Transform your creative practice
Embed yourself in a rich dialogue about your creative practice in Massey’s transdisciplinary MFA programme for artists and designers.
- Postgraduate, NZQF Level 9
- 2 year(s) full-time. Available part-time.
- Available for international students studying in NZ
- Selected entry programme
Note: This programme may have an on-campus or in-person requirement and therefore requires that students submit a current My Vaccine Pass on enrolment.
The Master of Fine Arts (MFA) has a strong collective philosophy. By bringing together students from design and fine arts, the MFA fosters intense conversations and exploration.
For designers and artists
Choose whether you want to graduate with an MFA in design, in fine arts or without endorsement if you believe your work cannot be framed in terms of either discipline.
We have had students join the programme whose undergraduate training is in fashion design, photography, textile design, industrial design, graphic design, fine arts and even music.
Internationally-recognised and unique in New Zealand
We have the largest number of internationally ranked researchers in visual art and design of any New Zealand university. All academic staff teaching into postgraduate programmes have significant research profiles.
The Massey MFA has been awarded ‘substantial equivalency’ status by the US National Association of Schools of Art and Design, putting it on a par with similar degrees from many leading US universities.
Rare in Australasia, the Massey MFA takes place over two years, offering you time to explore creatively, interrogate the fundamentals of your practice, and push your work in new directions. By the second year you will have a critically informed sense of who you are as a creative practitioner and carry that into your final thesis project.
Some of the things we value: lively debate, criticality, technical virtuosity; social engagement, challenge, metamorphosis and great kai.
Get the full picture
Careers and further study
MFA graduates go on to diverse careers in the private and public sectors, including design, technology, business, fine art, writing and education. A rigorous two-year MFA in design or fine arts is widely respected not only in North America but in countries in Asia, South and Central America and parts of Europe that look to the US model.
Extend your creative practice and research interests after your MFA with progressive work creating new knowledge with a PhD.
New Zealand is a great place to study. Massey University’s reputation is supported by our international rankings, accreditations and associations. We are rated five star plus by the QS World University Rankings.
Massey University has small class sizes, and our lecturers and staff are friendly and approachable.
As an international student, there are entry requirements that will apply to you. We recommend that you apply at least three months before your anticipated start date so your application can be processed in time. There are additional steps you will need to take. These include obtaining a visa and travel bookings if your study is to be in New Zealand.
All students must meet university entrance requirements to be admitted to the University.
This programme is a selected entry programme. This means there are a number of extra requirements you must meet.
To enter the Master of Fine Arts you will:
- have been awarded or qualified for a Bachelor of Design with Honours or Bachelor of Fine Arts with Honours (or equivalent) with a minimum B average, or
Have been awarded or qualified for a Postgraduate Diploma in Fine Arts or Postgraduate Diploma in Design (or equivalent) with a minimum B average, or
- have been awarded a relevant Bachelor’s degree with a minimum B average and demonstrated relevant industry or professional experience.
You will also need to:
- take part in an interview
- provide a portfolio of design work
- provide verified copies of all academic transcripts for studies taken at all universities other than Massey University.
Application closing date
If you are a new-to-Massey student, applications for this programme close on:
- 30 November 2021 (for a Semester One start).
English language requirements
To study this programme you must meet Massey University's English language standards.
Prior learning, credit and exemptions
For information on prior learning, exemptions and transfer of credit or other questions:
- review the Recognition of Prior Learning regulations
- contact us through the Enquire button on this page.
If you do not have the entry requirements
English language and foundation courses
If you need help with your English language skills before you start university, we have courses and qualifications that may help.
Courses and planning
- Part One studio praxis courses – 120 credits
- Part Two thesis – 120 credits
This is a parts-based qualification. This means there are regulations around your completion of Part One before progressing to Part Two, etc.
Courses for this programme
Planning your programme
If you study full-time, you’ll take 120 credits per year or 60 credits per semester.
The Master of Fine Arts is awarded in either Fine Arts or Design. The subject will be specified following the successful completion of Part One.
Maximum time limits for completion
There are maximum time limits to complete postgraduate qualifications. If you do not complete within the maximum time, you may be required to re-apply for the programme if you wish to continue your studies.
Time limits for Honours, Distinction and Merit
Where your qualification is completed within the stated time limit and to a high standard, you may be able to graduate with a class of Honours, Distinction or Merit.
- Look for information under ‘Student Progression’ in the General Regulations for Postgraduate Degrees, Postgraduate Diplomas and Postgraduate Certificates.
- Contact us through the Enquire button on this page if you have any questions.
Fees and scholarships
Fees and finance
Fees, student loans and free fees scheme
Your tuition fees may be different depending on the courses you choose. Your exact fees will show once you have chosen your courses.
There will also be some compulsory non-tuition fees and for some courses, there may also be charges for things such as study resources, software, trips and contact workshops.
- Get an estimate of the tuition fees for your qualification
- View a list of non-tuition fees that may be payable
Already know which courses you're going to choose?
You can view fees for the courses that make up your qualification on the course details pages.
Student loans (StudyLink) and Fees Free scheme
You may be eligible for a student loan to help towards paying your fees.
The New Zealand Government offers fees-free tertiary study for eligible domestic students. Find out more about the scheme and your eligibility on the Fees Free website. To use the site's eligibility checking tool, you will need your National Student Number.
Current and returning Massey students can find their National Student Number in the student portal.
A good fit if you:
- crave depth, stretch, disruption and transformation in your creative work
- thrive in a transdisciplinary environment
- value both the conceptual and the material in your creative practice.
Meet our students
I'd never intellectualised my process before. This was the first time I'd actually gone, 'Why am I doing this? What does this actually mean?’” Jon Toogood
Accreditations and rankings
Massey University's College of Creative Arts is ranked as one of the Top 100 art and design schools in the world by QS (Quacquarelli Symonds).
Key information for students
Compare qualifications and academic information across different New Zealand institutions.
Review this important information before you apply for this programme. This gives you full details of the rules and regulations about what you need to study and what you must achieve in order to graduate with this qualification. That includes structure, courses and requirements. These regulations should be read in conjunction with all other Statutes and Regulations of the University including the below.
Applying and enrolling
Applying for the programme
Check you are ready
If you are ready to apply, have a look at our application checklist. It will help you get prepared with what you need. Please also check the entry requirements carefully before you apply.
Choose your programme and click on Apply now
You will apply for the programme using the Apply now button on this page. You’ll also choose your specialisation (major, subject or endorsement) if applicable.
Some programmes have additional requirements such as the submission of a portfolio or CV. Click on Apply now and you will be able to submit those documents as part of the application process.
Receive and accept an Admission Offer of Place
You will receive an Admission Offer of Place when you have been accepted into the programme. You need to accept this before you can enrol in your courses. International students also need to pay their fees at this point.
Enrolling in courses
You’ll then get access to your own student homepage (also known as the student portal). This is where you can enrol in courses. Any updates on your application or enrolments will also be on your student homepage. Make sure you check this regularly.
When you choose courses, ensure you check for any requirements that apply including:
- prerequisites (courses you have to do before the one you are enrolling in)
- corequisites (courses you have to do at the same time as the one you are enrolling in)
- restrictions (courses that you cannot enrol in if you are completing or have completed another identified similar course)
- location – for instance some distance-based courses still have an on-campus element, so double check that the way the course is taught is suitable for your situation.
Each of our courses has its own webpage where you can find this information. You can use our course search to find course pages.
More information on courses is in the ‘Courses for this programme’ section on this page.
You can find information on application due dates and semester dates on the key dates page.
We look forward to welcoming you to Massey!
If you have any questions, contact us through the Enquire button on this page.
What are courses and credits?
What are courses and credits?
Each Massey programme is made up of courses (in some tertiary institutions they are called ‘papers’).
You will have some compulsory courses and some you can choose from.
Each course is worth a certain amount of credits (often 15 credits, but this does vary). You must gain a set number of credits to be able to graduate from this programme.
There may also be some rules about which courses you need to pass to progress to the next year, or stage, of your study (known as progression). There are also courses you must pass to graduate with a specialisation.
- See the ‘Courses for this programme’ section for the list of courses.
- Courses search
Understanding course numbers
The first three digits of our course numbers show you which subject the course is about.
The second three digits show you the level and course ID number. For instance:
- sub-degree courses are '0' (i.e. xxx.0xx)
- undergraduate study begins at 100-level, (i.e. xxx.1xx)
- as you progress through 200- and 300-level courses this number changes to 2 and 3 respectively. The higher the number that starts the second three digits, the higher the level of study.
|Subject area||Level||Course ID number|
Workload and time management
Use this tool to help determine how much time you will need each week to complete your studies.
For returning students, there may be changes to the majors and minors available and the courses you need to take. Go to the section called ‘Transitional Provisions’ in the Regulations to find out more.
In some cases the programme or specialisation you enrolled in may no longer be taking new enrolments, so may not appear on these web pages. To find information on the regulations for these programmes go to the Massey University Calendar.
Please contact us through the Enquire button on this page if you have any questions.
Scholarships and awards
Scholarships related to this programme
- Collin Post Memorial Scholarship in Sculpture
- Massey University Master's Research Scholarship
- Peter Turner Scholarship in Contemporary Photography
There are a number of scholarships available for new and current students. They could relate to your situation, achievement or interest.