MFA Concentrations

Types of MFA Concentrations

Graduate students in the fine arts pursue a wide range of MFA concentrations. Within areas such as visual art, performing art, design, and writing, students further focus their studies to get the most out of their education.

Visual Art

Visual artists usually choose a particular medium as their focus. This includes traditional areas such as painting, drawing, and sculpture as well as more contemporary ones such as photography and glass. Graphic design, computer graphics, and animation are also increasingly popular choices, and ones that are especially useful in today’s job market.

Of course, some students of visual art opt to focus on its history. This also carries a number of concentration options, including a specific historical period, geographic region, or style.

Performing Art

Dancers who want to pursue professional performing careers often select either ballet or modern dance as their focus, though they are almost always required to study both disciplines – as well as some others. Alternatively, those with plans to pursue teaching might focus on pedagogy or even dance history.

Some actors choose a performing arts graduate program that teaches a particular approach to acting; others want to focus on a particular medium such as film. Those interested in directing, screenwriting, or filmmaking can also find programs devoted to such aspirations. History and dramaturgy are also options for those with a background in theater or film who want to pursue academic careers.


Theater departments typically offer graduate degrees in scenic design, lighting design, and costume design. Each of these is already a specialization, though some schools may offer some additional concentration options – or at least faculty and coursework devoted to a particular style, period, or type of theater.

MFA opportunities may also exist for students interested in interior design, industrial design, and other types of spatial design.


Most creative writing programs offer specializations in fiction and nonfiction. In addition, students might want to find a program with coursework devoted to the specific kind of work they want to produce. Options include poetry, novel, biography, journalism, and more.

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