Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing

The Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing is a two-year low-residency program of study leading to the Master of Fine Arts degree, with a genre of fiction, nonfiction, or poetry, or writing for stage and screen, and concentrations in publishing/editing, spiritual writing, social justice, and literary health and healing. Students attend two annual nine-day residencies. Each residency is followed by a five-month independent course of study during spring and fall semesters with a single faculty mentor. A total of 60 credits are needed for graduation, including four residencies, four independent study semesters in the craft of the student's choice, a critical thesis, a creative thesis, and a final public presentation and reading by the student.


ENGL 5441Fiction 124
or ENGL 5442 Non-Fiction
or ENGL 5443 Poetry
or ENGL 5444 Stage and Screen
ENGL 5991Independent Study: Fiction 136
or ENGL 5992 Independent Study: Non-Fiction
or ENGL 5993 Independent Study: Poetry
or ENGL 5994 Independent Study: Stage and Screen

Learning Goals

The MFA program’s broad learning goals are twofold, achieved through the accumulation of objectives derived from four residencies and four mentorships:

  • To develop a writer’s quality of work and the development of their craft in a chosen genre
  • To deepen and enhance a writer’s critical language and critical reading ability

Learning Objectives

The program has distinct learning objectives as for the two distinct learning environments of the residency setting and the mentorship semesters; each student completes four of both and moves from introductory, to proficient, to mastering the following:


  • Increase student facility to provide incisive criticism in genre to peers, both through written and oral feedback
  • Increase student development of craft knowledge through the attendance of faculty-led seminars
  • Gain a broad understanding of professional standards and practices through the attendance of readings and presentations
  • Utilize the analysis of master literary texts to develop craft language and literacy
  • Practice professional activities:  give readings, provide introductions, give craft talks.


  • Develop an increasingly sophisticated critical language about craft
  • Apply craft literacy to the composition and revision of original work in primary genre
  • Develop a sustained revision practice that reflects a sophisticated understanding of how to improve the elements of the primary genre
  • Read widely in the chosen genre as well as secondary genres that will assist in deepening awareness of craft