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Master of Fine Arts (MFA) Programs in New Mexico

Oct 13, 2019

This article explores four schools in the state of New Mexico where students can earn a Master of Fine Arts (MFA) degree. Learn more about the wide range of programs, including details about credits required and admission requirements.

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The state of New Mexico has at least four universities that offers MFA programs. The program options include writing, dance, cultural technology, and traditional studio art.

Universities in New Mexico offering an MFA

New Mexico State University

New Mexico State University offers courses such as Lyric and Identity in the Late Twentieth Century and Environmental Literature and Media, 1836-Present for its MFA program in Creative Writing. The 54-credit hour requirement consists of 12 credit hours in the student's major genre of poetry or fiction in workshops, 3 credit hours in his or her minor genre, 6 credit hours of technique courses, 12 credit hours of literature courses, 6 credit hours in thesis work, 6 to 12 credit hours of master workshops, and 3 to 12 credit hours of elective courses. The students graduate with a book length, publishable manuscript. New Mexico State University's premise in teaching Creative Writing is to engage students in critical analysis of literature, while adding to the greater whole of creative work.

Institute of American Indian Arts

The Institute of American Indian Arts offers an MFA in Creative Writing. It follows a low residency model in which students meet on campus twice a year for a weeklong residency before returning home for an at-home 16-week independent study. Students are matched with faculty mentors who suit their academic interests. The Institute of American Indian Arts is known for its expertise in indigenous and global literature. Both native and non-native writers are invited to apply. The program is a two-year, 48 credit-hour curriculum, and graduation requirements include a thesis of up to 150 pages, craft essays, and public readings.

The University of New Mexico

The University of New Mexico offers several MFA options to graduate students including Studio Art, Dance, and Dramatic Writing. Each of the programs requires 60 credit hours. Dance students fulfill choreography requirements and complete a dissertation; experience educating others may be an option for those meeting qualifications. Writing students will end their program with a portfolio made up of at least six scripts. The MFA in Art Studio culminates in a solo exhibition, public presentation, and dissertation. This is a terminal degree in art, and students are expected to come away from the program with a solid understanding of teaching pedagogy as well as expertise in their medium.

New Mexico Highlands University

New Mexico Highlands University offers a unique MFA in Cultural Technology (MFACT). It takes three years total to complete, including two and a half years of coursework and half a year of thesis work. The program seeks to award terminal degrees to cultural technologists capable of working in multimedia environments. Examples of courses include: Media Theory, Exhibition Design, and Cultural Technology Internships. The entire program is 60 credit hours in length, 24 of those credit hours being in seminars and 8 in cultural technology exhibition and internships.

Program Admittance Requirements for an MFA in New Mexico

Standard items in an application to an MFA program include transcripts, letters of recommendation, and personal statements. Some schools may require GRE scores while others do not. For MFAs, robust demonstration of artistic capability is mandatory through the submission of a portfolio for admission consideration. Content of the portfolio will be determined by the program of study the applicant wishes to pursue and the college's specific admissions guidelines. Examples include video clips from dance performances, photography sets, and digital renderings of artistic works.

New Mexico offers several unique opportunities to earn an MFA, in writing, dance, mixed media, or studio art. Programs range from about 48 to 60 credits for completion, and admission requirements vary, depending on the chosen option.

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