Low-Res MFA Cohort Summer 2016 Low-Res MFA Cohort


MFA Contact

Amy Toland
Low-Res MFA Coordinator

Each student will work out an individualized course of study involving writing and revising original works in their field, while also creating and writing responses to a 25-book reading list of contemporary and canonical writers.  During the third semester of study, each student will participate in an online seminar in contemporary literature in their genre, culminating in a critical paper. The low-residency MFA concludes with a fifth and final residency during which each student gives a reading from their final project.

The Low Residency Model


Students participate in five eight-day residencies, held in January and late July/early August each year. Residencies begin on a Saturday morning and end eight days later on the following Saturday. Students may enter the program by attending either residency.

ENG 631, Writing in the Genres: Residential Workshop*

Each full day will include approximately 8 hours spent:

  • Meeting with mentors to plan reading and writing curricula and scheduling for the next nonresidential semester. (Students may work with a different mentor each semester or choose to work with the same mentor more than once.)
  • Participating in writing workshops focused on their work.
  • Connecting with MFA writing cohort.
  • Attending lectures by mentors and visiting writers on aspects of craft specific to each genre, talks by industry professionals, and readings by faculty and visitors.

*Note:To receive credit, students must participate in a workshop and attend mandatory readings and lectures throughout the entire residency.

ENG 631: Final Residency

At the end of the program, once their final projects have been approved by a director and a second reader, students conclude their course of study with a required fifth residency. In addition to fully participating in the residency, graduating students will give a public reading from their completed final project.

Non-Residential Semesters

Each residency is followed by a five-month non-residential semester during which students will respond to six to eight texts and exchange four packets of original writing with their mentors and receive timely critiques.; The individual reading and writing plan, worked out during the previous residency, is designed to challenge, motivate and help each student discover their best writing. All mentor responses to submitted work and a final narrative evaluation from each semester of the program will become part of each student’s permanent record.

  • Semesters I and II

    The first year of non-residential study will lay the groundwork for the rest of the degree program. Students will work with mentors via email and online forums.
  • Semesters III

    During the second or third semester, in addition to the writing and readings exchange, students will take an online seminar, ENG 635: Reading for Writing: Literary Forms. This course will culminate in a significant critical paper, providing an opportunity for students to think through their approach to contemporary writing in their field.

    ENG 635 will prepare the student for a reading list oral exam taken during the fourth residency. The 25-book reading list consists of 15 texts drawn from a program-wide reading list for each genre, and 10 texts selected by each student (with advice from mentors) deemed especially relevant to the student’s own writing.
  • Semester IV

    The fourth and final non-residency semester (ENG 636: Final Project) will be devoted to completing a book-length final project, based upon work begun during the previous three non-residential semesters. Low-Residency Creative Project (ENG 700.N), will enable students to complete any necessary research and revision under the guidance of their Final Project director.

Residential Workshop I

ENG 631: Writing in the Genres Beginning 4

Non-Residential Semester I

ENG 632 Online Mentorship 5

Residential Workshop II

ENG 631: Writing in the Genres Cohort Gatherings, Workshops, Lectures & Readings 4

Non-Residential Semester II

ENG 633 Online Mentorship 5

Residential Workshop III

ENG 631: Writing in the Genres Cohort Gatherings, Workshops, Lectures & Readings 4

Non-Residential Semester III

ENG 634 Online Mentorship 5

Genre Specific Literature Seminar

ENG 635: Reading for Writing: Literary Forms 4

Residency IV

ENG 631: Writing in the Genres Cohort Gatherings, Workshops, Lectures & Readings + Oral Reading Exam 4

Non-Residential Semester IV

ENG 636: Final Project  Online mentorship  5

Low-Residency Creative Project

ENG 704.N Time devoted to completing a book-length final project 2

Residency V

ENG 631: Writing in the Genres Cohort Gatherings, Workshops, Lectures & Readings + Public Reading or Craft Talk 0
Total Hours = 42