What Are the Rights and Privileges That Come With a Master of Fine Arts (MFA) Degree?

a skeleton walks a man across the grass

I graduated from Goddard College at Fort Worden in Port Townsend, Washington with an MFA in Interdisciplinary Arts. During my graduation ceremony, it was announced that my classmates and I had been bestowed with “all of the rights and privileges” that come with our new Master of Fine Arts degree. What are those rights and privileges?

I randomly emailed several colleges and asked, but most of the schools didn’t reply, or didn’t answer the question. Vermont College answered:


Thanks for your interest in our program. I think there are a few different ways to answer your question.  The MFA is a terminal degree, so one right or privilege one may gain is the ability to get hired as a college professor.  We generally think of our programs more in terms of what individuals gain in relationship to their specific art practice.  That is as individualized as the study plans pursued, but includes growth in one’s craft and research skills, as well as a deep connection to the community built with fellow artists during one’s time here…

They went on to provide me with a list of alumni for me to contact and an invitation to request more information via phone, email, or mail. Nice!

It used to be that Master of Arts degree holders were granted membership into the university’s legislative bodies, affording them governance, the ability to own motor vehicles, and the freedom to walk on the grass on campus. Today’s MFA graduates clearly have one right and one privilege—bragging and teaching. That may be all you need.

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