Masters of Fine Arts, also called MFA degrees, offer graduate students the opportunity to study diverse subjects, from film-making and theater to creative writing and graphic design. MFA programs typically require 2-3 years of full time study and may offer some practical and applied learning, as well as lessons in technique and theory.
A Masters of Fine Arts (MFA, or M.F.A.) degree is considered a ‘terminal’ degree, meaning it is the highest academic degree available in the Fine Arts. Though there are exceptions, an MFA is typically enough credential for individuals aspiring to teach Visual Art, Design, Dance, Photography, Theatre, Film/Video, New Media, and Creative Writing at the university level. To apply for admission into a Master of Fine Arts program, students must possess a Bachelor’s degree, such as a Bachelors of Fine Art. Some MFA degree programs may also require a portfolio or audition as part of the admission procedure.
Working towards a MFA degree allows students of the arts to demonstrate and refine artistic and creative abilities, enhance conceptual development and improve techniques within a specialty field. Students may choose to focus their MFA program on a number of different areas, including administrative roles such as theatre management or arts administration. Potential areas of focus are listed below.
General Master of Fine Arts Degrees are typically oriented toward creative production. Many classes are designed to help each student acquire the technical and theoretical resources, as well as the confidence, to set up professional practice in today's art world. Individualism of thought and execution is often encouraged so that artists develop in order to meet the challenges in professional careers. Masters of Fine Arts courses may be offered in a wide range of subjects, as today’s artist works in different careers, mediums and industries. That said, common topics students in MFA programs might explore may include those listed below.
|Art Theory and Practice||Northwestern University School of Continuing Studies||MS|
|Visual Criticism||California College Of The Arts||MFA|
|Art||Idaho State University||MAAE|
|Master of Fine Arts in Criticism & Curatorial Practice||OCAD University||MS|
|Visual Studies||Old Dominion University||MFA|
|Documentary Studies and Production||Hofstra University||MS|
|Fine Arts||Radford University||MFA|
|Creative Inquiry||New College of California||MS|
|Studio Art||Nova Scotia College of Art and Design||MALS|
|Fine Arts||Arkansas Tech University||MFA|
|Studio Arts||Maine College Of Art||MALS|
We asked Michael Graber, Managing Partner for Southern Growth Studio, how earning a MFA degree has influence in the business sector:
“MFAs listen to the wants and needs of real people. They gain a critical contextual awareness for whom they are designing products.” Click to Tweet!
Michael Graber, Managing Partner for Southern Growth Studio
Fine Artists, including painters, sculptors, and illustrators, create original artwork using a variety of different methods and media. Some of the industries with the highest levels of employment in this occupation include:
Other potential career paths for graduates of Masters of Fine Arts programs might include:
|State||Employment||Annual Mean Wage|
|Metro Area||Annual Mean Salary||Employment|
|San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward, CA||$126,680||1,500|
|San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, CA||$123,780||330|
|Los Angeles-Long Beach-Anaheim, CA||$119,280||4,040|
|San Diego-Carlsbad, CA||$111,080||250|
|New York-Newark-Jersey City, NY-NJ-PA||$111,010||7,990|
The Master of Fine Arts differs from the Master of Arts in that the MFA, while an academic program, centers around practice in the particular field, whereas programs leading to the MA usually center on the scholarly, academic, or critical study of the field.