Conceptual Information Arts
MFA Requirements for Admission and Graduation

The art department offers a MFA in studio art with an emphasis in Conceptual/Information Arts. The 3 year MFA program is highly individualized with each student customizing their program beyond the basic core courses.  MFA students specializing in CIA usually include several of the intermediate and advanced undergraduate courses within their studies. 

This small program is highly competitive (generally, only 2 a year accepted). The program seeks diverse students who can demonstrate high levels of studio and/or academic accomplishments in fields compatible with the area's emphasis. High value is placed on portfolio, statement of purpose, and other evidence of accomplishment. The program seeks students who show interest in explorations of emerging technologies and critical analysis of the relationship of culture and technology. Students with undergraduate majors outside of art are welcomed as long as evidence of relevant accomplishment and clear direction is provided. The MFA program is not appropriate for students only wishing to learn digital skills without an interest in more experimental exploration of the intersection of technology and culture.

Post-BA Studies in Experimental Media: 

A special graduate level post-BA sequence of courses in experimental media may be appropriate for students who do not yet meet the requirements for the MFA application or seek a different kind of graduate-level program. More details about the Post-BA sequence in Experimental Media.

Curriculum Requirements

Here are the required courses for an MFA at SFSU's Art Department.  A total of 60 credits is required.
Art 704: Seminar in Art
(1 course- 3 units- each semester for total of 6 during MFA residency. Functions as home base - typically includes critique of student work, reading, visits to events, etc)
18 units
Art 780: Graduate Visiting Artist Studio (2 courses - 3 units each) 6 units
Studio Electives
(2 courses - 3 units each - by advisement)
6 units
Art 882: Tutorial in Studio. 6 units
Art 890: Creative Work Research 3 units
Art 894: Creative Work Project 3 units

TOTAL = 42 units
Art 700: Seminar in Art Theory and Criticism 3 units
Art 705: Seminar in Art History 3 units
Art 850: Directed Experience in Public Roles for Artists 3 units
Academic Electives: by advisement. 
 (3 courses )
9 units

TOTAL = 18 units

TOTAL = 60 units

Final Year
The final year usually focuses exclusively on final thesis and MFA cumulating project.
  • 882, 882 Tutorial in Studio (taken twice usually in last 2 semesters) 
  • 890, 894 MFA Creative Project and thesis (usually taken during last 2 semesters)
  • 704, 704  Graduate seminars (taken each semester)

Many of the core graduate courses are offered in the evening in order to allow students to work if necessary.

More information

For more information on the MFA program with a Conceptual Information Arts emphasis, contact: Paula Levine.
Up-to-date information about requirements, application procedures, deadlines, university requirements,  etc. are available on the Art Dept website and by contacting the Graduate Program administrator at:
General information on Art Department programs, faculty and other related topics can be found at:
For general information on the Art Department programs, including international student information, go the San Francisco State website:

Page revised: 2/2012

- This page created by Stephen Wilson, Professor Conceptual Information Arts Program, Art Department, SFSU (
- More information about the Conceptual Information Arts program is available at (