Creative Writing (MFA)

The Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing is a low-residency program that offers students individualized instruction in Poetry, Fiction, and Creative Nonfiction. For approximately twenty days out of the year, students gather on campus for intensive workshops, readings, lectures, and one-on-one sessions with their mentor with whom they develop a learning plan for the following semester. During the semesters, students are guided by their mentors, exchanging papers and manuscripts via snail-mail or email, and conversing via phone or video call. The low-residency format allows optimum flexibility for students who have family and/or career responsibilities or who cannot relocate in order to pursue a graduate degree. While individualized mentorships ensure that students receive maximum support for their unique projects, on campus residencies foster much-needed supportive writing communities.

Students with an interest in Health Humanities may choose to follow a Narrative/Poetic Medicine track to delve into the concept of Writing for Renewal. We welcome students from all sides of the illness experience—from patients to practitioners to healthcare advocates—anyone who is called to bear witness through the written word. Students may write within any of the three genres we offer or, with the permission of the program director, produce a cross-genre thesis. We offer a focused degree program that can complement a career in healthcare, deepen self-awareness, and foster a community of like-minded poets and writers for whom literature is a powerful medicine.

Program Learning Outcomes

The student will demonstrate:

  1. Comprehensive knowledge of published works in their field and how their own work contributes to that body of literature.
  2. Skillful writing in their chosen genre.
  3. An acquired discipline for maintaining a lifelong writing practice.
  4. And create a substantial work of high literary merit.

Requirements

For details on Admission Requirements, see the Graduate Study section of this catalog.

Program Description

The 37-unit low-residency MFA begins and ends in the Summer, extending over the course of two years and consisting of four mentorship semesters and five residencies. Students complete a book-length MFA Thesis in their chosen genre(s). At-a-glance program design is pictured in the table below:

Residencies (13 units)

CRWR 5001Residency 1

3.00 units

CRWR 5002Residency 2

2.00 units

CRWR 5003Residency 3

3.00 units

CRWR 5004Residency 4

2.00 units

CRWR 5005Thesis Residency 5

3.00 units

Mentorships (24 units)

Mentorship 1-4: Poetry

CRWR 5101Mentorship 1: Poetry

6.00 units

CRWR 5102Mentorship 2: Poetry

6.00 units

CRWR 5103Mentorship 3: Poetry

6.00 units

CRWR 5104Mentorship 4: Poetry

6.00 units

Mentorship 1-4: Poetry: Narrative Medicine

CRWR 5151Mentorship 1: Poetry: Narrative/Poetic Medicine

6.00 units

CRWR 5152Mentorship 2: Poetry: Narrative/Poetic Medicine

6.00 units

CRWR 5153Mentorship 3: Poetry: Narrative/Poetic Medicine

6.00 units

CRWR 5154Mentorship 4: Poetry: Narrative/Poetic Medicine

6.00 units

Mentorship 1-4: Fiction

CRWR 5201Mentorship 1: Fiction

6.00 units

CRWR 5202Mentorship 2: Fiction

6.00 units

CRWR 5203Mentorship 3: Fiction

6.00 units

CRWR 5204Mentorship 4: Fiction

6.00 units

Mentorship 1-4: Fiction: Narrative Medicine

CRWR 5251Mentorship 1: Fiction: Narrative/Poetic Medicine

6.00 units

CRWR 5252Mentorship 2: Fiction: Narrative/Poetic Medicine

6.00 units

CRWR 5253Mentorship 3: Fiction: Narrative/Poetic Medicine

6.00 units

CRWR 5254Mentorship 4: Fiction: Narrative/Poetic Medicine

6.00 units

Mentorship 1-4: Creative Nonfiction or Mentorship 1-4: Creative Nonfiction: Narrative Medicine

CRWR 5301Mentorship 1: Creative Nonfiction

6.00 units

CRWR 5302Mentorship 2: Creative Nonfiction

6.00 units

CRWR 5303Mentorship 3: Creative Nonfiction

6.00 units

CRWR 5304Mentorship 4: Creative Nonfiction

6.00 units

or

CRWR 5351Mentorship 1: Creative Nonfiction: Narrative/Poetic Medicine

6.00 units

CRWR 5352Mentorship 2: Creative Nonfiction: Narrative/Poetic Medicine

6.00 units

CRWR 5353Mentorship 3: Creative Nonfiction: Narrative/Poetic Medicine

6.00 units

CRWR 5354Mentorship 4: Creative Nonfiction: Narrative/Poetic Medicine

6.00 units

Total Credit Hours: 37

Special Students and Auditors

This distance-learning program does not allow for auditing or admission of non-degree seeking students.

Transfer of Credit

Dominican University graduates of the Master of Arts in Humanities who are admitted to the MFA program may transfer in no more nor less than 9 units of graduate coursework, consisting of one Literature Seminar (3 units) and two Creative Writing Workshops (6 units). Those students will start the MFA during the Winter Residency session. No other transfer credit is permitted.

Selection of Genre

While students typically work in a single genre, some cross-genre study will be permitted for those intending to produce a hybrid MFA Thesis. Students must seek permission from the MFA Director.

Narrative/Poetic Medicine Track

Students pursuing the Narrative/Poetic Medicine track register for mentorships in their chosen genre (Poetry, Fiction, Creative Nonfiction).

MFA Thesis

The MFA Thesis is a book-length manuscript of poetry, fiction, or creative nonfiction. Poetry manuscripts are typically 48-64 pages in length; prose and cross-genre manuscripts 125 pages or more. Under special circumstances and with permission of the program director, students may opt to write a hybrid or cross-genre MFA Thesis. Students submit their thesis to the Program Coordinator and to Dominican Scholar during Thesis Residency 5.