Master of Fine Arts – MFA

Embed yourself in a rich dialogue about your creative practice in Massey’s transdisciplinary Master of Fine Arts qualification, for artists and designers.

Type of qualification

Master's degree

Level of study

Postgraduate study

Once you’ve graduated with a bachelor’s degree – or have equal experience – you can study at the postgraduate level. Doctoral qualifications require additional entry requirements.

NZQF level 9

Our courses follow the New Zealand Qualification Framework (NZQF) levels.

Find out more about NZQF levels

Time to complete

2 year(s) full-time (240 credits)
Up to 6 years part-time
Part-time available

International students

International students are not New Zealand citizens or residents.

Definition of New Zealand citizens and residents

Open to international students on campus in New Zealand
Note: Selected entry qualification.

Study a Master of Fine Arts – MFA

The Master of Fine Arts (MFA) has a strong collective philosophy. By bringing together students from design and fine arts, the MFA fosters intense conversations and exploration.

For designers and artists

Choose whether you want to graduate with an MFA in design, in fine arts or without endorsement if you believe your work cannot be framed in terms of either discipline.

We have had students join the programme whose undergraduate training is in fashion design, photography, textile design, industrial design, graphic design, fine arts and even music.

Internationally-recognised and unique in New Zealand

We have the largest number of internationally ranked researchers in visual art and design of any New Zealand university. All academic staff teaching into postgraduate programmes have significant research profiles.

The Massey MFA has been awarded ‘substantial equivalency’ status by the US National Association of Schools of Art and Design, putting it on a par with similar degrees from many leading US universities.

Rare in Australasia, the Massey MFA takes place over two years, offering you time to explore creatively, interrogate the fundamentals of your practice, and push your work in new directions. By the second year you will have a critically informed sense of who you are as a creative practitioner and carry that into your final thesis project.

Some of the things we value: lively debate, criticality, technical virtuosity; social engagement, challenge, metamorphosis and great kai.

Get the full picture 

Further study

Extend your creative practice and research interests after your MFA with progressive work creating new knowledge with a PhD.

A MFA is a good fit if you:

  • crave depth, stretch, disruption and transformation in your creative work
  • thrive in a transdisciplinary environment
  • value both the conceptual and the material in your creative practice.

Entry requirements

Admission to Massey

All students must meet university entrance requirements to be admitted to the University.

Specific requirements

This is a selected entry qualification. This means there are a number of extra requirements you must meet.   

To enter the Master of Fine Arts you will:

  • have been awarded or qualified for a Bachelor of Design with Honours or Bachelor of Fine Arts with Honours (or equivalent) with a minimum B average, or

Have been awarded or qualified for a Postgraduate Diploma in Fine Arts or Postgraduate Diploma in Design (or equivalent) with a minimum B average, or

  • have been awarded a relevant Bachelor’s degree with a minimum B average and demonstrated relevant industry or professional experience.

You will also need to:

  • take part in an interview
  • provide a portfolio of design work
  • provide verified copies of all academic transcripts for studies taken at all universities other than Massey University.

Application closing date

Applications for this qualification close on:

  • 30 November 2022 (for a Semester One start).

English language requirements

To study this qualification you must meet Massey University's English language standards.

Prior learning, credit and exemptions

For information on prior learning, exemptions and transfer of credit or other questions:

English language skills

If you need help with your English language skills before you start university, see our English for Academic Purposes (EAP) courses.

Maximum time limits for completion

There are maximum time limits to complete postgraduate qualifications.  If you do not complete within the maximum time, you may be required to re-apply for the qualification if you wish to continue your studies.

Time limits for Honours, Distinction and Merit

Where your qualification is completed within the stated time limit and to a high standard, you may be able to graduate with a class of Honours, Distinction or Merit. 

Official regulations

To understand what you need to study and must complete to graduate read the official rules and regulations or this qualification.

You should read these together with all other relevant Statutes and Regulations of the University including the General Regulations for Postgraduate Degrees, Postgraduate Diplomas, and Postgraduate Certificates.

Returning students

For returning students, there may be changes to the majors and minors available and the courses you need to take. Go to the section called ‘Transitional Provisions’ in the Regulations to find out more.

In some cases the programme or specialisation you enrolled in may no longer be taking new enrolments, so may not appear on these web pages. To find information on the regulations for these qualifications go to the Massey University Calendar.

Please contact us through the Get advice button on this page if you have any questions.

Structure of the Master of Fine Arts

If you study full-time, you’ll take 120 credits per year or 60 credits per semester.

Courses and specialisations

Key terms

Courses
Each qualification has its own specific set of courses. Some universities call these papers. You enrol in courses after you get accepted into Massey.
Course code
Each course is numbered using 6 digits. The fourth number shows the level of the course. For example, in course 219206, the fourth number is a 2, so it is a 200-level course (usually studied in the second year of full-time study).
Credits
Each course is worth a number of credits. You combine courses (credits) to meet the total number of credits needed for your qualification.
Specialisations
Some qualifications let you choose what subject you'd like to specialise in. Your major or endorsement is what you will take the majority of your courses in.

Credit summary

240 credits

  • Part One studio praxis courses – 120 credits
  • Part Two thesis – 120 credits

This is a parts-based qualification. This means there are regulations around your completion of Part One before progressing to Part Two, etc.

Course planning key

Prerequisites
Courses that need to be completed before moving onto a course at the next level. For example, a lot of 200-level courses have 100-level prerequisite courses.
Corequisites
Courses that must be completed at the same time as another course are known as corequisite courses.
Restrictions
Some courses are restricted against each other because their content is similar. This means you can only choose one of the offered courses to study and credit to your qualification.

Part One (Choose 120 credits from)

Choose 120 credits from
Course code: 197821 Advanced Studio Praxis I 60 credits

Through the generation and presentation of a body of advanced creative work, contextual writing and participation in masterclass sessions, students identify key issues in their practice and critically respond to the research context in which they are working.

View full course details
Course code: 197822 Advanced Studio Praxis II 60 credits

Students reflect on the advanced creative work they are undertaking and the critical perspectives they have explored to develop a practical and written framework for a significant body of new work. Students develop and present a research proposal for their Thesis Project alongside a selection of creative work.

Prerequisites: 197821

View full course details

Part Two (Choose 120 credits from)

Choose 120 credits from
Course code: 197810 Thesis 120 credits

In this programme of independent research students generate and present a distinctive body of new work that demonstrates innovative engagement with art/ design practice. The thesis comprises the presented creative work and an exegesis.

Prerequisites: (197805, 197806, 197807) or 197822

View full course details
Course code: 197811 Thesis 120 Credit Part 1 60 credits

A supervised and guided independent study resulting in a published work.

Prerequisites: (197805 and 197806 and 197807) or 197822

View full course details
Course code: 197812 Thesis 120 Credit Part 2 60 credits

A supervised and guided independent study resulting in a published work.

Prerequisites: (197805, 197806, 197807) or 197822 Corequisites: 197811

View full course details

Subjects

Some qualifications let you choose what subject you'd like to specialise in. Your major or endorsement is what you will take the majority of your courses in.

Fees and scholarships

Fees, student loans and free fees scheme

Your tuition fees may be different depending on the courses you choose. Your exact fees will show once you have chosen your courses.

There will also be some compulsory non-tuition fees and for some courses, there may also be charges for things such as study resources, software, trips and contact workshops.

Already know which courses you're going to choose?

You can view fees for the courses that make up your qualification on the course details pages.

Student loans (StudyLink) and Fees Free scheme

You may be eligible for a student loan to help towards paying your fees.

The New Zealand Government offers fees-free tertiary study for eligible domestic students. Find out more about the scheme and your eligibility on the Fees Free website. To use the site's eligibility checking tool, you will need your National Student Number.

Current and returning Massey students can find their National Student Number in the student portal.

Fees disclaimer

This information is for estimation purposes only. Actual fees payable will be finalised on confirmation of enrolment. Unless otherwise stated, all fees shown are quoted in New Zealand dollars and include Goods and Services Tax, if any. Before relying on any information on these pages you should also read the University's Disclaimer Notice.

Careers and job opportunities

MFA graduates go on to diverse careers in the private and public sectors, including design, technology, business, fine art, writing and education. A rigorous two-year MFA in design or fine arts is widely respected not only in North America but in countries in Asia, South and Central America and parts of Europe that look to the US model.

“I'd never intellectualised my process before. This was the first time I'd actually gone, 'Why am I doing this? What does this actually mean?’”
Jon Toogood

Musician

Master of Fine Arts

Accreditations and rankings

QS Ranking - Art & Design

College of Creative Arts – Toi Rauwhārangi ranks in the global top 150 for art and design by QS World University Rankings.

Learn more