What Are the Core Courses in a Master's Degree in Fine Arts?

The field of fine arts includes such disciplines as painting, sculpture, drawing, photography, creative writing, digital design and new media. Students pursuing a Master of Fine Arts (MFA) generally concentrate on one or two disciplines. This article offers an overview of courses in several disciplines. Schools offering Art degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Master of Fine Arts (MFA) Overview

Students in MFA degree programs typically have a high level of freedom to customize their coursework according to their interests. You would complete many studio courses and refine your personal artistic style. Also, you would likely take classes covering subjects in art history, contemporary art and art criticism. Students are commonly required to present exhibitions of their work. As an MFA student, you could specialize in areas as varied as ceramics, printmaking, graphic design, metalwork and jewelry, photography, and painting. Some of the most common MFA areas of study are described below.

Important Facts About Master's Degrees in Fine Arts

Prerequisites Undergraduate degree; creative portfolio
Online Availability Available for certain programs, such as creative writing
Possible Careers Graphic designer, college professor, interior designer
Continuing Education None; the MFA is a terminal degree for fine arts
Median Salary (2018)*$49,380 (fine artists, including painters, sculptors, and illustrators)
Job Outlook (2016-2026)*7% (fine artists, including painters, sculptors, and illustrators)

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS)

Master of Fine Arts in Drawing and Painting

Some schools combine both painting and drawing into a single program. Other schools add drawing classes to a painting curriculum because many painters sketch their designs before they begin to paint. Following are core courses typically found in such an MFA degree program:

  • Integrated media in painting
  • Visual perspective
  • Advanced drawing
  • Interdisciplinary studio

Master of Fine Arts in Sculpture

As is the case with a master's degree program in painting, drawing is generally a required course in a program leading to an MFA in Sculpture. Some schools require sculpture students to take coursework in anatomy and physiology. A program leading to this graduate degree may require core courses such as the following:

  • Sculpture
  • Painting
  • Visual theories
  • Drawing

Master of Fine Arts in Photography

Graduate program in photography focuses on experimentation in and analysis of contemporary and creative photography. Candidates studying photography in an MFA degree program may have access to following resources:

  • Dark rooms
  • Computer labs with archival wide format (17-44 inch) printers
  • Lighting Studio
  • High-resolution scanning equipment

Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing

A master's degree is required to teach college-level writing. Many colleges and universities allow students to explore different genres while concentrating on their preferred genre. Students can choose between fiction or poetry-based specializations, and in the final semester, students will submit a final creative project demonstrating their understanding of learning objectives.

Master of Fine Arts in Design & Technology

An MFA in Design & Technology provides students with a platform to use their creative to talents to experiement in the deisgn field. Core courses might include the following:

  • Creativity and computation
  • Design for this century
  • Thesis studio

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:

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