View Full Version : Questions about an International MFA?

10-10-2005, 06:58 PM
I am originally from Brazil and I am thinking about going back to Brazil to get a Masters in Art. The problem is that my ultimate goal is to be a college professor and teach Studio Art.

Do you guys think that Universities in the US will accept a Foreign Masters as a MFA? Or do you think that I am hurting myself by not getting an MFA in America?

Thanks for your time guys.

Arch Stanton
10-17-2005, 06:47 AM

This is a good question... I was hoping to go overseas myself for a Masters. If anyone is still looking for an answer to this, I think it really depends on your experience and portfolio/resume. I've been to several schools with professors holding degrees from around the world. Seems like most major art schools have faculty with "foreign" degrees. I've always been told that it "looks good" on a resume too. Would love to know what an actual college faculty/administrator thinks of this question.

Keith Russell
10-18-2005, 01:17 PM
I attended a presentation week before last on Grad School, at the Kansas City Art Institute. Attendance was required for seniour painting majors, but juniour painters could attend. (I was one of only a very few juniours there.)

Three of the painting department faculty (who each have an MFA) were the speakers.

They all agreed that foreign schools often have better government subsidies for grad school students than the US does; thus it might actually be (quite a bit) cheaper (or even free) for a US student to attend a foreign university for grad school. No downside was mentioned as to whether a US school or business is more or less likely to accept an applicant for a teaching or other position, who obtained an MFA at a school in another country.

I'm sure it depends on the school to a degree, but apparently, there are no overall 'accreditation' issues, or the like. Apparently, having an MFA from a foreign school doesn't make one any less likely to be considered for a job in the US, all other things being equal, of course.


10-27-2005, 01:51 AM
In the United States, not all graduate degrees are equal. There are masters degrees that are a sort of precursor to a higher degree such as a Ph.D., Ed.D. etc. Many doctoral programs require that students have a masters degree in order to be admitted. There are some exceptions, but these doctoral program are generally professional programs, i.e. doctor of psychology Psy.D. or a Pharmacy degree Pharm.D., or even a law degree, Juris Doctor J.D. The latter programs admit students with baccalaureate degrees. With degrees such as Ph.D. a student must have a masters degree to be admitted. There are masters degrees, however, that are considered "terminal degree" programs. Generally these degrees are all that is necessary to work in a profession, without the necessity to go any further. Masters degrees in this category include degrees such as Master of Social Work, Master of Audiology, Master of Occupational Therapy, Master of Divinity, and Master of Fine Art. If a person obtained a Master of Arts in Psychology, they would not generally be permitted to be an independant practioner, in the United States. They would always need to be supervised by a higher level person such as a clinical psychologist with a Ph.D. However, a person who obtains a degree such as a Master of Social Work, can upon obtaining proper licensure, and based on proper number of supervised hours, become an independant practioner, and open their own office. Generally, the masters degree programs that are a precursor to a doctoral program involve 36 to 48 credit hours, and most terminal masters programs are longer, and can range from 70 to 90 credit hours to complete. As I have stated, the MFA is generally considered as the ending degree in the field, and as such it involves more work than something such as an M.A. in art, or history, etc. the latter of which are degrees that people such as teachers get, as they may not increase there licensure, but the higher degree will permit them to earn more, under union rules, etc.

You may want to be careful, assess what you want to do, and see if an M.A. will permit you to do it. The educational system in the United States is different in many ways from that of many other countries. In Brittain, for example physicians generally obtain a Bachelor of Medicine/Bachelor of Surgery: MBBS. Here in the United States, a candidate for medical school must have a bachelors degree before they can even be admitted to medical school, in most instances, and when they finish, they graduate with a Doctor of Medicine M.D. I believe that a person from Brittain who has an M.B., if it was from a school that was accreditted by the WHO, can practice in the United States, but there are many hoops that they have to jump through first. The legal profession is different as well, here in order to go to law school, a person needs a B.A., B.S. etc., to get in. They finish with a doctoral degree. In England, and countries that use their model lawyers generally graduate with an L.L.B. L.Legum Baccalaureus, and subsequently practice law with a bachelors degree. I do not believe that these folks would be eligible to be admitted to the bar and be permitted to practice law in the United States. I know of a dentist from another country, who works as a dental lab tech. here because she cannot practice dentistry with a Bachelor of Dentistry. The M.A. that you speak of may be comparable, and if so you may be treated differently. In the United States, for example, a person who has a Master of Science in Social Administration M.S.S.A., from a school that is accredited by the CSWE will be treated exactly the same as a person with a Master of Social Work, because the degrees are comparable. The M.S.S.A. is actually older, and was the degree to have before most schools changed the degree title many years ago. This is only an example, but the M.A. program that you are considering may be comparable, and if so may permit you the priviledges enjoyed bythose with an M.F.A. Beware, however, that an M.A. in art in the U.S. is generally not as well regarded as an M.F.A. I know people who have obtained an M.A. in art, and then went back later and obtained a M.F.A. as well.

I hope that that helps.