Degree Requirements

To be awarded the master of fine arts degree, a student must earn a total of 60 graduate credits. The 60 credits required for the MFA degree are earned through (1) creative work guided by the one-to-one Conference with faculty during the summer sessions, (2) participation in the Caucus and Seminar during the summer sessions, (3) the mounting of a Presentation and participation in other artists' Presentations during the summer sessions, (4) the completion of a Master's Project in the final summer session, and (5) Independent Study conducted during the fall and spring between residential sessions. Transfer credits are not accepted.

Credits by Term

Summers 1 and 2:

  • Conference (4 credits each summer)
  • Seminar and Caucus (3 credits each summer)
  • Presentation (3 credits each summer)

Fall & Spring 1 and 2:

  • Independent Study Proposal
    (Fall - 6 credits)
  • Independent Study Presentation
  • (Spring - 6 credits)

Summer 3:

  • Conference (4 credits)
  • Seminar and Caucus (3 credits)
  • Presentation (3 credits)
  • Master's Project (6 credits)
Summers 1 and 2 Total: 20 Credits Fall/Spring 1 and 2 Total: 24 Credits Summer 3 Total: 16 Credits
Total Credits: 60

Student Progress

After the close of each summer session, the student's work and participatory effort are evaluated by the faculty, and the student is notified of credits granted. At the end of a student's first summer in residence, if the work submitted is found to be below graduate level in quality or quantity, or participation in the Seminar and the Presentation is deemed inadequate, continuation in the graduate program may not be permitted. The student will receive notification of dismissal before the end of the calendar year.

At the end of a student's second summer in residence, if the level of work or participation is judged to be inadequate, or the faculty feels that the student is not ready to undertake or complete an effective Master's Project, the Graduate Committee may direct the student to take a required leave of absence before returning for a final term in residence. Before being permitted to register for that final term, the student must provide evidence, in the form of work produced, of the ability to complete the program.

MFA Enrollment

Students may not participate in another MFA program simultaneously with Bard except with special permission from the Program Director. If a student has urgent reasons to enroll in a concurrent MFA program, they must submit a letter of request to the Director by December 1 stating both their plan and the circumstances necessitating this request. Students will be informed of the status of their request by December 15. 
Please note: such requests will be granted only under the most urgent of circumstances.