Master of Fine Arts (MFA) Programs in Boston, MA

Oct 30, 2019

This article discusses five universities in Boston, Massachusetts, that offer Master of Fine Arts (MFA) programs. Read on to learn more about MFA programs and the specialties offered at these Boston universities.

Master's degrees in fine arts can be taken in many sub-fields, such as creative writing, photography, information design, and visual arts. Listed below, you will find information about a few MFA programs available in Boston, Massachusetts, as well as some general program admittance requirements.

Boston Schools Offering MFA Programs

Boston University

Boston University's notable creative writing MFA program is small, with each cohort made up of only ten fiction students and eight poetry students. All admitted students take at least four workshop courses in their focus area (fiction or poetry). Typically, students will also take four literature courses. Prior to graduation, all students must complete a thesis, which requires ninety pages of fiction or thirty-five pages of poetry. Transfer credits (up to two courses) are allowed, but they must be English literature courses that have not been used to satisfy previous degrees.

University of Massachusetts Boston

The University of Massachusetts's creative writing MFA program is small and selective, taking only five fiction students and five poetry students in each new class. Students must take six full-time semesters and complete a thesis in their focus area. The university brings in various visiting writers to work with students each semester, and students also have the opportunity to work with literary magazines. The program requires four MFA writing workshops, three literature seminars, and three electives. During the capstone course, students work on their theses, resulting in 48-64 pages of poetry or 75-120 pages of fiction.

Northeastern University

Northeastern University's MFA program through the College of Arts, Media and Design, is the first of its kind to offer a focus on information design and visualization. This degree prepares students to use visual languages for communication purposes. Students will be able to work in research institutions, design agencies, government agencies, and private companies. Coursework covers studio lectures, theory, strategy, research methods, and more.

Massachusetts College of Art and Design

Massachusetts College of Art and Design offers MFA programs in photography, film, 2D fine arts, 3D fine arts, fine arts in general, and design. Coursework and final projects, such as a thesis or an exhibition, depend upon the subject chosen. For example, the photography program focuses on practical applications as well as history and critical theory while the 2D art major covers painting, drawing, papermaking, and criticism.

Tufts University

The School of the Museum of Fine Arts at Tufts University offers an MFA program with concentrations in digital media, drawing, film, sculpture, and several other studio art options. Unlike traditional programs, students can create an individualized curriculum that incorporates more than one subject area. In all, sixty semester hours are required, and the courses span art history, studio art, and the liberal arts. Students must create their own exhibitions, with an accompanying written thesis, before graduation.

General Program Admittance Requirements

Admittance requirements for MFA programs can vary based on the type of MFA chosen. Most programs require students to hold a bachelor's degree, but the field may be different from the MFA field. However, nearly all programs require a portfolio submission, either of art or writing samples. For example, it's common for MFA writing programs to request a submission of multiple short stories, totaling around forty pages. Application processes typically require an online application, an application fee, copies of transcripts, and two to three letters of recommendation. Programs may also require a specific number of credit hours in art-related fields, such as art history, prior to program admission.

Boston has a handful of MFA program options that cover a wide range of artistic interests, such as creative writing and various areas of studio art. No matter what program you choose, you should be prepared to submit a substantial creative portfolio along with your online application materials.

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