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 winters between residential sessions. Transfer credits are not accepted.

Credits by Term

Summers 1 and 2:

  • Conference (5 credits each summer)
  • Seminar and Caucus (4 credits each summer)
  • Presentation (4 credits each summer)

Winters 1 and 2:

  • Independent Study
    (6.5 credits each winter)

Summer 3:

  • Conference (5 credits)
  • Seminar and Caucus (4 credits)
  • Presentation (4 credits)
  • Master's Project (8 credits)
Summers 1 and 2 Total: 26 Credits Winters 1 and 2 Total: 13 Credits Summer 3 Total: 21
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 to 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.

Leaves of Absence

Leaves of absence for one or more academic years may be taken for personal, financial, or artistic reasons. A student seeking a leave of absence must first contact the chair(s) of his or her discipline to discuss the reason for the leave. At that point a request should be made in writing to the director, by February 1st. If the leave is approved, the student will be charged a $500 leave of absence fee per year of leave. If the leave is requested after April 15, the student will also be assessed the nonrefundable $500 enrollment deposit for the coming summer session.

A student in good academic standing seeking readmission after one or two years must submit a portfolio of new independent work to the MFA program office by December 1. The discipline chair(s) will review the work and make a recommendation to the director regarding the student's return. The director may deny a student the opportunity to return in a given year based on the quality of work and/or enrollment needs. After three years of absence, a student must formally apply to the program for readmission.