MFA in Film

About the Program

The MFA in Film at Vermont College of Fine Arts allows filmmakers, screenwriters, and media artists to earn a 60-credit MFA degree over two years, providing a framework for expert mentorship, innovative production, and critical assessment.

Students can earn an affordable MFA while expanding their bodies of work and maintaining continuity in their professional and personal lives.

Our program’s six-month semesters operate year-round, consecutively, and begin with weeklong residencies on VCFA’s Montpelier campus in April and October. Over the course of two years, our four semesters each begin with a residency; the last semester ends with a final fifth residency, when Thesis Projects are presented for review. Students may begin their studies in April or October.

Campus residencies offer students an intensive week of workshops, lectures, critiques, screenings, and dialogue. Students are also paired with faculty advisors for the upcoming semester during residency. They work closely with advisors to develop a customized Study Plan for the next six months that helps to direct and inspire their upcoming work. They set goals and milestones that are both ambitious and achievable for the proposed semester’s work, addressing relevant research, development, and production requirements.

Following residency, students return home where they devote a minimum of 25 hours per week to their MFA projects. At monthly intervals, students send work to their faculty advisors and then meet (via Skype, phone, or in-person) to discuss in depth. Our program emphasizes concrete deliverables for each monthly deadline, in the form of works-in-progress and/or finished pieces. A student’s work will also involve readings, film viewings, assignments, and other forms of research and preparation. Student projects vary in length and genre, and our faculty encourage deep exploration and experimentation regarding form and content.

Students each have a personal Project Site that only the MFA in Film program can access. At the midterm and end of each semester, students upload select works-in-progress and finished pieces to their Project Sites, so that others in the program may see what they are working on and share feedback. At midterm and end-of-semester, faculty write student evaluations (in lieu of grades), and students write self-assessments and faculty evaluations.

At the second and subsequent residencies, students present work at critques with faculty members and students, meet with a new faculty advisor, and design a new Study Plan for the upcoming semester. During the third residency, at the completion of the first year of study, students present Thesis Proposals to faculty for review.

The Thesis Project is the main focus of a student’s second year at VCFA, and in some cases, is the main focus of their two years. Each student’s trajectory—the number, scope, and types of projects they complete—is different. Each Thesis, reviewed in the fifth and final residency, is evaluated with respect to a student’s achievement and growth throughout their two years.

Administrative Staff:

Stephen Pite

Program Director
Phone: 802-828-8600
Email: Stephen.Pite@vcfa.edu

Aja Zoecklein

Assistant Program Director
Phone: 802-828-8575
Email: Aja.Zoecklein@vcfa.edu


Residency Dates


Download "What's a Residency Really Like?"


Postgraduate Film Opportunities

Postgraduate Study for Screenwriters & Filmmakers


"We strive to guide students through projects that feel necessary and fresh, that come from a distinctive creative voice, and that involve experimentation and rigorous development. The faculty want to encourage work that is well-crafted and functions on a deeper level than the mass of audiovisual media we're bombarded with daily."—Laura Colella, Faculty Chair