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    Master of Fine Arts Syllabus & Subjects 2023

    MFA Syllabus & Subjects Overview

    Master of Fine Arts, MFA, is a 2 years long postgraduate course that imparts skills as well as knowledge of performing and visual arts. The MFA Syllabus is divided into 4 semesters. The course covers many aesthetic art forms and provides prime MFA subjects including Visual Communication, Applied Arts, Art History, Ceramics, Painting, Sculpture and Printmaking among others. 

    MFA course syllabus is built with core and elective subjects. The syllabus and MFA course subjects may differ based on the educational institute opted by the candidates. Aspirants willing to pursue Master of Fine Arts course must note that the programme does not have a mandatory internship however it consists of in-depth research and study work during the entire period of 2 years. Keep reading to understand everything about MFA Syllabus and Subjects.

    MFA Syllabus (Stream Wise)

    The Master of Fine Arts course syllabus is different for various specializations offered under the degree. Some of the most sought after MFA specializations are MFA in Painting, Photography, Visual Communication, Textile Design, Applied Arts, Dancing, Pottery and Ceramics, Sculpture, Filmmaking, Creative Writing, Acting, Art History etc. The stream and semester wise syllabus for various Master of Fine Arts specializations are provided below:

    Master of Fine Arts Painting Syllabus

    Check out the syllabus for MFA Painting below:

    MFA Painting First Year Syllabus
    Semester ISemester II
    Aesthetic & Art AppreciationAesthetic & Art Appreciation
    History of Modern Western ArtHistory of Modern Western Art
    Creative Painting/ PortraitCreative Painting/ Portrait
    Viva-voce, Exhibition and SeminarViva-voce, Exhibition and Seminar
    History of Indian ArtHistory of Indian Art
    MFA Painting Second Year Syllabus
    Semester IIISemester IV
    History of Modern Indian ArtHistory of Modern Indian Art
    Creative Painting/ PortraitCreative Painting/ Portrait
    Twentieth Century Western ArtTwentieth Century Indian Art 
    Viva-voce, Exhibition and SeminarDissertation and Viva-voce
    Dissertation and Viva-voceViva-voce, Exhibition and Seminar

    MFA Applied Arts Course Syllabus

    Captured below is the syllabus for MFA Applied Arts

    MFA Applied Arts First Year Syllabus
    Semester ISemester II
    History of Visual Art and Aesthetics - IHistory of Visual Art and Aesthetics - II
    English - IEnglish - II
    Drawing - IDrawing - II
    Colour Design - IColour Design - II
    Applied Art - IApplied Art - II
    Painting - IPainting - II
    Sculpture - ISculpture - II
    Illustration - IIllustration - II
    Concepts of Marketing - IConcepts of Marketing - I I
    Graphic Designing - IGraphic Designing - II
    Visualization - IVisualization - II
    MFA Applied Arts Second Year Syllabus
    Semester IIISemester IV
    Visual Communication - IVisual Communication - II
    Drawing from Life - IDrawing from Life - II
    Computer Basics - IComputer Basics - II
    Graphic Design - IGraphic Design - II
    Typography - ITypography - II
    Portraiture - IPortraiture - II
    Portfolio DevelopmentCross Culture Communication and Global Competence
    Professional Competencies and Career DevelopmentPackaging Design
    Creative PhotographyLeadership and Managing Excellence

    MFA Sculpture Syllabus

    Captured below is the MFA Sculpture Syllabus:

    MFA Sculpture First Year Syllabus
    Semester ISemester II
    History of Visual Art and AestheticsHistory of Visual Art and Aesthetics
    Colour Design- IColour Design- II
    Drawing - IDrawing- II
    Sculpture - ISculpture - II
    Applied Art - IApplied Art - II
    Stone/ Wood CarvingCreative Sculpture
    Creative SculptureStone/ Wood Carving
    MFA Sculpture Second Year Syllabus
    Semester IIISemester IV
    History of Visual Art and AestheticsHistory of Visual Art and Aesthetics
    Colour Design- IIIColour Design- IV
    Drawing - IIIDrawing- IV
    Sculpture - IIISculpture - IV
    Applied Art - IIIApplied Art - IV
    Metal CastingMetal Casting
    Stone/ Wood CarvingStone/ Wood Carving
    Creative SculptureCreative Sculpture

    MFA Photography Syllabus

    Here is the MFA Photography Syllabus:

    MFA Photography First Year Syllabus
    Semester ISemester II
    History of PhotographyDigital Photography
    Photo AestheticsColour Photography
    Basic PhotographyBasics of Computers
    Basic Photo TechColour Photography Tech
    Photo Aesthetics TechDigital Photography Tech
    Applied PhotographyComputer, Graphics and Multimedia
    Product Photography TechAdvertising Photography
    Fine Art PhotographyPhoto Journalism
    MFA Photography Second Year Syllabus
    Semester IIISemester IV
    Fashion PhotographyFashion Photography
    Food PhotographyFood Photography
    Mass CommunicationMass Communication
    Basic VideographyBasic Videography
    Video Post ProductionVideo Post Production
    Television ProductionTelevision Production

    MFA Year Wise Syllabus

    The year-wise Master of Fine Arts syllabus has two parts - a set of elective courses that focuses at introducing job-specific knowledge and skills and a compulsory set of Master of Fine subjects covering all basic areas in arts and literature. MFA course is the one meant for the specialization in the field of Art forms research and fieldwork. The semester wise MFA subjects that candidates generally encounter during the course are as follows:

    MFA First Year Syllabus

    The first year MFA course syllabus is captured below:

    Semester ISemester II
    History of European Art IHistory of European Art II
    Occidental Aesthetics IOccidental Aesthetics II
    Advertising Principles and Practices IAdvertising Principles and Practices II
    Landscape/ Creative Painting/ Portrait/ Mural Design (Any one)Landscape/ Creative Painting/ Portrait/ Mural Design (Any one)
    Illustration/ Photography/ Visualization (Any one)Illustration/ Photography/ Visualization (Any one)

    MFA Second Year Syllabus

    Here is the second year MFA course subjects:

    Semester IIISemester IV
    Advertising (Principles and practices) IIIAdvertising (Principles and practices) IV
    History of Modern Indian Art IHistory of Modern Indian Art II
    Visualization IIIVisualization IV
    Oriental Aesthetics IOriental Aesthetics II
    Illustration IIIIllustration IV
    Photography IIIPhotography IV

    Master of Fine Arts Subjects

    MFA is a popular PG level course offered at numerous prestigious institutions. Some of the popular MFA course subjects provided by most of the colleges are as follows:

    History of Indian ArtPrinciples and Sources of Art
    Aesthetics and Principles of Art AppreciationHistory of Indian Painting and Sculpture
    SociologyHistory of Indian Architecture
    History of Oriental ArtHistory of European Art
    History of Modern Western ArtMechanism of Artistic Perception

    MFA Optional Subjects

    Candidates are offered several MFA Optional Subjects based on the course opted by them. They can select any desired MFA subject based on their respective interests. Check out a few MFA optional subjects offered at educational institutions below:

    PhotographyCreative Painting/ Portrait 
    Creative WritingComputer Animation
    IllustrationTextile Design
    FilmmakingGraphic Design
    DancingPottery and Ceramics

    Specializations offered in MFA

    As mentioned above, MFA has various specializations. Given below are the best MFA specializations:

    MFA CourseCourse Duration
    MFA in Applied Arts2 Years
    MFA in Design2 Years
    MFA in Art History2 Years
    MFA in Dance2 Years
    MFA in Pottery and Ceramics2 Years
    MFA in Photography2 Years
    MFA in Filmmaking2 Years
    MFA in Textile Design2 Years
    MFA in Sculpture2 Years
    MFA in Creative Writing2 Years
    MFA in Visual Communication2 Years
    MFA in Painting2 Years
    MFA in Acting2 Years

    MFA Lab Courses

    Both theoretical and practical techniques are adopted to impart knowledge in MFA courses. Provided below are a few MFA lab courses that aspirants encounter in their respective specializations:

    Interactive Computer ArtDesign and Computational Thinking
    Graphic DesignInstallation: Urban Space
    Basics of ComputersAdvertising Photography
    Real Space Electronic ArtPhoto Journalism
    Fashion & Food PhotographyCinematography

    Syllabus for MFA Distance Programs

    The MFA course is not only offered through a full-time or regular mode but also through online/ distance education from popular educational institutes like IGNOU, Annamalai University etc. An overview of the syllabus for MFA Distance courses is captured below: 

    I SemesterII Semester
    History of Indian ArchitectureHistory of Indian Painting
    Drawing and Painting (Theory)Principles and Sources of Art
    History of Indian Painting and SculptureDrawing and Painting (Theory)
    Drawing and Painting (Practical)Drawing and Painting (Practical)
    Pictorial CompositionAesthetics & Principles of Art Appreciation
    Aesthetics & Principles of Art AppreciationPictorial Composition
    III SemesterIV Semester
    History of Western Art from early times to ca. 1400 ADHistory of Modern Movements in Art in India
    Drawing and Painting (Theory)History of Modern Movements in Art in Europe and the U.S.A.
    History of Western Art from ca. 1400 A.D. to ca. 1850 A.D.Drawing and Painting (Theory)
    Drawing and Painting (Practical)Drawing and Painting (Practical)
    History of European Painting Medieval Period to 19th Century ADHistory of European Painting Medieval Period to 19th Century AD
    Life StudyLife Study

    MFA Entrance Exam Syllabus

    Most of the colleges accept popular MFA entrance exams like CUET PG, LPUNEST etc. to shortlist the deserving candidates. Provided below is the MFA course syllabus for popular entrance exams:

    Exam NameAbout the ExamExam Syllabus
    CUET PGThe Common University Entrance Test PG, popularly known as CUET PG is conducted by NTA for granting admission to various postgraduate courses offered by several central, private and deemed to be universities. CUET PG Syllabus
    LPUNESTThis institute level entrance test is held by the Lovely Professional University. It provides admission to MFA and other UG, PG and Diploma courses offered by the university.LPUNEST Syllabus

    MFA Important Books

    The topics taught in the MFA course syllabus are enough but, to get in-depth understanding and knowledge of subjects, there are certain books that candidates can pick up to enhance their skills and comprehension abilities. Provided below are a few books important for MFA:

    Book NameAuthor/ Publisher
    Making a Good LayoutLorisieber & Lisa Balla
    A History of Fine Arts in India and the WestEdith Tomory
    Airbrushing and Photo RetouchingBrett Breckon
    Applied Art HandbookProf. S.K. Luthra
    Cave ArtJean Clottes
    Sign Design: Graphics, Materials & TechniquesMitzi Sims
    Partha Indian Art: A Concise History (World of Art)Roy C. Craven

    Word Painting, A Guide to Writing More


    Rebecca McLanahan

    Master of Fine Arts Course Structure

    MFA course delivery methods comprises lectures, dissertations, seminars, workshops, exhibitions and practical work. At the end of every semester of most of the MFA courses, students are required to submit a research project. An aspirant pursuing MFA is assessed or judged based on their performance in theory exams, practical exams and  internal assessments. In the final evaluation the following factors are taken into account:

    • Class assignments
    • End-semester exams
    • Internships 
    • Research project/ Dissertation
    • Exhibition/ Practicals and Viva Voce

    FAQs about Master of Fine Arts Syllabus

    Which are some reference books for MFA?

    Making a Good Layout by Lorisieber & Lisa Balla, A History of Fine Arts in India and the West by Edith Tomory, Airbrushing and Photo Retouching by Brett Breckon, Applied Art Handbook by Prof. S.K. Luthra etc. are some popular reference books for MFA.

    How much can I earn after MFA?

    The average annual salary that candidates can earn after MFA is around Rs. 5,00,000.

    Which educational institutes offer MFA in distance mode?

    IGNOU and Annamalai University are two popular institutes that offer MFA in distance mode.

    Which colleges are best for MFA courses?

    Some of the most sought after colleges offering MFA are College of Arts, Delhi University, Faculty of Fine Arts, JMI, Faculty of Visual Arts, BHU, Amity School of Fine Arts, Bhartiya Kala Mahavidhyalaya etc.

    What job profiles can I consider after completing MFA?

    After completing MFA, aspirants can consider job profiles of Art Teacher, Art Director., Actor, Graphic Designer, Photographer, Art Director, Dancer, Photographer, Writer, Creative Director etc.
    Show More

    Related Questions


    Abhik Das, Student / Alumni

    Dear student, the following pointers will explain to you the detailed eligibility criteria which you have to fulfil to be eligible for MFA admission in any reputed institution - 

    • You should have a BFA degree from any recognized university

    • You should have obtained at least 50% aggregate marks at the qualifying examination level

    • You can also apply with a Bachelor’s degree in a relevant discipline from a recognized university with a minimum aggregate of 50%

    Some institutions conduct their own entrance examinations for the eligible candidates and then conduct a personal interview before the seat allocation process whereas, some institutions carry out a merit-based admission process. 

    You can find out the best MFA offering colleges through our Common Application Form. Apply for MFA admission through our application for a guaranteed seat in a reputed institution. Call 18005729877 for more details regarding the admission process.


    Abhik Das, Student / Alumni

    Dear student, the MFA admission process for the academic year 2021-22 has not yet begun at the Government College of Arts Chandigarh. The detailed schedule for the MFA admission at Government College of Arts Chandigarh for the academic year 2021-22 is expected to be released soon. You are requested to keep yourself updated regarding the latest schedule for the MFA admission process by visiting the official website of the institute at regular intervals.


    Sakunth Kumar, CollegeDekho Expert

    Dear student, Banaras Hindu University does offer a Master of Fine Arts in the following disciplines through its Faculty of Visual Arts- 

    • Textile Design

    • Pottery & Ceramics

    • Plastic Arts

    • Applied Arts

    • Painting

    The existing and proposed MFA course fee structure of Banaras Hindu University has been discussed below - 

    Name of Programme

    Existing Fee Structure (per annum)

    Proposed Fee Structure (per annum)

    Master of Fine Arts (MFA)

    INR 3,157/-

    INR 4,620/-

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