Tag: arts

Grad school degree options for artists of all types

For those interested in the Visual & Performing Arts, graduate school may be something to consider. Whether you are pursuing studio art, film, theater or music there are two main degree programs you can think about considering; The Master of Fine Arts (MFA) and the Master of Arts (MA). Whereas with music, one often pursues a Master of Music (MM). Each degree can be further categorized depending on your area of interest. For example, if you’re pursuing Film you can pursue an MFA or MA in Filmmaking, Visual Arts can receive a MFA or MA in Visual Arts, Music Education can receive an MM in Music Education, etc. However, what are the big differences between these degree programs? 

Let’s start with the Master of Fine Arts. The MFA is often more rigorous than the MA program since it offers much more hands-on course work. This is because the MFA program is often thought of as terminal, or as the last degree someone earns for their career. The MFA often takes 2-3 years to complete. 

The Master of Arts on the other hand is a little less rigorous when it comes to hands-on course work. The degree program can be completed in 2 years, and often features more seminars and is much more academic in design. Unlike the MFA, the MA is often not terminal. This means it is used as a stepping-stone to achieve high degrees, such as a Doctorate.  

The Master of Music is the main Masters degree for those studying Music Education, Performance, Composition etc. There are of course MA programs for those interested in pursuing music as well, but it is often designed to have a broad overlook of the topic of music rather than specializing in just one area like the MM programs. 

Want to know more about an MFA, MA, of MM in your career path? Check out these sources below:  

By Marissa Lake ’22. I am a sophomore Vocal Performance major. I am also the curator for the #ECE and #VPA Career Communities. I love performing as well as music education, and I hope to one day become an established vocalist.

What To Do During This Summer for Music, Art & Film Students

Step 1: Find out your goal


For musicians, you may already have a summer program opportunity or internship for the summer. If so, make it your goal to learn as much as possible during these opportunities. If you don’t have one of these opportunities lined up, that is okay! You can spend your summer preparing for graduate school auditions, summer pre-screens, academic auditions, or more. 


For those interested in the art field, you may have internships lined up for the summer as well. It may be your goal to get as much experience possible at these opportunities. If you don’t you can always work on projects to bulk up your portfolio or prepare for your academic art exhibits and projects. You can also prepare materials to apply for graduate programs or future jobs/internships. 


For film students, if you don’t have an opportunity lined up for the summer like an internship, you can spend your summer bulking up your portfolio as well. You can also prepare materials for the next academic year, graduate school applications, or just future job opportunities. 

Step 2: Figure out the steps to achieve that goal


For those who are music majors, you can check out a previous helpful guide we have created here


You can actually do quite a bit to achieve multiple goals during the summer as an art major. You can work on weekly pieces to bulk up your portfolio, or even create your own “artist residency”. To create your own residency you can try taking online classes that interest you, or if you are feeling daring you can even move to a different city for the summer and work at a makerspace to learn from other artists. Whatever route you plan on taking, make sure that your steps to achieve your goal are clear!


For those interested in film, working on projects over the summer is the perfect thing to do in your spare time. It can be hard during the academic year to find enough time to work on your big projects, so take the extra time to create something you have always wanted to create! You can also spend the time perfecting your portfolio to send to future opportunities. You can even reach out to local news stations or film companies to see if they have any temporary openings.

Step 3: Execute! 

For all areas of the Visual & Performing Arts Community, stick to your plan! If you end up falling behind that is totally okay, just be sure you have a chance to recharge and get back in there. Always keep in mind that even the tiniest amount of progress can make a huge impact on your career and your goals. 

Step 4: Keep track of your progress


For musicians, keeping track of progress is either incredibly easy for your or incredibly hard. If you are trying to practice more this summer, try keeping a video diary of your practice sessions and lessons. If that doesn’t work, try a physical practice diary to check in with how you and your instrument are feeling each day or week. If you are at an internship or program you can also use the diary method.


Thankfully for artists, it can be relatively easy to see the progress you are making throughout the summer. If you are building your portfolio up, you can compare your past pieces to your present ones or see if you want to improve any past ones you have done. If you are taking a class, you can gauge how attentive you are to the material or even ask the professor how you are doing. 


For those interested in film you can also see your progress relatively easily if you are building your portfolio. You can compare your past pieces with your newest ones to see how you have improved. If you are finding it easier to write your application materials the more you spend time with them, that is also progress! 

Step 5: Enjoy the benefits!

Once you have completed all of your steps, you can now go and get that audition, job, or internship a lot easier! Fill out those online forms, schedule those interviews and get those plane tickets to go and land those opportunites. If your goal didn’t include applying for anything, you now have the tools you need to become the best version of yourself and your artform! Hopefully, throughout the process you learned a lot more about yourself as an individual and what your interests are in order to inform yourself on what to do in the future.