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Master of Fine Arts (MFA) Programs in New York

Oct 08, 2019

For artists who want to earn a graduate-level degree in their chosen craft, a Master of Fine Arts degree may be a good choice. Learn more about different kinds of MFA programs that are located in New York State.

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A Master of Fine Arts degree is a practice-based graduate degree that allows you to study and hone your artistic craft. There are several types of MFA degree programs, including some in the fields of creative writing, studio art, theatre, and photography. In this article, we will discuss MFA programs that are all located in New York, delving into their coursework, thesis, and entrance requirements.

MFA Programs Located in New York State

MFA in Creative Writing at Syracuse University

In Syracuse, Syracuse University offers an MFA in Creative Writing degree program that will require a total of 48-credit hours. Your coursework in this program will include creative writing workshops, electives in language, religion or philosophy, and graduate-level literature courses as well as an essay seminar that centers on a major writer and will require a 5,000-word essay. To demonstrate your creative writing ability, you will be required to create a thesis, which could be a collection of poems or short stories. In addition, this program offers opportunities for students to gain teaching experience in composition as well as editorial experience by working with the program's literary journal Salt Hill.

MFA in Theatre at Sarah Lawrence College

Sarah Lawrence College, which is located in Yonkers, has an MFA in Theatre degree program, which will require 48 credits. In this program, you will create a unique course of study that could include classes in acting for the camera, stage combat, costume design, directing, and theatrical writing, among others. You will also be required to participate in practicums, which could be theatrical productions, internships in New York City, or outreach placements that present teaching opportunities. This program usually features main stage productions, workshop productions, and staged readings each semester, and you could participate in the student-run company DownStage, which also produces theatrical events.

MFA in Studio Art at University at Albany, SUNY

At the University at Albany, SUNY, you will be able to earn an MFA degree in studio art with a concentration in combined media, drawing, sculpture, painting, or printmaking. This program will be able to provide you studio space to create in as well as common areas and exhibition spaces. To earn your MFA, you will be required to earn 60 credits with coursework that centers on art history topics and seminars in different art forms. You will also be required to submit a written thesis statement that focuses on your own art as well as your artistic influences. Last, a thesis exhibit, which will include your original artwork and oral defense of your work, will be required to earn your degree.

MFA in Dance at Hunter College

In New York City, Hunter College offers an MFA in Dance, which is a 60-credit hour program. Your coursework in this program will include classes on dance technique, physical training, dance theory, and dance pedagogy in order to give you a solid foundation in performance, teaching, and theory. Beyond coursework, you will need to complete an MFA project that will include an hour of new creative dance performance work and promotional materials that will lead to a public performance. A 20-25 page written essay, focusing on self-assessment of your craft set in a larger cultural context, will also be required.

MFA in Photography and Related Media at Rochester Institute of Technology

Located in Rochester, Rochester Institute of Technology has an MFA in Photography and Related Media that will require that you earn a total of 60 credits. In this 2-year program, you will likely take classes on the history of photography, professional development, and studio courses that include opportunities for experimentation, research, and critique. To complete your degree, you will need to create a body of original photography work as well as documentation of your process and an artist statement. In this program, you will also have opportunities to teach introductory photography courses, work in a gallery management role, or work in an archive.

Entrance Requirements for MFA Programs

Most MFA programs will have a common set of application materials, which will include transcripts, an application, a CV or resume, a personal statement, and letters of recommendation. Some programs might require an interview. Finally, you will likely be asked to demonstrate your ability in your chosen artistic craft with an art sample or portfolio. For example, the MFA in Creative Writing will require a creative writing sample in poetry or prose, while the MFA in Photography and Related Media will require a portfolio of your photography work.

MFA degree programs will allow you to hone your artistic craft while also earning a graduate-level degree. These types of programs will usually require coursework, workshops, and a final thesis or project that features your original work of art.

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