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MA vs MFA: Choosing the Right Postgraduate Degree in the Arts

Introduction to

MA and MFA

Are you considering pursuing higher studies in the field of arts? Do you find yourself confused between an

MA and an MFA degree?

You’ve come to the right place. In this article, we will explore the similarities and differences between the two postgraduate degrees, as well as the importance of choosing the right course for your career goals.

Similarities between

MA and MFA


MA and MFA are postgraduate degrees that focus on the arts.

MA stands for Master of Arts, while MFA stands for Master of Fine Arts.

The two courses have some similarities in terms of content and structure. First, both courses overlap in their curriculum; they cover some common subject areas such as history, literature, and philosophy.

However, the main difference lies in their specific focus. While

MA courses tend to be more theoretical and academic in nature, MFA courses are more practical and hands-on.

Both courses typically take two years to complete and are designed to give students a deeper understanding of their field of study. Additionally, both courses require students to submit a thesis or a final project at the end of their programme.

Importance of choosing the right degree course

Choosing the right postgraduate degree course is critical for shaping your career path. An

MA may be a better fit if you are interested in pursuing a career in academia, research, or writing.

This degree will provide you with a strong foundation in theoretical and critical thinking skills. On the other hand, an MFA is a better fit for aspiring artists, designers, and performers who want to hone their skills and learn from industry professionals.

The course is more practical, hands-on, and provides opportunities for students to work on real projects and showcase their creativity.


The Master of Arts (

MA) is a postgraduate degree that focuses on the humanities and social sciences. It is a broad-based programme that covers a variety of subjects such as history, geography, languages, literature, and philosophy.

The course is typically two years long. The

MA is mostly a taught course, meaning that you are required to attend lectures, seminars, and workshops.

There is a little research component, as students are expected to conduct independent research and submit a thesis or a final project at the end of the course. However, the emphasis is more on gaining a deeper understanding of the theoretical and critical aspects of the subject.

Course content and nature

The course content of an

MA degree varies depending on the subject you choose to study. However, the course structure is similar across different subjects.

The first year typically involves core modules that cover the foundational concepts of the subject. In the second year, students are given the opportunity to specialize in a particular area and choose modules that align with their interests.

The nature of the course is more theoretical and academic in nature. You will be expected to read extensive literature, think critically, and engage in academic discussions.

This degree is ideal for those interested in pursuing a career in academia, research, writing, or public policy.


If you have a passion for the arts, pursuing a postgraduate degree in the field is a great way to advance your career. By choosing the right degree course that aligns with your goals, you can create a solid foundation for professional success.

Whether you choose an

MA or an MFA, you can be confident in knowing that you are investing in your future. In conclusion, an

MA or an MFA degree can greatly benefit those seeking to advance their careers in the arts.

While there are similarities between the two, such as course length and thesis requirements, they differ in areas such as course content, nature, and career outcomes. An

MA degree offers a strong foundation in theoretical and critical thinking skills, making it ideal for those interested in research or academia, while an MFA degree is more practical and hands-on with a focus on honing artistic skills and creative expression.

Regardless of which degree you choose, it’s essential to weigh your options thoroughly, consider your career goals, and choose the program that best aligns with your aspirations. With the knowledge gained from this article, you can make a more informed decision about which path to take.

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