General information

About the M.F.A. Program

The MFA in Art Studio engages students in a two-year, critically engaged studio program that provides an opportunity for interdisciplinary study in the visual arts. Students explore a wide range of media and approaches to studio practice. Drawing on the strengths of a multidisciplinary research campus, the program encourages research collaborations connecting the arts, humanities, social sciences and sciences. The program is committed to delivering an innovative educational curriculum that promotes the blending of art theory and creative practice, with a goal to prepare students for professional engagement in the arts, including but not exclusive to academic careers. We aim to advance theories, methods, tools, and knowledge in emerging areas of studio art practice.

The Art Studio MFA Program offers substantial financial support through paid Teaching Assistant positions each quarter and through Art Studio Program Fellowships, made possible by generous private endowments. Students may also apply for university support through Graduate Studies Travel Awards, the Davis Humanities Institute, and the University of California Institute for Research in the Arts.

The MFA degree in Art Studio at UC Davis demands the highest level of professional competency in the visual arts and contemporary practices. To earn the MFA, a practicing artist must exhibit the highest level of accomplishment through the generation of a body of work. The work needs to demonstrate the ability to conceptualize and communicate effectively by employing visual language to interpret ideas. In addition, the MFA recipient must give evidence of applying critical skills that pertain to meaning and content, ultimately encouraging a comprehensive examination and critique of the function and role of art from a variety of views and contexts. Regardless of the chosen area of concentration, an MFA candidate must be able to prove not only strong conceptual development, but also the skillful execution of tools, materials, and craft. 

Financial Support

The Art Studio MFA Program offers substantial financial support through paid Teaching Assistant positions each quarter and through Art Studio Program Fellowships, made possible by generous private endowments. Students may also apply for university support through Graduate Studies Travel Awards, the Davis Humanities Institute, and  the University of California Institute for Research in the Arts.

UC Davis is an academic partner of The Headlands Center for the Arts, Graduate Fellowship Program, which offers a year-long artist residency for one of our M.F.A. graduates each year. Over the years, graduates of the program have won many nationally competitive graduate fellowships and post-graduate awards from the Dedalus Foundation, the Joan Mitchell Foundation http, Skowhegan, Provincetown Fine Arts Work Center, the Vermont Studio Center, the Roswell-Artist in Residence Program, and Eyebeam.

Faculty

The entire Art Studio faculty shares responsibility for the graduate program and teaches both graduate and undergraduate courses. Our faculty represents a diversity of approaches across all disciplines. Faculty include Robin Hill, Tim Hyde, Darrin Martin, Graham McDougal, Hearne Pardee, Lucy Puls, Annabeth Rosen, Youngsuk Suh, Gina Werfel, and Shiva Ahmadi. See our People section for more information about our faculty and lecturers.

Facilities

Graduate students are also provided with large, individual studios on campus, located near the main art building with 24/7 access. 

The Art Department has facilities for the following media: drawing, ceramic sculpture, painting, photography, printmaking, video, and sculpture. See our Resources page for more information about each facility and its equipment. 

The university is an unparalleled resource in all disciplines of research to broaden and deepen the work of an artist. Graduate students in the Art Studio Program have many opportunities to interact with their peers in Art History, Cinema & Digital Media, Music, Performance Studies,and Design, through facilities/labs, exhibitions, lecture series, and course offerings.

Visiting Artist Lecture Series

A dynamic, interdisciplinary, Visiting Artist Lecture Series is a key component of the Art Studio MFA curriculum, providing students with the opportunity to conduct studio visits with world-renowned artists, critics and curators. Past visitors have included Jerry Saltz,  Phong Bui, Joan Jonas, Gregory Amenoff,  Mary Lucier, Robert Storr, Vito Acconci, Ken Johnson, Jed Perl, Fred Tomaselli, Kalup Linzy, Terry Winters, Larry Rinder, Jennifer and Kevin McCoy, Rochelle Feinstein, Dana Schutz, Lucy Lippard, Angela Dufresne, Ryan Trecartin, Shana Moulton, Rico Gatson, and Rirkrit Tiravanija  among others. 

Collaboration and Resources

UC Davis offers an array of programs that draw upon its wide range of specialized academic fields. By stimulating cross-disciplinary approaches and using its distinctive graduate groups, UC Davis continues to follow and redefine the mandate of a major research university and is committed to the land-grant tradition on which it was founded, which holds that the broad purpose of a university is service to people and society.

The university is an unparalleled resource in all disciplines of research to broaden and deepen the work of an artist. Graduate students in the Art Studio Program have many opportunities to interact with their peers in Art History, Cinema and Technocultural Studies Music, Performance Studies,and Design, through facilities/labs, exhibitions, lecture series, and course offerings.

The Jan Shrem and Maria Manetti Shrem Museum of Art is an institution dedicated to combining vanguard artistic and curatorial innovation with audience engagement. Exploring new means to connect visitors with art and participating in the process of art are two aspects of the new museum that are at the very center of its vision. The museum will encourage interdisciplinary exchange, provide means to make an impact on curricular development and create informal educational opportunities.

About the Campus

Located in agricultural landscape of the Sacramento Valley, UC Davis is located about an hour’s drive from Berkeley, Oakland and San Francisco; a six-hour drive from Los Angeles; a two-hour drive from the ocean and equidistant from Lake Tahoe. Davis is situated on the floor of the Sacramento Valley, hot and dry in the summer and cool and rainy in the winter and is surrounded by fruit and nut tree orchards. Napa and Sonoma are close at hand.

Our MFA Students

The MFA in Art Studio values a diversity of viewpoints, backgrounds, and experiences among its students as this diversity strengthens and enriches our research, scholarship, and teaching. Our diverse graduate student population enhances the academic experiences for all students. We are committed to a multicultural academic environment that supports the success of all graduate students. Diversity among students, faculty and staff is a key, integral factor in graduate education at UC Davis, to achieve an equitable, hospitable and inclusive educational environment.

For the latest on Grad Diversity initiatives please visit the Graduate Studies diversity page at www.gradstudies.ucdavis.edu/diversity.

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