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Our two-year graduate program is an intense critique-based experience that is fully funded for every student. The program’s size, averaging 10 students in residence, ensures a rigorous critical atmosphere that supports a range of theoretical perspectives and diverse ways of making. The backbone of the program is focused independent study with our core graduate faculty: Jeanne Dunning, Irena Haiduk, Judy Ledgerwood, Iñigo Manglano-Ovalle, Michael Rakowitz, Steve Reinke, and Lane Relyea. 

Our Visiting Artist Program is a critical component of our educational mission, bringing a wide range of contemporary artists, curators and cultural producers to engage in dialogue with our students and community at large. In the past years we hosted Carolyn Christov-Bakargiev, Mladen Dolar, Sam Durant, Darby English, Andrea Fraser, Coco Fusco, Candice Hopkins, Wangechi Mutu, William Pope L., Adam Szymczyk, and Hamza Walker to name a few. In addition to public lecture programs, our visiting artists and lecturers conduct individual studio visits or group seminars with our graduate students.

The MFA program is structured by seminars, group critique courses and electives. At the end of each quarter we hold graduate critiques open to the public and invited guests. Every second academic year our department also funds a graduate program study trip. Most recently, our graduate students visited Turkey, where they worked as curatorial and artist assistants during the 14th Istanbul Biennial. In 2017, our graduate students will be hosted by the Kassel Academy in Germany and documenta 14.

One of the greatest assets of our program is the intellectual resources of  Northwestern University’s greater research community. Students have access to lectures and courses outside of our department: in Art History, Radio/TV/Film, Screen Cultures, Gender Studies, Performance Studies, Critical Theory, and any other field that relates to their research interests.

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