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Master of Fine Arts (MFA) Programs in Michigan

Oct 05, 2019

In the many competitive fine arts professional industries, an MFA degree can set job candidates apart and demonstrate a further level of study, practice, and theory. Several Michigan universities offer MFA degree programs in various subject areas.

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The following universities in Michigan have MFA offerings in several degree fields. Read on for an overview of MFA programs in the state and the typical MFA program admission standards.

Michigan Universities with MFA programs

Michigan State University

Michigan State University's Department of Art, Art History, and Design has a fully-funded MFA program. This means that those who are extended an offer of admission will have all costs of tuition covered for all three years of their program. Beginning as early as the second semester, students will also be given the opportunity to teach. MSU's Theatre Department offers MFA degree programs in Acting, Design, and Arts & Cultural Management. These programs are meant to qualify and prepare students for the demanding and competitive theatre and performance industries or for becoming teachers or professors in these subject areas.

University of Michigan

The University of Michigan hosts the renowned Helen Zell Writer Program. This highly-competitive program is fully funded, and offers three years of writing to accepted students. The program itself is a two-year program, however all successful graduates are extended a year-long writing fellowship. This program offers workshops, critiques, and guest lecturers, including successful authors. U-M also offers a research-driven MFA in art. This two-year program is part of the Stamps School of Art and Design. It's a two-year program that offers mentorships, exhibition spaces, and an opportunity for students to inform and advance their art and art studies.

Western Michigan University

Western Michigan University offers an MFA in creative writing. This 48-credit degree program is for students who wish to further their writing education either to become professional writers or to achieve a terminal degree that can qualify them to teach creative writing at the university level. Previous graduates of this program have been extended admission into doctoral programs at the University of Georgia, the University of Iowa, the University of Houston, and Ohio University. This program offers workshops both within and outside of students' genres of focus, as well as studies in literature.

Wayne State University

Wayne State's Department of Art and Art History offers a 60-credit MFA program in art with concentrations including ceramics, drawing, graphic design, painting, photography, and sculpture. Concentrations are also offered in more niche mediums including fibers, metalworking, and printmaking. Wayne State University's Department of Theatre and Dance also offers an MFA program. This allows students to specialize in acting, set design, costume design, lighting design, stage management, or theatre management. This is a three-year program with opportunities to perform in and work on productions under professional conditions.

Ferris State University (KCAD)

Ferris State University's Kendall College of Art and Design offers a variety of 60-credit MFA degree programs. KCAD's MFA degree program offerings include drawing, painting, photography, and printmaking. With small class sizes and a variety of qualified instructors, KCAD offers students a chance to thrive academically while also preparing them with industry familiarity, theoretical foundations, historical study, and hands-on studio experience to enter into the often competitive professional fields associated with these areas of study. KCAD provides fully equipped photography studios, 3D printers and other fabrication technology, extensive libraries of materials and samples, and much more. Students also have access to ample exhibition space.

MFA Admission Standards

You should always conform to the specific admission guidelines of the university and program to which you are applying; however, following is a helpful set of general admission standards to give you an idea of what might be expected. You should still expect to provide transcripts and test scores, but portfolios, writing samples, and auditions are often the focus of MFA admissions. Applicants should expect to provide a strong body of work in the field of focus to which they are applying. For example, those wishing to achieve admission in a photography program will need to demonstrate, through an actual portfolio of photographs, proficiency in photography, demonstrating everything from basic composition to innovation in the field. Writers will need to provide writing samples, and actors will need to audition. Additionally, since GPAs can't tell the whole story, letters of recommendation are also a common requirement.

Within a variety of MFA programs, focus areas, and specializations, Michigan schools offer a variety of program styles, facilities, and faculties. MFA admission requirements vary, but transcripts, recommendations, and portfolios are generally the metrics by which the potential for admission is assessed.

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