What to Expect Each Semester
Your work each semester will be detailed in your study plan, a written agreement between you and your mentor that maps out your individual goals for writing, reading, and critical development for the coming semester. Your MFA semester’s work is tailored to you as an individual writer, and your mentor will guide your progress each step of the way.
You will produce and submit electronically a “packet” of written work every four weeks, including a detailed cover letter discussing progress on the study plan, as well as any questions or issues of craft. Your mentor will respond within one week in a detailed report addressing such areas as technical and aesthetic development of the work, notes for revision, suggestions for further reading, and new issues and directions you might take. You will maintain regular contact with your mentor through these packet exchanges and, as needed, supplementary communication.
First and Second Semesters
In the first and second semesters you will concentrate on new creative writing, revision, and critical responses to your readings. The readings derive from a suggested reading list of books relating to your particular work during the semester.
The third semester requires, in addition to the ongoing focus on original writing, a 30-40-page craft paper in lieu of the series of brief critical essays. Together, you and your mentor will determine a subject and outline an in-depth study of an aspect of writing craft or literary theory of particular value to your own writing. Alternatively, you and your mentor might arrange a practical internship.
In the fourth semester your main focus will be the completion of a thesis manuscript based on the creative work undertaken in prior semesters. You will also prepare a craft lecture and public reading from your thesis that you will present at your fifth residency.
Additional Semester Option
If you are interested in pursuing a formal intensive study in another genre after completion of your fourth semester, you may present a statement of purpose and portfolio (similar to the initial application process) and, if approved, you may choose to study one additional semester in that genre. Requests are evaluated on an individual basis.