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MFA Program Overview

Two-Year Degree Plan

The MFA in Creative Writing program can be completed in nine courses (46 credits) over two years by taking the three summer residencies, four long-distance mentorship and reading courses (fall and spring semesters), a craft paper course, and a thesis course.

First Year

  • Summer Residency I (6 credits), held for ten days on the Minneapolis campus, includes a workshop in the student’s declared genre, as well as readings and lectures. To earn credit for the residency, students must complete reading and writing assignments in the weeks before and after the residency (Summer Term 2).
  • Fall Semester I (6 credits), Mentorship and Creative and Critical Reading course. This work is conducted remotely, via computer, phone, and/or mail. Students work closely with their mentor and other writers in their declared genre.
  • Spring Semester I (6 credits), Mentorship and Creative and Critical Reading course — this time in a genre outside the student’s chosen area of specialization. This work is conducted remotely, via computer, phone, and/or mail.

Second Year

  • Summer Residency II (6 credits), held for ten days on the Minneapolis campus, and including a workshop in the declared genre, as well as readings and lectures. To earn credit for the residency, students must complete reading and writing assignments in the weeks before and after the residency.
  • Fall Semester II, Mentorship and Creative and Critical Reading course (6 credits) and a Craft Paper course (2 credits) in which students complete a craft paper examining some aspect of writing. This work is conducted remotely, via computer, phone, and/or mail.
  • Spring Semester II, Mentorship and Creative and Critical Reading course (6 credits) and a Thesis course (2 credits) in which students complete their thesis. This work is conducted remotely, via computer, phone, and/or mail.

Third Summer

  • Summer Residency III (6 credits), held for ten days on the Minneapolis campus, and including a workshop in the declared genre, as well as readings and lectures. Graduating students give a public craft talk and a reading from their thesis (students should prepare for this work during their second year). To earn credit for the residency, students must complete reading and writing assignments in the weeks before and after the residency.

Genres

Students can complete their MFA in any of the following genres. Course material will be tailored to focus on a student’s selected genre.

  • Creative Nonfiction
  • Fiction
  • Playwriting
  • Poetry
  • Screenwriting
  • Mixed Genre*

*The Mixed Genre option is designed for students who want to more deeply immerse themselves in a secondary genre. This option requires five mentored and reading terms (instead of the traditional four), including three in the student’s primary declared genre and two in a different genre.

There is also an Extended Study program, designed for students who wish to prolong their studies in a single genre. This option has students completing at least five mentored and reading semesters (instead of the traditional four). At least four of these semesters should be used to study the student’s declared genre.


Career Concentrations (Optional)

Career concentrations are optional programs of study designed for students who wish to better prepare themselves for the job market, in the fields of teaching, translation, and/or publishing. This work is usually completed alongside a traditional or extended/mixed genre course of study. The career concentration courses are also available as post-MFA studies.

Teaching Practice and Theory

The Concentration in Teaching is a one-semester program (4 credits) combining practical and theoretical pedagogy to better prepare students who intend to teach. Students work with accomplished writing faculty as they consider curriculum and syllabi development. Students gain teaching experience by completing an internship in the teaching of writing. Prerequisite: teaching practice and theory seminars during summer residencies.

Publishing: Howling Bird Press Book Prize

The Concentration in Publishing is a two-semester experience (8 credits total) designed to introduce students to various aspects of the trade, including acquisition, editing, graphic design production, marketing and distribution. Each year, students work with experienced faculty to select and publish the winner of the Augsburg Howling Bird national competition. During the second semester, students work as the staff and editors of Howling Bird Press; in exchange for this workload, students pay a registration fee rather than full tuition for the semester. Prerequisite: seminars in publishing during summer residencies.

Translation

The Concentration in Translation is a one-semester experience (4 credits) in reading, translating, adapting, and creating. Working with a published literary translator, students focus on translation methods, approaches, and production of text. Prerequisite: translation seminars during summer residencies.