MFA vs. PhD

Subject: MFA vs. PhD
From: Chris DeLaurenti (
Date: Mon Oct 31 2005 - 18:40:46 EST

Recently, I was part of a panel that fielded questions from students about various aspects of sound art, electroacoustic music, and improvisation. We covered everything from field recording/phonography to doing sound design for games to the annoying ubiquity of certain MAX/MSP patches.

We came to an impasse when a music undergrad asked if she would be better off pursuing an MFA or a PhD. Apparently both are "terminal" degrees, but no one could agree. She makes electroacoustic music and is primarily interested in university/college teaching.

For folks on the list: do colleges/universities hire MFAs to teach sound art or does the Ph.D still hold sway? Does one carry more "weight" than another?

I have no experience in the matter - apart from seeing job postings seeking "Ph.D or equivalent (experience)" - and kept mum while the sparks (some of which seemed to be born of traumatic experience) flew.

Perhaps the question (and answers from the wise souls who know) might be of interest to others on the list?

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