Welcome to College Confidential!

The leading college-bound community on the web

Sign Up For Free

Join for FREE, and start talking with other members, weighing in on community discussions, and more.

Also, by registering and logging in you'll see fewer ads and pesky welcome messages (like this one!)

As a CC member, you can:

  • Reply to threads, and start your own.
  • Post reviews of your campus visits.
  • Find hundreds of pages of informative articles.
  • Search from over 3 million scholarships.

Majoring in Studio Art at a non-"art" school...

golddustwomangolddustwoman Registered User Posts: 298 Junior Member
edited December 2007 in Visual Arts and Film Majors

I'm applying to some colleges that offer Studio Art as a major, so I would double major in Classics/Philosophy and Studio Art. After getting that degree, would I be "qualified" to get an MFA? How does that process work? Is admission based on my portfolio primarily?

What if I don't double major, but I take studio art courses and build a portfolio. I know I couldn't get an MFA from there directly, but I could still applying to an art school to get my Bachelors of Fine Arts even if I have a Bachelors of Arts in a non-art major???

Because I'm thinking about spending my first four years in an LAC/university, then going on to an art school. I've got no idea about how that would work. Could somebody clue me in?
Post edited by golddustwoman on

Replies to: Majoring in Studio Art at a non-"art" school...

  • believersmombelieversmom Registered User Posts: 1,109 Senior Member
    This is an excellent question and I would be curious to know the answer as well.
  • franglishfranglish Registered User Posts: 2,308 Senior Member
    I could be wrong, but I don't believe that one of the criteria for MFA is BFA. I got my MFA a long time ago, and I didn't have a BFA beforehand. I had two BAs. One in art/art history. Of course, it could depend on the program. Best idea is to contact the art schools you want to apply to.
  • larationalistlarationalist Registered User Posts: 916 Member
    I'm in an MFA program right now after a B.Arch undergrad. Some programs did require a BFA, but the majority required, "a BFA or equivilant preparation, as measured by the strength of the candidate's portfolio."

    My main question for you is why you're so set on getting an MFA. It's certainly not a necessity in the art world, so I would just focus on getting the best education you can at the undergrad level, and worry about the rest later.
  • RainingAgainRainingAgain Registered User Posts: 699 Member
    An MFA is the terminal degree in most fields of art and design. It is generally necessary in order to teach at the graduate level. MAs can teach, but generally at the undergrad level only and probably also need industry experience.

    What I think is very odd, is that accrediting bodies such as NASD consider someone with an MFA and no experience to be more qualified (at the drop of the hat) than someone with a BFA and 20 years of industry experience. The latter's qualifications must be carefully scrutinized before a college will offer them a faculty position whereas someone with an MFA degree is technically qualified regardless of experience.

    If you are not interested in teaching, an MA can be all you need to change/shift a career path and build a more professionally oriented portfolio. But a second year would broaden your understanding of your interest and help you build a better portfolio. At this point, it becomes a question of is the money equal to your needs and goals.

    Art History does require a PhD in most cases.
  • golddustwomangolddustwoman Registered User Posts: 298 Junior Member
    Well the reason that I wanted to get an MFA is so that I would be qualified for a range of art-related careers. Perhaps teaching, perhaps working for myself, whatever.

    If I'm trying to gain acceptance to an art school to get my MFA, is my admission going to be based solely on my portfolio? I know it takes four years to get a Bachelor's degree, how long does it take to get an MFA on top of that?
  • RainingAgainRainingAgain Registered User Posts: 699 Member
    Acceptance into a graduate program at most any college is based upon all components of an application, but the portfolio is generally the most important. If it indicates you are not ready for graduate-level classes it is common practice for schools to assign undergrad level classes so that you may demonstrate the appropriate skill sets before entering their graduate program officially. MFA degrees are usually scheduled over two years.

    I think combining philosophy and studio art is a wonderful combination before choosing a specific professional interest at the graduate level. Maybe you can help me understand Kant? Argh! Also, the flexibility and option to teach later in life is a great thing to have.

    Bottom line is that you do not need a BFA to pursue a grad degree in one of the arts, but you will need a portfolio. However you build it, is up to you.
  • golddustwomangolddustwoman Registered User Posts: 298 Junior Member
    Alright, thank you so much! I know that one of the reasons I wanted to get an MFA is because it opens up the option for teaching.

    As a sidenote, I think that Kant baffles most people. ;)
  • larationalistlarationalist Registered User Posts: 916 Member
    ah, well you hadn't mentioned the interest in teaching when I asked. Since it's not an ambition for most people, I wasn't going to make that leap without your say-so. Most MFAs are two years, but some programs have a three-year track reserved for those coming from other backgrounds, whom they think are talented but require extra preparation.

    In addition to the portfolio, your personal statement is also a big component, and recommendations and success at the undergrad level would be lesser but still significant factors. GREs aren't even required for most art schools, and where they are they're pretty low on the list of things considered.
  • golddustwomangolddustwoman Registered User Posts: 298 Junior Member
    Well, I don't specifically want to be an art teacher--but it leaves that door open.

    What exactly do you mean by a "personal statement"?
  • patoispatois Registered User Posts: 186 Junior Member
    personal statement is like,

    why you make art, what you make it about, what you want to do and what kind of message you want to send.
  • Silver_and_JadeSilver_and_Jade Registered User Posts: 395 Member
    I would like to add to the conversation that you are not restricted to a BA just because you are not going to an "art school." There are many large universities and liberal arts colleges that offer BFA programs as well. I was in the same situation that you are currently in, but luckily I have found a number of schools that I would be happy at and, once I get into one of them, I will pursue a double major in Metals/Jewelry and Japanese.

    So I would suggest that you keep your options and your mind open. Look around and find what feels right.

    Good luck!
  • MoominmamaMoominmama Registered User Posts: 827 Member
    Silver_and_Jade, you might want to consider putting the University of Washington on your list. It has excellent programs in both metals and Japanese.
  • Silver_and_JadeSilver_and_Jade Registered User Posts: 395 Member
    Moominmama -- thanks for the suggestion. I had actually looked at it and seriously considered going there, until I found out that their Metals degree program has been suspended. I learned from a professor at another school that the person who previously ran the program had retired and it kind of fell apart. Anyway, it's a little late now for me to be putting new schools on my list, don't you think?

    Oh, and would anyone be willing to have a look at my personal statement? I'd appreciate some feedback.
  • liz6298liz6298 Registered User Posts: 231 Junior Member
    Silver and Jade, I am really wanting to know what LAC's you are speaking of that offer BFA's. I know plenty of state universities do, but I really am interested in attending a liberal arts college, and all I've found only offer BA's. In the end I just decided the difference between the two degrees isn't really a big deal to me, but still, I would love to hear the LAC's you talking about. Mainly because I assume if they're offering BFA's they must have a strong studio art department, and I've been struggling to compare the caliber of art departments at the random LAC's I've been interested in.

    And golddustwoman, I'm also wanting to major in studio arts with a double major/minor/concentration in philosophy (or pooossibly environmental studies or some kind of animal/biology studies... or... yea, I don't know, but one of my main interests is philosophy, haha, soooo...) I'd be interested to hear what other colleges (specifically LAC's I guess) you are applying to.
  • MoominmamaMoominmama Registered User Posts: 827 Member
    Silver_and_Jade, I hadn't heard that about UW metals -- what a shame!

    I'd be happy to take a look at your personal statement -- PM it to me.
This discussion has been closed.