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Blue and Pink splotches with radiating lines outward form ven diagram with Artist in pink bubble, Author in blue bubble, and You in the overlapping segment.
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Our students learn to think and create as visual storytellers.
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Nathan Fox

The Visual Narrative MFA at SVA responds to the needs of today’s evolving creative markets by merging the artist and author. It’s an evolutionary process that puts story first and gives you the tools you need to craft your own stories and to help others craft theirs. More than just a degree program, the MFA Visual Narrative program is a school of thought that immerses you in story.

The MFA Visual Narrative department is looking for visual storytellers from all visual disciplines interested in creating their own original content as both author and artist. We welcome applications from working professionals, educators, and up-and-coming professionals from all creative industries, along with non-traditional applicants interested in developing their visual storycraft. Some of our non-traditional students have come from backgrounds in biochemistry, creative writing, engineering, puppetry, K-12 education, branding and PR, set design, publishing, editing, and film production management. A bachelor’s degree in any discipline is welcome. Because of the nature of a low-residency program, successful students will demonstrate a high level of professional discipline and practice. Visit the “Our People” section of the department site to get a sense of our storytelling community and their work.

At MFAVN, you will:

  • Develop an understanding of what story is and how it functions most effectively when visual and written media merge, by sharpening your writing skills and integrating them into your creative process and professional practice
  • Create original works as both author and artist within a supportive and transformative creative community, with visiting artists and mentoring by a top professional in your field
  • Connect and collaborate with a professional network in NYC and beyond
  • Prepare to compete in creative industries such as advertising, video, gaming, film, animation, sequential arts, illustration, design and more
  • Benefit from scholarships and our rolling admissions policy

A select group of artist/authors, we are a diverse, tight-knit community where you learn in small classes and are mentored by top professionals who know how to navigate today’s competitive creative markets.

Part of the extraordinary appeal of the program is that it is low-residency. Three intensive eight-week summer semesters at SVA in New York City give you the chance to connect with your peers and professors, to create in-studio and to absorb the Visual Narrative process. Additionally, you are able to access the myriad of creative opportunities in the city and to build a community of colleagues and mentors that supports and inspires. Four semesters of online coursework, critiques, discussions and interactive projects give you the freedom to pursue your passion and live your life—without uprooting it.

Student Work

More about the Department

Whether you want to enhance your work through the power of story or take your professional skills to the next level, the MFA in Visual Narrative, one of SVA’s newest graduate degrees, is designed to make you think story first, and answer the increasing demand for great stories and storytellers.

A holistic approach, MFA Visual Narrative is a low-residency program that gives equal emphasis to creative writing and to visual art in all mediums. This merger of art and writing is a powerful tool that we think of as a whole new language. We call it Visual Writing. And our students are fluent. But fluent communication takes commitment and requires total immersion. It’s intense, it’s empowering and it gives new purpose to your creativity.

The MFA Visual Narrative program gives you the tools to craft your own stories and help others craft theirs.

A diverse group of carefully curated students spends three intensive summer residencies at SVA’s NYC campus. Then, two fall and two spring semesters engage students in rigorous online coursework—from anywhere in the world.

Small classes, taught by top professionals who understand a range of the competitive markets, provide an incubator for ideas, experimentation and play. Diversity of the class and of the community lends itself to unexpected collaborations and off-the charts creativity. One-on-one mentoring develops in-demand skills for producing films and animation, publishing original content, developing digital interactive media—winning loyal audiences in emerging industries where visual storytelling drives creative direction.


Contact: Joan McCabe
136 West 21st Street