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If you want to return to school and become a professional artist or designer, you’ve come to the right place. A Master of Fine Arts (MFA) degree can help you hone your craft and prepare for an exciting career in the arts. Choosing an institution that will give you the most opportunities for growth is important. Let’s understand what a Master in Fine Arts is and look at some of the best MFA colleges in Canada.
What is an MFA (Master of Fine Arts)?
MFA (Master of Fine Arts) is a postgraduate course studying visual and performing arts. The course is of two-year duration (four semesters), and most colleges or universities offer the course with a specialization.
Whether a technologically demanding field like graphic design or film editing or a technology-free art form like drawing, an MFA degree indicates that a professional artist has completed a series of demanding courses in their art form. An MFA is a graduate-level credential, so you usually need a college degree before you can apply for one.
MFA graduates claim that their graduate education enabled them to hone their artistic principles and inventive methods while raising the standard of their work to make it more distinctive, polished, and fascinating. Additionally, MFA holders claim that having an MFA has given them the credentials required to instruct courses in their art form at colleges and universities and the knowledge necessary to provide insightful criticism.
Candidates have a selection of MFA specializations from which to choose.
- Creative writing
- Drawing and Illustration
- Graphic design
- Applied Arts
- Computer animation
A Master of Fine Arts course helps candidates refine their skills and become an artist in their chosen field. There are ample career opportunities for candidates with an MFA degree in different sectors, including advertising, clothing, printmaking, magazines, dance studios, digital media, publishing houses, etc.
Here are some of the top colleges in Canada for MFA.
Emily Carr University of Art & Design
Emily Carr University of Art & Design is a public university in Vancouver, British Columbia. It was founded in 1925 and offers Bachelor’s programs and two Master’s degrees—the Master of Fine Arts (Visual Arts) and the Master of International Sustainable Development.
The program is full-time, two years long, and covers a wide range of topics within visual art: drawing, painting, sculpture, mixed media, and installation also have access to various studios where they can develop their skills further by working with professional artists or practicing independently.
OCAD University is a public university in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. It is one of Canada’s largest and oldest educational institutions for art and design. OCAD offers courses at the undergraduate and graduate levels and has six academic schools.
The Faculty of Fine Art (formerly known as the Faculty of Fine Arts) offers BFA, MFA, and Honours programs in Studio Art (Visual Studies) and Graphic Design; Honours BA Programs in Art History/History of Art & Visual Culture; History; Critical Theory/Theory Studies; Creative Writing/Writing Studio.
The Faculty of Applied Science & Engineering has five departments: Architecture & Environmental Design; Building Science (formerly Architectural Science); Civil Engineering; Chemical Engineering & Applied Chemistry; Urbanism has both undergraduate programs with an option to specialize after graduation or pursue an Honours degree program.
Columbia College Chicago is a private, four-year institution located in the heart of downtown Chicago. The college was founded in 1890 and offers undergraduate and graduate degrees through its seven schools: the School of Arts and Sciences, School of
Communication, School of Culinary Arts, School of Education and Social Policy Studies, School of Film + Television (SFTT), School of Music Performance/Composition (MPC), and the Theater Department at Columbia College Chicago’s Professional Actors Training Program (PATP).
It has several international partnerships with universities abroad and off-campus degree completion programs that can be completed anywhere in the world. In addition, its full-time programs are available on campus or online across North America.
Ontario College of Art & Design University
OCAD University’s School of Continuing Studies offers the best MFA in Creative writing programs. There are no prerequisites for admission, but you do have to submit a writing sample. The school then considers each applicant’s work history and academic credentials before deciding whether or not to accept them into the program.
While many universities consider OCAD University’s MFA a ‘non-degree’ program, it still has its benefits. Students don’t have to worry about choosing between creative writing and graphic design; they can do both simultaneously. The school also offers several scholarships and awards to help bolster your financial situation. At the same time, there are several ways for alums (and potential future graduates) to stay connected after graduation.
University of Toronto
The University of Toronto is a leading research university, one of the top universities in Canada, ranked as the best university in Canada, the best university in North America, and the second-best university in the world. It’s also consistently placed among the top 20 worldwide.
The University of Toronto has two campuses – the St George campus located downtown with historic buildings from its foundation on Bloor Street; and the Scarborough campus south of Steeles Avenue East (about 45 minutes from downtown). The St George campus is home to most faculties and schools, including arts & humanities; science & engineering; social sciences & law; management & professional development; medicine & dentistry.
The University of Waterloo
If you’re looking for a program that will give you the skills to become a leader in your field, then the University of Waterloo might be your best bet. Founded in 1957, the university has developed a culture of entrepreneurship and innovation that has helped it launch many successful businesses.
The school offers programs in engineering, mathematics, business administration and economics, science—including biology and chemistry—and computer science, as well as environmental studies. They have faculty members who are recognized experts in their fields; many also teach at other universities across Canada or abroad.
The University of Lethbridge
Since its founding in 1967, the University of Lethbridge has become integral to the city. Its main campus is perched on a hill overlooking Lethbridge, where you can take advantage of breathtaking views from your dorm room window or stroll along the river valley in the great outdoors.
There are plenty of extracurricular activities available for students, including intramural sports teams for all sorts of interests (basketball, soccer), student clubs (including one that helps you plan your future career), and even a student newspaper called The Gateway.
Students will need to submit their high school transcripts as part of their application package; they should also have good grades in any previous courses they’ve taken at the university level or above. You’ll also need a personal statement outlining why you want to attend this program at this particular school.
The admission staff ensures that every applicant gets personalized feedback on their essay. Once accepted into the program, many courses are available with specializations such as creative writing or fiction studies. Each class may consist of only two hours per week but still gives students plenty of time outside classwork to pursue other interests too (such as volunteering).
Tuition fees vary depending on what degree program you choose—but no matter which option sounds best to each student’s needs, there will always be something affordable within reach.
- Canada is home to some of the best MFA programs in the world and has an incredible selection of international and homegrown talent.
- There are no tuition fees at public universities, and the average cost of living is about $4,000 per year for international students.
- If you’re interested in studying abroad with one of these top-ranked art schools, check out our post on how much it will cost.
- Each school offers something different worth exploring if you want to get your MFA in Canada.
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Q1. How difficult is it to enroll in an MFA program?
Ans – Admission to an MFA program is challenging. MFA programs prefer to accept applicants who have been out of school for some time, have demonstrated their ability to write on their own time, and may even have a publication or two or have contributed to the writing/literary community.
Q2. What’s the value of an MFA in fine arts in Canada?
Ans – The MFA in Canada, the final professional degree in fine arts and qualifies you to instruct at both the undergraduate and graduate levels, not only aids in your artistic development but also ensures financial security.
Q3. MA or MFA, which is superior?
Ans – The MA degree stands for Master of Arts and typically entails 120-course credits that take two or more years (when taken full-time) (or part-time). An MFA, or Master of Fine Art, usually takes longer to complete than an MA because it typically requires 150 credits.