A Master of Fine Arts is a skill-based degree that usually includes critical study as well as the practice of your chosen art form. Some of the most popular MFA programs are in the fields of creative writing, art, and dance. In this article, we will take a close look at MFA programs in Texas, including possible coursework, the thesis or final project requirements, and common entrance requirements.
Texas-Based MFA Programs
MFA in Theatre at University of Houston
The University of Houston offers an MFA in Theatre that features an acting track and a design and technology track. The acting MFA is a 45-credit hour program that requires coursework on dramatic theory and criticism, voice, movement, acting in Shakespeare, and ensemble training. This program also requires turbo-projects where you collaborate and present a major work in one week and a final creative project. The 54-credit design and technology track has several specializations, including technical direction, costume technology, and scenic, costume, or lighting design. You will complete coursework in your chosen specialization and also complete a final design portfolio.
MFA in Dance at Sam Houston State University
Sam Houston State University in Huntsville offers a 60-credit hour MFA in Dance. This program features a performance, theoretical, and pedagogical approach to the study of dance with coursework in teaching dance at the university level, Laban movement analysis, dance composition, theory of dance, and advanced skills in dance. Also, you will have opportunities to work as a graduate assistant and teach university-level dance classes. For this program, your thesis consists of a formal concert or alternative creative performance project along with an oral examination and a thesis defense.
MFA in Studio Art at Texas A&M University-Commerce
At Texas A&M University-Commerce, you can earn a 60-credit hour MFA in Studio Art. In this program, you could take a range of critical coursework, including classes on the history of contemporary art, gender and art in popular culture, and public art. You will also spend a good portion of the program completing studio hours and must undergo mid-term critiques. Last, to earn your MFA in Studio Art, you need to prepare a final art exhibition, which requires visual documentation and a written statement about your art.
MFA in Screenwriting at The University of Texas at Austin
The University of Texas at Austin has an MFA in Screenwriting, which is a 45-credit hour program that can be completed in 2 years. Over the course of this program, you take classes and workshops in television pilot writing, adaptation, the history of cinema, and television specs, among others. It's the program's goal that you will leave your course of study with three original screenplays completed. To complete your degree, you will also need to create a thesis, which consists of a significant rewrite of a feature film script or a television script, as well as a written report that documents the writing and revision process of that script.
MFA in Creative Writing at Texas State University
In San Marcos, Texas State University offers an MFA in Creative Writing that allows you to choose a poetry or fiction specialization. This program can be completed in 3 years with coursework that includes writing workshops, literature courses, and theory and technique courses. A book-length thesis project in fiction or poetry is also required. In this program, you could also gain editorial experience with the program's literary journal Porter House Review or expand your teaching skills as a teaching assistant.
Entrance Requirements for Texas MFA Programs
MFA programs in Texas usually have a common set of application materials, which include an application, a fee, transcripts, a CV or resume, and letters of recommendation. Depending on the program, you could also be required to submit a letter of intent or statement of purpose. Also, because MFA programs are skill-based, you will need to submit a creative sample. For example, creative writing programs require a poetry or prose sample, theatre programs require an audition, and art programs require an art portfolio.
Master of Fine Arts degree programs usually require critical coursework and practice-based coursework in your art form. To earn your MFA, you will also likely need to complete an original work of art, which could be a manuscript, a performance, or an exhibition.