Pursuing a Master in Fine Arts (MFA) degree is an exciting way for an artist to hone their skills and open up new career opportunities. All across the state of Oregon, there are universities and colleges that offer a variety of MFA programs with assorted concentrations in both high- and low-residency structures. Below you'll find detailed descriptions of six of those programs, as well as some general admissions information to take into account for those considering an MFA in Oregon.
Oregon Schools with MFA Programs
Oregon State University
Oregon State University, located in central-western Oregon in the town of Corvallis, offers a high-residency MFA in Creative Writing. Prospective students can apply to study fiction, poetry, or creative nonfiction. Students in OSU's MFA program enjoy small classes that have a maximum enrollment of 10-12 people and will round out their studies with the production of a thesis in their second year. This program also offers all admitted students full tuition remission as well as a yearly stipend.
University of Oregon
Situated about two hours south of Portland in the city of Eugene, the University of Oregon offers an MFA in Art. This is an interdisciplinary degree in which students can study a variety of media such as painting and drawing, printmaking, sculpture, photography, or fibers. Each student admitted to the University's MFA program will receive their own studio space, which will be open to faculty and the wider community twice a year for Grad Review. This program is designed to be completed in three years of full-time studies.
Portland State University
Portland State University, which is located right in the heart of downtown Portland, offers an MFA in Creative Writing. Prospective students will apply and be admitted to a focus in either fiction, nonfiction, or poetry. The program coursework involves a combination of workshops and seminars, plus a selection of electives that allow students to explore genres other than their own. If attending full-time, a student can complete this MFA in two years; however, it is possible to attend part-time and take up to four years to complete the degree.
Pacific Northwest College of Art
Located in Portland's city center, the Pacific Northwest College of Art is a private art and design school that offers a number of MFA programs, with both high- and low-residency options depending on the degree. PNCA's high-residency programs, which require on-campus study, include MFAs in Applied Craft & Design, Collaborative Design, Print Media, and Visual Studies. PNCA also offers a low-residency MFA in Visual Studies, as well as a low-residency MFA in Creative Writing. Because PNCA is an art school that specializes in a number of media, students in any program have the chance to learn about a variety of specialties and network with a wide range of successful artists and scholars.
Eastern Oregon University
Eastern Oregon University's MFA in Creative Writing is also a low-residency program. The two-year online curriculum is punctuated by 14-day summer residencies at the beginning of each year that takes place on the EOU campus in La Grande, Oregon. One unique thing about EOU's program is that it offers a concentration in Wilderness, Ecology, and Community, with the goal of connecting students to the rich geography and literary community of eastern Oregon. Thanks to the contacts made through its Outdoor Program, EOU offers its MFA students the opportunity to learn from scientists and other local land specialists alongside the core writing faculty.
Common Admissions Requirements for MFA Programs in Oregon
While MFA programs across the state can be different in the concentrations and curricula they offer, there do share a number of admissions requirements. First, prospective MFA students are generally expected to have completed an undergraduate degree and submit transcripts confirming the completion of that degree. In some instances, a particular GPA might be required, too. Next, prospective MFA students are generally required to submit a portfolio or collection of samples that demonstrate their work in the medium they will be studying. Finally, most MFA programs require prospective students to submit personal and/or professional references and a personal statement as a part of the application packet.
Whether you want to study writing, design, or get an interdisciplinary art education at the graduate level, universities and colleges across the state of Oregon feature a variety of MFA programs from which to choose. Each program is unique in its own way, so take some time to explore the many options and see which one works best for you.