Master of Fine Arts Degree Programs

This article provides an overview of Master of Fine Arts (MFA) programs. Continue reading to find information on career options and program categories, and learn how an MFA program is different from one that leads to a Master of Arts. Schools offering Art degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What is a Master of Fine Arts?

The Master of Fine Arts (MFA) is typically a professional, terminal degree. In other words, this degree is not intended to lead to a doctoral degree, but rather serves as an indication that you've reached the height of your formal training in a certain specialized field. MFA programs are typically offered in creative fields. These fields can include visual arts, graphic design, theater, photography, creative writing and interior design. According to, the most popular jobs for graduates with an MFA include professor, graphic designer, interior designer, associate professor and art director.

Degree Designation Master of Fine Arts
Concentrations Sculpting, creative writing, interior design, industrial design, photography
Degree Distinction The Master of Fine Arts is a terminal degree

What Can I Study?

What you study depends on the subject of the degree program in which you enroll. For example, an MFA in Creative Writing may cover short story and novel writing, playwriting, marketing, editing and creative nonfiction. An MFA in Sculpting might address advanced portrait study, spatial context and sculpture materials.

U.S. News and World Report categorizes graduate fine arts programs by the following:

  • Ceramics
  • Interior Design
  • Fiber Arts
  • Metals and Jewelry
  • Glass
  • Multimedia and Visual Communications
  • Sculpture
  • Photography
  • Painting and Drawing
  • Graphic Design
  • Industrial Design
  • Printmaking

How Does the Master of Fine Arts Differ From the Master of Arts?

The Master of Arts (M.A.) is a transitional degree; that is, the M.A. prepares you for further graduate work at the doctoral level. Because the M.A. is not a terminal degree, you may not qualify for certain jobs that require either a doctorate or MFA. This can include full-time, permanent teaching positions at colleges and universities. Also, while the MFA focuses primarily on creative fields, you can earn an M.A. in a wide variety of subject areas.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

  • 1. Degree Options:
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