Master of Fine Arts

The Master of Fine Arts is a full time, two-year, low-residency programme enabling enrolled artists to live and work anywhere within New Zealand.

Whitecliffe Master of Fine Arts students experience intelligent discussion, rigorous critique, and high-quality encounters with exceptional artists, curators, writers, and arts professionals from New Zealand and overseas, graduating with the skills to become leaders in their chosen field.

Key dates

February 2022 Intake 08 • 02 • 22

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Duration

2 years, low residency or in Auckland

Qualification

Master of Fine Arts (Level 9) 240 credits

Costs

2021 Domestic $9,225 + $300 Student Services Levy
2021 International $27,000 + $300 Student Services Levy
Fees free applies
All 2021 fees are subject to change and regulatory approval

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Master of Fine Arts Course Outline

The Master of Fine Arts is a full-time, two-year (year one at level 8, year two at level 9), low-residency programme enabling enrolled artists to live and work anywhere in New Zealand. Designed around four, week-long seminars per year, the programme is delivered by faculty and guests that are nationally and internationally respected artists, critics, writers, and curators. According to their interests and proposed direction of study, students are assigned two supervisors to support their studio practice as it develops from semester to semester in order to best support their direction and research throughout the programme.

The programme prepares artists for a professional career working within a diverse field of contemporary art practices across local and international contexts. The interdisciplinary structure and philosophy support artists in understanding how art and artworks operate in the world, and through regular critique, supervisory guidance, seminar participation, and a focus on exhibition and publication practice assists them to develop their individual approach to practice and research.

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Programme Overview

The Master of Fine Arts programme is built around a comprehensive programme of supervised studio research and contextual studies requiring self-directed learning and continuing professional development. The principal aims are for students to extend their established creative capacity, develop critical skills, and foster a mature understanding of the relationships between their work and contemporary culture. The intensive format of the seminars is structured around themed discussions, guest artist presentations, exhibitions visits, and studio critique.

Intensive, week-long seminars are held four times annually on the Auckland campus. By the completion of the MFA students will present:

  • An oral presentation in their final semester outlining research direction and emphasis
  • A blog site showcasing analysis of influential modes of practice and critical debate
  • A printed catalogue containing critical essays and photographic evidence of key projects
  • A final public exhibition of works contributing to their chosen field of practice

Final Exhibition

The final Master of Fine Arts exhibition, attended by artists, art dealers, critics, curators, and other arts professionals, is the most significant event in the programme - the point at which an international or national artist or critic helps the internal panel assess each student’s research on its sophistication, critical awareness, and professionalism. It is the springboard for our new graduates to move on from the educational sphere to life as professional artists.

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Life After a Master of Fine Arts

Many of our graduates have gone on to be successful exhibiting artists, both in New Zealand and overseas. However, a Fine Arts degree also prepares graduates for a wide range of careers, giving them essential skills for the modern job market: the ability to think creatively and flexibly; to work independently or collaboratively; to respond constructively to criticism, and to participate in intelligent debate. Our emphasis on business skills - such as budgeting, marketing, career management, and public relations - also prepares graduates for self-employment or to engage in a range of creative industries.

Key Information for Students

NZ Government key information link for students, that provides more information to support your decision making for this programme

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Admission Requirements

Domestic Student Entry Requirements:

  • Completed application form
  • Official transcripts of a bachelor's degree (or equivalent) and/or other academic qualifications
  • Portfolio: A typical portfolio comprises 10-15 digital images of key works or projects and one or two examples of contextual research in written form (digital format only required for application)
  • A current curriculum vitae
  • Three referee contact details
  • A statement of intent outlining the direction/emphasis of the work you wish to develop as part of the MFA programme

International Student Entry Requirements:

  • Completed application form
  • Passport copy
  • Minimum Age: Students must turn 18 within their first year of study at Whitecliffe
  • IELTS Academic overall score of 6.5 with no band less than 6.0 or equivalent
  • Official transcripts of a bachelor's degree (or equivalent) and/or other academic qualifications
  • Portfolio: A typical portfolio comprises 10-15 digital images of key works or projects and one or two examples of contextual research in written form (digital format only require for application)
  • A current curriculum vitae
  • Three referee contact details
  • A statement of intent outlining the direction/emphasis of the work you wish to develop as part of the MFA programme
MFA Exhibition

Where could this programme take you?

Many of our graduates have gone on to be successful exhibiting artists, both in New Zealand and overseas. However, a Fine Arts degree also prepares graduates for a wide range of careers, giving them essential skills for the modern job market: the ability to think creatively and flexibly; to work independently or collaboratively; to respond constructively to criticism, and to participate in intelligent debate. Our emphasis on business skills - such as budgeting, marketing, career management, and public relations - also prepares graduates for self-employment or to engage in a range of creative industries.

Jobs related to this programme

Exhibiting Artist

Curatorial Assistant

Gallery Manager

Secondary School Teacher

Tertiary Teacher

Arts Administrator

Art Consultant

Set Design and Construction

Art Magazine Editor

Art Project Manager

Find out more about career opportunities

Talk to our team

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If you would like to ask us a question or request more information, please detail your enquiry using the form below. If you would like you can contact us directly on 0800 800 300, email us or use the contact us form.

Apply Online

Apply online today to study at New Zealand's leading private Arts, Design Fashion and Technology school, producing the highest quality graduates and shaping exceptional creative citizens.