Academic Catalog

Image Text M.F.A.

Nicholas Muellner, Associate Professor and Co-Director
Catherine Taylor, Associate Professor and Co-Director

The Ithaca College low-residency Image Text MFA is a unique terminal degree program focused on the intersection of writing and photography. Students in our exploratory, flexible and innovative twenty-five month program work directly with faculty and visiting artists during three annual month-long summer sessions in Ithaca, New York and in two annual week-long winter sessions in a major international cultural capital. During the fall and spring academic terms, students pursue independent study in close consultation with their faculty mentors. Integrating theoretical and conceptual studies with intensive creative practice, the program seeks to create a community that brings photography and writing into a shared arena of discussion, including cross-disciplinary and collaborative work. 

The current explosion of independent creative publishing is saturated with hybrid image-text works, and in journalistic and editorial work, writers are increasingly expected to photograph and photographers to write. These convergences have begun to be addressed in pre-professional programs, but not yet in creative training for contemporary writers and artists. The Image-Text MFA is the first program in the country to specifically focus on this vital and expanding intersection of creative and professional practice.

This program seeks to prepare accomplished and original artists to make substantial contributions to literary and media arts fields, including print and online publication and exhibition, and encompassing experimental fiction, documentary and journalistic practices.

We welcome applicants with backgrounds in writing, photography and other lens-based media, and artists working across these forms and disciplines. Experience in both text and image-making is not required, but applicants must submit a portfolio that demonstrates sustained work in at least one of these areas, if not both.

Degree Requirements

The structure of this program reflects four overarching curricular goals:

Practicum courses develop the students’ range of material, technical, formal and stylistic skills. The Foundation Practicum requirement guarantees that all students leave the program with advanced competence in an additional core discipline (beyond the disciplinary achievement in at least one of these fields that secured their admission to the program), and develop a shared approach to the fundamental media in the program. Practicum Electives allow students to take advantage of our diverse faculty’s range of expertise, in keeping with their ideas and interests.

Seminar courses develop the students’ knowledge of relevant historical and contemporary practices within an interdisciplinary framework. Coursework develops critical expertise through writing, presentations and discussion, while exposing them to the passionately informed knowledge of leading artists, writers and scholars.

The Field Practicum immerses students in a broad array of professional practices and introduces them to important and influential figures in contemporary literary and visual art. Students thus leave the program well-informed about and connected to individuals, practices and venues relevant to their professional development beyond graduate study.

The Graduate Workshop and Thesis requirements form the creative core of the program, allowing students both to explore and to focus within their artistic practices. This is accomplished through intensive independent mentored study, done via distance-learning, as well as group critique and discussion in Thesis Studios. Thesis Studio III ensures that students’ increasingly focused practice culminates in the professional completion and launch of an accomplished creative project.

Practicum Foundation Requirement
Select one of the following: 12
Image-Text Practicum: Writing
Image-Text Practicum: Photography
Image-Text Practicum: Design
Practicum Elective Requirement
Select 4 credits from the following: 24
Image-Text Practicum: Writing
Image-Text Practicum: Photography
Image-Text Practicum: Design
IMTX 50500-IMTX 50599
Image Text Practicum: Selected Topics
Seminar Requirement
Select 12 credits of the following:12
IMTX 51001-51099
Selected Topics Seminar in Image Text
Visiting Artist Colloquium Requirement
Select 3 credits of the following:3
Image-Text Visiting Artist Colloquium
Field Research Requirement
Select 6 credits of the following:6
Image-Text Field Practicum
Graduate Workshop Requirement
Select 24 credits of the following:24
Independent Mentored Study
Thesis Requirement
IMTX 60100Thesis Studio I3
IMTX 60200Thesis Studio II3
IMTX 60300Thesis Studio III3
Total Credits60