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Masters of Fine Arts Degree Programs with Course Information

Explore Master of Fine Arts degree programs in a variety of creative fields. Learn about academic prerequisites and common coursework, and take a look at some popular career paths for graduates.

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Essential Options

A graduate of a bachelor's degree program who wants an advanced degree in a creative or arts-related field may consider enrolling in a Master of Fine Arts, or MFA, program. Master of Fine Arts programs are available in a variety of concentrations, including creative writing, painting, sculpting, filmmaking, photography and the performing arts, to name a few. These programs teach students the creative and technical skills necessary to obtain jobs in their chosen artistic fields.

For example, students in an MFA program in creative writing can learn about producing written work, self-editing, peer editing and the process of getting work published. A filmmaking program may include the study of all aspects of creating a film, including writing, acting, directing and editing.

Education Prerequisites

Most schools require master's-level applicants to have completed a 4-year bachelor's degree. Some programs prefer that a student's undergraduate degree match the subject area of the master's degree program to which they are applying. A portfolio or examples of the student's previous work are also required for admission to some fine arts programs; with these programs, the sample of prior work is typically a major factor in the admissions process. Additionally, some programs require students to take the GRE exam, though this is not universal.

Program Coursework

Depending on a student's interests, coursework can take many shapes. Typically, the majority of a student's time in a Master of Fine Arts program is spent in a studio where they develop and fine tune individual projects or performances, rather than in a lecture hall. These programs often culminate with a creative portfolio, which may be an exhibition of photography, full-length novel or completed short film. The following course examples may be available, based on one's chosen artistic focus:

  • Prose writing
  • Poetry writing
  • Critical theory
  • Sound engineering
  • Cinematography
  • Digital photography editing
  • Advanced illustration
  • Figure painting

Popular Career Options

A graduate's career options are entirely based on the individual student's interests and the field they choose to enter. In many cases, a MFA is considered a terminal degree. Some potential careers include:

  • Photojournalist
  • Sculptor
  • Screenwriter
  • Film director
  • Actor
  • Graphic designer
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Other Schools:

  • School locations:
    • Massachusetts (1 campus)
    Areas of study you may find at Harvard University include:
      • Graduate: Doctorate, First Professional Degree, Master
      • Post Degree Certificate: Postbaccalaureate Certificate
      • Undergraduate: Associate, Bachelor
    • Visual and Performing Arts
      • Fine Arts and Studio Art
        • Art
        • Art History
      • Musical Arts
  • School locations:
    • Massachusetts (1 campus)
    Areas of study you may find at Boston University include:
      • Graduate: Doctorate, First Professional Degree, Master
      • Post Degree Certificate: First Professional Certificate, Post Master's Certificate, Postbaccalaureate Certificate
      • Undergraduate: Associate, Bachelor
    • Visual and Performing Arts
      • Design and Applied Arts
      • Drama and Theatre Arts
      • Fine Arts and Studio Art
        • Art History
        • Arts Management
        • Painting
        • Sculpture
      • Musical Arts
      • Photography, Film, and Video
  • School locations:
    • Kentucky (1 campus)
    Areas of study you may find at University of Louisville include:
      • Graduate: Doctorate, First Professional Degree, Master
      • Non-Degree: Certificate
      • Post Degree Certificate: Post Master's Certificate, Postbaccalaureate Certificate
      • Undergraduate: Associate, Bachelor
    • Visual and Performing Arts
      • Drama and Theatre Arts
      • Fine Arts and Studio Art
        • Art
        • Art History
      • Musical Arts
  • School locations:
    • New York (1 campus)
    Areas of study you may find at New York University include:
      • Graduate: Doctorate, First Professional Degree, Master
      • Non-Degree: Certificate
      • Post Degree Certificate: First Professional Certificate, Post Master's Certificate
      • Undergraduate: Associate, Bachelor
    • Visual and Performing Arts
      • Dance
      • Design and Applied Arts
      • Drama and Theatre Arts
      • Fine Arts and Studio Art
        • Art History
      • Musical Arts
      • Photography, Film, and Video
  • School locations:
    • Alabama (1 campus)
    Areas of study you may find at The University of Alabama include:
      • Graduate: Doctorate, First Professional Degree, Master
      • Post Degree Certificate: Post Master's Certificate
      • Undergraduate: Bachelor
    • Visual and Performing Arts
      • Dance
      • Design and Applied Arts
      • Drama and Theatre Arts
      • Fine Arts and Studio Art
        • Art History
      • Musical Arts
  • School locations:
    • Mississippi (1 campus)
    Areas of study you may find at Mississippi State University include:
      • Graduate: Doctorate, First Professional Degree, Master
      • Post Degree Certificate: Post Master's Certificate
      • Undergraduate: Bachelor
    • Visual and Performing Arts
      • Fine Arts and Studio Art
      • Musical Arts
  • School locations:
    • Columbia (D.C.) (1 campus)
    Areas of study you may find at George Washington University include:
      • Graduate: Doctorate, First Professional Degree, Master
      • Non-Degree: Certificate, Coursework
      • Post Degree Certificate: Post Master's Certificate, Postbaccalaureate Certificate
      • Undergraduate: Associate, Bachelor
    • Visual and Performing Arts
      • Dance
      • Design and Applied Arts
      • Drama and Theatre Arts
      • Fine Arts and Studio Art
        • Art
        • Art History
        • Ceramics
        • Painting
        • Sculpture
      • Musical Arts
      • Photography, Film, and Video
  • School locations:
    • Virginia (1 campus)
    Areas of study you may find at George Mason University include:
      • Graduate: Doctorate, First Professional Degree, Master
      • Post Degree Certificate: Postbaccalaureate Certificate
      • Undergraduate: Bachelor
    • Visual and Performing Arts
      • Dance
      • Drama and Theatre Arts
      • Fine Arts and Studio Art
        • Art
        • Arts Management
      • Musical Arts
  • School locations:
    • Florida (1 campus)
    Areas of study you may find at Florida State University include:
      • Graduate: Doctorate, First Professional Degree, Master
      • Post Degree Certificate: Post Master's Certificate
      • Undergraduate: Associate, Bachelor
    • Visual and Performing Arts
      • Dance
      • Design and Applied Arts
      • Drama and Theatre Arts
      • Fine Arts and Studio Art
        • Art History
        • Arts Management
      • Musical Arts
      • Photography, Film, and Video
  • School locations:
    • Arizona (1 campus)
    Areas of study you may find at University of Arizona include:
      • Graduate: Doctorate, First Professional Degree, Master
      • Post Degree Certificate: Post Master's Certificate
      • Undergraduate: Bachelor
    • Visual and Performing Arts
      • Dance
      • Drama and Theatre Arts
      • Fine Arts and Studio Art
        • Art
        • Art History
      • Musical Arts

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