Doctor of Fine Arts

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Doctor of Fine Arts (D.F.A.) is a doctoral degree in fine arts, may be given as an honorary degree (a degree honoris causa) or an earned professional degree (in the UK).


Doctoral programmes leading to DFAs are of equivalent level to a PhD/JD/MD/DO, with the same requirement to demonstrate new knowledge, but typically contain a practical component and a more structured programme of learning than a PhD/JD/MD/DO. DFA programmes are offered by universities including University of Hertfordshire and University of East London.

The honorary degree is typically conferred to honor the recipient who has made a significant contribution to society in the arts. Notable individuals who have received the honor include Taylor Swift,[1] Frank Stella,[2] Richard Serra,[3] Stephen Colbert,[4] Carmen De Lavallade,[5] Anna Deavere Smith,[5] Jacques d'Amboise,[6] Bill Pullman,[7] Abelardo Morell,[8] Twyla Tharp,[9] Gordon Parks,[10] Jack Nicholson,[11] Jodie Foster,[12] and Meryl Streep.[13]

At Yale University, the DFA is an earned degree conferred on students who hold a Master of Fine Arts degree in dramaturgy and dramatic criticism from the Yale School of Drama, and who have "completed MFA qualifying comprehensive examinations, and have written a dissertation of distinction whose subject has been approved by the DFA committee" of faculty.[14]

In 2016 ELIA (European League of the Institutes of the Arts) launched The Florence Principles on the Doctorate in the Arts.[15] The Florence Principles relating to the Salzburg Principles and the Salzburg Recommendations of EUA (European University Association) name seven points of attention to specify the Doctorate / Ph.D. in the Arts compared to a scientific doctorate / Ph.D. The Florence Principles have been endorsed and are supported also by AEC, CILECT, CUMULUS and SAR.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ FitzPatrick, Hayley. "Taylor Swift receives honorary degree from NYU, delivers address to Class of 2022". ABC News. Retrieved 2022-05-18.
  2. ^ "Frank Stella to Receive Honorary Doctor of Fine Arts - BU Today - Boston University".
  3. ^ Williams College – Commencement – Honorary Degree Citation 2008[permanent dead link]
  4. ^ "Top 10 Commencement Speeches". 16 May 2009. Archived from the original on May 18, 2009 – via
  5. ^ a b "The Juilliard Journal Online".
  6. ^ "National Dance Institute". Archived from the original on 2011-05-14. Retrieved 2011-06-01.
  7. ^ "404 - Page Not Found - Alfred University". {{cite web}}: Cite uses generic title (help)
  8. ^ "Artists - James Hyman: Fine Art and Photographs".
  9. ^ "Facts & Figures". Princeton University.
  10. ^ Honorary Degrees Awarded by Princeton Archived 2016-02-07 at the Wayback Machine
  11. ^ "Some Wisdom from Jack... and Binder!" Archived 2021-02-24 at the Wayback Machine – BlogDailyHerald. June 3, 2011.
  12. ^ "COMMENCEMENTS; At Yale, Honors for an Acting Chief".
  13. ^ "30 celebrities who received doctorate degrees without ever stepping foot in class".
  14. ^ Yale School of Drama Archived May 23, 2011, at the Wayback Machine