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Master of Fine Arts (MFA) Degree Program in Painting Overview

Majors Overview February 11, 2016

Studies in drawing may be in Master of Fine Arts (M.F.A.) Programs in Painting, but students can concentrate their education on painting. Students can experiment with a variety of artistic techniques during studio sessions. They may also learn painting methods and theories in their classes. Development of unique painting styles and visions is encouraged. Graduates will be ready for professional careers in art.

Information on Master of Fine Arts (MFA) Degree Program in Painting

Coursework in MFA programs in Painting combines lectures, seminars and studio classes whereby students can hone their painting as well as drawing skills. Few online options, if any, are offered, owing to the practical painting requirements, in addition to the completion of a teaching internship. However, some remote MFA options may be offered at mainly for-profit institutions. They may also participate in collaborative projects with fellow students, faculty, and visiting artists, among other art professionals. Writing a master’s thesis and creation of an original exhibition of students’ artwork is typically a requirement.

Schools offer several related programs such as:

•Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) Programs in Art History
•Master of Fine Arts (M.F.A.) Programs in Photography
•Master of Fine Arts (M.F.A.) Programs in Photomedia
•Master of Fine Arts (M.F.A.) Programs in Visual Studies
•Master of Fine Arts (M.F.A.) Programs in Ceramics

Master of Fine Arts (M.F.A.) Programs in Painting

Enrollees can study contemporary and historical developments in painting. They can employ a specialized art vocabulary to develop techniques for criticism and analysis of the artwork. Visual arts aspects, such as color, shape, quality, composition, and the creation process, may be studied. Enrollees are given many opportunities of individual growth as artists and can avail various artistic materials and facilities, such as acrylic, oil, and watercolor paints. They can also practice printmaking, among other art forms.

Education Requirements

Admission criteria typically require incoming students to hold a bachelor’s degree from an accredited school, preferably in fine arts or arts. Students with significant prior studio experience may be preferred. In many programs, admission criteria also call for the submission of resumes, academic transcripts and portfolios of their artwork.


Program coursework incorporates discussion- and lecture-based courses, in addition to studio classes, internships and painting seminars. Elective courses in liberal arts subjects or other fine arts disciplines may also be available to students. Core coursework may cover topic areas such as:

•Narrative painting
•Contemporary critical theory
•Formal painting techniques
•Art history
•Color theory
•Advanced drawing methods

Career Choices

Armed with talent and sophisticated knowledge, program graduates can become professionally trained artists and choose from possible job positions such as:

•Museum curator
•Art critic
•Art instructor
•Gallery artist
•Exhibition designer

Continuing Education Choices

Doctoral degrees in related fields such as a Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in Art History or Art Education may be available to graduates who seek careers in research or academia in the field of art. These professionals can pursue continuing education related to artistic subjects, such as painting.

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