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About Our Program


About Our Program 

This unique, two-year, residential program seeks prospective applicants who want to develop their artwork in relation to social and environmental justice questions, contexts and communities. Headed by internationally-recognized artists and including affiliate faculty from across campus, the program integrates the resources of a great public university with the Art Department’s mission of educating and training students in cross-disciplinary, multimedia art practices. Students translate concerns for environmental and social justice into contemporary art practices through professional training combining project-based research, seminars, faculty mentorship, electives, visiting artists, and peer critiques. Working individually and collaboratively, in the studio and in the field, students will experiment with different approaches to build their practices conceptually and practically, while critically and creatively exploring art’s role as a catalyst for radical change.

The MFA at UC Santa Cruz offers:

  • The intellectual and interdisciplinary resources of a research university renowned for its in-depth engagements with ecology and social justice

  • Close association with the diverse communities and ecologies of northern and central California

  • A committed art faculty recognized for our engagements with social practice and environmental art

  • A curriculum that provides an inclusive frame to foster critical learning and for practicing art in direct relation to issues, places, and communities

  • Facilities that support traditional and new technologies and media

  • Dedicated MFA studio space

  • Faculty-led research centers which act as focal points for topic-based research as well as external funding

  • The University of California Library system connecting users with up-to-date global research resources

  • Full funding support through Teaching Assistantships

With these important pieces in place, we invite students to join us in the ongoing creation of this program, one in which socio-bio-diversity is acknowledged, respected, and celebrated, and through which we can cultivate our ability to respond to urgent contemporary issues connected to the complex relations between art and life on earth. The contemporary urgencies of systemic social inequality and rapid environmental change add momentum to the implementation of this program.

We welcome practitioners from a wide range of backgrounds and training to study, imagine and create together new possibilities for what art can do and become.

If you think you would like to join us, or if you want more information, contact the Director of Graduate Studies at:

Find answers to frequently asked questions here.