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MFA Public Practice Curriculum

MFA Public Practice Program no longer accepts applications. Otis College is now offering a new area of emphasis with enhanced curriculum in social practice as part of its MFA program. Please click here to learn more and apply.  

All programs’ curricula are developed in response to Program Learning Outcomes, which signify what students learn within a degree program or emphasis area. All program learning outcomes respond to overarching Institutional Learning Outcomes. View the MFA Public Practice program learning outcomes here/p>

Show All First Year Course Descriptions
Fall - First Year (Show All)
Course Course Number Credits
Production Studio I: The Process of Production PUBP600 6
Production Studio I: The Process of Production

This series of four studios over two years forms the core of the MFA Public Practice program and is where the student’s Final Project is created. The first semester begins with a collaborative project and includes collaboration, formation of community relationships, critique, production, and a final presentation. Skills workshops in subjects like video or model production are determined based on the nature of the project.

History of Public Strategies in Art AHCS580 3
History of Public Strategies in Art

Seminar with lectures and readings tracing the history of public practices in art from 1930 to today, with a focus on public art, installation, contemporary research in art, and current trends. Students will be expected to identify definitions and arguments on challenging themes, such as globalism, ethics, community-based initiatives, etc.

Field Methodologies for Artists PUBP650 2
Field Methodologies for Artists

Seminar on research and other career/ professional methodologies for artists. This seminar will feature discussions, readings, presentations by visitors and field trips. This is a companion course to Production Studio I.

MFAPP Studio Electives PUBP793 4
MFAPP Studio Electives

MFAPP Studio Electives are based on a comprehensive skills-learning plan that is created in consultation with the Chair to garner specific skills for the student’s final project, and must be approved by the Chair. Examples include courses in photography, video, installation, landscape design, computer web design, etc.

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Spring - First Year (Show All)
Course Course Number Credits
Production Studio II: Research and Design PUBP601 6
Production Studio II: Research and Design

This series of four studios over two years forms the core of the MFA Public Practice program and is where the student’s Final Project is created. In the second Production Studio, students will determine a topic and location, do research, find partners, and design their project individually or in collaboration with other students.

Public Realm Seminar LIBS657 3
Public Realm Seminar

Study of theories related to public practice and critical writing in visual arts and closely related interdisciplinary topics including anthropology, civic policy, environmentalism, urbanism, etc. Specific topics will vary each semester. Coursework includes assigned readings, class discussions, and a written paper. This course may be repeated for credit or may be substituted as approved by the Chair.

MFAPP Studio Electives PUBP793 6
MFAPP Studio Electives

MFAPP Studio Electives are based on a comprehensive skills-learning plan that is created in consultation with the Chair to garner specific skills for the student’s final project, and must be approved by the Chair. Examples include courses in photography, video, installation, landscape design, computer web design, etc.

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Show All Second Year Course Descriptions
Fall - Second Year (Show All)
Course Course Number Credits
Production Studio III: Implement and Critique PUBP700 6
Production Studio III: Implement and Critique

This series of four studios over two years forms the core of the MFA Public Practice program and is where the student’s Final Project is created. In the second year we expect intensive, phased production on a project of student’s interest. In the third Production Studio, students will implement their plan and begin a critique process within their community. During this semester individual studio visits will focus on production critique.

Public Realm Seminar LIBS657 3
Public Realm Seminar

Study of theories related to public practice and critical writing in visual arts and closely related interdisciplinary topics including anthropology, civic policy, environmentalism, urbanism, etc. Specific topics will vary each semester. Coursework includes assigned readings, class discussions, and a written paper. This course may be repeated for credit or may be substituted as approved by the Chair.

Thesis LIBS786 3
Thesis

A course focusing on the completion of a researched thesis paper of 10–12 pages or more, that will include current and historical references, a case study of each student’s project, and a critical analysis. The purpose of this written capstone project is to provide evidence that the student is able to articulate their intentions in the context of contemporary art practices.

MFAPP Studio Electives PUBP793 3
MFAPP Studio Electives

MFAPP Studio Electives are based on a comprehensive skills-learning plan that is created in consultation with the Chair to garner specific skills for the student’s final project, and must be approved by the Chair. Examples include courses in photography, video, installation, landscape design, computer web design, etc.

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Spring - Second Year (Show All)
Course Course Number Credits
Production Studio IV: Translations PUBP701 5
Production Studio IV: Translations

This concludes the studio portion of the MFA Public Practice program. In the final Production Studio, students will seek community critique and will design and implement a “translation” of their project in a final exhibition.

Final Review/Exhibition PUBP770 1
Final Review/Exhibition

Over the course of the final semester students must pass periodic reviews by faculty, guest artists and a final critique that encompasses a review of all their work.

Public Realm Seminar LIBS657 3
Public Realm Seminar

Study of theories related to public practice and critical writing in visual arts and closely related interdisciplinary topics including anthropology, civic policy, environmentalism, urbanism, etc. Specific topics will vary each semester. Coursework includes assigned readings, class discussions, and a written paper. This course may be repeated for credit or may be substituted as approved by the Chair.

Field Internship Presentation PUBP790 2
Field Internship Presentation

Over the course of their study at Otis, students will select an internship with a professional artist working in public practice. This seminar provides an opportunity to reflect on learning and share with other students through presentations. Field internship credits above the required 2 units, up to a total of 10 units, may be taken as electives.

MFAPP Studio Electives PUBP793 4
MFAPP Studio Electives

MFAPP Studio Electives are based on a comprehensive skills-learning plan that is created in consultation with the Chair to garner specific skills for the student’s final project, and must be approved by the Chair. Examples include courses in photography, video, installation, landscape design, computer web design, etc.

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Because of the field-based and professional nature of this program, it will require more demanding work hours than those designated by the assigned course times. Depending on the projects and exhibition undertakings, work may be required outside of traditional 15-week semesters.

All students are required to have prior teaching experience or undertake it during their graduate studies. An opportunity for a teaching assistantship position will be provided. This will form part of their professional practices requirements.

Electives can be from any academic program at Otis with approval of the chair, but undergraduate courses used to fulfill electives must be 300 or higher courses with student plan for work above that required by undergraduate professor.


The curriculum displayed is meant to provide an overview of the current semester’s offerings in this department; it does not represent all degree requirements for the Major or Area of Emphasis. These can be found in each student’s Course Catalog (identified by the year in which one would have entered the college as a Foundation student), which can be found here. If you have questions regarding your specific curricular requirements and/or Course Catalog, please contact Academic Advisement Coordinator Carrie Malcom at cmalcom@otis.edu or (310) 846-2550.