Top US Master’s in Fine Arts Schools

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Master’s in Fine Arts in the United States

The Master’s in Fine Arts is a terminal degree that is directed in a creative subject. Students who are trying to develop a body of work may be interested in enrolling in this type of program. Instead of working solely on academic research and theory, these degrees offer students hands-on practise in their field. Programs are competitive and require either an audition or portfolio for admission. Students in a Master’s in Fine Arts program have a Bachelor’s degree, with some also having a Master’s in another field.

What Is a Master’s in Fine Arts?

The study of fine arts comprises of subjects related to performance and artistry. Students who pursue an arts degree aim for a career performing or completing creative work. The Master’s in Fine Arts degree is one way students can get access to a community of artists and the mentors in the craft, the professors. These programs feature famous artists in residence who teach and provide guidance to students. Students get valuable feedback from their fellow peers about their artistic pursuit. This, along with teacher guidance, allows them to further develop their skills in their field. In order to complete a Master’s in Fine Arts program, you must either present a portfolio of work or a performance. Schools in the US that offer Master’s in Fine Arts programs include New York University, Yale University, the University of Iowa, the Rhode Island School of Design, Tufts University and more.

Programs awarding a Master’s in Fine Arts degree take about three or four years to complete, depending on whether or not it is full-time or part-time. More schools today are also providing online or low-residency programs to give students more flexibility. Some Master’s in Fine Arts schools offer full tuition funding to offset the cost of education. Programs that offer funding tend to be the most competitive. Some examples of the types of Master’s in Fine Arts degrees include:

  • Creative Writing: Students work to develop their skills in fiction, creative nonfiction or poetry writing. Study typically consists of sharing pieces with peers in a workshop setting and consulting with professors, who are often published authors.
  • Acting: Aspiring actors audition for a spot in the program, and then work on fine tuning their skills in dramatic arts. Improvisation, voice inflexion and performance are all part of an acting repertoire.
  • Art: Artists use this type of degree program to explore their talents even further. They spend a great deal of time working on new pieces and sharing them with their school community.
  • Film: Film students work on creating short or feature length films while studying the art of filmmaking in their courses.
  • Dance: Dancers can use this type of degree to further advance their abilities and performing options. They may work in different dance genres with extensive performance requirements.

What Are the Benefits of Getting a Master’s in Fine Arts in the United States?

Getting a Master’s in Fine Arts is one of the best ways to work on an artistic craft. Students in these programs immerse themselves completely in the world of their passion. With their network of peers and professors, they get additional tools to push their work to an even higher level. Programs like this are also extremely valuable with the type of connections they offer to their students. Connections like publishers, theatre companies, film studios and art galleries may all look to these programs for new talent prospects.

What Kind of Career Can You Expect With a Master’s in Fine Arts?

Most students who are part of a Master’s in Fine Arts program look to have a career in their field. Creative writers strive to get published and make a living in writing. Actors aim to get cast in top plays or begin a lucrative career in Hollywood or on Broadway. Filmmakers hope to gain some attention from their work in order to make a transition to a legitimate studio. Visual artists work to get their artwork showcased or purchased. Dancers aspire to get hired in a dance company. Another possible path for graduates in this type of program is a college professor. Because this degree is terminal, it prepares students to be hired by a university. It is also common for graduates to work with foundations or other organisations within their field as administrators.

Earning a Master’s of Fine Arts degree may help you get closer to your dream role. Look around to find the best offerings in the US that match your goals.

The University of Utah

Salt Lake City, United States

  • 170SchoolApply Rank
  • USD 21,296Average Tuition
  • 81.7%Acceptance Rate

University of Utah (the U) is a research-focused university located in Utah, United States, with it’s Asia campus located in South Korea. The U offers a wide range of master’s degree programs across nearly a 100 academic departments. These departments include Architecture, Biochemistry, Computing, Environmental Engineering, and Philosophy....

University of Illinois, Chicago

Chicago, United States

  • 171SchoolApply Rank
  • USD 42,430Average Tuition
  • 74%Acceptance Rate

The University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC) is a public research university in Chicago, Illinois, United States and has 15 academic schools through which it offers interesting master’s degree programs in a wide range of subject areas....

Illinois State University

Normal, United States

  • 193SchoolApply Rank
  • USD 33,465Average Tuition
  • 74%Acceptance Rate

Illinois State University is the first publicly-funded higher education institution in Bloomington-Normal, Illinois. It offers undergraduate majors and graduate degree programs in a wide variety of concentrations including applied science and technology, arts and sciences, business, education, fine arts, and nursing. Illinois State University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission....

University of Kansas

Lawrence, United States

  • 228SchoolApply Rank
  • USD 23,700Average Tuition
  • 93%Acceptance Rate

The University of Kansas (KU) is a state-sponsored, public research institution located in Kansas, United States. KU is spread across five campuses and through its 14 colleges, the university offers a wide range of master's degree courses....

University of South Florida

Tampa, United States

  • 246SchoolApply Rank
  • USD 15,900Average Tuition
  • 0Acceptance Rate

The University of South Florida (USF) is a public research institution located in the city of Tampa, Florida, United States. The university has three campuses through which it delivers master’s degree courses in the fields of health professions and related programs, business, management, marketing, and related support services, biological and biomedical sciences, social sciences, psychology, architecture, liberal arts, education and visual and performing arts....

Adelphi University

Garden City, United States

  • 257SchoolApply Rank
  • USD 34,034Average Tuition
  • 72.4%Acceptance Rate

Adelphi University is a private, coeducational institution of higher learning located in Garden City, New York, United States and has a dedicated faculty through which it offers a wide range of master's degree programs. ...

Eastern Michigan University

Ypsilanti, United States

  • 283SchoolApply Rank
  • USD 24,000Average Tuition
  • 73%Acceptance Rate

Eastern Michigan University (EMU) is a learning and research institute in Ypsilanti, Michigan, USA. Students can choose from over 150 master’s degree programs at EMU. ...

University of Dallas

Irving, United States

  • 299SchoolApply Rank
  • USD 33,800Average Tuition
  • 80%Acceptance Rate

The University of Dallas (UD) is a private Catholic university located in Irving, Texas, U.S.A. The school offers master’s programs in a wide range of subject areas through its dedicated faculties....

George Mason University

Fairfax, United States

  • 334SchoolApply Rank
  • USD 33,200Average Tuition
  • 0Acceptance Rate

George Mason University (GMU) is a public research university based in Fairfax County, Virginia, USA and offers a wide range of master's degree courses through its 10 academic schools....

California State University, Fresno

Fresno, United States

  • 348SchoolApply Rank
  • USD 33,563Average Tuition
  • 59%Acceptance Rate

California State University Fresno (CSU) is situated within two hours of the national parks of: Yosemite, Kings Canyon and Sequoia, in Fresno, California. The University offers undergraduate and graduate degrees through these schools and colleges: College of Arts and Humanities, College of Health and Human Services, College of Science and Mathematics, College of Social Sciences, Jordan College of Agricultural Sciences and Technology, Lyles College of Engineering, Craig School of Business and Kreman School of Education and Human Development....

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