250.030 – Procedures for Mentored Projects

Revised: August 2017

In preparing for critiques of their creative work, Candidates should carefully consider the elements of evaluation set forth in the rubric. While it is not imperative that work presented for critique be in a final form for exhibition, e.g., photographic prints need not be matted and framed, the work should be finished to the extent that no aspect of the presentation would call into question Candidates’ craft.  Candidates should also determine in advance how their work would best be displayed at critiques. Program administrators will make every effort possible to accommodate Candidates’ requests in this regard provided that they are made well enough in advance of the retreat.

Candidates presenting screenplays or treatments should likewise consider how these would best be received and make arrangements accordingly with program administrators. Copies of screenplays and treatments must be sent to the program office no later than two weeks prior to the start of the retreat at which they will be critiqued. Candidates should bear in mind, however, that faculty may have many documents to read and so it may behoove Candidates to forward their screenplays at the earliest date possible. A “White Paper” regarding screenplays and treatments is attached.


  • Demonstrate the ability to research and analyze subject matter relevant to their creative work.
  • Articulate this research and analysis in ways that make evident the significance of such connections.
  • Reflect a deepening understanding of their work as a result of the academic study.

Demonstration of knowledge in the area of study is necessary, but is not sufficient to gain credit for an academic project. Knowledge must always be applied to one or more of the ciritcal ideas listed below. It is expect that the student will apply this knowledge to develop understanding of their working process, their understanding of historical or other contexts, and their capacity for effective self-critique.

Work Process – methods, practices, approaches, techniques

Context – frameworks within and perspectives from which creative work may be considered (other than those to working process), application of critical ideas to one’s own work

Self-critique – synthesis of ideas as applied to creative work, progress toward artistic self-sufficiency.


The scope and direction of an academic project is determined through an initial conversation between a student and advisor, as modified by the student and mentor, and as agreed to by the student, advisor, and MFA Chair. Academic papers meriting three credits must reflect substantial efforts in both research and writing. Candidates’ compositions should be of a superior quality commensurate with that of any other graduate-level program and all submissions are to include proper standardized footnoting as warranted. Research bibliographies should include a minimum of ten books or scholarly articles. Papers should be approximately eighteen pages in length (minimum, double-spaced, 12-point text, excluding illustrations). All papers should include a reflective component addressing the impact of the research and writing on Candidates’ creative work. While appropriate topics are many, students, mentors, and advisors ought to bear in mind, when selecting topics for research, the College’s requirements that all Candidates be able to place themselves within historical and ideological contexts by the time of graduation from the MFA program.


Copies of all papers to be presented for credit must be sent to the program office at least two week prior to the start of a retreat. Candidates must submit to the program office, abstracts of papers, approximately one page in length, at least two weeks prior to the start of the retreat at which these papers are to be presented.


Program administrators request that copies of bibliographies be provided to the library upon completion of projects and awarding of credit as these bibliographies may be of interest to other Candidates researching similar topics.


The following timeline recommendations are offered as guidance, to keep Candidates on track and on schedule:

  • 30 days (one month) from start of term – anticipated bibliographies and other research needs provided to mentors and advisors;
  • 60 days (two months) from start of term – annotated bibliographies (a paragraph or two summarizing each book or article) provided to the mentors;
  • 90 days (three months) from start of term – outlines to be provided to mentors;
  • 120 days (four months) from start of term – rough draft of paper provided to mentors;
  • 140 days (four months, three weeks) from start of term – final draft provided to mentors;
  • 160 days (approximately three weeks prior to retreat) from start of term – final papers including all revisions provided to mentors