Washington, DC Masters of Fine Arts Programs
Masters of Fine Arts
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.
How Can I Earn a MFA Degree?
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.
- Visual arts
- Creative writing
- Graphic design
- Performing arts
Masters of Fine Arts Programs Potential Curriculum
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.
- Fine Arts: including theory and techniques to compose, produce or perform works of music, dance, visual arts, drama, painting, printmaking, and sculpture, studio arts, art history
- Design: techniques, tools and principles involved in precise technical plans, blueprints or drawings
- Personal service: meeting quality standards, professionalism and client care
- Sales and marketing: how to show, promote or sell products and services with marketing strategy and other sales techniques
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
What Can I Do With A Master in Fine Arts?
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:
- Independent artists, writers, performers
- Motion picture and video industries
- Miscellaneous store retailers
- Newspaper, periodical book, and directory publishers
- Software Publishers
Other potential career paths for graduates of Masters of Fine Arts programs might include:
- Art Directors: responsible for the visual style and images in magazines, newspapers, product packaging, movie and television productions
- Photographers: use their technical expertise, creativity, and composition skills to produce and preserve images that visually tell stories
- Multimedia Artists and Animators: create animation and visual effects for television, movies, video games and other media
- Web Developers: design and create websites
- Graphic Designers: create visual concepts by hand or computer software and develop layout and production design for advertisements, brochures, magazines, and corporate reports
- Technical Writers: prepare instruction manuals, journal articles and other documents
- Writers and Authors: develop content for advertisements, books, magazines, movies, television, songs and other publications
- Art, Drama and Music Teachers: teach courses in drama, music, and the arts including fine and applied art, such as painting and sculpture, or design and crafts. Some do a combination of both teaching and research.
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.
Find Masters of Fine Arts Degree Programs
Whatever creative path you are drawn to, earning a Master in Fine Arts Degree might help you refine your talents, cultivate new skills and prepare for a variety of career paths. Advanced education might provide artists an opportunity to develop their portfolio, which is essential, because art directors, clients, and others look at them when deciding whether to hire the artist or to buy their work. Search GradSchools.com to help you find an MFA program that will take your ingenuity and artistry to the next level!
Edinboro University of Pennsylvania
One of the best online graduate education programs in the country, according to the 2013 U.S. News and World Report survey.
Low- residency graduate art program...
Texas Tech University
The Master of Art Education program supports practicing teachers with contemporary social theories and strategies that strengthen their classroom, stu...
Savannah College of Art and Design
Students use conceptual approaches and traditional academic methods, employing a variety of media to develop a personal vision.
Massachusetts College Of Art and Design
Whidbey Island Writers Association
A 60-credit MFA in fiction, poetry, nonfiction, or writing for children/young adults. Ten-day intensive residencies followed by...
- Manchester, NHManchester, NH
New Hampshire Institute of Art
Allowing art educators to invest in the studio once again!...
Freelancers are an integral part of the cultural and heritage sector and museums and galleries buy in expertise from a wide range of professionals including artists, collections managers, project managers and marketers. This programme aims to prepare yo...
Northwestern State University of Louisiana
Northwestern State University offers a comprehensive Master’s degree for the transitional professional.
The Goucher limited-residency MA in Arts Administration (MAAA) offers students, living anywhere, to gain further...
University of Edinburgh
The two year Master's of Fine Art program is a taught course in Scultpure or Ceramics.
University of Manitoba
La maîtrise en études canadiennes est un programme de deuxième cycle offert uniquement par Internet.
Vermont Studio Center
Vermont Studio Center, along with Johnson State College, offers a 60 credit (3 year) low-residency M.F.A. program for both American and international...
- Plymouth, United KingdomPlymouth, United Kingdom
This MRes is a composite online and offline learning programme providing flexibility to manage your study to meet your needs.
Designed specifically for working professionals, the online MS in Arts Administration integrates innovative management practice, arts administration theory, and practicum into this internationally-recognized curriculum.
- New York City, NYNew York City, NY
School of Visual Arts
MFA Art Practice is a low-residency, cross-disciplinary graduate program at the School of Visual Arts in New York City.
- Plainfield, VTPlainfield, VT
The Master of Fine Arts in Interdisciplinary Arts (MFAIA) engages artists from a variety of practices, including visual arts, dance, music, theater, performance art, social practice, design, digital media, and the literary arts, to study in a rigorou...
- Cambridge, MACambridge, MA
The MFA in Visual Arts low-residency program provides the ideal solution for those who are seeking advancement in visual arts.
Commonwealth Open University
University of Southampton
You will have access to specialist staff and facilities in the areas of Painting, Printmaking, Sculpture, Fine Art by Project...
East Carolina University
The most comprehensive NASAD accredited art and design program in NC, offering 2 graduate degrees with 10 concentration areas.
Vermont College of Fine Arts
The MFA in Visual Art at the VCFA allows students to earn a 60-credit MFA degree over a period of two years.