Graduate Dual Degrees

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


Earn two graduate degrees in three years

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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.


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

The pathway to your graduate goals

Complete one application

You can apply for any one of our dual-degree options with a single CCA application. All applicants will need to submit transcripts, letters of recommendation, a resume or curriculum vitae, and proof of English proficiency (international applicants only). CCA does not require the GRE test for admissions consideration.

Submit an essay and portfolio

Once you begin the application process, you will be prompted to upload a portfolio and personal essay via SlideRoom. Students applying for any of the three Visual and Critical Studies dual-degree options will upload their submissions for both programs in the same SlideRoom section. Students applying for the MBA in Design Strategy + MFA in Design dual degree will upload their portfolio in the MFA in Design SlideRoom section only.

Essay topics and types of media for portfolio submissions are different for each dual degree program, so applicants should reference individual programs to view specific requirements:

International students

Unless English is the official language of your home country, you’ll need to submit TOEFL, IELTS, C1 Advanced, CEFR, or PTE Academic test scores. View detailed requirements for graduate international applicants.


Dig deeper into one course of study

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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