CIA Post-BA studies in Experimental Media

The Conceptual/Information Arts Program of the Art Department at San Francisco State University offers a special post-BA sequence of courses for individuals who want to explore contemporary digital media and other experimental technologies.  It is especially aimed at those who have little or moderate experience with new tools but who want to investigate technology based art and media as a possible future direction.   Past students have included those with undergraduate degrees in traditional art forms who wanted to test the possibilities of technological art for professional or expressive purposes and those with BAs in other disciplines who were interested in moving into new media.  Many students find the art context of cultural comentary, experimentation, and personal expression as a much more satisfying way to learn digital skills than in more narrow application based educational programs.

Conceptual/Information Arts has an international reputation as a pioneer in the introduction of new technologies to art and media oriented students.  Based on needs, backgrounds, and interests,  students can select from an array of courses in topics such as digital video, interactive media, hypermedia, web media, experimental research, critical theory, and conceptual strategies.  Although the post-BA sequence does not lead to a specific graduate degree, some past participants have used it as a stepping stone to a MFA program.  Others have used it as a way to change professional directions.  Students use the program to clarify personal direction, refine artistic agendas and build  portfolios of new media work.  Furthermore many graduate programs (such as SFSU's MFA) allow transfering up to 12 credits earned in the program into their graduate program.  Several of CIA's past MFA students first enrolled in this sequence and were subssequently admitted to the MFA program.**

Rationale -  Target Students:

The post BA program provides people with an opportunity to learn skills in new technologies, address questions of culture in the face of  technological changes, and make work that brings what they learn together with their own individual questions and concerns. The program is designed for two groups of people.  First, those who are considering future graduate studies in an MFA program in experimental technologies, such as the program we have here at State, but who may not have the course or portfolio requirements for applications at this time. Second, people who have BA's in other areas but who are interested in exploring experimental media, learn new skills and explore the new possibilities within an art context.  The program is probably not appropriate for those who just want to learn computer applications.

Enrollment process:

    1. Students should send a brief statement of goals and objectives to program advisors outlining tentative intention in pursuing post BA studies. Please include:
      A. Background information, including any digital courses and skills you may have;
      B. Your reasons for wanting to pursue a post BA program in experimental media; and
      C. What you hope to gain from the program.  
    Send to Paula Levine  or Stephen Wilson.

    2. Meet with  Stephen Wilson or Paula Levine  for advising.

    3. Generally it is suggested that students take a total of 4 courses: 2 per semester. The core 410-412 sequence is advised for entering students.  This however is flexible and subject to discussion.  A list of courses to be offered each semester is available at the cia home page.

    4.  Students can then enter the program by enrolling as unclassified graduate students at SFSU. (details available at  More information about the CIA program including course offerings is available at

Process of Enrollment:

Please be aware that the postbac offered in CIA is an informal experimental  arrangement. It is not one of the programs within normal university structures  so the bureaucratic offices will not be aware of it.  One consequence is that financial aid is not available to students in the postBA.

(Special for current period) Note that the university has put a temporary hold on formal  unclassified graduate student admisssions

Nonetheless, postBA students  can take courses within the open university structure

**Please note:  Because of very limited slots in the MFA program,  admission to the post-BA program is not a guarantee of ultimate admission to the MFA, even if a student excells in post-BA courses.