Master of Fine Arts (MFA) Programs in Vermont

Oct 10, 2019

This article explores several options in the State of Vermont for students to obtain their Master of Fine Art (MFA) degrees. Colleges offer on-campus and low residency models for graduation.

There are four main universities in Vermont that offer a Master of Fine Arts (MFA). Programs typically last three years and involve intensive exhibition preparation and honing of students' artistic skills through mentorship and research.

Universities in Vermont offering an MFA

Goddard College

Goddard College offers a terminal MFA in interdisciplinary arts. It is a low residency modeled program in which students begin the semester with an eight-day seminar at either Goddard's main campus in Plainfield, Vermont, or its satellite campus in Port Townsend, Washington. Then the students go home to complete a 16-week course of study. The number of credit hours in the program is 60 and should take a student five semesters to complete. Students work toward producing a final portfolio as well as a practicum project. The goal is to produce socially connected artists who work across disciplines such as dance, literary arts, digital media, and more.

Bennington College

Bennington College offers MFAs in four fields of study: music, writing, public action, and dance. The programs last around two years or four terms. Some programs require a 16-credit hour minimum per semester. The music, public action, and dance MFAs all require participation in public events such as festivals, performances, and displays. Much of the curriculum is self-directed and shaped between the student and the faculty mentor. Some programs require a course in graduate research.

Vermont College of Fine Arts

MFAs in visual art, graphic design, music composition, film, and several disciplines of writing are available through Vermont College of Fine Arts. These programs center around residencies twice yearly and at home studio work, which consists usually of around 25 hours or more of work per week on the part of the student. Programs last two to three years. Students give performances and exhibitions at the residencies, which may require the transport of their artwork and extensive installation direction for which the student must plan in advance. The goal of these programs is to develop a professional portfolio and to integrate into the artistic culture via networking.

Northern Vermont University

Northern Vermont University offers both a campus-based and a low residency-based program to obtain an MFA in studio arts. Both programs last two to three years. The low residency option involves four four-week long residencies with the option of doing residencies concurrently at the university. Northern Vermont University partners with the Vermont Studio Center to provide an environment for independent, flexible, rich learning. Students must complete at least two residencies per year between May and November. Both programs culminate in a final exhibition. Most of the traditional artistic disciplines are offered by Northern Vermont University including printmaking, ceramics, painting, and sculpture. Examples of coursework titles include Contemporary Arts Seminar I: Theory & Readings and Contemporary Arts Seminar II: Research & Writing, as well as exhibition preparation, independent studio work, colloquium, and travel research.

Program Admittance Requirements for an MFA in Vermont

GPAs of 3.0 or higher are recommended for application to these schools in the applicant's major field of study in undergraduate school. Three letters of recommendation, artist's statement, transcripts, and portfolios are all examples of typically requested materials for application to these programs. Because the faculty to student ratios in these programs are small, admission is highly competitive. Applicants' submissions will be considered carefully by the faculty on the basis of the ability of the university to accommodate the scope of the student's work and the faculty to mentor the applicant's particular focus.

There are four main programs in Vermont that offer MFAs. Goddard College, Bennington College, Northern Vermont University, and Vermont College of Fine Arts all offer intensive MFAs in a variety of artistic disciplines.

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