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Master of Fine Arts (M.F.A) - Course Details, Admission, Fees, Eligibility, Syllabus, Jobs & Salary

Updated By Vaibhav Bansal on 18 Apr, 2022
Average Duration
2 years
Average Fee
20 K-50 K INR annual
Exams Accepted
Study Mode

About Master of Fine Arts (M.F.A)

MFA or Master of Fine Arts is a postgraduate degree course that involves the study of visual and performing arts. MFA course is of two-year duration that is divided into four semesters and most colleges or universities offer the course with a specialization.

The entire curriculum of an MFA course is very diverse, with the main emphasis on applied work. An MFA course student will typically produce a final creative project that draws upon all of the knowledge they have gained while studying. The MFA course will be more focused on practical work, so the final outcome should be at a professional level. The course can last between two and three years, depending on the country you study in. The MFA degree is usually completed in a year if the student works full-time. 

A Master of Fine Arts or MFA course will focus on a specific field and will be scholarly. MFA curriculum is designed to help students develop their artistic skills and understand their responsibilities as an artist. The MFA is a professional degree in the practice of an art form. You get to study interesting subjects such as Photography, Sketching, Drawing and Illustration, Oil Painting, Printmaking, Ceramics, Sculpture, Wood Carving, Graphic Designing, Interior Design, etc. The Master of Fine Arts or MFA is a unique and challenging postgraduate degree in the arts. You'll need to be able to work independently and take risks in order to pursue a successful career. 

MFA Course Highlights

The table below has the highlights of Master of Fine Arts or MFA course. 

Course Level


Examination Type


MFA course Eligibility 

Bachelor's in Fine Arts from a recognized institute.

MFA course duration 

2 years

MFA course Average Tuition Fee

INR 20,000- 2 Lakhs

MFA course  Average Salary (per annum)

INR 4.5-6 Lakhs

MFA Job Profiles

Curator, Graphic Designer, Animator, Art Designer, Lecturer, Art Critic, Commercial Artist, etc.

Top Recruiters

Television industry, Art Galleries, Newspapers and Magazines, Publishing Houses, Museums, Government Institutes, Fine Art Colleges, etc.

Who should do MFA?

  • The MFA is ideal if you want to work in a creative profession. You’ll receive extensive training and benefit from expert supervision and feedback as you hone your practical skills.
  • In addition to a respected degree qualification, you’ll also come away from your MFA course with a substantial portfolio of work.
  • The MFA degree is also accepted as an entry-level qualification for college teaching in Arts subjects.
  • But an MFA course is less ideal if your interests are in more academic scholarships, or if you want a Masters with a wider range of career prospects.
  • Employers will recognize an MFA as a Masters degree, but its specialized nature may be harder to ‘sell’ to them. This is particularly important when you bear in mind the greater length of most MFA course compared to a standard MA.
  • Also, you may find it harder to progress to an academic PhD with an MFA degree. This depends on your field and intended project, of course, but make sure you check in advance if a doctoral study is part of your future plans.

Why study Master of Fine Arts?

  • MFA study includes a wider range of performance possibilities and opportunities. Artists have the freedom to choose their own domain by considering their skills and passion.
  • In MFA course you get to specialize in fields such as Applied Arts which include graphic designing, interior design, fashion design, Painting, Modern Art, Sculpture, Printmaking, Lithography, Digital Art studies, Animation, etc.
  • Career opportunities are also quite diverse after getting an MFA degree. You can work for ad agencies, marketing companies, museums, art colleges, and small non-profit organizations or companies. 
  • You could even start your own graphic design firm after MFA course if you have the skills and idea to do so. You can do freelance work as well in digital art and commercial art.
  • Having an MFA degree will provide you an edge in your career which not only be beneficial to you but to your workplace as well.

List of Popular MFA Courses/Specialisations

There are various types of MFA programmes covering almost every artistic discipline. These specialized MFA specializations are tailored as per the needs of writers, choreographers,  painters, ballet dancers, theatre and movie directors, dramatists, fashion designers, etc.

Here are some of the popular MFA course specializations:

  • MFA in Applied Arts
  • MFA in Painting
  • MFA in Visual Communication
  • MFA in Art History
  • MFA in Acting
  • MFA in Dance
  • MFA in Creative Writing
  • MFA in Photography
  • MFA in Filmmaking
  • MFA in Design
  • MFA in Textile Design
  • MFA in Pottery and Ceramics
  • MFA in Sculpture

Difference between an MFA and an MA degree

Their names may be similar, but there are key differences between an MFA (Master of Fine Arts) and an MA (Master of Arts).

  • The MA is an academic degree, normally delivered as a taught programme across Arts and Humanities and some Social Science subjects.
  • The MFA is a practice-based degree and is only offered in Arts subjects based on performance or creative work.

There is some potential for overlap between these qualifications. In the UK in particular, universities sometimes offer MFA as a pathway alongside an MA course. Students may select taught or creative units as appropriate. Or they may have the option to progress to an extended practical MFA project at the end of an MA.

This still involves some reflection on your artistic practice – defining your methods, principles and objectives. But the focus will be on what you yourself produce, rather than what you have to say about the history or cultural context of your discipline.

In simple terms, an MFA is normally a final or ‘terminal’ degree. Whereas an MA can lead to PhD work, an MFA is often the highest level of formal qualification for practice-based work in the Arts and Design.


How to get MFA Admission?

Check out the application process and detailed MFA admission process for the course in the sections below:

  • Candidates need to visit the official website of the college where they want to pursue their MFA degree.
  • In order to get MFA admission students need to register themselves, fill in the application form with all the details accordingly and complete the application process by paying the fees.
  • Next, a merit list will be issued by the college authority. If candidates find their name in the merit list, they need to fill the MFA admission fees asked by the college/university.
  • Some institutions also conduct their own written test and additional interview phase to finally select a candidate.
  • After clearing these written exam and other processes, applicants need to go through the counseling round, where their documents will be verified, and seat allotment will be done.

MFA Eligibility Criteria

To get MFA admission certain eligibility criteria have to be met. Some of these criteria are mentioned below:

  • The student must possess a Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) or any other equivalent degree from a recognized institute or university
  • The student must have obtained the minimum aggregate percentage (usually 50% - 60%) as stipulated by an institution in which a candidate is applying for admission
  • Sometimes candidates with a bachelor's degree in Humanities are also eligible to apply

Note: Eligibility criteria for MFA course might vary from university to university and also depend on the policies of the institution in which a candidate is applying.


MFA Entrance Exams

Some universities and colleges conduct their entrance examinations for MFA admission. The exam includes topics taught in the Bachelor's degree, helping them understand the course. The exams for MFA admission are mentioned below:

BHU PET: This exam is conducted by Banaras Hind University(BHU) to admit students in its MFA course. It is a university-level postgraduate entrance exam, conducted to select candidates for various master degree programmes. It is an offline pen and paper-based test asking multiple-choice questions. 

LPUNEST: This is a university-level entrance exam, conducted by Lovely Professional University to select candidates for courses like Engineering, MBA, Law, MFA, etc. The exam will be conducted in online mode, where there will be a total of 120 MCQs. The duration of this exam will be 150 minutes.

JNAFAU Entrance Exam: This exam is conducted by Jawaharlal Nehru Architecture and Fine Arts University to admit students in its MFA course. The exam will consist of 30 MCQ questions and will have 50 marks for one question in the practical exam. Candidates have to finish the exam in 3 hours 45 minutes.


MFA Top Colleges in India

There are more than 300 fine arts colleges in different states of India offering MFA and BFA degree. Kolkata, Chennai, Mumbai, Delhi and Baroda are considered the main centres of art culture in India. There are more than 300 fine arts colleges in India, offering MFA course in full-time mode, part-time mode and through distance education from IGNOU. MFA degree through distance education is quie popular among students because it provides flexibility to complete the course in minimum 2 years to maximum 6 years

The following list shows some of the best MFA Colleges in India along with their MFA fees:

MFA Colleges


MFA Fees

College of Arts, Delhi University

New Delhi

INR 46,600 

Faculty of Visual Arts, BHU


INR 5300

Faculty of Fine Arts, Jamia Millia Islamia

New Delhi

INR 20,800

Sir JJ Institute of Applied Arts


INR 20,000

Dept. of Fine Arts, Kurukshetra University


INR 72,000

Vishwa Bharti University, Kala Bhawan


INR 11,360

Dept. of Fine Arts, AMU


INR 5,000

Bhartiya Kala Mahavidhyalaya


INR 1.15 Lakhs

Amity School of Fine Arts


INR 80,000


Study MFA Abroad

MFA, Performing Arts, and Visual Arts are all detailed terms describing the various forms of art. Painting, music, architecture, sculpture, and poetry were the first five main MFA subjects. Later on, performing arts such as Theatre and Dance have also been associated with MFA. Studying MFA abroad would surely give students an edge over students studying in India as pursuing a MFA degree abroad. These MFA students would enjoy access to state-of-the-art university campuses, world-class faculty, and above all get a globally recognized MFA degree. 

Candidates studying MFA abroad would also get an opportunity to practice their profession in a foreign country. They would have a chance to settle abroad if the individual so wishes. Although studying MFA abroad would come at a higher price than studying in India, students can opt for scholarships and education loans to ease the financial burden.

Candidates looking to pursue MFA abroad would be required to submit a portfolio of their previous work. A budding artist would always allow his work to speak. Candidates applying for MFA abroad must visit the official website of the university to get the precise submission guidelines. Candidates would be required to adhere to the same. It is important to show creative work that speaks about the skills and talent of the student for a better chance of acceptance in MFA course.

Popular Countries for MFA Abroad

Candidates wanting to study art abroad would want to apply to the top countries teaching MFA. Let us take a look at the top countries for students wanting to pursue MFA abroad. These countries also have one of the largest numbers of art schools for candidates to choose from.

  • United States of America
  • United Kingdom
  • Italy
  • Australia
  • Finland
  • Sweden
  • France
  • Denmark
  • Canada

Earning your MFA degree from one of these countries will be both career-enhancing and life-changing. While doing MFA in these countries you’ll get to actually walk amongst those legendary museums and historical sites rather than just see them in your textbooks. You might even discover the same inspiration found by so many great artists who came before you!


Top University & Colleges for MFA Abroad

Candidates wanting to pursue an MFA course abroad would want to know more about the top universities for MFA. Given below is a list of the top-ranked Art colleges abroad for 2020. Candidates can visit the official website of these MFA colleges to know about the courses offered, the eligibility guidelines, the fee structure, and much more

MFA Colleges


World University Rankings

Royal College of Art

United Kingdom


University of The Arts London

United Kingdom


The New School

United States


Rhode Island School of Design (RISD)

United States


Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)

United States


Politecnico di Milano



Aalto University



Glasgow School of Art



School of the Art Institute of Chicago

United States


Pratt Institute        

United States


The above listed MFA colleges are some of the best colleges in the world to pursue MFA course. Students choose from a range of technical and theoretical MFA courses, many of which are taught by internationally recognised artists. The MFA programme also includes a study trip and a degree project, which consists of an essay and a solo exhibition at the academy’s gallery.

Required Skill Set for MFA

Candidates with a creative mind and an interest in learning new techniques to refine their artistic abilities are most apt for Master of Fine Arts or MFA course. Some of the traits and skills that candidates looking to pursue MFA course should possess are:

  • Creativity
  • Realistic and constructive drawing
  • Composition skills
  • Colour techniques
  • Organisation skills
  • Decision-making skills
  • Research skills
  • Attention to detail
  • Interpretive skills
  • Teamwork

Course curriculum for MFA

MFA course curriculum is inclusive of both theoretical as well as practical subjects. Practical knowledge is imparted to candidates in the form of seminars, research projects, workshops, viva-voce, etc. Sometimes candidates are also encouraged to create their full-fledged artworks in the form of portfolio.

MFA Course Structure

The MFA syllabus is designed to mainly include various works from Artforms and their origin and elective subjects, which gives the knowledge to work in the job sectors. MFA sharpens a student's mind to tackle the daily obstacles faced in their workplace, studies & other similar aspects. The MFA course involves MFA subjects which include aspects like

  • Core MFA subjects
  • FieldWorks
  • Workshops
  • Debates/ Research

Theoretical aspect of MFA syllabus involves the study of some core MFA subjects as well as specialized MFA subjects (depending on the candidate’s chosen specialization). 

Core Subjects:

  • Aesthetics & Principles of Art Appreciation
  • History of Indian Art
  • History of Indian Architecture
  • History of European Art
  • Mechanism of Artistic Perception
  • Sociology
  • Principles and Sources of Art

Elective Subjects:

  • Photography
  • Illustration
  • Creative Writing
  • Acting
  • Computer Animation

MFA Course Syllabus

MFA Syllabus is almost the same in all the colleges, apart from the choice of electives which can be Photography, Illustration, designing, painting, etc. 

Following is the MFA syllabus in many top universities across India: 

MFA Syllabus Semester I

MFA Syllabus Semester II

History of European Art-I

History of European Art-II

Advertising Principles and Practices

Advertising Principles and Practices-II

Occidental Aesthetics-I 

Occidental Aesthetics-II

Visualization/ Illustration/ Photography (Any one)

Visualization/ Illustration/ Photography (Any one)

Creative Painting/ Mural Design/ Portrait/ Landscape (Any one)

Creative Painting/ Mural Design/ Portrait/ Landscape (Any one)

MFA Syllabus Semester III

MFA Syllabus Semester IV

History of Modern Indian Art-I

History of Modern Indian Art-II

Advertising (Principles and practices)- III

Advertising (Principles and practices)- IV

Oriental Aesthetics-I

Oriental Aesthetics-II

Visualization-III Illustration-III Photography-III

Visualization-IV Illustration-IV Photography-IV 

MFA Syllabus for Core Courses

  • Aesthetics & Principles of Art Appreciation

Introduction to Western Aesthetic, Comparative study of Oriental and Occidental Aesthetics, Elements of Art, Principles of Art Appreciation, Abstraction in Art, Meaning of Art, Art and Religion, Theory related to response and appreciation, Art and Morality, Art and Society, Form and Content, Fundamentals of Indian Art, Six Limbs of Indian paintings, The Nature, Kind and Meaning of Rasa & Bhava, Identification and critical analysis of Indian paintings.

  • History of Indian Art

Pre-Historic Painting, Sculptures of Indus Valley, Sculptures of Mauryan Period, Sculptures of Sunga Period, Sculptures of Khushan Period, Sculptures of Andhra Period, Sculptures of Gupta Period, The Age of Classical Painting, Early Miniatures from Eastern and Western India.

  • History of Indian Art upto A.D. 1850

Post Classical Sculptures, South Indian Bronzes: Chola, Mughal Painting: From Akbar to Shahjahan, Deccani Painting: Bijapur, Golconda & Ahmednagar, Rajasthan Painting, Pahari Painting

  • History of European Art

Per-Historic-Cave Art, Portable objects, Egyptian-Old Kingdom Great sphinx at Giza, Prince Raholep and Wife Nafret, New Kingdom-Queen Nefertiti, Corner of coffin of Tutan Khamen, Greek Art-Kore, Korus, Hera from Samos, Transitional phase-Charioteer East and west pediment Temple of Zeus, Olympia, Classical-Doryphorus, Riace Warrior, Discobolus, 2 pediments of Parthenon Sculptures. Hermes, Apollo Belvederre, Apoxymenos, Hellenistic-Dying Gaul, Nike of Samothrace Laocoon and his sons, Roman-Arch of Titus, Column of Trajan, Gothic-Amiens, Charters, Reins, Giotto, Duccio, Simon Martini, Lorenziti Brothers. Early Renaissance-Ghiberti, Donatello, Massaccio, Elgreeko, Botticelli, Mantegna

MFA Scope in India

The scope of MFA is huge whether it is in India or abroad. The range and variety of employment options are virtually endless, spanning artistic fields such as animation, ceramics, music, sculpture, dance, art history, printmaking, photography, digital media, and much more. Employment ranges from working in art studios, advertising companies, publishing houses, fashion houses, etc. A number MFA graduates chose to be freelance workers as well because it allows them to work on a variety of projects. Other related careers after MFA are teaching, direction, photography, television, clothing and fashion, etc. 

The increasing use of visual information and communications backs better employment prospects for talented MFA degree artists in these fields. MFA students with outstanding talent can certainly receive major income for their work and stand to earn quite well. All one need to do is look around as there are endless opportunities one can find.

Organizations, industries and various other workplaces lookout for talented people. Acting, that’s a talent and so does singing, dancing, theatre come in that category along with various other attributes. If you have a knack for theatre or acting, pursue it. An MFA degree comes as an advantage in any field and will only make your CV stand out. You can go on to do plays, learn from professionals and get paid handsomely for it. 

Advertising agencies are always on the lookout for talented and creative people. From drawing to photography to sculpting, it is one’s creativeness that always MFA course students stand out. Your creativity can also act as a powerful catalyst for social change. The more you learn, the more knowledge you gain, the more explore, and the more creative you become during your MFA course, you will have a wider perspective on any topic or subject. It could be your creativity which could be hanging in a museum or art gallery someday.

Career Options and Job Prospects after MFA

MFA jobs in India are in high demand and have a good job scope in today's developing world. After the MFA course, any student can get placed in the MFA course placements(if it exists in their institution). Other than that, there are various job opportunities in both the private and government sectors.

  • Graphic Designer

Graphic designers create visual text and imagery concepts, by hand or using computer software, to communicate ideas that inspire, inform, or captivate consumers. They develop the overall layout and production design for advertisements, brochures, magazines, and corporate reports, etc. The job of a graphic designer is excellent for MFA course graduates and they will be paid quite handsomely depending on their experience.

  • Theater Artist

Theatre artist is an actor who uses the stage for performance based on a real or fictional story in front of a live audience in one take. Theatre artist is different from tv or movie actors as they do not get second chance to perform. They use songs, musicals, poems, drama, dance, speech to exhibit their art. MFA graduates who has a knack for acting can go in this field. 

  • Animator

If you have chosen animations as your specialisation in MFA course, you will be entitled to working as an animator. You can get associated with an organisation and can design cartoons, caricatures or graphics as per their choice. Media houses, production houses as well as advertising agencies are often in search of Animators.

  • Art Director

MFA graduates who have a great eye for visual design can be very good Art Directors. They are responsible for the visual style and images in magazines, newspapers, product packaging, and movie and television productions. They create the overall design for a project, and also direct others who develop the artwork or layouts. Art directors work for advertising and public relations firms, newspaper and magazine publishers, etc. 

  • Creative Director

A creative director is hired to head the creative team of a company. They act as creative leads creative leads at advertising and marketing companies, working with designers, artists, copywriters, sales teams and marketers to create a vision for products sold.

  • Sculptor

A sculptor is a highly creative fine artist who develops ideas for sculptures or statues, and makes them come to life in three-dimensional form by joining or molding materials together. Sculptors typically work with hard materials like stone, marble, glass, metal, wood or ice. They can also use clay, plaster, gold, wire, plastic, rubber, fabric or even paper. An MFA degree graduate can work as a sculptor either in a firm or do freelance work for a number of clients.


What is MFA salary?

After an MFA degree the salary will depend on the job you take up. Few industries like film, television and advertisement encourage talent and pay high depending on the accomplishments. According to PayScale, freshers get paid Rs 2 Lakh to Rs 3 Lakh per annum. If you get a chance to work in advertising agencies or organisations, one can begin from Rs 3 Lakh to Rs 4 Lakh. 

Here are a few jobs along with the salaries which are as follows:

MFA Jobs

Salary (INR)


2.3 Lakh to 5.4 Lakh (Per Annum)

Art Director

3.2 Lakh to 6 Lakh (Per Annum)

Content Writer

3.5 Lakh to 5.4 Lakh (Per Annum)


4.5 Lakh to 7.4 Lakh (Per Annum)

Art Teacher

4 Lakh to 6 Lakh (Per Annum)

UX Designer

4 Lakh to 8 Lakh (Per Annum)

FAQs about Master of Fine Arts

What is the difference between Master of Arts(MA) and Master of Fine Arts(MFA)?

Both Master of Fine Arts and Master of Arts are different degrees. MFA is a specialized course that usually consists more of fine arts subjects like painting, art history, etc.. which aims to provide professional training to become a successful painter, artist or anything related to the arts field.

On the other hand, MA consist of mostly liberal arts courses, which provides knowledge in subjects such as History, Sociology, Geography, etc. and focuses more on the scholarly and academic aspect of the course.

Does IGNOU offer MFA course?

Yes, IGNOU offers MFA course, with a specialization in Painting.

Can I do MFA after BSc?

The minimum eligibility required to take admission in MFA program is atleast 50% in either BFA or any course in which Fine Arts or related subjects were taught. In case of BSc, no art course is taught as such. Hence, the chances of admission is low as compared to the students who are from the Fine Arts background.

What is the duration of the MFA course?

The duration of the MFA course is 2 years. 

What is the full form of MFA?

 MFA stands for Master of Fine Arts. It is a postgraduate degree. 

Is entrance test compulsory for MFA?

It differs from university to university because some universities admit students in their MFA course through merit whereas some organize entrance exams to do MFA admission. 

I want admission in Master of Fine Arts (M.F.A). Do I have to clear any exams for that ?

Delhi University Science , Delhi University Arts , Maharshi Dayanand University Common Entrance Exam are some of the exams that you can appear for to get admission in Master of Fine Arts (M.F.A) courses.

What are the top colleges offering Master of Fine Arts (M.F.A) courses ?

Following are some of the top colleges offering Arts and Humanities courses : Institute of Management-Christ University (Bangalore) , Miranda House University College for Women (Delhi) , Madras Christian College (Chennai) , Ramnarain Ruia College (Mumbai) , K. J. Somaiya College of Arts and Commerce (Mumbai). You can explore these colleges on our website to check if they offer Master of Fine Arts (M.F.A) or not.

What is the average fee for the course Master of Fine Arts (M.F.A) ?

The average fee for Master of Fine Arts (M.F.A) is INR 40,000 per year.

What is the duration of the course Master of Fine Arts (M.F.A) ?

Master of Fine Arts (M.F.A) is a 2 year course.

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Questions Related to MFA Course

What are the requirements for MFA admission in a reputed institution after BFA?

-sooryaUpdated on June 04, 2021 04:57 PM
  • 1 Answer
Abhik Das, Student / Alumni

Dear student, the following pointers will explain to you the detailed eligibility criteria which you have to fulfil to be …


Has the MFA admission process for the academic year 2021-22 at Government College of Arts Chandigarh begun?

-Manisha KumariUpdated on February 09, 2021 04:10 PM
  • 1 Answer
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 …


Does Banaras Hindu University offer Master in Fine Arts programme? If yes, what is the annual MFA course fee structure?

-venugopalUpdated on January 06, 2021 02:43 PM
  • 1 Answer
Sakunth Kumar, CollegeDekho Expert

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


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