2019 Best Online MFA Programs

MFA-Top Online Colleges-2019-Badge

The following 10 schools provide the best online MFA programs. At the top of the list is Minnesota State University at Mankato where students can obtain a Master of Fine Arts in Forensics for less than $10,000 per year with alumni reporting over $103,200 in median annual salary. Savannah College of Art and Design, ranked eighth, offers a variety of online MFA programs including Graphic Design, Illustration, Motion Media Design, and Painting.

Alumni salaries were provided by PayScale. View our methodology for more details or learn more about SR Education Group.

Find an Online Degree:
Rank School Annual Tuition Median Salary
#1 #1 Minnesota State University at Mankato $6,582 $103,200
#2 #2 Albertus Magnus College $21,960 $103,300
#3 #3 National University $12,900 $79,863
#4 #4 Western New England University $15,216 $74,200
#5 #5 Liberty University $16,950 $71,987
#6 #6 Southern New Hampshire University Online $15,048 $70,212
#7 #7 Radford University $22,320 $67,775
#8 #8 Savannah College of Art and Design $37,530 $67,200
#9 #9 University of Nebraska at Omaha $16,050 $56,893
#10 #10 Lindenwood University $11,520 $46,200
Salary data provided by Payscale Logo. Updated 2018.
  • Annual Tuition: $6,582
  • Median Salary: $103,200
  • School Type: Non-Profit
  • Accreditation: HLC
Learn More

Minnesota State University at Mankato offers a Master of Fine Arts in Forensics entirely online. This 48 credit hour program requires that students complete a thesis in order to graduate and generally takes three years to complete, though some students complete their coursework sooner. Students in this program can take courses in Foundations of Forensic Vocational Rehabilitation Consultation, Law and the Forensic Rehabilitation Consultant, Socioeconomic Costs of Acquired Disability, and Case Analysis and Opinion Development, among many other courses.

Online Master's Degrees (1)

  • Annual Tuition: $21,960
  • Median Salary: $103,300
  • School Type: Non-Profit
  • Accreditation: NECHE
Learn More

Albertus Magnus College located in New Haven, Connecticut offers an entirely online Master of Arts in Writing degree to interested distance learners. Applicants should have a 3.0 GPA, along with a creative writing sample, a 750- to 1,000-word essay on "The Writer's Journey," and a resume of past work experience and education. Classes in this program include The Creative Process, The Literary Marketplace, Seminar in Poetry, and Readings in Fiction, among quite a few others.

Online Master's Degrees (1)

  • Annual Tuition: $12,900
  • Median Salary: $79,863
  • School Type: Non-Profit
  • Accreditation: WASC ACCJC and WASC WSCUC
Learn More

National University, which offers over 100 online and on-campus degrees, is currently providing an online Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing and a Master of Fine Arts in Professional Screenwriting. In order to graduate from the Creative Writing program, students must complete 58.5 quarter units. Distance learners in this program can take courses such as Writing for Young Adults, Seminar in Literary Theory, Multicultural Literature, Literary Period or Movement, Seminar in Poetry, Composition Pedagogy, and History of Rhetoric. The Professional Screenwriting program requires 78.75 quarter units of graduate work for completion.

  • Annual Tuition: $15,216
  • Median Salary: $74,200
  • School Type: Non-Profit
  • Accreditation: NECHE
Learn More

Western New England University offers a Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing, which can be completed in a low-residency format. The university allows students to create their own individualized curriculum, which consists of four residencies and coursework totaling 48 hours in order to graduate. Generally, this program takes two years for most distance learners to complete. Students must also complete a creative thesis, which will be approved by their faculty advisor. There is also a critical essay due at the end of the student's 3rd residency.

Online Master's Degrees (1)

  • Annual Tuition: $16,950
  • Median Salary: $71,987
  • School Type: Non-Profit
  • Accreditation: SACS COC and TRACS
Learn More

Liberty University‘s 100% online 60 credit Master of Fine Arts in Studio & Digital Arts provides a practical mix of essential theory with specialized artistic skill training that will hone students’ talents for digital art creation. This program consists of 30 credit hours of core courses, nine credit hours of art history and theory courses, nine hours of elective courses, six hours of field experience courses, and six hours of thesis and project courses. Students in this program can take courses such as Advanced Typography, Character Design, Web & New Media, Interactive Game Design, and Interactive Publication.

  • Annual Tuition: $15,048
  • Median Salary: $70,212
  • School Type: Non-Profit
  • Accreditation: NECHE
Learn More

Southern New Hampshire University Online offers a Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing that can be accessed by distance learners across the country. Students must complete a total of 48 credit hours in order to graduate with their MFA degree. Courses in this program include Advanced Studies in Genre Literature, The Publishing Ecosystem, Finding and Reaching an Audience, and Copy and Content Writing. Current tuition is set at $1,881 per course or $627 per credit hour.

Online Master's Degrees (1)

  • Annual Tuition: $22,320
  • Median Salary: $67,775
  • School Type: Non-Profit
  • Accreditation: SACS COC
Learn More

Radford University, located in Radford, Virginia, offers a unique online Master of Fine Arts in Design Thinking. This is a terminal degree program that requires 60 credit hours in order to graduate. Coursework focuses on five major subjects: Design Thinking, Design History, Design Research, Design Management, and Design Doing. The courses include Instructional Design and Evaluation, Advanced Design Studio, International Art History, and Design Theory and Research. Students who are enrolled full-time will usually complete their degree in two years, while part-time students typically complete their degree in four years.

Online Master's Degrees (1)

  • Annual Tuition: $37,530
  • Median Salary: $67,200
  • School Type: Non-Profit
  • Accreditation: SACS COC
Learn More

Savannah College of Art and Design offers online Master of Fine Arts degrees in Graphic Design, Fashion, Illustration, Painting, Photography, Animation, Interactive Design and Game Development, Motion Media Design, and Writing. Students in the Interactive Design and Game Development program can take courses such as Game Design Documentation, Visual Interface and Information Design, Character Development, Interactive Web Design, and Scripting for Interactivity. This degree requires that students complete a total of 90 credit hours in order to graduate.

  • Annual Tuition: $16,050
  • Median Salary: $56,893
  • School Type: Non-Profit
  • Accreditation: HLC
Learn More

The University of Nebraska at Omaha is currently offering distance learners a comprehensive Master of Fine Arts in Writing degree. There are four genres included in this degree: Adult or Young Adult Fiction, Poetry, Stage & Screen, and Creative Nonfiction. In order to graduate with this degree, students must complete 60 total credit hours. There are also three possible models that students can follow when obtaining their degree: Traditional Low Residency MFA in Writing, Partial Substitution of Credit Hours Already Earned, and Partial Substitution of Credit Hours Earned Through Additional Coursework. The latter two tracks allow students to transfer credits from another graduate school or other coursework from the University of Nebraska at Omaha.

Online Master's Degrees (1)

  • Annual Tuition: $11,520
  • Median Salary: $46,200
  • School Type: Non-Profit
  • Accreditation: HLC
Learn More

Located in St. Charles, Missouri, Lindenwood University's Master of Fine Arts in Writing can be completed entirely online. There are four deadlines for admission: May 1st, August 1st, November 1st, and February 1st. Admission into the program requires a writing sample that should include seven to ten pages of creative work. Potential students must also include a one to two-page statement of purpose with their application. In order to graduate, enrolled M.F.A. students must complete 48 total credit hours, which includes three hours of thesis work.

Online Master's Degrees (1)

Online MFA Overview

Program Requirements

Online master's degrees in art and design are much more variable in course content and requirements than undergraduate degrees. These programs may include anywhere from 36 to 72 semester credits, as well as a significant amount of hands-on studio work.

Curriculum

Students in an online MFA program typically devote one to three years taking studio and theory courses while also working on a thesis project. The structure of the thesis will depend on the degree's focus. For example, painting students might be required to paint a complete work of visual art, while a graphic design student might develop a series of advertisements for a particular product.

Online art and design programs in areas such as illustration, painting, or fashion design may require students to scan and upload their work for their professor's critique. Some online art and design degrees, such as those in architecture or interior design, require that students travel to campus to participate in seminars and design labs.

Graduates can use the master's credential to qualify for advanced positions in creative businesses and design firms; others can use the degree to further develop their artistic mission in order to create works of art for sale or display. Graduates who enter more commercial areas of art and design can qualify for supervisory or leadership positions with the master's degree.

0% of users found this page helpful Was this page helpful?
This website offers school details to prospective students as an informational resource. The appearance of a school listing on this website should not be interpreted as an endorsement by the school of this site.
Recommendation rate refers to the percent of students who said they would recommend this school based on reviews submitted to our partner site, GradReports.com.
This indicates that a school has an annual tuition of $15,000 or less as reported to the National Center for Education Statistics or based on the school's website.