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The only MFA program for visual storytelling that puts Story First.

A command of story is the most powerful and fundamental foundation an artist in any creative profession can possess.

Our program is open to students working in any visual medium or format who are ready to focus on honing their visual and creative writing skills and learning how to craft visual stories that will keep people reading, watching, playing, and wanting more. Immerse yourself in story during 3 summers in New York City learning and collaborating at our studios and in 4 semesters studying online in our innovative low-residency program. Join us!

What Makes
Us Unique


Storytelling transcends media and form. Our students create work in comics, film, illustration, graphic design, photography, and more. Learn from peers and faculty ranging from animators to data scientists to game designers, and allow different disciplines to transform how you tell stories in ways you wouldn’t expect.

Low Residency

Our community spans the globe. Spend three intensive summer semesters in the heart of New York City, then return home in the fall and spring to take classes online. The low-residency model makes MFAVN a favorite of educators and international students.


Access a world of professional storytellers and markets curated to meet the specific needs of your artistic medium and practice. Meet faculty, alumni, and current students at the tops of their industries. Form a peer network and everlasting friendships that will challenge, inspire, and support you.

A Foundation of Story

Under it all, we believe that a strong knowledge of story structure and the skills to recognize what makes a compelling story are the basis of communication. We focus on giving you the tools to use the power of story in any form you choose.

The Low-Residency Program is Structured in Three Tiers and Phases of Study and Development.

How it Works

3 Full Time Summer Intensives

Spend three full-time, highly collaborative, eight-week summer intensive semesters at the School of Visual Arts in New York City.

4 Semesters of Remote/Online

Maintain your creative, work and life balance without having to uproot and move to a new city to obtain your degree through 2 part time academic years online.


Download Our Program Curriculum (PDF)



Your Thesis—
Your Story.

The second summer and the following fall–spring online terms are dedicated to thesis development and production. Each student contacts and secures a creative mentor of their choosing to work with throughout their thesis production year. They are also supported by one of the thesis faculty advisors, working professionals who are chosen for them based on medium and industry.

The third and final summer intensive session focuses on presentation and promotion of the thesis project, as well as other professional development. The program culminates with an exhibition at the SVA Gramercy Gallery, as well as a digital exhibition.


View Our Thesis Gallery

What Comes

MFAVN alumni have moved into careers in creative direction, animation, comics, game development, film, toy design, information and motion design, education, and many other disciplines. Whether it’s full-time employment by a big company, working with globally and nationally recognized brands and institutions, or getting their stories produced, published, or exhibited, our alumni are out in the world proving the power of story.

The Only Dedicated Educational Risograph Printing Facility of Its Kind.

The RisoLAB is an educational print lab dedicated to empowering self-publishing and production of Risograph-based printed works, accessible to the entire SVA community through Continuing Education and undergraduate courses, open access, and workshops.

For the MFA Visual Narrative program, the lab serves as a crucial physical hub that underpins the on-campus, summer semester of the program. All MFAVN students undergo rigorous training in Risograph printing in their first semester, after which they have unlimited access to the Risograph printing facilities—expanding their design and print skills.

Visit the RisoLab Site

Program FAQs

Applications remain open for a Summer 2024 start!

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