October 23, 2019

Visual Arts MFA & PhD programs

University of California, San Diego

"Making Communities: Art and the Border" workshop. Photo: Farshid Bazmandegan, 2017.

The Department of Visual Arts at UC San Diego ranks among the world’s leading art schools. Founded on the principle that the production, critical analysis and history of art are inter-related activities, we are one of the few art departments to offer MFA and PhD degrees, making it especially well-suited to students who wish to work across the boundaries of theory, history, and practice. We are also one of the few departments in the world to offer a PhD in Art History with a Concentration in Art Practice, for working artists who engage with art historical and cultural research. Our location in San Diego and our proximity to the US border with Mexico as well as the natural resources of the Southern California region have a lasting impact on student experience. Our faculty and students have the opportunity to collaborate with leading researchers in the sciences, engineering, literature, music, philosophy, ethnic studies and all the vast resources and initiatives available at UC San Diego.

The Master of Fine Arts program offers students individual studio space and state of the art facilities for art production. Our program encourages interdisciplinarity across the areas of painting, drawing and sculpture; film and digital media; performance and collaborative practice; computing and speculative design. MFA students work closely with faculty via seminars, one on one mentoring and group critiques. Our students and alumni regularly participate in residencies, exhibitions and events at local, national and international venues.

The PhD program in Art History, Theory, and Criticism at UC San Diego offers a unique curriculum that encourages the examination of historical, cultural, social, intellectual, and theoretical frameworks within the most recent developments in the discipline. Students select from concentrations in Ancient Art, Medieval Art, Renaissance Art, Early Modern Art, Modern Art (19th and 20th centuries), Contemporary Art, Media Studies, Meso-American Art, Asian Art, or Art Practice. The Art Practice concentration is designed specifically for established 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 teaching positions at colleges and research universities.

Funding, fellowships and teaching opportunities are available for graduate students across the Department and University.

Faculty Amy Adler, Amy Alexander, Benjamin Bratton, Norman Bryson, Lisa Cartwright, Erica Cho, Jordan Crandall, Brian Cross, Teddy Cruz, Ricardo Dominguez, Anya Gallaccio, Jack Greenstein, Grant Kester, Babette Mangolte, Nicole Miller, Elizabeth Newsome, Rubén Ortiz-Torres, Kyong Park, Jordan Rose, Kuiyi Shen, Brett Stalbaum, Michael Trigilio, William Tronzo, Monique van Genderen, Mariana Wardwell, John Welchman, Alena Williams, Pinar Yoldas.

In Fall 2019 we are pleased to announce our newest faculty: Danielle Dean, Janelle Iglesias and Paul Mpagi Sepuya.

Admissions requirements:

Visual Arts Department:

For further information please contact vis-grad [​at​]

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