Deciding Whether or Not to Pursue a Master of Fine Arts (MFA)

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Entering any master’s program is a significant decision and not one to take lightly because it requires a lot of time and financial investment. The Masters of Fine Arts (MFA) is a distinctive type of degree as students that enter this degree program are usually artistically-oriented and enjoy the beauty of the world, its surroundings and languages. If you are one who is creatively inclined and want to pursue grad work, an MFA degree might be the right choice for you.

Who might pursue an MFA?

People who have hobbies and talents relating to writing, studio or graphic art, animation, film, photography, music, theatre, or a love of language, believe the MFA will give them a chance to deeply delve into their craft. Pursuing a fine arts curriculum gives students the opportunity to cultivate their inventive side and enables them to develop their particular area of expertise.

What to consider

Many things should be considered when deciding whether or not to enter a master’s program and the MFA degree program is no exception. Like most graduate schools, colleges that specialize in the arts are expensive. They also are competitive, many art schools require recommendations, auditions or samples of your work to be approved before entering a program. Structurally, they do offer a variety of concentrations to choose from. For instance:

  • Artists can pursue studio and/or graphics concentrations
  • Writers focus on creative writing
  • Actors can pursue higher specialization in the performing arts
  • Graphics-oriented student can take classes relating to digital arts and animation

If your strengths and skills fall into these areas, a master of fine art may be the program for you.

What else to think about

Exploring an MFA program for career options should be carefully considered a portfolio that will carry more weight in the work environment than an advanced degree.   If you’ve been working and already have a diverse portfolio, this often proves to be valuable in the career track, but the financial rewards may or may not come. However, pursuing an advanced degree may provide a great opportunity to build and expand upon a portfolio.

It will be important to weigh out the expense verses the benefits if a career is your goal. The best thing to do is talk with academic counselors and others who are working and/or active in the field you are looking to enter. They can often provide valuable insight as to whether or not an MFA will benefit you career-wise. If your goals are purely academic and for a love of learning, that may also be another reason to pursue the MFA. Only you can decide if it is right for you, but after some soul searching and research, you’ll find your answer.


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