Best Online Master of Fine Arts (MFA) Programs
From writing to design to animation, an online Master of Fine Arts degree helps students develop practical, advanced skills that prepare them for a wide range of careers in the arts. Our rankings list of the best online MFA programs supports prospective students in making the right choice for themselves by showing annual tuition rates and mid-career salaries. This allows students to easily compare the initial cost of earning the degree against the future return on investment. Afterward, we provide general program information, answer frequently asked questions about MFAs, and explore career possibilities.
|Rank||School||Annual Tuition||Mid-Career Salary|
|# 1||Albertus Magnus College||$13,500||$103,167|
|# 2||Drexel University||$29,969||$102,934|
|# 3||Arcadia University||$15,300||$84,100|
|# 4||National University||$13,260||$79,986|
|# 5||Brenau University||$19,251||$81,000|
|# 6||University of Houston-Victoria||$13,934||$73,500|
|# 7||Southern New Hampshire University Online||$11,286||$70,413|
|# 8||Liberty University||$16,350||$71,865|
|# 9||Regent University Online||$9,750||$68,014|
|# 10||Bay Path University||$14,800||$66,900|
|# 11||Goucher College||$20,400||$69,100|
|# 12||Radford University||$22,320||$68,020|
|# 13||University of Nebraska at Omaha||$15,000||$58,700|
|# 14||Savannah College of Art and Design||$38,475||$67,391|
|# 15||Seton Hill University||$21,249||$54,800|
|# 16||Lindenwood University||$11,880||$48,127|
2020 Online Colleges Offering MFA Degrees - Ranking Details
Frequently Asked Questions About an Online MFA
Is an MA or MFA Better?
Deciding between an MA or an MFA depends on your future goals. An MA in the arts has an academic focus and is often a precursor to earning a PhD. The programs typically involve a great deal of research and writing. An MFA, on the other hand, is considered a terminal degree, and coursework is designed to develop advanced skills in a particular art form.
Which MFA is Best?
The best online MFA programs are those that prepare you for the career you have in mind. If your dream is to write an award-winning novel, an MFA in creative writing may be the best way to obtain the necessary literary skills. If you aspire to create the next hot video game, an MFA in animation may be a good choice for you. However, if you're open to different possibilities, you might want to consider a program that involves digital media as data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics suggests an increasing demand for professionals with both creative and technical skills.
How Much Does an Online MFA Cost?
The annual tuition rate for the 16 online MFA programs on our list ranges from $9,750 to $38,475. Most fall below the average annual tuition rate of $19,792 for all graduate programs in the 2019-20 school year. Choosing an online program can be an effective way to reduce the cost of your degree as many colleges offer lower tuition rates for online students, especially out-of-state residents. However, online MFA students often have additional expenses beyond the typical books and fees. Depending on your course of study, you may need a high-end computer, subscriptions to programs like Adobe Creative Cloud, and basic art supplies for illustrating design concepts.
Is an Online MFA Worth It?
Whether a master's degree in the arts is worth the investment of time and money depends on your personal goals and circumstances, such as finances and other commitments. While earning an MFA will most likely help you hone your creative and technical skills, most critics agree that the degree may not yield more job opportunities or higher pay. There are also pros and cons to earning this degree online. Opting for distance education gives you a wider range of programs to choose from without having to relocate, but the online learning environment may not give you the level of peer interaction you want.