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Recording Arts and Technologies, M.F.A.

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The Master of Fine Arts in Recording Arts and Technologies offers preparation for advanced work in audio production, recording, and integrated electronic media. Coursework helps students develop a strong foundation in audio production and an understanding of the theoretical concepts of closely related disciplines. The program is designed to foster creativity and features a strong technical component utilizing the latest advancements in software and hardware. A diverse range of technical and artistic projects are produced, culminating in a final project of professional caliber. The degree plan also offers preparation for select graduates to teach at the postsecondary level in the field of audio recording and production. Creativity is one of the primary qualities sought in new students for the six-semester program. This creative background may be in audio engineering or in a field closely related to what might be described as "entertainment technology."

Live outside of Tennessee? You could be eligible for in-state tuition and save thousands of dollars.


What We're Doing

Alum Rowland works with Nine Inch Nails, co-founds app company

Alum Rowland works with Nine Inch Nails, co-founds app company

Daniel Rowland, M.F.A. grad and recording industry online instructor for MTSU, co-produces now with acclaimed guitarist/producer Adrian Belew including working together on the latest Nine Inch Nails album. Hesitation Marks eventually reached No. 3 in the U.S. and No. 2 in the United Kingdom. Rowland used multiple iPads and his laptop at Trent Reznor's Los Angeles home to process audio of Belew playing guitar. Rowland also utilized a "modular closet" full of effects on the NIN song Everything -- from guitar pedals, iPads, tape machines, and amps to high-end guitar processors. These were connected via patchbays to easily create various signal paths. This inspired him to co-found the app company NOIISE and release an iOS professional multi-effects processor app, FLUX:FX, with Belew and Amsterdam-based companies Mobgen and Elephant Candy. They followed that with another app, FLUX by belew, a re-imagining of the album format that never plays the same way twice, featuring hundreds of tracks recorded, mixed, and co-produced by Rowland.

Professor performs various roles in, out of studio

Professor performs various roles in, out of studio

MTSU audio recording faculty member Bill Crabtree is busy outside the classroom with producing, engineering, performing, and recording. He produced a new album for Nashville artist Sali Hagan of funky, retro, artsy rock. Crabtree also played drums, did some percussion, and programmed a lot of electronic instruments on the recordings. M.F.A. student Grant Greene additionally worked on the album. Next up is co-producing and engineering recordings for Zigo, a St. Louis-based Americana band. Crabtree played drums on a live recreation of Pink Floyd's classic album Dark Side of the Moon that involved faculty, staff, and students at MTSU's Tucker Theater. In spring 2014 he did a three-day recording workshop on studio production and recording at the AES Central Region Summit. Crabtree also collaborated with Michael Fleming on writing the report for the AES 50th conference on audio education held at MTSU, where they were co-chairs. Crabtree is producing instructional videos about audio technology and recording, with the help of master's students.


Related Media

  • MFA Recording Arts and Technologies - MTSU Recording Industry (RIM)

    MFA Recording Arts and Technologies - MTSU Recording Industry (RIM)

  • I Wanna Be Your Lover - Prince Cover

    I Wanna Be Your Lover - Prince Cover

  • RIM Studio Tour - Standard Edition

    RIM Studio Tour - Standard Edition

 
 
 

This M.F.A. helps foster and develop creativity and trains students in technology for advanced work in audio/music engineering or related fields that could be described as "entertainment technology." Graduates can use the degree program to excel in professional pursuits such as

  • Audio post-production engineer
  • Audio studio design and installation
  • Broadcast audio
  • Independent audio contractor
  • Live sound engineer
  • Manufacturer audio product specialist
  • Mastering engineer
  • Media specialist
  • Recording studio engineer
  • Recording studio manager
  • Retail audio sales
  • Sound design for film/video
  • University professor 

Employers of MTSU alumni include

  • Alabama State University
  • Art Institute of Tennessee
  • Asbury University
  • Belmont University
  • Brickhouse Records
  • Butler University
  • Clair Brothers
  • CNN
  • GC Pro
  • Hope College
  • Jeff Slaughter Ministries
  • Middle Tennessee State University
  • National Public Radio (NPR)
  • New England School of Communications
  • Old Dominion University
  • Sweetwater
  • Tennessee Digital Video
  • Truphonic Recording Studios
  • Yamaha Corporation of America

Graduate

The Department of Recording Industry offers the Master of Fine Arts (M.F.A.) in Recording Arts and Technologies.

A limited number of students, typically 12-14, are accepted each year for fall admission. The quality of the creative portfolio is usually the determining factor in admission.

A previous degree in audio engineering/music technology isn't required, but some students with little or no audio background may be asked to complete foundation audio courses in the summer before starting the program.

Residents from the following states are eligible to enroll in this program at MTSU at the in-state tuition rate through Academic Common Market agreements: Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, South Carolina, Virginia, and West Virginia.

The M.F.A. program normally has two or three graduate assistantships to award each fall.

For complete curriculum details, click on the REQUIREMENTS tab above.

Undergraduate

Students in the Department of  Recording Industry can pursue a Bachelor of Science (B.S.) degree through two different majors: Audio Production or Recording Industry; majors in the latter can choose between two concentrations: Commercial Songwriting, or Music Business.  

The department also offers undergraduate minors in Entertainment Technology (an interdisciplinary minor) and Recording Industry (for non-majors).

Recording Arts and Technologies, M.F.A.

Recording Arts and Technologies, M.F.A.

Bill Crabtree, Program Director
(615) 494-7908
Bill.Crabtree@mtsu.edu

The Department of Recording Industry offers the Master of Fine Arts in Recording Arts and Technologies (MRAT) program.

The Master of Fine Arts program offers preparation for advanced work in audio production, recording, and integrated electronic media. Students develop a strong foundation in audio production and an understanding of the theoretical concepts of closely related disciplines. The program fosters creativity and offers a strong technical component, utilizing the latest advancements in software and hardware. A diverse range of technical and artistic projects are produced, culminating in a final project of professional caliber. The degree plan also offers preparation for select graduates to teach at the postsecondary level in the field of audio recording and production.

Please see undergraduate catalog for information regarding undergraduate programs.

Admission Requirements

Admission to the Master of Fine Arts program in Recording Arts and Technologies requires

  1. an earned bachelor's degree from an accredited university or college;
  2. undergraduate preparation or significant professional experience appropriate to the graduate curriculum and a minimum overall grade point average of 3.00 in all courses attempted, excluding repeated courses;
  3. a satisfactory score on the general portion of the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) that is not more than five years old. Successful applicants typically have scores of 146 verbal and 140 quantitative or better on the verbal and quantitative measures of the GRE, and an analytical writing score of 4 or better.

Application Procedures

All application materials are to be submitted to the College of Graduate Studies except the creative portfolio. The portfolio should be mailed directly to the M.F.A. director (see below).

Applicant must

  1. submit application with the appropriate application fee (online at www.mtsu.edu/graduate/apply.php). Once this initial application has been accepted, the applicant will receive directions on how to enter the graduate portal to be able to submit other materials.
  2. submit official scores on the GRE;
  3. submit official transcripts of all previous college work;
  4. submit a formal statement of purpose addressing career goals, related work experience, and how the M.F.A. will help attain the stated career goals;
  5. submit two letters of recommendation for graduate study; one letter from the undergraduate major advisor if the student is a recent graduate;
  6. submit a portfolio of works representative of the candidate's creative achievements in the areas of audio recording, music, composition, video, film, or multimedia or areas strongly related to the degree curriculum. See creative portfolio format.

Curriculum: Recording Arts and Technologies

The Master of Fine Arts in Recording Arts and Technologies requires completion of 60 semester hours.

Required Courses (48 hours)

  • MRAT 6030 - MIDI and Music Synthesis Seminar

    3credit hours

    Technical skills and conceptual foundation necessary to undertake advanced creative projects using MIDI and sound synthesis. Emphasis on mastery of hardware and software platforms including Pro Tools, Reason, Ableton, Yamaha, and Moog synthesizers and related peripherals.

  • MRAT 6040 - Digital Audio Studio Seminar

    3credit hours

    A comprehensive in-depth study of audio theory and the digital tools used to record, edit, and mix audio. Students engage in analytical problem solving using scientific foundations in audio as well as the technical skills needed to use Pro Tools in advanced production projects.

  • MRAT 6050 - Multitrack Recording Seminar

    3credit hours

    Systematic examination of the techniques and technology used in the modern recording studio environment. Emphasis placed on music recording with creative recording and mixing projects produced by each student.

  • MRAT 6070 - Visual Aesthetics and Technology I

    3credit hours

    Introduces students to the theories of visual aesthetics with regard to light, color, space, time, motion, and sound. Topics cover camera basics, lighting, and editing techniques needed to creatively capture, enhance, and manipulate these image/sound elements. Students explore the creative value of these elements through the production of several short videos.

  • MRAT 6090 - Visual Aesthetics and Technology II

    3credit hours

    Prerequisite: MRAT 6070. Continuation of MRAT 6070 with demonstration of basic and advanced visual technology as a foundation for more advanced video productions. Explores visual aesthetics theories and basic video skills applied to student produced videos and editing exercises. Designed to equip the student with more sophisticated mastery of the moving image form and its storytelling potential.

  • MRAT 6110 - Production Seminar I

    3credit hours

    Prerequisites: MRAT 6040 and MRAT 6050 with C or better. Studio production course which considers the evolving role of music producer for the 21st century, including audio production techniques and the overall production process, with a focus on the aesthetic, creative, and entrepreneurial aspects of recording studios. For the semester project, students will develop better understanding of the course concepts by acting as producer for a large-format recording project.

  • MRAT 6120 - Sound for Visual Media

    3credit hours

    Prerequisite: MRAT 6040. An in-depth interactive study of sound and its relationship to the moving image. Topics include time code, synchronization, workflow, data interchange, sound recording to picture, sound editing to picture, aesthetic aspects of mixing, routing structures, required deliverables and levels, sound formats and more. Upon successful completion of this course, students will be well prepared for an internship or assistantship at an audio prod-production facility and possess the foundation for working on billable projects.

  • MRAT 6130 - Production Seminar II

    3credit hours

    Prerequisites: MRAT 6110 and MRAT 6140. In this second year studio production course, students produce and engineer a variety of projects for their portfolio involving multitrack pop music, acoustic drum recording, and location/classical recording. Emphasis on development of creative skills and knowledge related to music production and engineering including critical listening skills and evaluation techniques. Final project mixes submitted in stereo and surround formats.

  • MRAT 6140 - Graduate Seminar in Audio Recording

    3credit hours

    Prerequisites: MRAT 6040 and MRAT 6050 with C or better. Advanced techniques and technologies used in music recording and engineering. Students assume the role of a recording engineer and work with a producer from MRAT 6110 toward the completion of an advanced multi-track music recording.

  • MRAT 6145 - Seminar in Advanced Mixing Techniques

    3credit hours

    Prerequisites: MRAT 6040, MRAT 6050, and MRAT 6140. Advanced application of audio mixing techniques, designed to develop skill sets and knowledge base related to the craft of mixing. Provides students with a means for creative self-discovery and the exploration of complex ideas. An in-depth study of core mixing skills, signal processing and their application using a variety of tools, media and approaches. Additional topics of study include applied critical listening, automation systems, focus and foundation mixing, commercial concerns, and the NARAS guidelines for exchange and delivery of recorded music projects.

  • MRAT 6150 - Legal Rights of the Creative Individual

    3credit hours

    Examines legal rights and duties of creative persons. Students apply concepts from copyright, trademark, trade secrets, privacy, publicity, defamation, and other branches of the law to media productions.

  • MRAT 6170 - The Art of Critical Listening

    3credit hours

    Prerequisite: MRAT 6040 and MRAT 6050 with C or better. Technology of sound reproduction and principles of auditory perception as they relate to the critical and technical analysis of sound recordings. Survey of popular music production styles and activities including specialized aural skills training.

  • MRAT 6210 - Production Seminar III

    3credit hours

    Prerequisite: MRAT 6130 and MRAT 6145. Student recordings reviewed through regular peer presentation and critique. Students revise portfolio entries and undertake new projects in preparation for their Portfolio Jury. Students begin preparation and concept presentations for the third year MRAT 6650.

  • MRAT 6650 - Final Project  1 to 9 credit hours  
    (9 credit hours required)(9 credit hours required)  dotslash:(9 credit hours required) title:(9 credit hours required) 
    (9 credit hours required) 

    MRAT 6650 - Final Project

    1 to 9credit hours

    Prerequisite: Permission of department. A directed production project of substantial size and scope proposed, developed, and realized under the guidance of the major faculty advisor in consultation with the final project faculty committee. The culminating experience in the M.F.A. program. S/U grading used.

Electives (12 hours)

  • In addition to the required courses above students must complete 12 hours of electives. Electives can be taken in any semester including summer terms.
  • Guided electives are normally selected from recording arts and technologies courses; however, up to 6 hours of guided electives may be from other departments upon permission of the student's advisor. A maximum of 12 hours of 5000-level courses may be counted toward the degree.

Comprehensive Examinations (if necessary)

Sample Course and Examination Schedule

The following sample schedule outlines the sequence of course requirements:

Year 1

 

Fall Semester

 

  • MRAT 6030 - MIDI and Music Synthesis Seminar

    3credit hours

    Technical skills and conceptual foundation necessary to undertake advanced creative projects using MIDI and sound synthesis. Emphasis on mastery of hardware and software platforms including Pro Tools, Reason, Ableton, Yamaha, and Moog synthesizers and related peripherals.

  • MRAT 6040 - Digital Audio Studio Seminar

    3credit hours

    A comprehensive in-depth study of audio theory and the digital tools used to record, edit, and mix audio. Students engage in analytical problem solving using scientific foundations in audio as well as the technical skills needed to use Pro Tools in advanced production projects.

  • MRAT 6050 - Multitrack Recording Seminar

    3credit hours

    Systematic examination of the techniques and technology used in the modern recording studio environment. Emphasis placed on music recording with creative recording and mixing projects produced by each student.

  • MRAT 6170 - The Art of Critical Listening

    3credit hours

    Prerequisite: MRAT 6040 and MRAT 6050 with C or better. Technology of sound reproduction and principles of auditory perception as they relate to the critical and technical analysis of sound recordings. Survey of popular music production styles and activities including specialized aural skills training.

Spring Semester

 

  • MRAT 6110 - Production Seminar I

    3credit hours

    Prerequisites: MRAT 6040 and MRAT 6050 with C or better. Studio production course which considers the evolving role of music producer for the 21st century, including audio production techniques and the overall production process, with a focus on the aesthetic, creative, and entrepreneurial aspects of recording studios. For the semester project, students will develop better understanding of the course concepts by acting as producer for a large-format recording project.

  • MRAT 6120 - Sound for Visual Media

    3credit hours

    Prerequisite: MRAT 6040. An in-depth interactive study of sound and its relationship to the moving image. Topics include time code, synchronization, workflow, data interchange, sound recording to picture, sound editing to picture, aesthetic aspects of mixing, routing structures, required deliverables and levels, sound formats and more. Upon successful completion of this course, students will be well prepared for an internship or assistantship at an audio prod-production facility and possess the foundation for working on billable projects.

  • MRAT 6140 - Graduate Seminar in Audio Recording

    3credit hours

    Prerequisites: MRAT 6040 and MRAT 6050 with C or better. Advanced techniques and technologies used in music recording and engineering. Students assume the role of a recording engineer and work with a producer from MRAT 6110 toward the completion of an advanced multi-track music recording.

Year 2

 

Fall Semester

 

  • MRAT 6090 - Visual Aesthetics and Technology II

    3credit hours

    Prerequisite: MRAT 6070. Continuation of MRAT 6070 with demonstration of basic and advanced visual technology as a foundation for more advanced video productions. Explores visual aesthetics theories and basic video skills applied to student produced videos and editing exercises. Designed to equip the student with more sophisticated mastery of the moving image form and its storytelling potential.

  • MRAT 6130 - Production Seminar II

    3credit hours

    Prerequisites: MRAT 6110 and MRAT 6140. In this second year studio production course, students produce and engineer a variety of projects for their portfolio involving multitrack pop music, acoustic drum recording, and location/classical recording. Emphasis on development of creative skills and knowledge related to music production and engineering including critical listening skills and evaluation techniques. Final project mixes submitted in stereo and surround formats.

  • MRAT 6145 - Seminar in Advanced Mixing Techniques

    3credit hours

    Prerequisites: MRAT 6040, MRAT 6050, and MRAT 6140. Advanced application of audio mixing techniques, designed to develop skill sets and knowledge base related to the craft of mixing. Provides students with a means for creative self-discovery and the exploration of complex ideas. An in-depth study of core mixing skills, signal processing and their application using a variety of tools, media and approaches. Additional topics of study include applied critical listening, automation systems, focus and foundation mixing, commercial concerns, and the NARAS guidelines for exchange and delivery of recorded music projects.

Spring Semester

 

  • MRAT 6090 - Visual Aesthetics and Technology II

    3credit hours

    Prerequisite: MRAT 6070. Continuation of MRAT 6070 with demonstration of basic and advanced visual technology as a foundation for more advanced video productions. Explores visual aesthetics theories and basic video skills applied to student produced videos and editing exercises. Designed to equip the student with more sophisticated mastery of the moving image form and its storytelling potential.

  • MRAT 6150 - Legal Rights of the Creative Individual

    3credit hours

    Examines legal rights and duties of creative persons. Students apply concepts from copyright, trademark, trade secrets, privacy, publicity, defamation, and other branches of the law to media productions.

  • MRAT 6210 - Production Seminar III

    3credit hours

    Prerequisite: MRAT 6130 and MRAT 6145. Student recordings reviewed through regular peer presentation and critique. Students revise portfolio entries and undertake new projects in preparation for their Portfolio Jury. Students begin preparation and concept presentations for the third year MRAT 6650.

Year 3

 

Fall Semester

 

  • MRAT 6650 - Final Project  1 to 9 credit hours  
    (6 credit hours required)(3 credit hours required)  dotslash:(3 credit hours required) title:(6 credit hours required) 
    (3 credit hours required) 

    MRAT 6650 - Final Project

    1 to 9credit hours

    Prerequisite: Permission of department. A directed production project of substantial size and scope proposed, developed, and realized under the guidance of the major faculty advisor in consultation with the final project faculty committee. The culminating experience in the M.F.A. program. S/U grading used.

  • Guided elective 3 credit hours
  • Comprehensive examinations

Spring Semester

 

  • MRAT 6650 - Final Project  1 to 9 credit hours  
    6 credit hours(6 credit hours required)  dotslash:(6 credit hours required) title:6 credit hours 
    (6 credit hours required) 

    MRAT 6650 - Final Project

    1 to 9credit hours

    Prerequisite: Permission of department. A directed production project of substantial size and scope proposed, developed, and realized under the guidance of the major faculty advisor in consultation with the final project faculty committee. The culminating experience in the M.F.A. program. S/U grading used.

  • Guided elective 3 credit hours

Guided Electives (taken any term)

  • Guided electives 6 credit hours

Program Notes

Candidate must

  1. attend full time, taking 9-12 hours per semester.
  2. successfully pass the comprehensive examination before graduation.

 

Recording Arts and Technologies, M.F.A., ABM Pathway

Recording Arts and Technologies, M.F.A., ABM Pathway

Bill Crabtree, Program Director
(615) 494-7908
bill.crabtree@mtsu.edu

The Department of Recording Industry offers an Accelerated Bachelors to Masters Pathway in Recording Arts and Technologies, M.F.A., corresponding to the Audio Production, B.S.

Admission Requirements

To be eligible a student must

  • have completed 75 undergraduate credit hours;
  • have completed a minimum of 24 credit hours at MTSU;
  • have a minimum of two semesters remaining at MTSU; and
  • have an inclusive GPA of 3.25 or higher.

Additional Requirements:

Applicant must

  • submit two letters of recommendation from faculty - one from Recording Industry;
  • submit a Letter of Intent;
  • be approved by the M.F.A. Committee.

Application Procedures

All application materials are to be submitted to the College of Graduate Studies.

Admission to the ABM Pathway is handled by the ABM Pathway coordinator in the department/program. Once accepted to the Pathway by the coordinator, the student will need to fill out the Accelerated Masters Program Contract.

Program Requirements

Students take 12 credit hours from the chart below. Students should consult their undergraduate advisors to ensure they are meeting all requirements for their bachelor's degrees.

MTSU Undergraduate CourseMTSU Graduate CourseCredit Hours
RIM 4300 - Advanced Pro Tools TechniquesMRAT 6040 - Digital Audio Studio Seminar3
RIM 4650 - Multitrack Music RecordingMRAT 6050 - Multitrack Recording Seminar3
RIM 4660 - Advanced Music EngineeringMRAT 6140 - Graduate Seminar in Audio Recording3
RIM 4670 - Studio ProductionMRAT 6110 - Production Seminar I3

Students must complete the courses in the curriculum with the minimum GPA to qualify for the dual undergraduate/graduate credit. Once courses have been completed, and a student is set to graduate with a bachelor's degree, then the student can apply to the graduate program using the basic online application form and fee.  No other application materials will be required, but students will need to provide a valid driver's license and possibly proof of in-state eligibility if needed.

Student Retention and Withdrawal Policies

Withdrawal from the Undergraduate ABM Pathway

Students may withdraw from an ABM Pathway at any time by informing the ABM Pathway coordinator and respective undergraduate program and graduate program coordinators (or designees) in writing of their intent to withdraw. Withdrawal is considered permanent, and a student who withdraws may not reenter the same ABM Pathway.

Dismissal from the ABM Pathway

Students will be dismissed from an ABM Pathway for failure to maintain satisfactory levels of academic progress, which includes

  1. failure to meet the general ABM Pathway guidelines and specific program requirements;
  2. failure to meet an overall undergraduate GPA of 3.0 or higher in any term;
  3. interruption of the undergraduate course of study for more than three terms, without the prior consent of the undergraduate and graduate program coordinators (or designees).

 

Our adjunct faculty bring outstanding professional experience to our programs. Many are industry leaders with decorated careers and honors. Importantly, they are innovative educators who offer hands-on learning to our students to prepare them to enter and thrive in a dynamic, and oftentimes emerging, industry and professional world. They inspire, instruct, and challenge our students toward academic and professional success.

Application Procedures

All application materials must be sent to the College of Graduate Studies with the exception of the creative portfolio. The portfolio is sent directly to the M.F.A.Director in the Department of Recording Industry.

To apply, please submit the following to the College of Graduate Studies:

  1. Application with the appropriate application fee;

  2. Official scores on the GRE;

  3. Official transcripts of all previous college work;

  4. A formal statement of purpose addressing the applicant's career goals, related work experience, and how this degree will help attain the stated career goals;

  5. Two letters of recommendation for graduate study-one from the undergraduate major advisor if the student is a recent graduate;

Creative portfolio - submitted directly to the M.F.A. Director.

The portfolio is an important piece to your admissions application and should represent your best creative achievements in the areas of audio recording, music composition, video, film, or multimedia. The portfolio may contain a broad range of materials as applicants to the program come from a wide range of backgrounds and have developed a diverse range of creative skills. Typically, the admissions portfolio contains digital audio and/or digital video recordings. These may come from sources such as prior undergraduate coursework, recitals, home recordings, professional work, or other events. While audio quality is always important, the quality of the recording is not necessarily the admissions committee’s primary concern. The committee is looking for your creative potential. This might be expressed through the musicianship, arrangement, composition, or creative message of the work. We do not expect our new students to be professional audio engineers, but we are looking for bright creative media creators. ! It is also very important to document your contribution to each item you submit. For example, if you submit an audio recording, state if you were composer, performer, engineer, producer, or several of these things. The portfolio should contain:

  1. A comprehensive credit list for all of the entires;

  2. A short paragraph for each entry explaining the piece, where and when it was created and any challenges faced in the creation of the work;

  3. Four to six audio examples;

  4. Video examples (optional);

  5. You may also wish to include a personal introduction on video as well (optional)

Format

You may choose to submit your portfolio in one of two ways (upload or website). However, all portfolio elements must come together as a single presentation. In other words, do not submit a portion of the portfolio in one format and the rest in another. Below are descriptions of the options.

The portfolio is sent directly to the M.F.A. Director in the Department of Recording Industry. All other application materials (GRE scores, letters of recommendation, letter of intent, and transcripts) must be sent to the College of Graduate Studies. www.mtsu.edu/graduate !

  1. Option 1 - File Transfer

    1. Upload all of your portfolio materials together. It is important when using this option that all elements (documentation, audio, and video) are contained within one computer “folder” and uploaded as a single file. Do not make multiple uploads (i.e. one for each recording). For example: Create a folder on your computer and name it “Lastname_Portfolio”. Place the following in the folder:

      1. Word file or pdf of credits and documentation

      2. 01_Song1

      3. 02_Song2

      4. 03_Video1… etc.

      5. Use “zipit” to compress the data size of the folder.

    2. We recommend using http://www.wetransfer.com. This service is free for up to two gigabytes of data and is very easy to use. To use the free version no account registration is required. !

      1. Go to www.wetransfer.com

      2. Skip to the free service

      3. Click “Add files” and select your portfolio folder or zip file

      4. Enter bill.crabtree@mtsu.edu as “friends email”

      5. Enter your email and click “transfer” !

  2. Option 2 - Website

    Alternatively, you may assemble your portfolio into a website presentation. All audio and video would reside on your site and you would simply send us a link to the site. Be sure to include all credits and appropriate descriptions of the creative projects on the website.

Apply Now!

Frequently Asked Questions

Who is the MFA for?

The MFA is an unusual degree, in that one of the primary qualities sought in new students is creativity. This creative background may be in audio engineering or in a field closely related to what might be described as "entertainment technology." Though creativity is fostered and developed throughout the program, a strong creative area is expected of all incoming students. An interest in audio production is not enough. This creativity is demonstrated through the portfolio required as part of the admissions process. The MFA is not an appropriate degree for someone who does not have substantial creative output in some related field or a previous degree in audio engineering/music technology. If a student’s strength is audio recording/technology, then the question that should be asked is “What is it about my recordings that sets them apart from those of everyone else who has a similar background?”

What would be an example of a creative area?

This will be different for each student and might consist of songs that you have written, audio recordings you have engineered, videos you have shot and edited, computer games you have authored, music scores of pieces you have composed, websites you have created, etc. Of course, the portfolio will be very different for each applicant depending on his or her background. 

Do I need an undergraduate degree in audio engineering?

Though some MFA students have previous degrees in audio engineering/music technology, the MFA does accept students who may not have a previous degree in audio engineering. Some students with little or no audio background may be asked to complete foundation audio courses during the summer before starting class in the fall.

How soon can I start?

The MFA accepts new students only in the fall term.

When should I apply?

The admissions committee will begin looking at new applications in late March and will continue to review applicants until all places are filled.

How many students will you accept each year?

The MFA accepts a limited number of students. In past years, 12-14 students have been accepted.

Is financial aid available?

The MFA normally has two or three assistantships to award each fall. These may be awarded to incoming students and are sometimes awarded to students currently in the program who have shown the aptitude for teaching an undergraduate course in our department. Assistantships are awarded on a competitive basis. It is recommended that applications for assistantships be submitted early in the application process since the admissions committee may begin awarding assistantships as soon as late March. Consideration for an assistantship requires that the applicant has submitted all the materials required for admission, as those materials comprise the primary means of evaluating the candidate’s suitability for an assistantship, and an applicant must have been admitted unconditionally in order to receive an assistantship. Though an assistantship could possibly be available as late as early July, in past years most assistantships have been awarded by the end of the spring.

Another significant source of financial assistance is the “Academic Common Market.” This is a group of states that have agreements permitting graduate students who are permanent residents of those states to enroll at MTSU at the in-state tuition rate. This provides a savings of approximately $30,000.

What is the admissions process like?

Admissions are competitive and an applicant’s materials are compared with those of all other applicants. The primary factors considered in determining a student’s suitability for admission include the creative portfolio, undergraduate GPA, GRE scores, letters of recommendation, and the letter of intent.

The quality of the creative portfolio is usually the determining factor in admission. 

Review of applications by the MFA Admissions Committee will begin in late March and a limited number of students will be accepted. Admissions are competitive and your materials are being compared with all other applicants. This process may take several weeks, however, places could also be filled in a shorter time. It is to your advantage to have your application submitted by April 1st. Later applications will be considered but there will be the possibility that all the places in the MFA may already have been filled.

You can view more specific requirements for admission to the MFA by clicking the REQUIREMENTS tab above.

What should be included in a creative portfolio?

A portfolio of works should be representative of the candidate’s creative achievements in the areas of audio recording, composition, songwriting, video, film, multimedia, web design, or areas that could generally be described as “entertainment technology”. Most applicants’ portfolio works will come from just one or two of the areas described above, however, some will have done creative work in more than one of these fields. It is extremely important to document your contribution for each item you submit. For example, if you submit an audio recording, state if you were the composer, performer, engineer, producer, or did several of these tasks. The admissions committee will be evaluating what your specific contributions were to each project. The portfolio has no specific guidelines because applicants come from a wide variety of creative backgrounds and each student’s portfolio will reflect their particular expertise, however a professional presentation of materials is expected.

Submit what you think is your best work. This may only be three or four examples but may include as much as you wish. If you have extended examples (a 20 minute video documentary or a dance mix, for example) you may wish to edit them. In addition to your submissions, include a list of ANY other projects on which you have participated and list your job on each project. In your portfolio documentation list the hardware and software with which you are familiar. List related technologies with which you are familiar and describe your competency. This might include: Photoshop, Final Cut Pro, iMovie, etc.

Audio examples should be submitted on an audio CD that is playable on either a Macintosh or PC computer or on a commercial CD or DVD player. MP3s are not acceptable. Video and/or film examples should be submitted on a DVD that is playable on either a Macintosh or PC computer or on a commercial DVD player.

QuickTime Video Requested
Though it is not required applicants are asked to submit a brief QuickTime video of them describing their background and reason for seeking the degree. This is a way for the admissions committee to get to know you beyond your written documentation. A QuickTime data file is adequate or this may also be submitted as a playable DVD if you prefer.

 

 

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Contact Information

Bill Crabtree
Bill.Crabtree@mtsu.edu
615-494-7908

Caroline Freeland
Caroline.Freeland@mtsu.edu
615-898-5874

Who is My Advisor?

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Bill.Crabtree@mtsu.edu
615-494-7908

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