Art Practice

University of California, Berkeley

About the Program

The two-year Master of Fine Arts (MFA) Program supports 12 graduate students per year and strives to graduate working artists who will continue to demonstrate significant artistic, critical and cultural impacts across a wide array of disciplines. Incoming MFA students are expected to already be deeply engaged in their creative practice and possess technical proficiency in their chosen media. Graduate coursework and independent study are designed to help students develop a critical understanding of their creative work in the multiple contexts of specific localities and global contemporary art. Our graduate students are encouraged to take university-wide and cross-disciplinary courses linked to their research interests, studying and collaborating with faculty and graduate students in areas as diverse as Geography, Environmental Sciences, Classics, Art History, Disability Studies, Philosophy, Cognitive Science, Interactive Design, Rhetoric, Film Studies, and Comparative Literature.

The Program helps students develop a working relationship to audiences by facilitating the exposure of graduate student work through museums and galleries, public art, online, publications, and through other forms of engagement and dissemination. Peer-to-peer discussion and critique form the heart of Berkeley’s MFA Program. Students respond to their peers’ work and learn to think, speak, and write critically about art’s functions and possibilities.  A Visiting Artist Lecture Series, along with studio visits, offers graduate students the chance to connect with internationally-known artists. Students also have opportunities to teach, and they are mentored and closely supported by a faculty member. Exhibitions in the first and second years of study require students to maintain a rigorous pace of creative research and establish a professional art practice. The final thesis exhibition, completed after the second year of study, is held at the Berkeley Art Museum.

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Admission to the University

Applying for Graduate Admission

Thank you for considering UC Berkeley for graduate study! UC Berkeley offers more than 120 graduate programs representing the breadth and depth of interdisciplinary scholarship. The Graduate Division hosts a complete list of graduate academic programs, departments, degrees offered, and application deadlines can be found on the Graduate Division website.

Prospective students must submit an online application to be considered for admission, in addition to any supplemental materials specific to the program for which they are applying. The online application and steps to take to apply can be found on the Graduate Division website.

Admission Requirements

The minimum graduate admission requirements are:

  1. A bachelor’s degree or recognized equivalent from an accredited institution;

  2. A satisfactory scholastic average, usually a minimum grade-point average (GPA) of 3.0 (B) on a 4.0 scale; and

  3. Enough undergraduate training to do graduate work in your chosen field.

For a list of requirements to complete your graduate application, please see the Graduate Division’s Admissions Requirements page. It is also important to check with the program or department of interest, as they may have additional requirements specific to their program of study and degree. Department contact information can be found here.

Where to apply?

Visit the Berkeley Graduate Division application page.

Master's Degree Requirements


Unit requirements to complete the program: 64 units in two years
ART 294Seminar for M.F.A. Students (Students enroll in this class every semester)16
ART 218Seminar: Theory and Criticism (Students enroll in this class twice, every fall semester)8
ART 290Independent Study (First year)4
ART 295Independent Study for M.F.A. Students (Second year)8-12
Electives appropriate to the student's course of study are chosen in conjunction with their advising faculty
Two upper division electives, commonly studio courses6-8
One visual cultures elective, commonly a theory course3-4

Students will enroll in ART 290 and ART 295 independent study multiple times in their first and second years, respectively. Independent study units cover studio work in collaboration with faculty mentors, and preparation for the MFA show. Scheduling of independent study units in each semester is dependent on the student's greater academic plan.


 Art Practice

Contact Information

Department of the Practice of Art

345 Anthropology and Art Practice Building

Phone: 510-642-2582

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Department Chair

Ronald Rael

Graduate Program Director

Asma Kazmi

Graduate Program Director

Anne Walsh

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