Low-Residency MFA in Creative Writing

Mile High MFA
The Mile High MFA is a two-year terminal degree that will provide students with one-on-one instruction in fiction (literary, young-adult, or fantasy), creative nonfiction, writing for performance, poetry, or the graphic novel, along with theory and craft lessons, workshops, seminars, and readings by accomplished authors, as well as guidance on the practical and professional aspects of writing.
Classroom

Mile-High MFA

Welcome to the Mile-High MFA!

Welcome to the Mile-High MFA!

Our unique focus combines a thorough instruction in the craft and business of writing with the practical application of our students’ abilities as writers in the world. In addition to the expert guidance they receive as they progress from original drafts to final manuscript, students will graduate the program fully prepared to embark on a writing career, bolstered and invigorated by the support of their new writing community.

The Mile-High MFA is not for casual writers who see writing as a hobby. It is for writers who are ready to take themselves seriously and fully engage in writing as a vocation.

DISTINCT FEATURES

  • the lowest (5 to 1) average student-faculty ratio in the country
  • the only MFA program in the Mile-High City
  • one of only two Jesuit low-residency MFA programs in the country—and “Jesuit” stands for academic rigor and cura personalis (care for the whole person)
  • one of the only three low-residency programs that require students to use their writing talents to contribute to their community, and the only one requiring a “Writing in the World” Action Plan
  • the only program that offers a “ski day” during the January residency and a “whitewater adventure” during the July residency

DEGREE OVERVIEW 

The Mile-High MFA requires the successful completion of four 16-week writing semesters and five nine-day residencies. Students will begin with an Orientation at their first residency and end with a Commencement ceremony in their final residency. Following each residency (except the last) will be a semester-long study in which students will work one-on-one with a faculty mentor. By their final residency, students will have written and revised 240-400 pages of prose (fiction, nonfiction, graphic novel, writing for performance) or 160-240 pages of poetry/flash fiction, along with at least 40 book annotations, at least four critical responses, an annotated bibliography, a book-length thesis, a critical introduction to their thesis, a Critical Essay in their major genre, and a Writing in the World Action Plan.

GENRE STUDY 

Students typically choose one genre to study, in which case they participate in five residency workshops and study for four semesters in the same genre. Such students also have the option of taking one residency workshop and one semester in a different genre (i.e. three semesters in their main genre plus one semester in any other genre). Students may also choose to apply (by the end of their second residency at the latest) for a Dual-Genre Study, which entails an additional semester (for a total of five) and an additional residency (for a total of six). A dual-genre student will take three residency workshops and three semesters in their main genre (i.e. the genre in which they will write their MFA thesis) and two residency workshops and two semesters in their secondary genre. 

GENRES           

Choose among the following:

  • POETRY (traditional or experimental)
  • FICTION (literary, young-adult, speculative; fiction students may also choose to specialize in editing)
  • NONFICTION (creative/narrative/literary—i.e. personal essays or memoir; nonfiction students may also choose to specialize in research-based narratives, e.g. writing about the lives of other people)
  • WRITING FOR PERFORMANCE (plays, one-person shows, experimental drama, community-based)
  • GRAPHIC NOVEL (fiction, or nonfiction)

LOW-RESIDENCY FORMAT

The low-residency format offers the flexibility of working from home without sacrificing academic rigor. Indeed the low-residency format may be said to be more rigorous than a traditional (residential) MFA program, since instead of attending workshops once a week and having one of their pieces workshopped every four weeks, low-residency students are working intensely on their writing for 20-25 hours per week and receiving one-on-one feedback from their faculty mentor every four weeks on a greater volume of their work.

Here’s how it works: students will come to the Regis University campus in Denver twice a year, in January and July, for nine-day residencies (out-of-town students will stay in a local hotel in January, and either on campus or in a hotel in July), where they will attend workshops, craft lessons, writers’ chats, and readings, and meet with their faculty mentors to form a study plan for the succeeding semester. They will then return home to work one-on-one (corresponding electronically) with that faculty mentor for 16 weeks.
Students will be assigned mentors for their first semester. Following the first semester, students will have the option of requesting mentors in their genre, choosing from the list below. Student/mentor assignments will be made according to student preferences and mentor availability.


ACCESSIBLE, ENGAGING FACULTY 


Whereas in a traditional program students may attend class one to three times a week and rarely see their professors outside of class, in a low-residency program they will see all faculty members throughout the residency and find it easy to establish strong relationships with them, as well as with their fellow students. The accessibility of the faculty and directors, and the spirit de corps among all members of the MFA community, are what makes the low-residency degree so appealing---and this is especially true of the Mile-High MFA, where our faculty and directors make every effort to avail themselves to students and where we do all we can to create opportunities for students to collaborate with and support one another. Click here to find out more about our distinguished MFA faculty. 

WRITING IN THE WORLD 

MFA students will attend seminars on the real-life applications of writing and (by their final residency at the latest) submit a Writing in the World Action Plan in which they describe how they will use their writing talents to contribute to their communities, either in a professional capacity or through community outreach. (Examples include running a writing workshop at a local prison or library, writing for a nonprofit, organizing a reading series, or running an after-school “Teen Writers” workshop.) 

CRITICAL ESSAY 

At any point before Semester IV, MFA students must submit an essay (15-20 pages) on a topic in their genre—the study of a particular craft element (for example, the use of setting) in books they’ve studied in their Writing Semesters; the utility (or lack thereof) of writing groups; current publishing trends; a detailed analysis of canonical works, etc. The best of these will be selected as a feature of the MFA graduation ceremony.

MFA ANNOTATED BIBLIOGRAPHY 

The MFA Annotated Bibliography is a list of books read during the student’s two years of study in the MFA program. These works will include those assigned to them by their faculty mentors and those they read on their own. The annotated bibliography, when completed, will contain over forty books (eight assigned per semester plus the books students read on their own). Annotations should be arranged in alphabetical order by authors’ last names.

MFA THESIS 

The MFA Thesis, a book-length manuscript (150-250 pages of fiction, creative nonfiction, YA fiction or graphic novel, 90-120 pages of writing for performance, or 50-80 pages of poetry or flash fiction) written, revised, and approved by the fourth-semester faculty mentor who serves as the student’s thesis advisor, is the culmination of the student’s work during the four residencies and four semesters of the Mile-High MFA program. This manuscript should be a significant and distinctly original work of art. It will be accompanied by a preface in which the author places the book in context of the learning that has taken place over the program. In a way, the MFA thesis is not only a book-length manuscript but also a final exam of sorts, in that faculty advisors, fellow students, and program directors should be able to see evidence of a mastery of the writing instruction instilled in the student for the past two years.

RESIDENCIES 

Twice a year, in January and July, students will attend nine-day residencies, from Friday evening to the following Sunday afternoon, with an “Intermezzo” on Wednesdays. Residencies are inspiring, invigorating gatherings of like-minded writers that provide students with the opportunity to learn their craft, workshop their writing, attend readings by award-winning writers, and immerse themselves in the writing life. Our brilliant yet down-to-earth faculty mentors will eat, drink, and converse with students, providing lessons and advice on writing and the publishing world.

Toward the end of each residency students will meet (either in person or via Skype) with the faculty mentor they will be working with during the succeeding semester and (together with their mentor) develop a study plan, including a list of eight books that will constitute their Semester Reading List, along with at least two other books students decide to read on their own. In addition, students will write Critical Responses to any two books on their Reading List, except during Semester III, when they are composing their Critical Essay, and Semester IV, when they are completing their MFA Thesis.

A month prior to every residency, students will submit a sample of their work (3500-7500 words of double-spaced prose (fiction, narrative nonfiction, YA fiction, or writing for performance), and 10-15 pages of poetry or flash fiction, that will be distributed to the other students in their workshop. Thus it is required of all students that they communicate with their workshop instructors and program coordinator before each residency via their Regis email account.

Out-of-town students will work with the program coordinator to arrange for housing in a hotel or on-campus residence hall. 


WRITING SEMESTERS 


Each semester’s writing plan and reading list will have been developed by students in dialogue with their faculty mentors during the preceding residency. Students should expect to devote about 20-25 hours a week to this endeavor, submitting four packets of original writing (one packet per month), ten annotations (2-3 per packet) on both canonical and contemporary books in their genre, and critical responses to any two books (per semester) on their reading list (except during their penultimate semester, when they compose their Critical Essay, and their final semester, when they complete their MFA Thesis). Any additional (optional) books the student reads during the semester should also be reviewed and listed in the student’s MFA Annotated Bibliography.

Faculty will have the option of using online classroom sites (Desire2Learn/WorldClass) to conduct conversations with students, receive submissions (through Dropbox), and allow for students to discuss, among themselves, their reading or writing. At their Study Plan meeting during the residency, each faculty mentor will specify his or her preferred method of receiving submissions and providing feedback. Faculty are responsible for using the provided syllabus templates to ensure that students complete their required work for their course section (for example, drafts of the Critical Essay and their Writing in the World plan).

SAMPLE PROGRAM SCHEDULE 

Students accepted to the Mile-High MFA may begin their studies in either January or July. (Typically, January residencies will be scheduled for the first full week of the month; July residencies will take place during the third or final week of that month). 

The following is a sample schedule for the students beginning in January:

YEAR 1
January Residency I
January-May Writing Semester I
July Residency II
August-December Writing Semester II
YEAR 2
January Residency II
January-May Writing Semester III
July Residency IV
August-December Writing Semester IV (Thesis)
January  Residency V (Thesis Defense and Graduation)

BEFORE THE FIRST RESIDENCY  

The Writing Life: Writers on How They Think and Work edited by Marie Arana, and two books on the theory of their particular genre (see below):
  • CREATIVE NONFICTION
    Nicole Walker and Margot Singer, eds., Bending Genre
    David Lazar, Truth in Nonfiction: Essays

  • FICTION (including YA)
    Stephen King, On Writing
    Charles Baxter, Burning Down the House

  • POETRY
    Richard Hugo, Triggering Town Jane Hirschfield, Nine Gates: Entering the Mind of Poetry

  • WRITING FOR PERFORMANCE
    Sam Smiley, Playwriting: The Structure of Action
    Lajos Egri, The Art of Dramatic Writing

  • GRAPHIC NOVEL Will Eisner, Graphic Novel Storytelling and Visual Narrative
    Scott McCloud, Understanding Comics: The Invisible Art
FIRST-RESIDENCY ORIENTATION 

New students of the Mile-High MFA program will arrive to their first residency one day early for Orientation, which begins with a Welcome Breakfast at our neighborhood bakery (The Noshery) and is followed by a tour of campus, a review of the program policies & residency expectations, and a two-hour introductory course on their chosen genre. The day culminates with a Social Hour in which new students are joined by returning students and arriving faculty, followed by a relaxing dinner. On this day, and for the duration of the program, students will receive regular advisement from the program administrators.

Program Requirements

Listed below are the degree requirements for completion of the MFA in Creative Writing.

Please note that recent course requirement updates might not be listed and you should contact the Office of Enrollment Services at 303.458.4126.

Total Degree Requirements (54 credit hours)
MFA 601 Residency I (3 ch)
MFA 651 Writing Semester I (9 ch)
MFA 602 Residency II (3 ch)
MFA 602D  Dual-Genre Residency (3 ch)
MFA 652 Writing Semester II (9 ch)
MFA 652D  Dual-Genre Semester (9 ch)
MFA 603 Residency III (3 ch)
MFA 653 Writing Semester III (9 ch)
MFA 604 Residency IV (3 ch)
MFA 654 Writing Semester IV (9 ch)
MFA 605 Residency V (3 ch)
MFA 670 Writing in the World Action Plan (presented during 4th residency) (1 ch)
MFA 690    MFA Thesis (presented during 5th residency) (2 ch)

A fifth semester (MFA 655) and a sixth residency (MFA 606) will be added for dual-genre students (a total of 66 credits). Dual-genre students will take three semesters in one genre and two in the second genre; they will write their thesis in their primary genre and begin a book-length project in their second genre.

Residency Info

UPCOMING RESIDENCY DATES 

January 2017 Residency: Friday January 6-Sunday January 15

July 2017 Residency: Friday July 21-Sunday July 30

OVERVIEW 

Twice a year, in January and July, students will attend nine-day residencies, from Friday evening to the following Sunday afternoon, with an “Intermezzo” on Wednesdays. Residencies are inspiring, invigorating gatherings of like-minded writers that provide students with the opportunity to learn their craft, workshop their writing, attend readings by award-winning writers, and immerse themselves in the writing life. Our brilliant yet down-to-earth faculty mentors will eat, drink, and converse with students, providing lessons and advice on writing and the publishing world.

Toward the end of each residency students will meet (either in person or via Skype) with the faculty mentor they will be working with during the succeeding semester and (together with their mentor) develop a study plan, including a list of eight books that will constitute their Semester Reading List, along with at least two other books students decide to read on their own. In addition, students will write Critical Responses to any two books on their Reading List, except during Semester III, when they are composing their Critical Essay, and Semester IV, when they are completing their MFA Thesis.

A month prior to every residency, students will submit a sample of their work (3500-7500 words of double-spaced prose (fiction, narrative nonfiction, YA fiction, or writing for performance), and 10-15 pages of poetry or flash fiction, that will be distributed to the other students in their workshop. Thus it is required of all students that they communicate with their workshop instructors and program coordinator before each residency via their Regis email account.

Out-of-town students will work with the program coordinator to arrange for housing in a hotel or on-campus residence hall.

RESIDENCY FEATURES  

Morning workshops
Afternoon craft seminars, business-of-writing panels, and writers’ chats 
Writing Breaks/Social Hours
Evening readings
Visiting Writer readings and chats
Student/Faculty Semester Study Plan meetings
Intermezzo/Student Night
Thesis Defenses
Graduation Ceremony

MORNING WORKSHOPS 

The Mile-High residencies offer concentrated periods of time when students can hone their writing in small peer workshops orchestrated and facilitated by our faculty. The workshops will take place every morning and include some writing lessons/prompts by the faculty member, critiques of student work by faculty and peers, and group discussions of a variety of writing issues. Students will attend a minimum of seven workshop classes to receive credit for their residency.

AFTERNOON CRAFT SEMINARS/BUSINESS OF WRITING PANELS  >In the afternoons, students will attend seminars on the theory and craft of writing, as well as, business of writing panels on interpretations of canonical and contemporary works, on examples of “Writing in the World” (ways in which one may make use of their writing talents for the public good), on the teaching of writing, and on the business of writing/publishing. Students will attend a minimum of five craft seminars and five business-of-writing panels to receive credit for their residency.

WRITING BREAKS/SOCIAL HOURS 

Every residency day will feature a “writing break”—at least one hour in the afternoon when students can follow up on a workshop assignment, meet with semester mentors to create their semester study plan, take a break from the intensity of the day, and/or enjoy happy hour at the Gold Spot, a local brewery located just steps away from our campus entrance.

EVENING READINGS 

After dinner, students will kick back and enjoy readings by the Mile-High MFA faculty, by visiting writers, and by graduating MFA students. Students will attend a minimum of seven evening events to receive credit for their residency.

VISITING WRITERS 

During each residency the Mile-High MFA will host visiting writers of all genres. Each visiting writer will give a reading, followed by a Q&A session and a book signing.

SEMESTER STUDY PLAN MEETINGS 

Before the end of each residency, students will meet with their faculty mentors (either in-person or via Skype) to shape a writing plan and reading list for the semester. The purpose of the reading list, and of the annotations and critical responses required of students in addition to their creative work, is to ensure academic rigor, develop critical-thinking skills, and provide students with models of writing that will help them to develop their work to their fullest potential.

INTERMEZZO/STUDENT NIGHT 

A unique feature of the Mile-High MFA, our Wednesday “Intermezzo” is an opportunity for students to pull back from their busy activities and enjoy what our campus, the Mile-High City, and the Rocky Mountains have to offer: some quiet writing time, a two-mile-high skiing experience (January residencies only), or ice-skating in downtown Denver (January residencies only), a whitewater rafting trip (July residencies only), a hike on one of Colorado’s great mountain trails, or an excursion into downtown Denver—followed by dinner and student readings (and/or other student-centered entertainment). Revitalized by their Intermezzo experience, and with a strengthened sense of community among students across genres, students will dive into the second half of their residencies with renewed fervor and focus.

STUDENT READINGS Every Wednesday is Student Reading Night—another of the many ways in which Mile-High MFA students practice their craft and build a community of support and inspiration. Students will help to plan this event, and the program administrators will ensure that every student of the Mile-High MFA is featured in a student reading once during their program duration.

THESIS DEFENSES

Beginning in 2017, every residency will feature public thesis defenses, when our graduating students will formally defend their theses.

COMMENCEMENT 

At the end of each residency we will celebrate our graduating students in a Commencement ceremony attended by all students as well as family and friends of the graduates. The ceremony includes a formal welcome from our university president, provost, or dean; an excerpted reading of the best Critical Essay of the graduating class; the presentation of the best Writing in the World Action Plan; excerpts from the graduates’ theses; and a conferral of degrees, followed by champagne and other refreshments.

RESIDENCY REQUIREMENTS/MAGIC NUMBER (7-5-5-7)

To receive full credit for residencies, students are required to attend at least seven workshop meetings, at least five afternoon craft seminars, at least five afternoon business of writing panels, and at least seven evening readings.

SAMPLE RESIDENCY SCHEDULE

1:00 - 11:30      Workshops
11:45-12:45      Lunch
1:00-2:30         Craft Seminar
3:00-4:00         Business of Writing Panel
4:00-5:30         Writing Time, Social Hour, Mentor Meetings
5:30-6:15         Dinner
6:30-7:30         Core Faculty or Visiting Writer Reading/Q&A
7:30-8:00         Core Faculty or Visiting Writer Book Signing

REMOTE RESIDENCIES

Mile-High MFA students may occasionally be offered the option of attending a remote residency in lieu of a residency on campus. Remote residencies will take the place of a campus residency in that the student attending a remote residency will earn the same number of credits towards the MFA degree and fulfill the same requirements. Remote residencies will feature visiting writers from the region or country where the residency is held; a smaller number of students and core faculty; and additional expense. Students will be notified about a year in advance regarding the details of an upcoming remote residency. To be considered for a remote residency students will be required to submit a short essay on why the remote residency will be beneficial to their writing practice. Students will be selected based on seniority in the program, genre representation, and their short-essay applications.

Tuition

2016-2017 Academic Year Tuition

Course Format Est. Total Program Cost Credit Hours Required Cost Per Credit Hour 
3  $690
Residency $2,070 
Online Courses
$6,210 9  $690
Total cost per semester: $8,280

Course Format   Estimated Total Program Cost  Credit  Hours Required  Cost per Credit Hour       

*Room charges for the residencies are not included with tuition. Charges will vary, depending on students’ choice of housing (e.g. on-campus dorm or hotel room). There is an additional one-credit charge for MFA 680: Critical Essay in the third semester and a two-credit charge for MFA 690: MFA Thesis in the final semester. Students will also be charged a residency fee of $350 to cover meals as well as other costs (e.g. social hours and special events) on campus during each residency. 

**In the student's second year there will be additional tuition for MFA 670: Writing in the World Action Plan (one credit, or $690) and MFA 690: MFA Thesis (two credits, or $1380).

Enrollment Deposit Fee: A nonrefundable $350 fee applied toward tuition & reserves a spot in the program.

For tuition deadlines see the Regis Academic Calendar

How to Apply

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ADMISSION REQUIREMENTS

●           Bachelor's degree from a regionally accredited university or college (required)

●           3.2 GPA or higher in English/writing classes preferred

●           Undergraduate GPA of 3.0 or higher preferred

●           Demonstration of exceptional writing ability (or the potential for exceptional writing)—

    15 pages required

●           Personal interview (at the directors’ discretion)

●           Two letters of recommendation

●           A $350 non-refundable deposit (required upon acceptance) that will be applied toward 

             your tuition. *See deadlines below. 

APPLICATION DEADLINES

Term Class Start Application Deadline Deposit Deadline
Summer 2017 July 21, 2017 May 30, 2017 (extended)
June 5, 2017 (extended)

Spring 2017 January 6, 2017 November 10, 2016 December 1, 2016