Fine Arts, Master of Fine Arts

Low-Residency Master of Fine Arts

The Master of Fine Arts at Wilson College is designed for working professionals or experienced practitioners in choreography/movement-based performance, creative writing, visual art, and transdisciplinary artists. This program offers a low-residency schedule tailored to the needs of artists allowing them to reach the next level in their field with the terminal degree, while simultaneously working with others to expand their conceptual and technical expertise.

The Wilson M.F.A. Program locates the study and practice of art-making within human ecology. Therefore, we examine historical art works and develop our own creative practices by investigating the human relationship to our natural, sociopolitical, constructed and curated environments. 



The M.F.A. Program is a two-year (60 semester hour) terminal degree designed for professionals or experienced artists already working in their respective fields. This low-residency program requires two consecutive summer residency periods (four-weeks each). The summer intensives consist of individual studio time with faculty mentoring and critique as well as seminars addressing major concerns in the disciplines. The seminars are conducted with participants from all concentrations in order to foster in-depth exploration. Each student is responsible for substantial preparation in order to make the most effective use of the residency period. During the non-residency periods, students work in regular contact with the Wilson program faculty and an additional mentor that the student nominates each semester (The M.F.A. Director approves the mentor). Non-residency semesters include online coursework and critical response shared among members of the program’s learning community. Study concludes with a thesis project and oral defense.

Admissions and Academic Procedures

Applications are accepted on a rolling basis. Degree program admission is based on the following criteria:

• Completion of a baccalaureate degree from a regionally accredited institution of higher learning.
• A minimum undergraduate cumulative grade point average of 3.0 on a 4.0 scale. 
• Completion of an application for admission into the M.F.A. program. 
• Official transcripts from all undergraduate and graduate colleges and universities.
• Two letters of recommendation from educators, employers or professional colleagues familiar the applicant’s work. Letters should be uploaded to the application portal or, alternatively, emailed to In situations where a student has been away from academic study for ten years or more, he/she should consult the program director to identify who could best recommend the student for admission into the program.
• Non-native speakers of English who did not graduate from an English-speaking institution of higher learning will be required to submit TOEFL or IELTS scores. Candidates will be required to submit TOEFL scores of 570 (paper-based) or 88 (internet-based) or higher, or an IELTS score of 6.5 or higher. 
• A resume or curriculum vita. Portfolio of representative professional work completed in the last five years. 
• A personal interview (in-person or via video conference), with the director of the M.F.A.
• Additional Portfolio Requirements Electronic: Downloadable formats are required and a table of contents document must be included. Links to websites are not a substitute for submitting a portfolio, and CD/DVD submissions will not be accepted. Additional documentation such as reviews, up to five pages, may be included in the portfolio. All work in the portfolio must have been completed in the last five years. A table of contents document must be included. Up to five additional pages of supporting materials such as published reviews will also be considered.
• Choreography/Performance/Time-Based Work: Movement-based artists must submit 15 minutes of video files. For all time-based work please indicate in the title-descriptions, spaces, title, medium, duration, and date. With longer pieces, indicate any time-frame which you’d like the review committee to focus on; for example [13:34 - 16:54].
• Image Portfolio: Visual artists must submit 15 images. Include title, medium, dimension and date of each image. Up to four images may be details of other objects in the portfolio.
• Writing Portfolio: Writers must submit 15 pages. Submissions may include poetry, short stories, writing for performance (excerpts from scripts, spoken word text, or scores for dance theatre, etc.).


The M.F.A. program is designed as an intense, 24-month program that must be completed within five years of matriculation. However, a student may take a one-semester (summer campus residency or academic year semester) or full academic year leave of absence. The leave of absence requires approval from the director (students must submit this request in writing). A leave of absence beyond one full year, or two missed summer residency intensives, will be considered a withdrawal and will require the student to reapply to the program. Credit for completed coursework will be honored as long as the five-year completion deadline is met. Partial attendance of the summer campus residency is strongly discouraged but may be permitted by the director. Incompletes for the summer campus residency will be arranged with the director and registrar. Withdrawal and incompletes for individual classes will be granted as allowed under standard Wilson academic procedures.

Course Sequence

Students enter the program in the summer campus residency, and complete the program in 24 months as long as they are continuously enrolled full-time.

Enrollment in M.F.A. courses requires admission to the M.F.A. Program. A general exception is made for students admitted to the M.A. Humanities Program who may enroll in FA 510 Praxis: Visual Arts, FA 523 Praxis: Movement Arts and FA 526 Praxis: Creative Writing. 

Note that all M.F.A. courses are originally listed under Fine Arts (FA), with cross-listings in Dance (DNC) and Creative Writing (CRW). Students will register according to their concentration, with Interdisciplinary Arts students registering for a mix of sections in consultation with the program director (as appropriate to the student’s practice). 

First Summer Campus Residency (15 semester hours)
FA 501 Studio Practice I
FA 503 Contemporary Arts Practice I
FA 504 Interdisciplinary Collaboration II
FA 506 Somatic Practice I
FA 507 Higher Education Seminary
FA 508 Site-Sensitive Art-making I

First Fall Online Semester (9 semester hours)
FA 510 Praxis: Visual Arts
FA 511 Studio Practice II
FA 523 Praxis: Movement Arts

First Spring Online (9 semester hours)
FA 521 Studio Practice III
FA 524 Praxis: Creative Writing

Summer Term I Online (3 semester hours)
EDU 500  Fundamentals Online Teaching
FA 533 Contemporary Arts Practice II

Second Summer Campus Residency (12 semester hours)
FA 531 Studio Practice IV
FA 534 Interdisciplinary Collaboration II
FA 536 Somatic Practice II
FA 538 Site-Sensitive Art-making II

Second Fall Online Semester (6 semester hours)
FA 598 Thesis Exhibition/Performance I

Second Spring Online Semester (6 semester hours)

FA 599 Thesis Exhibition/Performance II