MFA in Writing for Children & Young Adults

About the Program

The Master of Fine Arts in Writing for Children & Young Adults program at Vermont College of Fine Arts allows students to earn a 64-credit MFA degree over a period of two years through a combination of ten-day, on-campus residencies followed by six-month semesters of self-created study, supported and guided by a faculty mentor.

A semester’s study may focus on a particular area such as picture book, middle grade, or young adult and include in-depth reading and critical writing of the wider field, including poetry and nonfiction.

On Campus

The ten-day residency is a vibrant whirlwind of workshops, lectures, panels, discussions, and readings by faculty, graduating students, and visiting writers and illustrators. Students participate in small, intensive, faculty-guided workshops in which each writer’s work is carefully examined. Students and faculty eat together in the Dewey Cafe, stay together in campus dorms, and find plenty of opportunities for informal exchange over coffee, in the VCFA bookstore, or on our comfortable grassy quad.

A low student-to-faculty ratio (5:1) ensures that our students receive close attention and that individual skills, talents, and artistic vision are nurtured. Residencies provide the opportunity for students to choose their faculty advisor, develop a unique study plan for the coming semester, and gain both direction and inspiration for the work ahead. Students choose a new advisor each semester, ensuring a wide range of input and the benefit of informing their studies with each faculty member’s expertise.

The MFA in Writing for Children & Young Adults program is housed on the historic Vermont College of Fine Arts campus in Montpelier, Vermont. The campus is a five-minute walk from downtown Montpelier, the picturesque and architecturally beautiful state capital. The smallest state capital in the United States, Montpelier offers a pace of life both informal and sophisticated. Excellent restaurants, movie theaters, bookstores and a variety of shops make it a great place to shop and relax. If students are inclined to enjoy outdoor activities, they can find excellent camping, biking, fishing and touring within minutes of downtown. Students stay in dormitories on campus, or in local B&Bs or downtown hotels if they choose. The campus houses the Gary Library, with a computer lab that is available 24 hours a day. Food service for the campus is catered by The New England Culinary Institute.

Residency Abroad 

Off Campus

After the vibrant exchange of ideas during residencies, students return home to embark on the semester’s faculty-guided independent study project. Because the program is equally committed to individualized education and to supporting a dynamic writing community, students are closely supervised and supported every step of the way, maintaining a continual correspondence with faculty and peers. Students can dive headlong into serious writing education without leaving their communities, families, or jobs.

Students devote 25 hours a week to completion of the semester’s Study Plan. Students send monthly “packets” of writing and responses to reading to their faculty mentors. Each faculty member supervises five students through written correspondence, online communication, and/or telephone conferences during the semester. Our mentorship model provides more individualized feedback on student writing than most traditional classroom programs. Students relish the opportunity to develop close relationships with eminent writers of literature for children and young adults. The flexibility of our model allows students to follow their particular interests and passions—such as writing for the young adult market or picture books for young children—as well as develop independent work habits and skills, which will serve them throughout their professional writing careers.


Ann Cardinal

Director of Student Recruitment
866-934-8232, ext. 8589
[email protected]

Administrative Staff: 

Katie Rasmussen

Program Director
866-934-8232, ext. 8696
[email protected]

Aidan Sammis

Assistant Director
866-934-8232, ext. 8637
[email protected]

Karen Cygnarowicz

Program Assistant
866-934-8232, ext. 8818
[email protected]

Residency Dates

  • Winter 2019: January 11-22, 2019
  • Summer 2019: July 8-19, 2019

Special Study Opportunities

Picture Book Intensive

Residency Abroad

Postgraduate Writing Opportunities

Alumni Mini-Residency

Postgraduate Writers' Conference

Writing Novels for Young People Retreat

Writing Semester

Vibrant Ideas: The MFA in Writing for Children & Young Adults at VCFA
Vibrant Ideas: The MFA in Writing for Children & Young Adults at VCFA