Low-residency MFA in creative writing

Our low-residency MFA community inspires and sustains a lifetime of creative work.

Concentrations in the MFA in creative writing

Children and young adults

Work with Gail Brandeis, Pablo Cartaya, Traci Chee, Joe McGee, Isabel Quintero, & Jessica Rinker.

Creative nonfiction

Work with authors Lidia Yuknavitch, Gayle Brandeis, Brian Turner, and Suzanne Roberts.

Fiction

Work with authors Rebecca Makkai, Lidia Yuknavitch, Alan Heathcock, and Brendan Basham.

Poetry

Work with authors Brian Turner, Faylita Hicks, John Murillo, and Lee Herrick.

How does a low-residency MFA program work?

We’ve made this program so that people who are unable to walk away from jobs and families and service can still become masters of their craft . . . NOW.

Over five distance-learning semesters punctuated by five week-long residencies, students will focus on their chosen genre (be it fiction, poetry or creative nonfiction) while exploring new territories of artistic expression.

Faculty meet with their students one-on-one during each residency to set plans, then work with them intensively throughout the semester providing written critiques. With a student-to-mentor ratio never greater than 5:1, students receive creative, focused, individualized feedback.

Each residency is an eight-day intensive period of workshops, seminars, readings and more, in which we explore the wide landscape of the writing life from practical tricks-of-the-trade to subtleties of conceptual nuance. Residencies are in early January and early August. 

Features of the low-residency MFA in creative writing

The Editing Semester

Work a full semester one-on-one with an editor to make your manuscript polished – and publishable.

Approach your manuscript with greater objectivity, master the tools to shape its potential into a great reading experience on the page, and learn about the practical aspects of publishing from start to finish.

Writers in the Woods

Writers in the Woods presents intimate readings and workshops, open to all, with acclaimed authors in all genres.

The program has hosted scores of poets and writers from all over the country, including Carmen Maria Machado, Kaveh Akbar, Kim Addonizio, Rebecca Makkai, Nick Flynn, Tim O’Brien, Patricia Smith, Benjamin Busch, Denise Duhamel, Tobias Wolff, Kelle Groom, Lola Haskins, Brenda Hillman, Bob Hass, and many others.

Sierra Nevada Review

The Sierra Nevada Review is an annual literary magazine managed and edited by the MFA-CW students.

The magazine publishes poetry, short fiction, and literary nonfiction “that leans toward the unconventional, surprising, and risky. We appreciate experiments in form and content, and prefer works whose meanings deepen on repeated readings.”

We want artists who will write for the rest of their lives. If you are interested in adding your voice to this transformative conversation and intrigued by the possibility of working with teachers and peers who are passionate about the art they love, then please contact us — we look forward to meeting you.