Puneet Varma (Editor)

Vermont College of Fine Arts

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Private non-profit

about 380

Thomas Christopher Greene


Academic staff
approx. 60

+1 802-828-8600

Total enrollment
267 (2010)

White, Green

1831; independent fine arts institution in 2008

Montpelier, Vermont, United States

New England Association of Schools and Colleges

36 College St, Montpelier, VT 05602, USA

Undergraduate tuition and fees
Domestic tuition: 17,110 USD (2010), International tuition: 17,310 USD (2010)

Notable alumni
Tim Seibles, Varian Johnson, Deborah Wiles, Alison Hawthorne Deming, Marjorie Welish

Goddard College, New England Culinary I, Norwich University, Union Institute & University, University of Vermont


A celebration of vermont college of fine arts

Vermont College of Fine Arts (VCFA) is a graduate-level fine arts institution in Montpelier, Vermont. VCFA is a national center for graduate fine arts education with a unique practice-based learning model, internationally renowned faculty, and a range of delivery models — including low residency, intensive conference retreats, and fully residential programs. VCFA educates emerging and established artists through the offering of six low residency Master of Fine Arts degrees in the following fields: Writing, Writing for Children & Young Adults, Visual Art, Music Composition, Graphic Design and Film; a residential Master of Fine Arts degree in Writing and Publishing; low residency Master of Arts in Teaching in Art and Design Education; and a low residency Master of Arts in Art and Design Education. Its faculty includes Pulitzer Prize finalists, National Book Award winners, Newbery Medal honorees, Guggenheim Fellowship and Fulbright Program fellows, and Ford Foundation grant recipients.


An intimate portrait of the residency experience at vermont college of fine arts


The low-residency structure allows students get their graduate degrees through brief, on-campus residencies, self-designated study, flexible scheduling, and personalized attention through one-on-one guidance with a faculty mentor. The five ten-day on-campus residencies consist of workshops, lectures, readings, panel discussions, student-teacher conferences and critiques, presentations of works in progress." A faculty member works with five or fewer students through written correspondence, electronic/video/telephone communication in between residencies.

All programs feature writers-in-residence, artists-in-residence, and artist/scholars who give lectures, readings, and workshops. Artists and writers-in-residence have included Jean Valentine, Richard Russo, Claudia Emerson, M. T. Anderson, Susan Cooper, Gregory Maguire, Holly Black, Jane Yolen (the inaugural writer-in-residence in the Writing for Children and Young Adults program), Wu Tsang, and Stephen Drury.

MFA in Writing

Established in 1981, the MFA in Writing Program at Vermont College of Fine Arts was one of the first low-residency programs in the country. The Atlantic named it one of the top five low-residency programs nationwide. The program's 1200+ alumni/ae have published over 650 books and received nearly every literary award in the country. The MFA in Writing offers concentrations in poetry, fiction, creative nonfiction, and translation. A dual-genre option in Writing for Children & Young Adults is available. Residency abroad options include a summer residency in Slovenia and a winter residency in Puerto Rico.

The MFA in Writing requires 2 theses: a critical thesis and a creative thesis in addition to a giving a lecture and public reading.[10] Each faculty member supervises five writers through semester-long communication. During the 10-day on-campus residencies, students participate in small, faculty-guided workshops, daily seminars, lectures, and discussions, as well as readings by faculty, graduating students, and visiting writers.

The faculty of the MFA in Writing Program have published more than 300 books and have won almost every major literary award. More than two-thirds of the faculty teach at other universities.[11]

MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults

Established in 1997, the MFA in Writing for Children & Young Adults Program at Vermont College of Fine Arts was the nation's first MFA program focusing on writing for young readers. In the program students pursue studies in the writing of picture books, middle-grade or young adult literature and come to campus twice a year for 10-day residencies. After the residencies students begin faculty-guided independent-study projects. During the independent study project students are supervised and maintain a correspondence with faculty and peers.

The MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults requires 2 theses: a critical thesis and a creative thesis in addition to giving a lecture and public reading.[10] Candlewick Press, Houghton Mifflin/Clarion, and Harcourt Trade Publishers have established scholarships and prizes for students in the Writing for Children and Young Adults program.

MFA in Visual Art

The Master of Fine Art in Visual Art Program at Vermont College of Fine Arts allows students to earn a 60-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-designed artistic practice. Students work in their home studios in between residencies. Whether on campus or at home, students participate in a discourse structured around their visual culture research and studio projects. Through this process of exchange, students explore their interests and make connections that help position their work within broader social, historical, and intellectual debates.

Since its founding in 1991, the MFA in Visual Art Program has been based on the principle of individualized learning. While in the program, students complete a series of interdisciplinary writing projects supervised by faculty members and pursue their studio work with guidance from local artists chosen in collaboration with the program.

The MFA in Visual Art Program’s pedagogy is based on the understanding that art does not exist in a void but within a social context, and that process is integral to the product.

MFA in Graphic Design

The MFA in Graphic Design—one of the nation’s first low-residency programs in graphic design—at Vermont College of Fine Arts educates students towards the broader context of design in order to investigate and reveal relationships, seeing Graphic Design as a social tool and design education as a process of social transformation.

In the tradition of VCFA’s graduate programs in other fields, this program requires one week of campus residence for each six-month semester and matches each student with a faculty mentor for one-on-one independent study. The MFA in Graphic Design allows design professionals to work closely with faculty who are leading practitioners in the field, students merge practice with design theory and research to expand their fluency in visual culture.

MFA in Music Composition

The MFA in Music Composition at Vermont College of Fine Arts carves out space in the lives of professional musicians and music teachers for inquiry and experimentation as well as research and critique, making room for both the exploration and the refinement of their craft. Students not only produce work but also hear and share the music they write with an engaged community of peers and faculty. Through the program’s low-residency, self-designed study model, students define their own paths in Contemporary Composition, Electronic Music, Jazz, Scoring for Media, or Songwriting, simultaneously engaged in their working lives and their artistic practice.

MFA in Film

The MFA in Film at Vermont College of Fine Arts is uniquely designed for independent filmmakers and screenwriters, who wish to refine their craft, develop a body of work, explore new approaches and technologies, and build professional relationships through an individualized curriculum. The program focuses on three distinct modes of film: narrative, documentary, and animation, emphasizing the strategic use of affordable emerging technologies. Each student gains aptitude in the disciplines of screen writing, producing, directing, editing, sound design and recording, lighting, camera operation and cinematography, and will have mastered one or more of these disciplines. Students collaborate on some projects and work independently on others.

MFA in Writing & Publishing

On April 23, 2014, VCFA announced the acquisition of the former Master of Professional Writing from the University of Southern California to begin enrolling full-time graduate students for fall 2015. Writer Trinie Dalton, a faculty member at both VCFA and USC, was the first program director. Building on VCFA’s long tradition of excellence as a top graduate college for arts education, the MFA in Writing & Publishing now combines the best of VCFA and USC to create a two-year residential MFA program focused on artistic innovation, industry-facing pedagogy, cross-discipline and cross-genre opportunities, and a diverse and renowned faculty with multi-genre publishing experience.

Graduate Studies in Art & Design Education

The department of Graduate Studies in Art & Design Education at VCFA houses the Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT) and Master of Arts in Art & Design Education (MAADE) degrees, as well as Professional Development programs for practicing educators and administrators. The programs are specific to the needs of arts educators in the 21st century. They offer a rigorous course of study that connects students with leading educators and mentors in the field. VCFA’s MAT/MAADE programs incorporate summer residencies on the historic VCFA campus with fall and spring semesters in our students’ home communities. Professional Development offerings are available during our summer residencies and throughout the academic year. Students in the programs are artists and designers who want to teach PK-12 students, or they are PK-12 art and design teachers interested in advancing their practice. The students have diverse artistic backgrounds—from graphics, web design, film, industrial design, furniture design, and architecture, to more traditional and experimental visual and fine arts disciplines. What the students have in common is a deep desire to educate, a belief in the transformative power of the arts, and the need for flexibility to stay in their home environment while they progress academically and professionally, building personal, local, and national communities that continue to thrive well beyond graduation.


The focus of Vermont College has changed since its beginnings as Newbury Seminary in 1831. After existing in several forms including a Wesleyan Seminary and a Methodist Seminary, it became Vermont Junior College in 1941. In 1958 it became Vermont College. In 1972 Vermont College merged with Norwich University; the two schools became fully integrated in 1993. Union Institute acquired Vermont College in 2001. The Master of Fine Arts (MFA) in writing program was established in 1981 and the MFA in visual art in 1991. The MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults, the first "MFA program in writing for young readers," began in January 1997. In 2008 Vermont College of Fine Arts became an independent fine arts institution. In 2011 it launched an MFA program in Music Composition and one in Graphic Design The MFA in Film program was established in 2013. In 2014 the MFA in Writing and Publishing began, and the Graduate Studies in Art & Design Education Program was established with first classes starting in 2015.

College Hall, the central building on campus, is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. It was completed in 1872 and includes a two-story high chapel and a pipe organ from 1884.

Student profile

The average student age is 35 years old. Students live all over the world and continue working in their current careers while attending Vermont College of Fine Arts. VCFA is approved by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs to accept veterans benefits, and is certified by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security to admit international students.

Faculty profile

Approximately 60 authors and artists teach at Vermont College. All have terminal degrees in their specialty.


Alumni and students are published with major publishing houses. They work as "librarians, editors, freelance writers, teachers, directors of arts organizations, illustrators, and publishers."

Notable alumni

Notable alumni of the program include:


Vermont College of Fine Arts Wikipedia

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