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Fine Art - MFA

The potential in this programme is ultimately to advance great art work and process that matters to you and to others.

What to Expect
The MFA programme is based around the idea of visual arts practices as inquiries into how we understand and interpret the world. Students are encouraged to reflect on their individual research pathway, to communicate their ideas effectively and to situate their work in relation to the spectrum of contemporary art discourse and practice.

On this programme we are interested, as visual artists, in discussing, making and framing those things that encourage you to look or listen again – the things that alter how you see the world – things that you and we mentally refer to and reflect upon. This is advanced in relation to negotiating and developing your personal inquiry in the visual arts and in finding new ways of making, modelling and connecting this knowledge to the professional field of the visual arts and in relation to people, situations and your peers.

The MFA programme is offered through the discipline pathways of Fine Print, Media, Painting, Sculpture, Textile Art, and Ceramics & Glass. Within this structure students can develop specialist skills and also engage with trans-disciplinary and expanded forms of practice.

The spine of this programme is centred upon an experiential art practice engagement with structured components that explore research methods and contemporary practices. The advanced study required at masters level is informed by contemporary practice based co-ordinates delivered by leading professionals in the field, including artists, curators, writers and those from other relevant backgrounds. The course will also foster your ability to know and to name the kind of knowledge being produced and has a written component in which students reflect on their research in a critical context.

The School also offers
MFA Digital Art, for students who wish to explore contemporary art practice in the digital world and gather the skills needed to harness the creative possibilities provided by new technologies.

MFA Art in the Contemporary World (with the School of Visual Culture): Students who successfully complete taught elements of the MA Art in the Contemporary World (page 104) can proceed on the basis of a suitable portfolio to a second year of studio based study towards an MFA degree.

Opportunities to Engage
These programmes have their foundations in a consistent commitment to the 'publication' of practice through exhibition. These moments of public exhibition come both through clusters of testing work within and outside the academy, but also in the public exhibition of the student's major research project at the end of their studies. These exhibitions have been developed in different locations, and are a significant feature of the Dublin and Irish cultural landscape.

The programme is developed around a pathways model that affords specialism in relation to known and expanded conceptions of contemporary painting, print, sculpture, and the digital world. You choose engagement with a range of discursive seminars and lectures across areas of socially engaged practices, digital world perspectives, theoretical coordinates and interdisciplinary components - some drawing upon our close relationship with University College Dublin.

Entry requirements

The programme is open to graduates with an honours degree award of 2.2 or higher, or an equivalent academic or professional qualification in a related discipline. The College also takes into consideration prior learning and experience.

English language: Students who have not been educated through English must show proof of achieving IELTS 6.5 (with a minimum of 6 in the writing section on the academic version) or an equivalent score in another accepted test.


2 years

Number of credits

120 ECTS credits / Taught masters

Careers or further progression

After Your Degree
An MFA qualification is generally accepted as a prerequisite for further professional development in art and related fields. The alumni of the MFA at NCAD have gone on to pursue a variety of careers as artists, curators, academics, doctoral researchers and entrepreneurial arts professionals in expanded fields.

Dublin and Ireland have a vibrant visual arts sector that embraces contemporary art museums, formal gallery spaces, private galleries, artist initiated/artist run spaces. The culture and society are known across the world as offering established and alternative ways of engaging. Dublin is home to a smart, dynamic, curious, friendly and youthful population that contributes to its reputation as an active, engaging and outward-looking European city.

Further enquiries

Programme Contact
Philip Napier:

MFA Fine Art
Sarah Durcan :

MFA Digital Art
Leah Hilliard :

MFA Art in the Contemporary World
Dr Declan Long :
Dr Francis Halsall :

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