Master of Fine Arts (MFA) Programs in Los Angeles, CA

Oct 14, 2019

The Master of Fine Arts (MFA) is a two to three-year terminal degree in various areas of the arts. These programs are typically highly interactive, with students having the opportunity to engage in hands-on work and consult with practicing artists in their field. Here, you can learn more about various MFA programs in Los Angeles as well as some common admission requirements.

Los Angeles Master of Fine Arts Programs

California State University Los Angeles

At Cal State Los Angeles, those interested in the dramatic arts can pursue the MFA in Television, Film, and Theatre. The program will have increased options beginning with the Fall 2020 cohort. Students within this program collaborate to build content which can then be released and shared with the larger artistic community. Opportunities are available in both live and recorded media. MFA students also participate in a teacher training seminar.

MFA programs in art are also available at California State Los Angeles. Students can choose from design, which covers animation and graphic design or visual arts, which covers painting, sculpture, photography, drawing, and ceramics.

University of Southern California

USC offers an MFA in Art through its Roski School of Art and Design. Students engage in regular studio visits both with USC faculty and with visiting artists. A weekly student seminar provides opportunities for group critique of work. Students also participate in a global art seminar designed to address non-Western perspectives in the visual arts. As a capstone project, all students mount a thesis exhibition and submit a written thesis.

USC also offers several other MFA options, including cinematic arts, production, interactive media, screenwriting, animation, design, acting, and dramatic writing.

Mount Saint Mary's University

Those who are interested in the entertainment industry can choose to earn an MFA in Film, Television, and Photography at Mount Saint Mary's University. The program is a weekend-only format. Classes are held at Sunset Gower Studios. Multiple track options are available, including visual effects, producing, photography, acting, music production, directing, and editing. Professional cameras and editing equipment are used throughout the program.

An MFA in Creative Writing is also available. This program also caters to working adults with an every other weekend class format.

University of California Los Angeles

UCLA provides a course of study leading to the MFA in Playwriting. Students complete multiple one-act and full-length plays over their term at UCLA, culminating in participation in the New Play Festival. In addition, in their final year, students often intern with a professional theater, tv studio, or in a comparable professional writing environment.

Other MFA programs at UCLA include art. Students can choose from specializations in areas such as ceramics, sculpture, photography, and drawing. MFA programs in cinematography, production, screenwriting, and production/directing are also available.

Antioch University

Antioch University offers a low-residency MFA focused upon creative writing. Students gather for ten-day residencies, where they engage in genre writing workshops as well as additional seminars, readings, and presentations. They then work on online projects, such as writing projects and annotations, for five months in their home communities. Program participants also engage in a field study, where they work with a community organization. Students are asked to prepare a final manuscript highlighting their work.


Applicants to MFA programs should hold a BA or BFA undergraduate degree. Candidates will be asked to provide a resume, artist's statement, and recommendations. In addition, students will be asked to submit portfolios or work samples that highlight their experience and vision in the artistic discipline in which they hope to earn the MFA. Requirements for what must be included in the portfolio and how the portfolio will be submitted vary by university, so be sure that you are familiar with the requirements for the program to which you're applying.

Residents of Los Angeles interested in pursuing a graduate degree in fine arts have a range of programs from which to select, including creative writing, art, playwriting, photography, film, and many more. The preparation of a portfolio or work samples will be a crucial part of applying to such programs.

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