MA & MFA Dual Degree

Aug 13, 2019

If you are interested in pursuing graduate studies in the fields of writing, art, or dance but also want to study a related field, such as theory or teaching, then a dual MA & MFA degree program may be the right choice for you. Learn details about the various options.

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Through a dual MA & MFA program, you can earn two degrees at the same time: a Master of Arts and a Master of Fine Arts. The main difference between these two degrees is that the MFA focuses on developing artistic skills in the fields of writing, art, or dance while the MA may study those fields in a theoretical or teaching context. Pairing these two degrees allows you to both improve your artistic skills and conduct in-depth research and study into a related field. Below, we will examine several types of dual MA & MFA degrees.

MA & MFA Dual Degree Examples

MA in English & MFA in Creative Writing

One of the most common dual MA & MFA degree programs pairs a Master of Arts in English with a Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing. This kind of program is a good choice for those who want to hone their writing craft while also studying literature and theory. The creative writing portion of your degree entails taking writing workshops in your chosen field, whether that be fiction, non-fiction, or poetry, and courses on writing craft. The MA in English will most likely include courses that center on British, American, or multi-cultural literature. You will typically complete an MFA thesis in the form of an original work of literature, and some programs may require an MA capstone essay, as well.

MA in Teaching Dance & MFA in Dance

The Master of Teaching Dance and the Master of Fine Art in Dance is a dual degree program that can prepare you to become not only a professional dancer but will also certify you to teach pre-K to grade 12 dance students. Your MA courses may focus on theories of teaching, language acquisition, and human development. Courses for your MFA might include seminars on dance, kinesthetics, and dance theory. You could also expect opportunities to student teach in different types of dance classes.

MA in Art History & MFA in Art

For fine artists, a dual degree program can allow you to earn a Master of Art in Art History and a Master of Fine Art in Art. Programs of this type will vary in terms of their subfields, with some programs offering an MA in Art History and Theory or an MA in History of Art and Design. The MFA could also be in several fields, including fine art or studio art. For your MFA, you would choose a specialty, which could be painting, photography, printmaking, or another form of art. Along with a thesis, you may also have an exhibition requirement that includes presenting your own art. The MA will include various classes on art history topics.

MA in Critical Studies & MFA in Visual Studies

You can also earn a Master of Art in Critical studies and Master of Fine Art in Visual Studies. The MA portion of this program focuses on studying different critical theories, including feminist theory, queer theory, and post-colonial theory. Your MFA in Visual Studies could allow you to choose a discipline, such as painting, photography, or media. The goal of this program type is to explore the ways that your own art interacts with critical theory. You would commonly gain opportunities for internships, scholarship, and developing your own art.

Entrance Requirements for Dual MA & MFA Programs

Most dual MA & MFA programs will have a common set of application materials that include transcripts, letters of recommendation, and an artist statement or a statement of purpose. In addition, because the MFA is a fine arts degree, each individual program will want you to submit samples of your artistic work. For instance, the MFA in Creative Writing will require a creative writing sample, the MFA in Art or Visual Studies will require an art portfolio, and the MFA in Dance will require an audition process. Some programs will also require that you submit GRE scores, as well.

Dual MA & MFA programs can allow you to pursue your own artistic work, place yourself in a larger theoretical context, and prepare to share your art through teaching. These programs typically require that you submit examples of your creative work, as well as provide other materials showing you are ready for graduate-level studies.

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