What Is an MFA Degree?

Definition & Examples of an MFA Degree

fine artist

An MFA diploma is issued to those who graduate from a put up-secondary schooling application that specialize in the humanities. It stands for Master of Fine Arts diploma.

Learn extra approximately MFA tiers and their requirements.

What Is an MFA Degree?

In maximum areas of look at, college students have the option of enrolling in a master's or doctoral application after receiving a bachelor's degree to maintain their schooling. Students interested in the creative arts can pursue a Master of Fine Arts (MFA) diploma.

Alternate name: MFA

How an MFA Degree Works

Colleges and universities provide these two- or three-yr implemented arts programs for college students who want to end up expert running artists. Students can pick out to pursue areas along with filmmaking, innovative writing, visual arts, image design, pictures, dance, theater, and other performing arts.

MFA Degree Requirements

Master of Fine Arts tiers are provided at institutions around the sector, and each has its very own set of requirements.

Unlike other graduate packages, MFA applications don't always require that student take the GRE. Some may also require that candidates already have an Master of Arts (MA) diploma of their subject, even as others require most effective a bachelor's diploma. Many institutions do not require that the bachelor's degree be the equal major because the MFA location of take a look at.

Most MFA applications require that students publish a portfolio of work along side their utility, statement of reason, and letters of recommendation. This portfolio have to be composed of professional-level work in the field of have a look at.

Portfolio content varies depending at the location of take a look at. For example, a pupil wishing to pursue an MFA in creative writing will present a portfolio of writing samples. A pupil who desires to pursue an MFA in dance, however, will entire a overall performance audition.

Admittance into an MFA software largely depends on the excellent of the applicant's portfolio.

Types of MFA Degree Programs

There are two foremost types of MFA packages: low-residency and excessive-residency.

A low-residency software usually involves distance schooling and brief on-campus residencies which might be held over weekends or a few times a semester. These styles of applications have become an increasing number of famous, given their flexibility.

A high-residency ​application, additionally called a complete-residency or on-campus program, is held absolutely on campus. These programs are greater excessive with much less bendy schedules than low-residency MFAs.

Both low- and excessive-residency MFA packages can increase your talents and profession in your inventive area, and each include their blessings and disadvantages.

Pros and Cons of MFA Degree Programs

Pros of Low-Residency Programs

  • Flexible schedules designed for students who have jobs, families, and other commitments similarly to going to school
  • Rooted in distance schooling and on-line getting to know; face-to-face workshops on campus are held now and again
  • Fewer admission requirements and greater spots available
  • Less intense due to the infrequency of face-to-face training

Cons of Low-Residency Programs

  • Tuition is costly and self-financed
  • Little to no graduate teaching experience is worried
  • Often provided at universities with less country wide name-popularity, even though the applications themselves can be well-appeared

Pros of High-Residency Programs

  • Typically fully funded, with offers and stipends to be had
  • In-software possibilities to have paintings published, displayed, or executed
  • Usually include coaching graduate or undergraduate training
  • Often provided at universities with name reputation and prestige
  • Include possibilities for mentorship from professors and networking with classmates

Cons of High-Residency Programs

  • Often require relocation to a brand new town and intense commitment all through the program
  • Students regularly discouraged from running for the duration of the program
  • Less flexibility in scheduling
  • Fewer spots available
  • Admission may be difficult and competitive

MFA Degree vs. MA Degree



Focused on one vicinity of creative examine Focuses on many regions of creative examine
Recognized as a terminal diploma Not recognized as a terminal diploma

An MFA is an academic and practical program concentrated on one precise vicinity of have a look at. Master of Arts (MA) applications are more liberal arts-based, and they encompass a scholarly examine of the situation.

In america, an MFA is diagnosed as a terminal diploma, meaning it is the highest degree available in a field of look at. A terminal diploma is necessary to end up a professor at a college or college. An MA isn't always considered a terminal degree.

Key Takeaways

  • An MFA degree is a Master of Fine Arts degree.
  • Colleges and universities provide - or three-12 months MFA applications for college students who want to grow to be expert operating artists.
  • Students can pick out between low-residency or high-residency MFA applications, both of which have pros and cons.
  • An MFA diploma isn't always similar to a Master of Arts (MA) degree.