MFA in Visual Art


Applicants must have completed a B.F.A., B.A., or B.S. degree from an accredited college or university, or hold a diploma from a recognized professional art school, and must have substantial experience in making art. Thirty semester hours in undergraduate study is preferred. 

Admission Requirements

Applicants must also have a working knowledge of art history and/or visual culture, which may include such courses as theory or history of film, television, video, theater, design history, communications, aesthetics, popular culture, etc. 

The Program occasionally considers accepting a student without a Bachelor's degree.  Such candidates must show evidence to the MFA Admissions Committee of exceptional artistic work and strong writing and research abilities.

Application & Portfolio Requirements

Admission to the MFA in Visual Art is based primarily on the quality of original work submitted. In order to be considered for admission to the program, all applicants must submit the following:

  1. Official college transcripts (these can be sent from each previously attended institution directly to the mailing address in the righthand column)
  2. Resume of education, work experience, art exhibitions, prizes, awards, and publications
  3. (2) references to provide letters of recommendation. These letters should discuss your qualifications as an artist for independent graduate study in art and the 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.
  4. Documentation 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. Also evidenced must be 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.
  5. An essay, maximum 1000 words, responding to all of the following:
    • A brief statement describing the formal, conceptual, and technical aspects of the applicant’s current artistic practice. Be as specific as possible about motivations and methodologies.
    • Discussion of the social, historical, and/or cultural context in which the applicant’s work exists.
    • Discussion of the influence, if any, that reading and research has on the applicant’s practice.
    • The strengths, in comparison to the applicant’s limitations, as an artist, including a sense of both studio work and academic research and writing skills.
    • What the applicant hopes to achieve in the program and how this achievement serves their larger goals as an artist.

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All materials are submitted via Slideroom. It is important to sign up for the service early in the process to identify and email the people providing letters of reference for you. There is an application fee of $75.

Portfolio Specifications

Slide/Image Porfolio

  • Applicants must submit twenty (20) images.  Images must represent 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

  • 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, title, medium, duration, and date, and any time-frame in which you’d like the review committee to focus on with longer pieces; for example [5.34s-15.54s].

Transfer Credits

Applicants who have attended other accredited MFA programs may request up to 15 transfer credits. To apply for transfer credits, applicants should include a letter indicating this request as well as official transcripts from the school at which they earned the credits and a description of the course and syllabus. 

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Thatiana Oliveira

Associate Program Director
[email protected]

Admissions Deadlines

Summer 2019

  • Early Acceptance Deadline: March 1, 2019
  • Final Deadline: April 2, 2019

Residency Dates

Mailing Address

Vermont College of Fine Arts
c/o MFA in Visual Art, Office of Admissions
36 College Street, Montpelier, VT 05602