New Format Starting in Fall 2018

The MFA at CIIS has been a vital part of San Francisco's interdisciplinary arts community for more than 10 years. Our degree reflects that vibrancy, ingenuity, and imagination, making it an exceptional education for writers and artists.

Beginning in Fall 2018, we're offering the MFA in Interdisciplinary Arts and Writing. Though it will have a new format, our MFA program will continue to be grounded in what makes it work so well.

Writers and artists working in wide-ranging genres and forms will continue to be in conversation with one another, while also engaging across disciplines--in classes, workshops, and arts events--in a culture of inquiry that helps them to further develop and better articulate their work.

Professional Development

Our accomplished Bay Area faculty, along with local mentors and visitiing artists from around the world-all working arts professionals-will help you to expand your creative range and prepare you for your next steps as an art professional.

You'll participate in interdisciplinary workshops and rigorous coursework where you'll learn more about contexts that inform your art-with one-on-one support from faculty and mentors. You'll also gain a global arts perspective through classes-and our summer intensive overseas option.

Our Innovative Interdisciplinary MFA

  • 39-unit, two-year program in five continuous semesters, including a required summer semester between the first and second years. 
  • Unique hybrid format including both on-campus and online learning-ideal for working adults. You'll participate in six-day intensives in the beautiful San Francisco Bay Area twice a year, then continue the learning experience online for the remainder of the semester. 
  • Throughout the program, you'll have individualized sessions with faculty advisers and local art mentors of your choosing. 
  • You can earn degree credit by opting for a summer intensive in the United Kingdom or Greece. We have partnerships with the Kingston Writing School offered in Greece, and the University of Chichester in the U.K. This intensive also includes travel to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in Scotland.

Our MFA program is designed for artists and practitioners who:

  • Want individual and small-group support to write a book, produce a performance, develop a body of visual or interdisciplinary work, or simply hone their skills in a challenging, supportive setting.
  • In the case of writing and art teachers, and therapists, want to develop their own practice as artists, performers, or writers, and learn the tools for bringing these practices into their professional work.
  • Are interested in arts activism and working collaboratively with artists and communities. 
  • Make work that doesn't fit neatly into a discipline or genre or that combines-or stretches the boundaries of-more than one form.
  • Seek an intensive format designed for working adults.
  • Want to create more meaningful lives through disciplined creative and self inquiry in a community of art-makers.

Questions about admissions or the MFA Program?

Admissions Counselor:
AmyJo Mattheis

MFA Program Manager:
Paula Junn
(415) 575-6250

Experience the program from a MFA student's perspective

"Aliens Brought Me to the MFA Program"—CrossCurrents: The CIIS Blog

Experience the program through our inter-arts journal, Mission at Tenth

Want to hear more? Meet current students and faculty? Subscribe to our MFA Events mailing list and join us!

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