Program

Online Program Summer/Fall 2020

Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, We will move to a remote/online program for summer/fall 2020. Students, faculty and staff will not be in residence on the Bard College campus. Instead, the MFA community will be meeting online using a variety of virtual platforms. The online session will extend from July 6, 2020 - January 15, 2021. This longer time frame allows for spaced scheduling. Students may choose between two tracks: full-time (equivalent to a regular summer 8 week session) or pandemic response track (part-time 6 credit).

The full-time online program will include all the academic features of the regular summer Bard MFA program including: seminar, discipline caucuses, faculty presentations and individual conferences with faculty. 3rd year students in the full-time track will have their thesis boards in January 2021, with a thesis exhibition in June 2021. 1st and 2nd year students in the full-time track will be engaged in the usual independent study in spring 2021 and will present their work for credit in summer 2021. 2nd year students in the full-time track will participate in the thesis writing workshop spring 2021. Part-time students will participate in discipline caucuses, the seminar and may attend faculty presentations.
We look forward to resuming the usual 8 week, on campus session in June 2021.

Bard MFA takes place over two years and two months, with students in residence on campus during three consecutive summers, and two winter sessions of independent study completed off campus. Each summer session runs for eight intensive weeks; the 2021 summer session dates are Monday, June 7 through Friday, July 30, 2021. We do not offer an MFA program that runs on a traditional academic year schedule.

The day-to-day focus is on the individual process and work in progress, as each student confronts the conceptual and practical questions that are at the core of all artistic production. Work toward the M.F.A. degree continues during independent study sessions in the two intervening winters. The schedule of summers in residence and winter independent work can make earning the M.F.A. degree possible without sacrificing employment or other commitments. The result of this program design is a diverse group of students, including active mid-career artists, teachers, and professionals in other fields, as well as recent college graduates.

When applying, each candidate chooses a primary field— music/sound, photography, film/video, painting, sculpture, or writing. Regular meetings with faculty in the student's chosen field and meetings with faculty from other disciplines are an intrinsic and necessary aspect of the program. Students are their own taskmasters in achieving credits for individual work and participation in community activities.

Faculty and Students

Program faculty members are drawn from a range of mid-career working artists from diverse backgrounds. Their experience is available to students in all six disciplines: a writer will meet with a painter, a sculptor with a filmmaker, a musician with a photographer. These intense one-on-one Conferences are the core of the program.

The broad intellectual and artistic concerns of those who teach and learn at the Milton Avery Graduate School of the Arts call for, and create, a context of critical support and respect that extends beyond professional boundaries and categories. An awareness of other disciplines and a willingness to take risks mark successful artists in every field. Students must be willing to become actively and articulately involved in the interdisciplinary program while concentrating on their chosen discipline. Knowledge of, and interest in, other fields should accompany primary involvement in their own.