MFA Program Concentrations

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The Arts at CIIS
Apply to the MFA Program
Degree Concentration in Theatre-Performance Making (with University of Chichester)
Degree Concentration in Writing and Consciousness
Degree Concentration in Interdisciplinary Art

New! Art and Social Justice courses added


Theatre-Performance Making Intensives, SUMMER 2014 PDF
MFA Theatre-Performance Making PDF

NEW Theatre-Performance Making Concentration (FALL 2015)

subject to WASC-SASC approval

We at Mugwumpin couldn't be happier to see the University of Chichester and CIIS join forces in this new MFA program.
For ten years Mugwumpin has been creating and advocating for fearless live art in San Francisco; with this initiative,
the city moves closer to being a national and international hub for forward-thinking, artform-expanding performance.
We proudly support the program and are eager to continue to develop our relationship with it.

Christopher W. White, Artistic Director, Mugwumpin
Theater.  Performance.  Strange Occurrences. 

The Department of Theatre at the University of Chichester (UK) is building its San Francisco adventure with the California Institute of Integral Studies (CIIS). Our two small, adventurous universities share a passion for rigorous creative inquiry, radical interdisciplinarity, and social engagement, as well as an understanding of the power of artists to be makers and leaders. 

Our goal is to create an international community of performance artists committed to breaking down old hierarchies and building more informal, more flexible, interactions. As we move toward our joint San Francisco Summer Intensive in 2014 and beyond - towards establishing an international joint degree in Theatre-Performance Making within the fully-accredited two-year Master of Fine Arts (MFA) at CIIS - we'll encourage bold new work, build upon the appetite for experimental performance in San Francisco, and seize upon opportunities for creative exchange in the UK.  

We invite you to join us for performances, workshops, symposia, intensives, and associated conversations and gatherings. We are sure you will share our excitement and we look forward to meeting you! For more information or to join our mailing list, please contact us at

NEW Art and Social Justice Concentration

Whether through street level theatre, acts of material resistance, or the re-envisioning of more just and sustainable social and ecological models, artistic strategy and creative intervention are partners in changing the world. The MFA concentration in Art and Social Justice is built on the multiple intersecting themes and questions that propel artists–past and present–in pursuit of their vision for change: the collision of artistic and political action; the ways in which art has permeated, communicated, and galvanized social movements; and the rich legacy of art in service of social justice. In a dynamic balance of practice informed by history and cultural theory, Art and Social Justice student–artists emerge with ample resources preparing them for engaged and effective social practice. Our inquiry-based coursework will deploy an interdisciplinary approach to past and present, exposing anecdotal experience from the local to the global.  Crucial to considerations of art and social justice will be a critical analysis of power relations, collaborative models, and strategies of entering community.

Writing and Consciousness Concentration

The MFA Concentration in Writing and Consciousness welcomes writers ready to do the following:

   • enhance their art, craft, and knowledge of both literature and consciousness, while deepening their writing
   • acquire professional skills such as teaching, grantwriting, editing, publishing and freelance writing
   • develop experimental, multigenre, and/or multimedia projects
   • work primarily within a single genre, whether fiction, poetry, or creative nonfiction, staying open to developing their art and craft through the exploration of other genres
   • discover new frameworks and meanings for their work as they claim their own literary lineages

Interdisciplinary Art and Creative Inquiry Concentration

The MFA Concentration in Interdisciplinary Art and Creative Inquiry welcomes artists trained or practicing in single or multiple disciplines ready to do the following:

   • place their own work at the center of a creative inquiry, which allows them to claim an arts heritage and reflect on the interrelationship between personal values and aesthetic choices
   • explore how artists can collaborate with and feed each other across disciplines
   • experiment with cross disciplinary approaches to art-making
   • learn to contextualize their art within a larger social framework
   • acquire additional skills and add a credential to open up new professional opportunities