Why Should I Get a Master of Fine Arts (MFA) Degree?
There are many reasons to pursue a Master of Fine Arts degree. Below are some motivations for getting an MFA. To which do you relate?
To Become a True Professional
Getting an education in your chosen field shows you are dedicated to being the best you can be. If you get into the school of your choice, and you have a good experience there, you will not regret earning your MFA.
If you want to become a college level professor, chances are that you’ll need a terminal degree just to get your foot in the door. Having an MFA is a requirement for most art professors, and some candidates are now going for a PhD in order to stand out. If teaching is something you’re sure you want to do, then an MFA is only going help facilitate your career goals, especially if you get a scholarship or grant to cover tuition.
You might not want to use your MFA for professional purposes. Maybe you just want to learn about art, or how to write or make (better) art. Think twice if you’re only interested in self enrichment, and you need to take out student loans to pay for graduate school. There are many other more affordable ways to practice and cultivate your chosen art form. If you have the money to pay out of pocket, choose a program carefully.
Networking and Connections
If you feel that your art career is lacking because you don’t have the proper connections and credentials, go to an grad school that has strong name recognition and a large and active alumni network. That way when you say you went to graduate school at ________, people will react by saying, “Wow,” instead of saying, “Why would you go to school for that? What’s a MFA degree gonna do for you? How much do you owe?”
To Buy Time
You got out of undergrad and found yourself thrust into the world of bills, student loan payments, and taking any job just to make ends meet. Enrolling in a graduate school MFA program would put your student loan payments on pause, and buy you a few more years to work at making it. That might work if you go to an Ivy League art school on a scholarship, and don’t take out (more) student loans. Otherwise you’re postponing a prepaid prison that will only be compounded when you return to the real world with twice the amount of student loan debt to repay.
Make More Money
You have professional teaching or administrative position, and you feel you’ll earn a bigger salary, because your MFA-having colleagues get paid more. It’s a fine plan if you’re guaranteed to get a full raise to MFA level pay, and even better if your graduate education gets paid for or supplemented by your current job or some other means. Otherwise, be sure that your MFA pay raise will exceed your student loan debt, and that you plan to stay at your current job so you can reap the rewards.