The Mills College MFA in Book Art and Creative Writing Program, the first such program in the country, is designed to allow you to develop as both a writer and a visual artist, to enhance your understanding of contemporary writing and its visual forms, and to encourage a deep exploration of the book form in both content and materiality. The program seeks to provide students with a theoretical and historical knowledge of both contemporary literature and contemporary artist’s book practice while also encouraging new explorations between and among these fields. Ideally, the MFA will be a space where you can create your own original work, contextualize that work within contemporary literary and visual art practices, and ultimately push and transform the boundaries of these fields. Thus, the curriculum is designed to develop writers and artists who will be at the forefront of re-envisioning the relationship between a book’s form and content.
Our focus on the artist’s book is designed to encourage student exploration of the book as both a literary artifact and a material object that exists in space and time. Along with the study of these practical, historical, and theoretical contexts, the curriculum provides opportunities to build skills in craft practice. Courses in art and literary theory, criticism, and the history of artists’ books are coupled with workshops in creative writing and artist’s book production, leading to the development of individual thesis projects that explore relationships between the visual and literary, the word and spatial design. The program assumes two years of course work which culminate in a fully integrated thesis that may combine readings, installations, and gallery presentations; these can be completed in a final nonresident semester.
Thesis projects might take the form of artists’ books, gallery installations, archival research, performance, curation, or other visual/written forms that can be supported by Mills faculty. While in the program, you’ll have the opportunity to work in a dedicated graduate studio with your colleagues, where you will be trained on a broad range of letterpress and bookbinding equipment. You will participate in regular critiques and mount small interim exhibitions. You may find yourself collaborating with a musician, a dancer, or another visual artist or writer as you join the community of innovative MFA programs across the campus. You'll have the opportunity to study with renowned artists and core faculty members Kathleen Walkup and Julie Chen in book art.
In addition, the Mills Book Art Program welcomes many national and international artists to its classes; past artists have included Susan Johanknecht, Daniel Kelm, Ronald King, Susan E. King, and Helen Mirra. Likewise, you’ll work with members of Mills' distinguished core faculty in creative writing: Elmaz Abinader, Cornelia Nixon, Patricia Powell, Stephen Ratcliffe, and Juliana Spahr. You'll also have the opportunity to work with exciting visiting writers such as Micheline Aharonian Marcom, Brian Teare, and Truong Tran.
International Student Requirements:
International students whose native language is not English are required to take the Test of English as a Foreign Language examination (TOEFL) scores of 600 on the paper-based test, 100 for the Internet-based exam, or an IELTS overall band-score of 7.0 or greater.
Mills College requires: one (1) hard copy of official transcripts in English of all undergraduate and graduate work; one (1) hard copy of official credential evaluation verifying equivalence to US four-year bachelor's degree; and one (1) hard copy of official transcripts translated in the applicant's native language. Also the Certificate of Finances, Recommendations and the I-20
Facts & Figures
International Financial Aid:
In State Tuition (per year):
Baccalaureate College—Liberal Arts