Degree Requirements

The MFA Visual Narrative is a flexible, low-residency program designed for working professionals and students of visual storytelling alike. Three onsite summer sessions are connected by two years of online study during the fall and spring semesters. After each summer session and academic year, students must receive an acceptable review from a faculty panel in order to continue in the program. Degree candidates must successfully complete 60 credits, including all required courses.


During the eight-week summer sessions, students attend classes and seminars, and work in the studios for 8 to 10 hours per day, six days a week. Several evenings are devoted to digital/interactive tutorials, critiques and lectures. Capitalizing on New York City’s rich array of culture, research trips including contemporary artists events, studio visits and other activities will take place during workshops and on weekends. The summer sessions concentrate on advanced writing, digital media and technique-based workshops. Working in tandem, the creative writing and visual studio workshops as well as analog and digital media studios create a unique and intensive environment—allowing the author-as-artist to thrive.


Throughout the fall and spring semesters, students fulfill the studio components of the online program, with supervision from their course instructor and support from their chosen mentor. Creative writing is assigned in coordination with the online studio story course. This important component includes online submission [posting] of written and visual materials. In the third year, each student is responsible for producing, curating and/or publishing a unique narrative thesis, which will be exhibited in a group show in one of the SVA galleries. Both analog and digital versions of each thesis project must be approved by the Thesis Committee, the student’s mentor and the department chair in order to be eligible for degree conferral. 


General Requirements 

  • Successful completion of 60 credits, including all required courses and the thesis project. Documentation of all thesis projects must be on file in the Visual Narrative Department to be eligible for degree conferral. 
  • A matriculation of three summers on-site and four semesters (fall and spring) of low residency. Students must complete their degree within six years, unless given an official extension by the provost. 
  • Visual Narrative grades on a pass/fail system. Students are required to remain in good academic standing. 


Note: Departmental requirements are subject to change by the department chair if the chair deems that such change is warranted.

Contact: Joan McCabe
A graphic design of "Artist & Author”