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Online Master’s Degree in Fine Arts

A master’s degree in fine arts is an opportunity for artists to refine their craft and artistic ability. Master of Fine Arts programs are available in almost every art medium, from creative writing to sculpture. However, fine arts graduate programs typically focus on studio art, including drawing, painting, or sculpture. A master of fine art program usually requires 30 or more hours of credit. Most degrees take two to three years to complete based on the student’s enrollment status and personal circumstances. A part-time student will need more time to complete the degree. However, most fine arts graduate students pursue the degree full time.

Classes for an Online Master’s Degree in Fine Arts

A fine arts master’s curriculum emphasizes studio art performance, art history, and art criticism and analysis. Students typically choose a medium on which to focus, like photography, media arts, drawing, sculpture, painting, jewelry design, and more. Studio coursework will emphasize their chosen medium, but they will also practice other media. Art history courses will cover a range of time periods, geography, and media to cultivate breadth and depth of art history knowledge. Lecture courses will emphasize analysis and discussion while studio courses will emphasize critique and review. Fine arts graduate programs also encourage students to take elective courses outside there area of focus, particularly in liberal arts. Core courses in a fine arts graduate curriculum might include:

  • Art History 1
  • Painting Studio
  • Drawing Studio
  • Group Critique
  • Research and Writing

A master’s degree in fine arts is unique in many ways. Fine arts graduate programs usually involve critiques, in which the work of the student is reviewed and appraised by other students and faculty. Instead of a final thesis or comprehensive exam, a fine art graduate student often prepares a collection of work presented in a student exhibition. Some programs may require a thesis, but it is less common for a studio arts focus. In an online master’s degree program, lecture courses and assignments are delivered virtually. But students may need to travel to campus to complete the extensive studio requirements.

A Career as a Graduate with an Online Master’s Degree in Fine Arts

After completing a master’s degree in fine arts, many graduates go on to work in education or in museums and galleries. A master’s degree can lead to studio art teaching positions at the high school or community college level. Some may land teaching positions at colleges or universities, although a doctorate is required at most institutions. Graduates may also pursue curator positions at museums and art galleries. A master’s degree is required for most curator positions, so professionals need to pursue graduate degrees to be competitive candidates in this selective field. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, curator positions are growing about as fast as average and curators earn approximately $42,000 per year, on average.

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