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I just realized that I can go no higher with my applied art education! WAAAHH!
It turns out that my M.F.A. is useless as a prerequisite to a Ph.D.
I would have to get a M.A. over the course of 6 years and then apply for a Doctor of Philosophy program. Gosh, I wish I had known before spending the last 5 years at the Academy of Art making films and comics. Wow, I should have stayed in San Francisco no matter what. My plans for New York are dashed now. What’s an artist to do in a huge impenetrable fortress like NYC without a well established seat in the artist community? It would like living in Los Angeles all over again. Go to work, come back home, go to work…come back home.
Not the kind of end I wished for.
To prevent future suckers, the differences between an M.A. and an M.F.A. goes as follows.
M.F.A. ( degree of art practice)
In the United States, a Master of Fine Arts (MFA) is a graduate degree typically requiring two to three years of study beyond the bachelor’s degree level and usually awarded in visual arts, creative writing, filmmaking, or theater/performing arts. Coursework is primarily of an applied or performing nature with the program often culminating in a major work or performance.
MFA programs have generally required a bachelor’s degree prior to admission, but many have not required that the undergraduate major be the same as the MFA field of study. The most important admissions requirement has often been a sample portfolio or a performance audition.
The MFA differs from the Master of Arts in that the MFA, while an academic program, centers around practice in the particular field, programs leading to the MA are usually centered on the scholarly, academic, or critical study of the field.
The MFA has traditionally been seen as a terminal degree, meaning that it is considered to be the highest degree in its field. In the interest of further developing the connection between creative production and continued academic research; however, some universities have established competing Ph.D programs in fields such as creative writing, visual arts, and theater. Similar PhD programs were abandoned in the 1960s and 1970s.
The College Art Association developed the following statement regarding the definition of the M.F.A. for visual arts:
“The M.F.A., unlike most master’s degrees, is used as a guarantee of a high level of professional competence in the visual arts. It is also accepted as an indication that the recipient has reached the end of the formal aspects of his/her education in the making of art, that is to say, it is the terminal degree in visual arts education and thus equivalent to terminal degrees in other fields, such as the Ph.D. or Ed.D.
First and foremost, the profession demands from the recipient of the M.F.A. a certifiable level of technical proficiency and the ability to make art. . . . The need for thorough training of the mind, the eye, and the hand is self-evident
M.A. ( degree of art theory and criticsm—i.e. writing)
In the recently standardized European system of higher education diplomas, it corresponds to a one to two year (60 to 120 ECTS credits) postgraduate program undertaken after at least three years of undergraduate studies. It provides higher qualification for employment or prepares for doctoral studies. In the USA and Canada, a master’s degree entails a one- or two–year program of study in which students would normally enroll after completing a bachelor’s degree.
However, in some European countries, a magister is a first degree and may be considered equivalent to a modern (standardized) master’s degree (e.g., the German university Diplom/Magister, or the similar 5-year diploma awarded in several subjects in Greek, Spanish, Italian, and other universities and polytechnics). In the Francophone countries, a DEA is the postgraduate degree and considered equivalent to the master’s degree (e.g, In France, the French-Speaking Switzerland and Belgium a DEA is 1-2 years degree taken after the License), after the application of Bologna process the DEA had been given a new name: MAS (Master of Advanced Studies).
The master of arts (magister artium), master of science (magister scientiæ) and Master of Science in Law degrees are the basic degree types in most subjects, and they may be course-based, research-based, or (more typically) a mixture of the two. A dissertation may or may not be required, depending on the program. There are also degrees of the same level, such as engineer’s degrees, which have different names for historical reasons.
Admission to a master’s program normally requires holding a bachelor’s degree (in the United Kingdom & Canada an ‘honours’ bachelor degree), although relevant work experience may qualify a candidate. Progressing to a doctoral program sometimes requires that the candidate first earn a master’s degree. In some fields or postgraduate programs, work on a doctorate begins immediately after the bachelor’s degree, but the master’s may be earned along the way, as a result of the successful completion of coursework and certain examinations. In some cases the student’s bachelor’s degree must be in the same subject as the intended master’s degree, or in a closely allied discipline; in others, the subject of the bachelor’s degree is unimportant.
There has recently been an increase in programs leading to these degrees in the United States; more than twice as many such degrees are now awarded as compared to the 1970s.  Some university programmes provide for a joint bachelor’s and master’s degree after four or five years.