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Dual MFA/MA?


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Hi guys ~

I was wondering if any one here is currently enrolled in a dual MFA/MA program (for Fine Arts/ Art History) or thinking of applying to one. I am an abstract painter and art historian browsing through programs. My goal is to become an art historian, but I want to push my painting further. There appear to be some MFA/MA programs listed online, but I haven't been able to find many. Most of them are on the west coast. Does anyone know where I could find a comprehensive list of programs? Any outside the west coast? Or ... is is this an uncommon route to take? Anyone have strong views on the topic?

Thanks in advance!

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It's true that dual degrees of MA/MFA are mostly on the West Coast, though NYU offers dual degrees such as MBA/MFA for people who may want to go into art administration.

If you would like to go into teaching Art History, perhaps it's better to develop strong research skills in Art History. This is because you are a painter already and you can practise your painting even apart from academic activity, but there is a significant difference between creating works of art and teaching/researching/critiquing works of art from a historical perspective. The latter requires specific kinds of analytical skills that can be acquired only through graduate educational training. This will demand significant time, energy and patience from you. Hence, perhaps it will be better for you to get a strong academic training in Art History while continuing to practise your painting.

It is also worthwhile to know that some of the skills acquired during graduate traing in Art History actually conflict with the emotional aspects of painting that an artist may be used to experiencing. You may draw an analogy from literature or political studies - being able to write a novel and becoming a good critic of novels; engaging in politics as a practising politician and becoming a political science professor - are two very different types of skills. Same goes for art. Because of this, it is important for an artist wanting to turn into an art historian to achieve a pragmatic balance between the two fields.

There are many artists who have become art historians, but to achieve equal excellence in both fields requires a lot of balancing act.

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Hi! SUNY Purchase has an MFA/MA -- but the MA is specifically in Modern and Contemporary Art History, Theory, and Criticism... They have a reputable museum associated with their program (The Neuberger Museum). I'll be doing this program starting this coming year. It is a 3 year program with the focus of the first two years on the MFA, and the third year on the MA thesis and additional Art History electives....

Also, Pratt offers an MFA/ MSc in Art History option.

Good luck with your search for the right program!

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