As soon as the creative arts migrated from academies into colleges and universities, questions about accreditation and evaluation arose. From its inception, the master of fine arts (MFA) degree has been problematic. Although the College Art Association published standards for the MFA in 1977, confusion remains between this terminal degree and the nonterminal master’s degree (MA) in fine arts. Some believe that the solution to this problem is to establish the PhD as the terminal degree in fine arts; however, this solution is problematic in other ways: Standard approaches to research and publication in PhD programs do not mesh with the reality of studio-based creative inquiry and production. A better solution might be the development of a doctor of fine arts (DFA) degree.

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