Graduate Program Contemporary Art Practice: Studio Practice

Graduate student in an art studio

Contemporary Art Practice: Studio Practice Master's Degree Overview

Our Studio Practice MFA challenges artists to discover their ideas and where they fit into the bigger picture. This three-year, full-residency program is built around a core of research-intensive creative investigation that engages students in interdisciplinary experimentation and exploration through the experience of making. Students are supported in a range of disciplines, from the traditional to the emerging, as they consider the various ways art lives in and beyond the studio.

Degree Details

Contemporary Art Practice: Studio Practice Master's Degree: Why PSU?

The School of Art + Design MFA in Studio Practice combines the intimacy of an intensive art school experience with the breadth of an urban public university. Students have access to a vibrant regional arts community and opportunities for interdisciplinary learning and collaboration.

You’ll work closely with resident faculty and are granted an individual studio space, accessible 24 hours a day, in proximity to your peers, and be tightly connected to your own cohort of fellow MFA students, as well as the thriving Portland art community. Our program is also proud to offer funding opportunities through Graduate Assistantships.

Our MFA program is the ideal place for students who wish to truly focus on their graduate work and on the effort of creating art for a culminating solo exhibition, which will come at the end of their third year. This third year of the program is integral to finding your footing as a working artist in whatever career you choose to follow after graduation.

What can I do with a master's degree in Contemporary Art Practice: Studio Practice?

Our graduates work as professional artists, working in creative capacities with a variety of businesses, non-profit organizations, and community groups; exhibiting in commercial, academic, and alternative galleries; producing commissioned work for private and public initiatives. The program’s intensive teaching practicum equips our graduates to teach fine arts at the college level.

Featured Courses

  • ART 578 Studio Practice: Workshop
  • ART 580 Studio Practice: Directed Studies
  • ART 581 MFA Graduate Seminar I: Special Topics in Contemporary Art
  • ART 582 MFA Graduate Seminar II: Writing and Research
  • ART 583 MFA Graduate Seminar III: Teaching Visual Culture
  • ART 585 MFA Graduate Seminar IV: Professional Practices
  • ART 505 Reading or Studio and Conference
  • ART 586 Visiting Artist Program/Group Critique
  • ARH 549 Art History Methods
  • ART 430 Critical Art Theories II
  • ART 599 Exhibition Critique
  • ART 587 Exhibition Project


Students complete 90 credits, distributed in the following way:

40 credits Contemporary Art Practice/Directed Studies
12 credits Visiting Artist Program/Group Critique
12 credits Contemporary Art History/Theory
8 credits Electives (outside School of Art+Design)
12 credits Graduate Seminars
6 credits Exhibition Project/Statement


Portland State University is fully accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU).