The Pacific Northwest College of Art (PNCA) is an art school of Willamette University located in Portland, Oregon. PNCA holds the deep tradition of a small fine arts college with the resources and cross-disciplinary benefits of the university located in one of the most desirable, creative and sustainable U.S. cities. The Hallie Ford School of Graduate Studies offers students from around the world Master of Fine Art and Master of Art degrees within 6 distinct but interconnected graduate program areas.

Graduate students can expect:

  • Small cohort sizes
  • Dedicated graduate studio building
  • Individualized attention and tailored mentorship
  • Fluidity and cross-genre experimentation
  • Intentional professional development and goal-oriented networking

Programs


Oliver Myhre, Visual Studies

MFA Visual Studies

This program encourages individual expression and artistic development in a rigorous and supportive environment.

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MA Critical Studies

This program helps multidisciplinary scholars, critics, art writers, curators, and cultural workers develop advanced skills of research, writing, and critical analysis.

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MFA Print Media

Hone your skills in one of the largest and best appointed academic printmaking facilities in the country.

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Low- Residency MFA Creative Writing

This program prioritizes experimentation and exploration within and across writing forms and genres.

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A giant hand and various objects hung in mid air by wire lit with red lighing

Low-Residency MFA Visual Studies

This program is a flexible and rigorous model perfect for working artists, teachers, and professionals seeking a graduate degree that fits with their current lifestyle.

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Post-Baccalaureate Residency

This two-semester immersive program offers access to studio space, skill-oriented coursework, and high-level mentorship to help realize career goals.

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MFA Applied Craft + Design

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MFA Collaborative Design / MA Design Systems

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Studio Space

MFA students receive individual studios inside the Glass Building, a 25,000 sq ft former glass factory, for the entire duration of the 2-year program including summer. Students have access to all the incredible facilities PNCA has to offer which include tools, equipment, workstations, and production areas for painting, drawing, printmaking, ceramics, sculpture and furniture design, photography, animation, video and sound production, AR + VR, digital fabrication, game design, physical computing and interaction, illustration, textiles, and fashion.

Take a virtual tour of the Glass Building here.

Funding & Support

The staff and faculty at Hallie Ford School of Graduate Studies at PNCA are committed to helping you make your goal of getting a graduate education a reality. Part of that is offering a range of financial aid options to offset the costs of your education. Every accepted applicant is offered financial aid with a 20% discount guaranteed to all those who apply by the priority deadline of January 20, 2023.


Equity Scholarships

PNCA offers full-tuition remission scholarships for students who have shown a dedicated commitment to equity for Black, African American, Indigenous, and Non-Black students of color.

Equity scholarships are intended to remove financial barriers for students who have demonstrated a commitment to racial justice and seek to pursue a Graduate degree at PNCA. In addition to an eligible admissions application, applicants interested in the Equity Scholarship are required to complete an additional application. The two students who receive this scholarship must use all grants that they are eligible to receive through our Financial Aid Office, and the Equity Scholarship will cover the remaining tuition balance.

To learn more about eligibility, requirements and deadlines for the Equity Scholarships, click here.

Merit Scholarships

Merit scholarships are automatically assessed based on the strength of the application. The portfolio (if applying to a studio-based program), personal history of scholastic achievement, as well as contributions to culture and community are taken into consideration. Traditionally underrepresented students within higher education and those who demonstrate financial need are also taken into consideration. No separate application is required to be considered for merit scholarships. Apply for admission by December 2 for early action decision.

Teaching Assistantships and Graduate Fellowships

Teaching Assistantships are an opportunity for students who are interested in teaching to gain valuable experience in a leadership role in the classroom during their time as a graduate student. TAships are awarded to MFA and MA students who have completed the Critical Pedagogy course or have an MA in teaching.

Once enrolled, students have the opportunity to apply for Graduate Fellowship awards. All students are eligible to apply for fellowships and application deadlines are released by departments once classes have begun.

Internships

The Office of Career Design helps to connect current students with companies and organizations seeking paid and unpaid interns. Internships are open to international students and may be taken for graduate credit.

External Scholarships

Students are encouraged to apply for external scholarships. These can be found by searching online databases including the U.S. Department of Labor’s free scholarship search tool, and sites such as Fastweb, Scholarships.com, and Scholarshipsportal.com.

For questions or more detailed information, contact pnca-gradadmissions@willamette.edu

For international students, information about guidelines can be accessed through our Office of International Education. Contact oieadvising@willamette.edu.

Work Study

Work-study is a way for eligible students to earn money to pay for school through part-time on- (and sometimes off-) campus jobs. Students who are awarded work-study receive the funds in a paycheck as they earn them, based on hours worked, just like a normal job. These earnings are meant to help with the day-to-day expenses that students have and are not meant to cover large costs like tuition and housing.

Learn more about each of the categories for financial aid and eligibility here.

Graduate Programs Tuition

Full time tuition includes 18.0 credits. Additional credits will result in additional charges.

2022-2023 tuition and fees vary by program and range from $30,500 - $44,000 before scholarships are applied.

Learn more details about tuition, fees, and other costs to attend here.

Action & Impact

We often ask, “How can our work be in service to others? What is our role in our communities and beyond?”

Graduate students are exposed to a variety of geographies, community arts organizations, and neighborhood groups which they may find a particular interest in connecting with based on affinity, social cause, or cultural connection.

Artist and activist Julian Gaines, leads mural making and other art workshops with Don’t Shoot Portland, an arts and education organization that promotes social justice and civic participation.

Portland Textile Month

PNCA participates in and hosts textile events created by artists, designers, schools, businesses and organizations exploring color, patterns and textures.

Portland Institute for Contemporary Art (PICA)

From performances to exhibitions to lectures to the annual Time-Based Art Festival, PICA’s programming supports the experiments of vital and provocative artists. These programs catalyze conversations about contemporary culture. PNCA has collaborated with PICA on events, symposia, and our graduate students and alumni have worked as interns, designers, and been supported as artists by this visionary organization.

The Independent Publishing Resource Center

The mission of the Independent Publishing Resource Center (IPRC) is to provide affordable access to space, tools, and resources for creating independently published media and artwork, and to build community and identity through the creation of written and visual art. The IPRC maintains a library of over 9,000 self-published and independently produced materials. The graduate school at PNCA is proud to support and collaborate with this rich community resource in Portland.

Graduate Symposium

Our graduate symposium is a multi day free public event where PNCA graduate students interact and engage with artists and community members around pressing issues such as environmental justice, mutual aid, critical pedagogy, and creative worldbuilding.

Graduate Symposium

Design Build

During the Design Build, students meet with the community organization to identify goals and needs for the project, collaboratively brainstorm possible solutions and consider the material and budget limitations. The project culminates with the collective fabrication and installation of a finalized product.

PNCA is proud to be included on the recent list of U.S. colleges and universities that produced the most 2019-2020 Fulbright U.S, and we’re honored to be ranked on GradReports’ 2020 list of the country’s top MFA programs.

PNCA Graduate student working with wood on a lasercut engraver

Graduate Student Experiences

Eligibility & Application

How to choose what graduate program is right for you:

Are you seeking a full-time program that requires relocation or a low-residency graduate program?


Full time

Full time MFA and MA students are situated in beautiful and inspiring Portland, Oregon and are given dedicated studio space in the Glass Building, along with access to campus wide facilities and exhibition space year round at PNCA and Willamette University.

Low Residency

Many students want to professionalize and commit to their practice without having to relocate or leave their current full-time job. Our Low Residency MFA in Visual Studies and Low Residency MFA in Creative Writing programs allow you to find creative community and mentorship, while still fitting in with your current life circumstances. Students attend intensive residencies at our downtown Portland campus in the winter and summer and work independently with feedback from accomplished artists and authors the rest of the year. Learn more about this pathway here.

Are you interested in connecting with inspiring faculty members?

Access to faculty

Our faculty are dedicated professional artists, culture shapers, and educators who provide insight into developing a sustainable creative practice, individual support, and advising. Students receive access to responsive faculty in our highly personalized setting.

Are you looking for a sustainable, dense, urban city with easy access to culture and nature?

Location

Our programs are located in downtown Portland, Oregon, an urban campus with many opportunities for creative and community-based work, while still being close to beautiful natural surroundings for those who enjoy outdoor activities. Hiking, mountains, rivers, and the ocean are all easily accessible. Explore Portland!

Are you seeking a small community of motivated artists?

Cohort Size

With just over 100 students dispersed among 6 programs, we offer small cohort sizes, one-one-one mentorship, and individualized pathways.

Do you have creative skills, but are Interested in the possibility of being genre-fluid?

Subject Matter

Our graduate programs offer flexibility for cross-genre and multidisciplinary work. Students take electives across disciplines and try out new mediums. We foster unique creative voices and perspectives and always encourage experimentation.

Are you looking for a program to help you build a sustainable career?

Professional Development

Our students engage in the Portland community through internships, mentorships, and collaborative projects. Our graduate students forge lasting relationships and networks that allow them to thrive in their careers long after graduation.

Apply for an opportunity to advance your work in the world through the Hallie Ford School of Graduate Studies at PNCA!

Apply


Prepare

  1. Read the application requirements below for the program to which you'd like to apply.
  2. Prepare your portfolio items and/or other required materials.

Submit your application form and materials through our application portal.

Please note that you can only apply to one graduate program at a time, with the exception of the MA/MFA dual degree option. Sign up through our application portal to start an application.

Learn more details about requirements for admission here.

Timeline

December 2, 2022 - Early Action Application Deadline
January 20, 2023 - Priority Application Deadline
January 21, 2023- Rolling Applications Open
May 1, 2023- Decision Deadline

Meet with us!

Admissions staff are available and interested in getting to know you and helping you make this decision to level-up your creative development.

For any questions about programs, eligibility, your application or the application process, please contact Admissions M-F, 9am-5pm PST at 503.821.8956 or email pnca-gradadmissions@willamette.edu any time.

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