Master of Fine Arts (design or art)

The MFA is the College of Creative Arts' premier postgraduate qualification for practising designers and artists. The MFA emphasises the production of original creative work that is research-driven, critically engaged, expertly realised and highly innovative. It supports trans-, multi- or cross-disciplinary practices and media while also endorsing the development of specific art and design expertise.

How do I benefit?

An MFA from the College of Creative Arts offers:

  • fresh Pacific perspectives within a globally-connected programme
  • the only MFA outside North America to follow the internationally-recognised US model
  • study in Wellington, the coolest little capital in the world as well as by distance
  • unique creative retreats to regional New Zealand
  • self-directed research where transdisciplinary conversations and highly focused subject-specific investigations are open to you
  • easy access to art and design researchers on staff for supervision and mentoring
  • a warm, friendly, high-achieving peer learning community
  • a strong programme of visiting designers, artists and critics (international and local, e.g. Pasifika artists in residence)
  • opportunities to attend and present at symposia, conferences, exhibitions, study tours, and festivals locally, nationally and internationally
  • studio space organised to facilitate individual and collective activities
  • comphensive technical expertise and facilities, including two material workshops, a large lighting studio, a substantial photographic lab, test spaces, print room, textile and fashion labs and Australasia’s first Fab Lab
  • access to academic researchers recognized internationally for their innovative creative practices.

Schedule and application deadlines

Massey offers two ways to do the MFA:

  • Full-time: on campus in Wellington, including postgraduate studio space on site. This takes two years. Study by distance is possible but should be discussed with coordinators.
  • Part-time: on campus in Wellington or by distance, shared studio space on site. This option takes three to four years, with the option to go full time during the supervised semesters.

The MFA begins one week before classes start with an orientation event. Each semester is punctuated by two huis including critiques of work by all students across the two year levels.

Application deadline for all MFA candidates: November 15 (January start). Late applications will be considered on a case by case basis.

Watch this space for announcement of 12 new research project awards open to MDes and MFA students starting study in 2019.


A full-time MFA study load is 120 credits per year. Low residency students generally enrol in 60 credits per year.

The MFA courses are:
197.821 Postgraduate Studio and Seminar (60 credits)
197.822 Thesis Project Preparation (60 credits)
In these courses, students generate and present an advanced body of exploratory work directed towards the articulation of their thesis project. They engage with current ideas, historical precedents, critical perspectives and contexts, pushing their creative practice.
197.811 Thesis 120 Credit Part 1 (60 credits)
197.812 Thesis 120 Credit Part 2 (60 credits)
The thesis is a studio-based programme of research that results in a significant body of creative work, presented through exhibition, a presentation, and an exegesis.


CoCA Yellow Book      Your Guide to Creative Arts 2020

  • Where can I go from here?

    The Massey MFA is based on the US model and is the only MFA outside North America to be officially recognised by the US National Association of Schools of Art and Design. It is widely recognised - not only in North America but also in Asia, South and Central America and parts of Europe. MFA graduates go on to diverse careers in the private and public sectors, including design, technology, business, fine art, writing and education.

  • Key facts

    Due date: November 15. Late applications are being accepted subject to available spaces.
    Suitable for: designers and artists with a good Honours degree or equivalent.
    Fees: $6,770.70 - $8,793.70 (indicative full-time), domestic students (further fees information here).
    Location: Wellington
    Full-time: two years
    Part-time option: yes