Graduate Dual Degrees

The dual degree gives CCA grad students an edge in competitive, postgraduate arenas.

Overview

Earn two graduate degrees in three years

Earn two graduate degrees_CCA Flickr

Double down on your creative practice

We believe intellectual curiosity, academic rigor, and creative ambition enrich and invigorate one another. Thus, our dual degrees fully integrate two separate programs into three years of coursework so you can concurrently pursue complementary master’s degrees. We offer four options:

  • MA in Visual and Critical Studies + MA in Curatorial Practice
  • MA in Visual and Critical Studies + MFA in Fine Arts
  • MA in Visual and Critical Studies + MFA in Writing
  • MBA in Design Strategy + MFA in Design

Dual degrees at CCA combine the coursework of two full graduate degrees and shouldn’t be considered as hybrid or blended programs. You’re required to complete all coursework for both degrees. For example, you’ll need to take all Visual and Critical Studies and all MFA in Writing courses for the dual-degree option.

Options

Pursue an interdisciplinary practice

MA in Visual and Critical Studies combinations

The MA in Visual and Critical Studies program offers a unique opportunity to concurrently pursue a second degree. Students may choose to add one of the following creative practices:

Each dual degree prepares you to integrate thinking, writing, and studio practices. You’ll acquire critical skills, such as advanced historiography and visual analysis, as you build a writing portfolio that analyzes art within multiple contexts. You’re required to complete coursework from both the MA in Visual and Critical Studies as well as your chosen second degree.

You’ll hone your research and communication skills through the development of a master’s thesis. The thesis process involves collaborative exchange through group critiques, a symposium presentation, and professional publication. By the end of the three-year curriculum, you’ll receive both degrees and graduate ready to enter competitive postgraduate arenas.

View course guides

The following course guides are recommended paths toward graduation:

Who should apply?

These degree combinations are ideal for graduate students who want to think critically about art, design, culture, and society on a wider scale. Degree candidates further their artistic explorations through critical writing, apply historical grounding to research and theories, and gain professional skills in curatorial practice.

Contact us to learn more:

Jacqueline Francis

Chair of MA in Visual and Critical Studies

+1 415-551-9250

[email protected]

MBA in Design Strategy + MFA in Design

This dual-degree program prepares students to translate their design vision and market opportunities into a compelling product or service. Incorporating courses from both the two-year MFA Design and the DMBA curricula, students’ insight and mastery of design practice and management are equally developed. Students study with individuals who have high-level design capabilities, entrepreneurial ambitions, and strong professional backgrounds.

The curriculum includes core coursework from each program in order to satisfy the requirements of both specific degrees. The dual-degree program culminates with an MFA Design thesis in the second year and an entrepreneurial venture in the third year. The entrepreneurial venture thesis can build on the MFA thesis or be entirely new.

Students in this program receive both degrees at the end of the three-year curriculum. They graduate prepared to direct design-led organizations (including their own) to maximize the impact of a design in roles, ranging from design director to chief design officer.

View course guide

The following course guide is a recommended path toward graduation:

Who should apply?

This unique program combines a thorough exploration of both business models and design practices. If you’re interested in running your own business, working in the business-side of design, or finding a hybrid space between design and business, this dual degree is ideal.

Contact us to learn more:

Portrait of Sara Fenske Bahat, Chair of MBA in Design Strategy.

Sara Fenske Bahat

Chair of MBA in Design Strategy

[email protected]

How to Apply

Pursue two degrees in three years

Each of our dual-degree options have their own application on SlideRoom. To create an account and start your application, choose your dual-degree program of interest:

Complete one application

You’ll apply to CCA and submit all required application materials via SlideRoom. Afterward, you may be contacted for an interview with a faculty member as part of the application process. Being selected for an interview doesn’t indicate applicant status or increase or decrease an applicant’s chances of being admitted into their desired graduate program. Interviews are conducted at the program’s discretion and are used to gain more insight into an application.

While we offer students the opportunity to apply to more than one graduate program, dual-degree applicants should not submit separate applications. Instead, use the dual-degree application for the program of your choice. These applicants will automatically be considered for each program individually in the event they are not fully admitted into the dual-degree pathway, based on the recommendation of the reviewing faculty.

Dual-degree application requirements

  • Application and $70 nonrefundable application fee
    To be completed and submitted on SlideRoom.

  • Resume/curriculum vitae
    Please outline your educational and professional background and relevant experiences and activities, including community work. Resumes/CVs must be in PDF document format. (The MBA in Design Strategy + MFA in Design dual degree also requires a link to the applicant’s LinkedIn profile.)

  • Two recommendation letters
    You’ll request two letters of recommendation from academic or professional sources in SlideRoom by entering the contact information for your recommenders/references. They will then receive an automated email from SlideRoom with instructions for uploading their letter of recommendation.

  • Unofficial college transcripts
    You are required to provide your complete undergraduate academic history. Students who have already taken graduate courses are encouraged to submit those transcripts, too. For international applicants, all transcripts must be in English or accompanied by a certified English translation.

    Please provide an unofficial transcript from the college where you will receive or have received your bachelor’s degree, as well as unofficial transcripts for all other undergraduate coursework. Unofficial transcripts will be used for review purposes.

    Once you have been admitted and enrolled, all students will need to submit official, sealed transcripts showing the completion of a bachelor’s degree to our graduate admissions office by August 1 of the fall semester they begin enrollment at CCA.

  • Proof of English proficiency (international applicants only)
    Review and plan to meet our English proficiency requirements for graduate students.

  • Personal essay
    Essay topics are different for each dual-degree program application:

    • MA in Visual and Critical Studies + MA in Curatorial Practice
      • MA VCS: In a personal essay, submitted as a PDF, write 500 to 1,000 words about how the program fits into your writing and career goals and why you want to explore visual and critical studies at the master’s level. While personal statements can vary, it’s generally good to focus on what influences your writing about visual culture, including particular theories and texts.
      • MA CURP: In a personal essay, submitted as a PDF, write 500 to 1,000 words about your work within the context of contemporary curatorial practice and describe why you want to pursue a master’s degree. While personal statements can vary, it’s generally a good idea to focus on your areas of interest in contemporary art, critical influences, and examples of previous experience, such as research projects, publications, and organizational roles.
    • MA in Visual and Critical Studies + MFA in Fine Arts
      • MA VCS: In a personal essay, submitted as a PDF, write 500 to 1,000 words about how the program fits into your writing and career goals and why you want to explore visual and critical studies at the master’s level. While personal statements can vary, it’s generally good to focus on what influences your writing about visual culture, including particular theories and texts.
      • MFA Fine Arts: In a personal essay, submitted as a PDF, write 500 to 1,000 words about how your work fits within the context of a contemporary art practice and why you want to study at the master’s level.
    • MA in Visual and Critical Studies + MFA in Writing
      • MA VCS: In a personal essay, submitted as a PDF, write 500 to 1,000 words about how the program fits into your writing and career goals and why you want to explore visual and critical studies at the master’s level. While personal statements can vary, it’s generally good to focus on what influences your writing about visual culture, including particular theories and texts.
      • MFA Writing: In a personal essay, submitted as a PDF, write 500 to 1,000 words about your writing experience, why you want to study writing at the graduate level, your educational objectives, and any critical influences on your work.
    • MBA in Design Strategy + MFA in Design
      • MFA Design: Submit a personal essay, in PDF form, of 500 to 1,000 words about your work within the context of contemporary design practice and why you want to study design at a master’s level.
      • DMBA: Answer four open-ended questions. We encourage you to use mediums that feel expressive to you, but require at least two of these to be submitted in written format. Aim for 500 to 1,000 words per question for written answers:
        • The DMBA is demanding in terms of balancing traditional and creative methods of analysis and problem-solving. What draws you to pursuing an MBA, and specifically this MBA, at this time?
        • We talk a lot about optimism, and the view that any system can be designed to be better. Tell us about a system that you’d like to design to be better and how you might start doing that.
        • A big theme in our program is collaboration. Tell us about the best and worst teams you’ve ever been on and what you look for in teammates.
        • Tell us about a leader you respect and why. How much do you know about what made them the leader they are today?

  • Portfolio
    Portfolio submissions requirements are different for each dual-degree program application:

    • MA in Visual and Critical Studies + MA in Curatorial Practice
      • MA VCS: Your portfolio should consist of two writing samples (5,000 words maximum per sample) demonstrating your interest in the field of visual and critical studies and your creative potential. Please upload separate PDF files for each writing sample.
      • MA CURP: Please submit one exhibition critique and one exhibition proposal as PDF documents.
      • Exhibition critique: A 500-word essay that critiques a recent contemporary art exhibition. In your essay, please evaluate the exhibition’s contents, order, ideas, and presentation.
      • Exhibition proposal: A 500- to 750-word basic thesis and outline for a proposed exhibition. Include a list of artists and their works, a possible site/venue, and a minimum of five visual elements.
    • MA in Visual and Critical Studies + MFA in Fine Arts
      • MA VCS: Your portfolio should consist of two writing samples (5,000 words maximum per sample) demonstrating your interest in the field of visual and critical studies and your creative potential. Please upload separate PDF files for each writing sample.
      • MFA Fine Arts: Your portfolio can include up to 15 still images, video, time-based media, or interactive media. If you submit video or time-based media, submit a five-minute sample reel that the review committee will watch in its entirety. The five-minute sample reel should be labeled clearly with the title, date, running time, and description of the piece, or pieces, it contains.

        Technical specs are as follows:
        • Images (up to 5 MB each)
        • Videos (up to 250 MB each)
        • Audio (up to 30 MB each)
        • PDFs (up to 10 MB each)
        • Links to media from YouTube, Vimeo, and SoundCloud are also acceptable
    • MA in Visual and Critical Studies + MFA in Writing
      • MA VCS: Your portfolio should consist of two writing samples (5,000 words maximum per sample) demonstrating your interest in the field of visual and critical studies and your creative potential. Please upload separate PDF files for each writing sample.
      • MFA Writing: Your portfolio, submitted as one to two PDFs (up to 10 MB each), should consist of a selection of writing samples (totaling no more than 25 double-spaced pages) that reflect your main areas of interest. You may include poems, short stories, a section of a novel, text for performance (include video, if available), creative nonfiction, or writing for new genres. You’re welcome, but not required, to submit visual materials in support of your application, including book arts and videos. Please note: We do not accept co-written material.
    • MBA in Design Strategy + MFA in Design
      Submit a portfolio of up to 25 still images, video, time-based media, or interactive media. Technical specs are as follows:
      • Images (up to 5 MB each)
      • Videos (up to 250 MB each)
      • Audio (up to 30 MB each)
      • PDFs (up to 10 MB each)
      • Models (Sketchfab)
      • Links to media from YouTube, Vimeo, and SoundCloud are also acceptable

Foundations

Dig deeper into one course of study

Visual Studies Symposium - norrena_2016_024-2-Hero.jpg

MA in Visual and Critical Studies

Practice cross-cultural study, scholarly methods, cultural research, and the craft of critical writing in our rigorous curriculum that emphasizes interdisciplinary study, historical grounding, and social and political analysis.

Curatorial Practice Student at YBCA Curatorial Research Bureau during class

MA in Curatorial Practice

Get hands-on curatorial experience within the professional setting of Yerba Buena Center for the Arts. A highly interdisciplinary, two-year experience, CURP focuses on the role of the curator as someone who builds bridges between contemporary artists and their publics.

MFA in fine arts

MFA in Fine Arts

Join a program that offers individual studios, intellectual tools, facilities, and hands-on experiences to help you critically engage with the contemporary art world. Our series of social practice and public forms workshops takes us beyond our classrooms and studios and out into the community.

163A5394_TracyKSmith - Writer Series-What’s happening in the writing community biggest names in literature

MFA in Writing

Work in a creative writing graduate program unique for its cross-genre freedom and mentored study. You’ll also have the resources and time to explore sculpture, film, printmaking, and other disciplines to help you incorporate visual art into your written work.

MBA Design Strategy program applies data science and artificial intelligence to its curriculum.

MBA in Design Strategy

Learn to use design strategy and MBA principles to solve complex problems and create sustainable businesses. We’re one of the few business schools in the country to implement a data science and artificial intelligence thread throughout our curriculum, not just as standalone courses.

CCA_ Viewbook_ 2017 - 0367 - MFA Design Studio - Explore-all-horizons

MFA in Design

Explore new frontiers of design with cutting-edge tools and traditional craft-based techniques in a two- or three-year MFA in Design program. You’ll have the chance to network with and create solutions alongside industry partners located in the Bay Area, a leading global hub for design innovation.

Push boundaries and lead conversations that transform culture

Apply now