Master of Fine Art

National Art School

Program Description

Master of Fine Art

National Art School

The Master of Fine Art by Research (MFA) is designed for practising artists who wish to develop specific research interests in their studio production towards a higher level of professional expertise. It is delivered over two 48-week academic years in a full-time study mode or an equivalent part-time duration.

The MFA is a “Research by Project” degree whereby a candidate proposes and undertakes the development of a studio research project in a selected studio discipline. The MFA exemplifies the School’s central belief in the studio model of learning that promotes dialogues between studio practice and theory. Offering a program within discrete studio disciplines affirms the importance of developing studio skills and thinking pertinent to each discipline. The MFA candidate is expected to produce a highly developed and resolved body of work and a supporting written document which provides a critical context for their studio practice.

Studio Disciplines offered include: Ceramics, Drawing, Painting, Photography, Printmaking and Sculpture.

MFA Studio Research Program

Each MFA candidate’s studio research is self-directed in consultation with assigned supervisors whose own practices and experiences are relevant to the candidate’s project. The research project demands autonomous studio investigation and theoretical reflection, with support, guidance and critical comment provided through individual tutorials, formal studio critiques, peer discussions and reviews. In addition to this individual supervision, formal group studio critiques provide candidates with another valuable forum for discussion about their studio research projects.

MFA Symposium Program

In addition to the studio research program, regular symposia, in the form of lectures, seminars and candidate presentations are held during each academic year in order to provide candidates with an additional critical context for the development of their studio research. Candidates are expected to deliver presentations on their studio research at regular intervals, providing the opportunity for critical discussion of their developing research direction. A group seminar which interrogates historical and theoretical texts is also an integral part of the Symposium program. Additionally, research methodology lectures and meetings are offered throughout the year to assist candidates in the organisation of the written component of their research project. The integration of lectures, seminar groups, discussions and candidate presentations in the symposium program synthesises theory and practice appropriate to the development of the candidate’s individual research project.

Candidate Assessment

Entry to the MFA is assessed in two stages:

Stage One:

1). Previous Study

  • Australian or New Zealand Bachelor of Fine Art degree with Honours, or
  • overseas degree qualification in Fine Art considered equivalent, and
  • a credit average maintained in previous studies with Distinction or better completion of a Major at Honours level (Class I or Class II Division I) in the intended MFA specialisation

2). A comprehensive 500-1000 word MFA Research Project Proposal

3). Supporting evidence of 12 examples of current works in the form of visual material (slides, video, CD, etc.) or equivalent

4). A curriculum vitae of achievements in the field of art practice, including exhibitions, research and publications

5). Consultation with Academic/Professional Referees nominated by the candidate

6). Evidence of meeting the NAS English language requirement (international students only)

Applicants considering a Drawing Major must have:

  • satisfied the above criteria in any studio major, and
  • a substantial portfolio of drawings demonstrating their suitability for acceptance into the Drawing MFA.

Stage Two

Successful Stage One applicants are invited for an interview with the Postgraduate Admissions Committee comprising:

  • the Postgraduate Coordinator, or nominee;
  • the Subject Leader of the relevant studio discipline(s), or nominee;
  • a specialist lecturer with relevant knowledge and expertise.

At interview, candidates will be required to present and discuss:

  • their MFA Research Project Proposal;
  • their portfolio of current work;
  • their goals in undertaking postgraduate academic studies at NAS;
  • their intentions in relation to their art practice.


Domestic students:

  • Full-time: $7,000 per year ($3,500 with Postgraduate Bursary)
  • Part-time: $3,500 per year

International students

$28,500 per year

This school offers programs in:
  • English

Last updated May 2, 2016
Duration & Price
This course is Campus based
Start Date
Start date
July 2017
2 years
Part time
Full time
7,000 AUD
Start date July 2017
Australia Sydney, New South Wales
Application deadline Request Info
End date Request Info
Duration 2 years
Price 7,000 AUD
- domestic students, 28,500 AUD - international students (per year, full-time)