In addition MFA candidates benefit from the active visual arts scene in Portland, Oregon with institutions including Portland Institute for Contemporary Art (PICA), Yale Union, and the Lumber Room, as well as contemporary galleries and artist-run spaces.

To receive information or updates on the MFA in Visual Studies, please contact the Admissions Office at, or fill our inquiry form.

Visual Studies Showcase

A brief glimpse into the MFA in Visual Studies at PNCA. Click the images for more information.