How to Apply

Slideroom

Sign up for an account on VCFA’s Slideroom online application portal and select your program. You will submit your application form and all other materials (except transcripts) through Slideroom. (Please note that it is important to sign up for the service early in the process to identify and contact those providing letters of reference for your application.)

Application Requirements

Application Form

Complete the application form online through Slideroom. The application fee is $75.

Academic Transcripts

Applicants must have completed a bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university. Official transcripts of all previous undergraduate coursework should be sent directly from the institution either electronically via Parchment, National Student Clearinghouse, or email to [email protected], or they can be physically mailed to the address below:

Office of Admissions – [Program of Interest]
Vermont College of Fine Arts
36 College Street
Montpelier, VT 05602

Resumé/CV

Submit a resumé or CV that includes education, work experience, and other relevant information.

 

Specific program instructions:

All MFA programs in writing – Include a full list of workshops, writers’ conferences, and other non-credit literary courses attended (including dates, location, sponsor, and faculty/workshop leader) and a list of all publications, prizes, honors, and grants related to your work. Publication is not required for admission, but an applicant’s publishing history is helpful information for the faculty reviewers.

MA in Art & Design Education – Include any professional certifications and/or awards.

MFA in Graphic Design & MFA in Visual Art – Include a list of exhibitions.

MFA in Film – Include a list of finished films and/or screenplays; screenings and any prizes, honors, and/or grants related to your work; a concise list of your relevant skills (such as camera operation, lighting, editing); a list of any software related to the craft of which you have a working knowledge.

MFA in Music Composition – Include a listing of compositions (including date of composition, instrumentation, and duration), significant performances, scholarships, and professional recognition.

Statement of Purpose

Submit a statement of purpose (500-1000 words, typed, double-spaced) that addresses the specific questions for your program of interest.

 

Specific program instructions:

International MFA in Creative Writing & Literary Translation – How did you begin seriously writing and/or doing literary translation? Describe previous study in writing, literature and literary translation, and include additional experience relevant to the application. Explain the strengths and weaknesses of your writing and/or literary translation.

MFA in Writing – How long have you been writing seriously? Discuss your previous study in writing and literature; additional experience relevant to your application; whether you are prepared to use direct criticism of your work; the strengths and weaknesses of your writing; and any challenges that may prevent you from devoting 25 hours per week to study or corresponding regularly with your faculty advisor.

MFA in Writing & Publishing – Why are you applying to the MFA in Writing & Publishing? What is the history of your relationship with writing? How have your previous studies in writing and literature informed your writing style? Are you prepared to use direct criticism of your work? Do you have additional experience relevant to this application?

MFA in Writing for Children & Young Adults – How long you have been writing seriously; previous study in writing and children’s literature; additional experience relevant to your application; whether you are prepared to use direct criticism of your work; the strengths and weaknesses of your writing; and any challenges that may prevent you from devoting 25 hours per week to study or corresponding regularly with your faculty advisor.

MA in Art & Design Education – Describe the settings in which you currently teach visual art and/or design education. Discuss any issues or problems you are interested in investigating and why. Describe how you imagine this investigation would impact your teaching–whether in a school or community setting.

MFA in Graphic Design – What are your current design goals and reasons for seeking an MFA in Graphic Design? Describe what experiences led you to this point and how they may have shaped your current visual work. What do you hope to achieve during your MFA studies? What topics in design are you most interested in studying? As independent study is an essential feature of the low-residency model, it is important for us to assess your aptitude for defining your own educational direction. What other independent educational experiences have you pursued? Please describe your successes and the challenges you faced in your prior independent educational experiences. Please discuss your motivation and comfort level with independent study.

MFA in Visual Art –Provide a brief statement describing the formal, conceptual, and technical aspects of your current artistic practice. Be as specific as possible about motivations and methodologies. Describe the social, historical, and/or cultural context in which your work exists; the influence, if any, that reading and research has on your practice; your strengths and limitations as an artist, including a sense of both studio work and academic research and writing skills; what you hope to achieve in the program and how this achievement serves your larger goals as an artist.

MFA in Music Composition – What are your current musical goals and reasons for seeking an MFA in Music Composition? Which area of composition (Contemporary Composition, Electronic Music, Jazz, Scoring for Media, or Songwriting) are you most interested in pursuing through VCFA studies?

MFA in Film – Submit two shorter essays addressing the following:

  • Introductory Narrative Statement: Describe interests and activities leading to your decision to pursue an MFA in Film. Note your educational, professional, and technical background and the form(s) of filmmaking you intend to explore at VCFA. (200-300 words)
  • Essay 1: Define an element or multiple elements of your “voice” as a filmmaker/screenwriter. Discuss your approach to storytelling and your interests in exploring form and/or structure in innovative or personally compelling ways. You may mention the films that inspire you or other influences and your thoughts on the effects your films are intended to have on audiences. (200-300 words)

Critical Essay (Writing, WCYA, International MFA, Film only)

MFA in Writing – Submit an essay (3-4 pages, double-spaced) that demonstrates your abilities as a reader and critical thinker. This may be something written previously for a class or a short essay on a literary work you’ve recently read. The essay should engage questions dealing with the writer’s craft, subjects and thematic concerns, and/or the ways in which the writer’s work has served as a model for your own literary ambitions.

MFA in Writing for Children & Young Adults – A critical essay (3-4 typed, double-spaced pages) that demonstrates your abilities as a reader and critical thinker. We strongly encourage you to submit a piece on children’s literature. The essay should engage questions dealing with writer’s craft, central ideas, and/or the relation of the writer’s work to the applicant’s work. Please reference the Critical Essay Resource Page before submitting an essay.

International MFA in Creative Writing & Literary Translation – A critical essay that addresses the craft of writing and/or literary translation.

MFA in Film – Provide a critical analysis of one of your own films or scripts by discussing your creative intentions, the ways in which you achieved (or didn’t achieve) those intentions, any aesthetic or technical aspects you wish to call attention to, and any influences or references that helped inform your film. (500-700 words)

Letters of Recommendation

Identify two references to provide letters of recommendation describing your qualifications for master’s level study and your aptitude for independent learning. The recommendations can be submitted directly into your Slideroom application. Your recommenders can also email their recommendations to us and we can upload them to your file. (You do not have to wait for the recommendations to be submitted to submit your application. However, you should contact references early in the process to avoid delays in reviewing your application.)

 

Specific program instructions: 

MFA in Writing & Publishing – Letters should be from professionals who know your writing and can address how an MFA in Writing & Publishing would benefit you. Letters from friends, family, and co-workers are discouraged.

MFA in Visual Art – Your recommendations should also address your ability to interact productively with others in an intensive living/learning environment. If possible, one of these recommendations should be from a teacher who can reflect on your artistic potential from an academic perspective.

Creative Work

Portfolio (Art & Design Education, Graphic Design, Visual Art, Film, Music Composition only)

Submit a portfolio according to the requirements of your program of interest.

 

Specific program instructions:

MA in Art & Design Education

Upload 12-15 images of work that represent a combination of both your work and the work of your students. Each image description should contain:

  • Attribution (yourself or your student)
  • Size
  • Medium
  • Approximate date of completion

MFA in Graphic Design

Submit a portfolio that highlights your visual strengths. You can show your development as a designer and communicate your specific interests and experiences. You can submit digital images of various visual media if you feel they represent and clarify your design goals in some way. The admissions committee will look for your demonstrated potential to effectively communicate visual content. If including collaborative projects, please clearly identify your role in the project.

  • Submit 20-40 single images of design work and/or project examples. You can include time-based media works. (Please be sure these don’t individually exceed 5 minutes.)
  • Include an image list that clearly identifies medium, date of completion, and (if necessary) a brief description that helps contextualize the work. The image list can be uploaded in the attachments section.

MFA in Visual Art

Submit a portfolio of visual work that demonstrates a sustained, focused body of work over an extended period of time or, if the work is varied, an indication that it has moved beyond or changed from where it was at the start. The portfolio also should show clear ideas behind the production of the work, beyond the desire to make pleasing aesthetic creations, and a sense that the work has a personal quality in addition to technical skill.

Slide/Image Portfolio Specifications:

  • Applicants must submit 20 images representing work that was completed within the last five years.
  • Included with the image presentation is the title, medium, dimension, and date of each image in the title-description spaces.

Video/Performance/Time-based Work Portfolio Specifications:

  • If you are working in video or performance you may submit up to 20 minutes of video files. You may also embed Vimeo links into your portfolio for viewing.
  • If you are working in audio you may submit up to 10 minutes of audio files. You may also embed Soundcloud links into your portfolio.
  • With all time-based mediums, please indicate in the title-descriptions spaces the title, medium, duration, date, and any time-frame you’d like the review committee to focus on with longer pieces (for example [5.34s-15.54s]).

MFA in Film (filmmaking track)

Submit 2-3 samples of your original work that best reflect your artistic vision. (All screenwriting samples should be in standard screenplay format.) This should include a list of the work samples submitted, including title, year, medium, your role(s) in the work’s creation (e.g., writer, director, cinematographer, editor, actor, etc.), and the excerpt that should be viewed and read, if not from the beginning.

  • Sample 1: A video for which the applicant played a major creative role, cued to a sample of up to 10 minutes. The entire work should be submitted. If it is longer than 10 minutes, it will be viewed at the committee’s discretion.
  • Sample 2: May follow the same parameters, or else be up to 20 pages from a completed short or feature screenplay. If longer than 20 pages, the entire screenplay should be submitted and may be read at the committee’s discretion.
  • Optional (for all samples): A synopsis of up to 100 words.
  • Optional (for all samples): A description of up to 100 words of the action leading up to the sample, if it is not from the beginning of the piece.

Applying as a screenwriter or a filmmaker will not exclude a student from studying all aspects of filmmaking.

MFA in Music Composition

Submit three sound files of your original compositions—live recordings, video, or MIDIs—with accompanying scores in PDF form. Samples should be in the area in which you wish to focus at VCFA. If you wish to study in a genre different from your samples, please address your rationale and qualifications for doing so in your statement of purpose.

Include a list in PDF form briefly describing your music samples, putting each into context or addressing its significance to your development as a composer or to your compositional process. Provide dates of completion, performance information if any, and instrumentation, or in the case of electronic music what programs were used.

  • Scoring for Media applicants: at least 1 sample should be composed to video format. Credit studios or collaborators involved in the creation of your recordings.
  • Electronic Music/Sound Art applicants: submit at least one composition with accompanying score in PDF. Compositions combining acoustic instruments with electronics should be accompanied by a score.
  • Jazz Composition and Songwriting applicants: while scores are preferred, you may submit charts in PDF.

Writing Samples (International MFA, Writing, Writing & Publishing, WCYA, Film only)

Submit writing samples based on the requirements of your program of interest.

 

Specific program instructions:

International MFA in Creative Writing & Literary Translation

Submit a sample of your creative work (double spaced, 12-point type, at least 1″ margins all around) for your genre of interest:

  • Fiction or Nonfiction: 20 manuscript pages of creative work.
  • Literary Translation: 20 manuscript pages of translated literary fiction or nonfiction (include a copy of original language text) or 10 manuscript pages of translated literary fiction or nonfiction plus 10 manuscript pages of creative work.
  • Dual-genre Fiction & Nonfiction: 20 manuscript pages of creative work in each genre.
  • Dual Writing & Literary Translation: 20 manuscript pages of creative work and 20 manuscript pages of translated literary fiction or nonfiction (include a copy of original language text) or 10 manuscript pages of translated literary fiction or nonfiction plus 10 manuscript pages of creative work.

MFA in Writing

Submit 10 pages of poetry or 20-25 pages of fiction or creative nonfiction (double spaced, 12-point Times New Roman font, numbered in the lower right-hand corner). Applicants may apply in one or more genres.

MFA in Writing & Publishing

Submit approximately 20 original pages (typed and double-spaced for prose). You may submit writing in different genres, though this is not required. Poets need to include at least 5 pages of prose, such as an essay or short fiction.

MFA in Writing for Children & Young Adults

Submit 20-25 pages of middle grade prose, 20-25 pages of young adult prose, or 2-3 picture book stories (applicants may apply in one or more area). Each manuscript should be typed, double spaced, numbered in the lower right-hand corner, and in 12-point Times New Roman font.

MFA in Film (screenwriting track)

Submit 2-3 samples of your original work that best reflect your artistic vision. (All screenwriting samples should be in standard screenplay format.) This should include a list of the work samples submitted, including title, year, medium, your role(s) in the work’s creation (e.g., writer, director, cinematographer, editor, actor, etc.), and the excerpt that should be viewed and read, if not from the beginning.

  • Sample 1: Up to 20 pages of a completed screenplay. If longer than 20 pages, the entire screenplay should be submitted and may be read at the committee’s discretion.
  • Sample 2: Sample may follow the same parameters or else be a treatment of up to 10 pages, or a video sample as set forth above.
  • Optional (for all samples): A synopsis of up to 100 words.
  • Optional (for all samples): A description of up to 100 words of the action leading up to the sample, if it is not from the beginning of the piece.

Applying as a screenwriter or a filmmaker will not exclude a student from studying all aspects of filmmaking.

Eligibility

Undergraduate Degree Requirement

Applicants to Vermont College of Fine Arts must have completed a bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university. Some programs have specific additional requirements, which you can see below.

MFA in Graphic Design – Applicants should also be familiar with design history and contemporary visual culture studies. The program requires significant emphasis on critical and conceptual content in creative and written work. This familiarity may come from previous coursework in art history, visual culture, communications, and design and/or professional experience in the field of graphic design or equivalent.

MFA in Music Composition – Applicants must have demonstrated compositional skills, and a bachelor’s degree in music is preferred. Applicants whose undergraduate degree is in a discipline other than music must have demonstrated knowledge of music theory appropriate to their musical goals, technical ability appropriate to musical goals, ability to read music, and ability to perform on a musical instrument.

Exceptions

In very rare cases, Vermont College of Fine Arts will accept students who have not attained a bachelor’s degree. If you would like to apply and do not have a bachelor’s degree, speak to your program’s admissions counselor to learn more.

Students who are admitted with less than a bachelor’s degree and seek financial aid should contact the Financial Aid office:

Lucy Bourgeault
Director of Admission & Financial Aid
802-828-8819
[email protected]

Contact

Writing Programs

International MFA in Creative Writing & Literary Translation

Ann Cardinal
802-828-8589
866-934-8232, ext. 8589
[email protected]

MFA in Writing

Lucy Bourgeault
802-828-8819
866-934-8232, ext. 8819
[email protected]

MFA in Writing for Children & Young Adults

Ann Cardinal
802-828-8589
866-934-8232, ext. 8589
[email protected]

MFA in Writing & Publishing

Ann Cardinal
802-828-8589
866-934-8232, ext. 8589
[email protected]

Art, Design & Education Programs

MA in Art & Design Education

Jennifer Skinder
802-828-8553
866-934-8232, ext. 8553
[email protected]

MFA in Graphic Design

Brittany Powell
802-828-8772
866-934-8232, ext. 8772
[email protected]

MFA in Visual Art

Thatiana Oliveira
802-828-8636
866-934-8232, ext. 8636
[email protected]

Film & Music Programs

MFA in Film

Aja Zoecklein
802-828-8575
866-934-8232, ext. 8575
[email protected]

MFA in Music Composition

Sarah Madru
802-828-8534
866-934-8232, ext. 8534
[email protected]

Questions?

Contact Our Admissions Office

Plan a visit, confirm application deadlines, learn more about financial aid, and speak with alumni to learn about VCFA firsthand!