MFA in Music Composition

Our MFA in Music Composition—the first of its kind—offers a chance for you to forge your own creative path, refine your composition skills, and grow more vital as an artist, composer, and musician.

Students come from diverse stylistic backgrounds and have varied compositional interests. This musically inclusive MFA program reflects that diversity, offering opportunities to work in multiple focus areas, such as: film, TV & game scoring, concert music, electronic music, songwriting, and jazz. Our highly accomplished faculty work in many genres, and students can specialize in one area or several, exploring and blending musical streams.

VCFA’s low-residency model brings students and faculty together, joined by world-class musicians who perform and record student music, for an intensive week once every six months. The deep relationship between student and faculty mentor that begins during the seven-day on-campus residency is catalyst for the creative work of the semester, where each student works from home on an individualized, self-designed composition project. In this way the program carves out space in students’ lives for inquiry, experimentation, research, and criticism, making room for both the exploration and the refinement of their craft.

Learn more about our MFA in Music Composition program in our residency video:

Program Faculty

Don DiNicola, VCFA Music Composition Program

Don DiNicola


Rick Baitz

Rick Baitz

Faculty Chair

Visiting Ensembles

August 2016 String Quartet

August 2016 String Quartet

Visiting Ensemble

Winter 2016 Brass Quintet

Winter 2016 Brass Quintet

Visiting Ensemble

Jennifer Choi, violin

Winter 2016 Piano Trio

Visiting Ensemble


MFA in Writing Residency

The ten-day residency is a vibrant time of workshops, seminars, lectures, discussions, and readings by faculty, graduating students, and visiting writers from all over the country.

MFA in Writing for Children & Young Adults Residency

The ten-day residency is a vibrant whirlwind of workshops, lectures, panels, discussions, and readings by faculty, graduating students, and visiting writers and illustrators.

Graduate Studies in Art & Design Education Summer Residency

Our Art Education programs offer month-long summer residencies on VCFA’s beautiful Montpelier campus, along with ongoing coursework and mentorship throughout the year. The low-residency model allows students to earn advanced degrees without leaving the communities where they live and work.

Master of Arts in Art & Design Education (MAADE) Summer Residency

Students converge on our Vermont campus for a 4-week summer residency. This offers each cohort a chance to meet, collaborate, and create the kind of community that’s so important for educators. Summer residencies include coursework, workshops, symposia, and research opportunities.


Music Comp Grad Renée Baker and Faculty Member Don DiNicola present at the MCA Screen Creative Music Summit

Recent MFA in Music Composition graduate Renée Baker and founding faculty member Don DiNicola...