2023 Best MFA Programs

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Deciding which college to attend can be a daunting task. For many, it will be the most important decision that they make in their lives. To make an informed decision, you have to consider a lot of variables, such as cost of attendance, financial aid, student-teacher ratio, academics, student life, and more. These factors will either positively or negatively impact the quality of education that you receive.

Do you want to acquire the best MFA degree but don’t know what institution you should attend? Well, if you are as ambitious as I was in my late teens, then you want to attend a top school, instead of an average or mediocre one. Fortunately, we have already done the legwork for you. To help you find the right school for your interests and goals, we’ve compiled a list of 2021’s best MFA programs.

What institution did we omit from this list? Leave your suggestions in the comment section below.

  1. School of the Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago, IL

This school has educated celebrated artists such as Georgia O’Keeffe, Grant Wood, Edward Gorey, and Jeff Koons. The low learner-faculty ratio compensates for a high tuition rate, offering learners face-to-face time with distinguished professors such as Michelle Grabner and Glenn Ligon and a chance to build relationships with classmates.

The campus spans beautiful downtown Chicago, inspiring learners with spectacular architecture in modern and historical buildings. Learners can also utilize resources at The Art Institute of Chicago.

Beyond a host of MA programs, SAIC has master’s programs in studio and writing. Both degrees allow learners to work one-on-one with talented faculty and peers.

  1. New York University, New York, NY

NYU is the biggest private institution of higher education in America, with more than 20 schools across six campuses in Manhattan and Brooklyn.

NYU is home to an array of fine arts programs. Esteemed alumni include Martin Scorsese, who graduated with an MFA and then taught film to learners such as Oliver Stone before becoming one of America’s most influential filmmakers.

Faculty for NYU’s MFA for creative writing degree program include Zadie Smith, a respected author. An MFA writers workshop in Paris is available through NYU’s fine arts degree program. Additionally, the school offers departmental fellowships and undergraduate teaching positions for learners in their second year.

  1. Pratt Institute, New York, NY

Pratt Institute has a general MFA rather than degrees in a specific discipline, allowing learners to customize the curriculum to suit their interests. Learners work one-on-one with professors and department advisors to meet individual goals. The school also has a dual degree through its history of art degree programs.

Pratt’s fine arts degree program includes painting and drawing, printmaking, photography, sculpture, and integrated practices such as installation, public art, and performance. Learners work in top-of-the-line studios to fulfill their individualized MFA programs. The school is home to a fully equipped woodshop, metal shop, print shop, ceramics studios as well as darkrooms, digital labs, and campus galleries.

Learners have many chances to share their work on and off-campus. Opening their studios to the public every semester, professors continually visit and review the learners’ work.

  1. Yale University, New Haven, CT

Yale is home to America’s earliest professional fine arts school. Granting MFA degrees in graphic design, painting and printmaking, photography, and sculpture, Yale’s low acceptance rate ensures that learners in the degree program are talented and passionate about their work.

Alumni include respected artists such as Jonathan Borofsky, known best for his Hammering Man sculptures in Seattle and around the world. An MFA in theatrical arts is also available through the drama school, which has graduated famous actors.

  1. Savannah College of Art and Design, Savannah, GA

Known for its diverse programs and concentrations, the Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD) has several MFA programs. The school awards degrees in writing, painting, interior design, photography, film and television, performing arts, graphic design, historic preservation, and more.

The school offers a vibrant, creative learning environment. Learners and alumni have exhibited work at renown museums around the globe. Offering more degree programs and concentrations than any other art and design institution, SCAD is an excellent choice for people interested in pursuing an MFA degree in an art school.

  1. The New School, New York, NY

The New School has MFA degrees in several subjects. Classes are small and relatively unstructured, allowing learners to individualize the degree program to meet their career goals. Esteemed alumni of the New School include Eleanor Roosevelt, James Baldwin, and Woody Allen.

The creative writing degree program is perhaps the most famous of the seven colleges within the school. Learners obtain one-on-one training with world-recognized professors who hold close ties to New York’s publishing sector and the literary realm.

  1. University of Iowa, Iowa City, IA

The University of Iowa (UI) has an MFA in English with a creative writing or a nonfiction writing emphasis and an MFA in creative writing and environment, a three-year degree program. UI also awards MFAs in graphic design, interior design, and integrated visual arts. UI has low tuition rates for in-state learners and offers scholarships, grants, fellowships, and assistantships to offset expenses for people coming from out-of-state.

  1. Rhode Island School of Design, Providence, RI

The Rhode Island School of Design’s MFA degree program spans 10 departments, offering degrees in graphic design, painting, photography, furniture design, and more. All programs improve disciplinary skills and help learners think critically while exposing them to new media and encouraging collaboration. With a distinguished faculty of professional artists, learners have the chance to study under experts in their field.

With barely 400 graduate learners and a mean class size of 11 artists, RISD offers individual attention to each learner. Learners can be assured that their classmates are talented and dedicated to their craft.

  1. San Francisco Art Institute, San Francisco, CA

San Francisco Art Institute has played a part in several substantial art movements across its history, including the beat movement in the 1950s. SFAI has attracted a breadth of vibrant learners ranging from stars Paul McCartney and Andy Garcia to academy award-winning cinematographers such as Peter Pau.

As part of the MFA degree program, learners build their curriculum around the skills they’ll need to succeed as professionals. Learners work independently on projects in the studio or in the field and one-on-one with faculty who guide graduate-level tutorials and critical seminars. The MFA Exhibition is the culmination of the degree program and provides an opportunity for learners to share their projects with the general public.

  1. New York Academy of Art, New York, NY

Enrolling between 50 and 60 learners annually, the New York Academy’s intimate learning environment and one-on-one training foster success. In fact, the university has an acceptance rate of around 98%. The graduate school couples rigorous technical training in traditional methods with active critical discussion.

Founded in 1982 by a group of artists and advocates, the New York Academy of Art has renewed the instruction of figurative and representational art. The school offers MFAs in painting, drawing, printmaking, and sculpture.

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