Department Overview

CIIS’ Interdisciplinary Arts department offers a unique Master of Fine Arts degree that focuses on the vital role of inquiry in artmaking.

We value the complex range of human experience that provokes art and welcome artists from all disciplines — literary, visual, performing, media, and interdisciplinary — into an innovative laboratory for individual and collaborative artmaking.

Working in small groups, individually with faculty, mentors, and organizations in the Bay Area, students clarify directions for their art and join a community of artists with valuable connections and relationships. We know most artists live a multi-faceted life, so we also offer professional development courses and internships focusing on building an arts career, community engagement, teaching, and editing and publishing through our inter-arts platform, Mission at Tenth.

Our graduates are prepared for professional careers in journalism, coaching, arts administration, academia, and more. Our faculty have a wide range of research interests, among them: cognitive science, creativity, poetry, and the brain, pluralism in the arts, social construction of whiteness, critical media literacy, and social justice comedy.

Learn More About Our Program

Our Approach

No two artists are the same. This belief shapes our innovative design, allowing us to meet you where you are and take you to where you want to go.

In our program, meaning-making and making art are woven together. We believe that artmaking is a way of reshaping experiences and cultures that leads artists to take action to transform themselves and their communities.

Our students hail from around the world. We’ve built the foundation of our program on the value of diverse racial and gender identities, nationalities, and abilities. We support diversity in artistic and personal identities as well as in our faculty and visiting artists.

Recent mentors and guest artists for the MFA program include graphic memoirist and novelist MariNaomi, visual artist and illustrator Ajuan Mance, writer Kate Walbert, poet and cultural theorist Judy Grahn, performance maker Erika Chong Shuch, choreographers Debby Kajiyama and Jose Navarette, playwright Ade Solanke, and director Deborah Eliezer.

How To Apply

Application Open Dates

Apply for Spring 2023 starting September 15, 2022 - see a list of spring-admitting programs.

Apply for Fall 2023 starting November 15, 2022 - all programs accept fall applications.

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Questions? Contact us.

We are here to help! If you have any questions about applying to a program or registering for an Info Session, please reach out to the Admissions Office

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