Daniel Grant of The Chronicle of Higher Education examines the slow death of the M.F.A. as an artists “terminal degree.”
Devaluing the M.F.A. or making the doctorate the fine-art world’s terminal degree is likely to drive away professional artists who have a lot to offer in terms of guidance and example. Having active, commercially viable artists working in colleges and universities is something that should be encouraged. Are we likely to have artists of high caliber employed at the college level if they are required to undergo an academic program that takes five or six years, rather than just one or two? Requiring a Ph.D. is also likely to drive artists away from art, as time spent working on the dissertation equals time away from the studio. Some artists may leave the field of fine arts entirely, becoming theoreticians, historians, and fine-arts scholars instead of practitioners.