November 12, 2016

Call for applications: MFA and PhD

University of California, San Diego
Audrey Hope, Rainbow Rag Rug. UC San Diego Graduate Open Studios 2016. Fabric, beads, plastic bags, wigs, leaves, Easter grass, feathers, tassels 60 x 60 inches. Photo: Farshid Bazmandegan.

The UC San Diego Department of Visual Arts and is one of the country’s leading centers for research in art and art history. Founded in 1967 on the principle that the production, critical analysis and history of art are interrelated activities, it has long been recognized for a distinctive combination of faculty—artist and critics, theorists and scholars—which has consistently kept the program at the top of national ratings.

One of the few art departments in the world to offer both the MFA and the PhD degree, the Department of Visual Arts is especially well-suited to artists who wish to work across the boundaries of theory, history, and practice and to scholars interested in how the concerns of contemporary art shape critical and historical discourses. The Master of Fine Arts program prepares students for the hybrid forms of cultural practice in a shifting contemporary landscape—a changing ecology of art production, humanistic and scientific research, communication technology, institutional space and socially engaged programs. Areas of interest include cinema, film, and media; digital, new media, software, and hardware; painting and drawing; participatory, collaborative, and socially engaged practices; performance; public culture, architecture, and urban practice; sculpture, objects, and installation; speculative design; and theory/text. We prepare students for engagement with diverse publics, in sites that may involve the street, the border 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 in their first year of study: Medieval Art, Renaissance Art, Early Modern Art (17th and 18th centuries), 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, which requires a research-based dissertation, is designed specifically for 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 positions at colleges and research universities.

Apply now by starting an online graduate application to UC San Diego’s Graduate Division. Once you have started your online application, you may begin your UC San Diego 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 [email protected].

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

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