Difference between Ma and MFA

If you have inclination for art and you want to equip yourself with proper knowledge then obtaining a master degree is your best bet. However, sometimes people get confused and cannot decide which degree they should obtain, MA or MFA.

Though, both degrees help students to polish up their skills and become a successful artist but still there are some differences between them. To know these differences is very important if you want to hit the mark.

Master of arts (MA) and Master of fine arts (MFA) are the highest levels of art studies and topics of study often overlap but few dissimilarities in courses make them entirely different degrees. MA degree proves that the person has a general authority over arts whereas MFA degrees are awarded in specific field. It is more like specialisation in some specific area of art.

MA degrees cover more general subjects like history, philosophy, literature etc. On the other hand, MFA students focus on visual and performing arts. MA degrees are more about theory so its students have to submit a thesis whereas MFA is all about practical and its students have to do more creative work. MA is more like “knowing something about everything” whereas MFA is “knowing everything about something”.

Normally, a student complete the MA programme in one and half year whereas the story is entirely different in MFA as its students need to wait for 24 to 30 months to get a certificate. Most of the MA degree holders opt for teaching as profession whereas MFA students find places in film, drama, music industry etc.


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    Master of Arts degree is the one level higher than the bachelor degree and one can be considered an authority on arts if he/she holds a master degree. This enables a student to have a detailed knowledge of history, literature, school of thoughts and theories of art. Mostly, those who have a conventional approach towards art decide to obtain an MA degree.

    - Image Courtesy: lezfemmementality.com

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    Master of fine arts is the most advanced qualification one can have on some specific form of art. It can be anything, music, creative writing, performing art etc. This degree polishes its students’ skills and makes them fully prepared to earn a respectable living in the market. In this programme, students have lot of opportunities to get experience and they can become professionals even before stepping out of the institution.

    - Image Courtesy: valueofadegree.edublogs.org

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