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Master of Fine Arts In Applied Craft + Design

Connecting design thinking to design doing, Oregon College of Art and Craft and Pacific Northwest College of Art have collaborated to create a unique MFA Program grounded in hands-on making, entrepreneurial strategies, and social and environmental engagement.

Combining a mentor-based approach with an exceptional visiting artists program, students have the opportunity to work one-on-one with nationally and internationally recognized designers, makers, and scholars in a self-directed curriculum that challenges you to bring to life the full strength of your ideas and skills.

With a curriculum focused on the development of a strong artistic voice, the realization of work for a specific community or client, and entrepreneurism that connects making a living with making a difference, the MFA in Applied Craft and Design is the only graduate program of its kind. 

Diane Einsiedler
Diane Einsiedler, MFA Applied Craft + Design

Courses and Requirements
Course Descriptions
Program Requirements

With students' individual spaces located in a workshop environment, Studio Practice embraces an approach to design that is rooted in the culture of making. You will work one-on-one with a different mentor each semester to address your specific interests and goals.

Through Critique Seminar, you will engage in thorough, critical analysis of work-in-progress. Frequent discussions and critiques with visiting artists, designers and guest critics help you develop skills in rhetoric.

Creative Entrepreneurship courses provide you with strategies for starting and sustaining a small, independent creative practice. You are challenged to approach the business of your practice with the same creativity and individual expression with which you approach your work.

In Critical Studies, you develop in-depth knowledge of social and environmental movements in craft and design history, articulate positions concerning contemporary craft and design theory, and place current trends in making into a global context.

The Practicum is similar to a Thesis, but emphasizes a practical application of knowledge or skill in a new way. You conduct in-depth, practice-based research in producing a capstone project that is understood in relationship to its cultural context as well as your career path. 

Electives allow you to hone techniques in making, participate in internships, global studios, or further pursue couses in history, theory, and criticism. You are required to take two electives at level 200 to 600. Graduate level options at 500 and above. 

Examples of Graduate level electives: Applied Systems Thinking, Design Ecologies, Critical Pedagogy, Critical Inquiry, Integrated Practice, Contemporary Print Seminar

MFA AC+D students have the opportunity to directly engage with prominent visiting artists, designers, and critics through the Program's robust lecture series, typically complemented by studio visits, workshops and a post-lecture dinner in the studio.

Although not required, most AC+D students participate in credit-bearing internships relevant to their particular field of interest. Internship providers are wide-ranging and include museums and galleries, design firms, artist practices, fabricators, and retail companies. Past internships include, Michael Currie, Pendleton, OMFGco, Bent Image Lab, and working with Doug and Mike Starn on the roof of the Metropolitan Museum. 

MFA AC+D students work one-on-one with a different mentor each semester, meeting every week for 90 minutes to discuss their work and process. Mentors include OCAC and PNCA faculty; Portland designers, architects, artists, and makers; curators and critics; entrepreneurs; as well as faculty from other academic institutions.

OCAC offers this Collaborative MFA in Applied Craft and Design in conjunction with Pacific Northwest College of Art (PNCA), the degree granting/financial aid awarding institution in this partnership. Visit the Applied Craft + Design website for full program information and application requirements. To get upates and more information, join our contact list by completing the inquiry form.

Ready to apply? Apply online. 

Learn more about the Chair, Sara Huston.

Sara Huston
Heidi Schwegler
Whitney Lowe
Bobbi Woods
Julie Beeler
Leslie Vigeant
Abby McGehee

Featured Mentors
Brenda Mallory
Sara Huston
Ben Buswell
Kari Merkl
Lisa Congdon

Featured Alumni
Anne Crumpacker
Eric Trine
Caitlin Rose Sweet
Matthew Williams 
Jason Lee Starin


Learn more about our programs of study:
Bachelor of Fine Arts
Master of Fine Arts in Craft
Master of Fine Arts in Industrial Design
Master of Fine Arts in Craft & Material Studies
Master of Fine Arts in Applied Craft + Design
Post-Baccalaureate Certificate in Craft (requires a bachelor's degree)
The Certificate in Craft

Learning Outcomes
Find information about learning outcomes by downloading MFA in AC+D Learning Outcomes