The Mile-High MFA takes your writing to new heights

Hone your craft over intensive one-on-one semesters with experienced, published faculty. Twice a year, come to campus to experience an intimate, nine-day residency with other students, published authors and agents. Join us in the only creative writing MFA in central Colorado, where workshops, craft lessons, author readings and career guidance will push you to reach for the top. 


In addition to the expert guidance you’ll receive as you progress from rough drafts to final manuscript, you will graduate the program fully prepared to embark on a writing career, bolstered and invigorated by the support of your writing community.

You can specialize in one of these genres:

  • Poetry
  • Fiction (including literary, young adult, speculative, fantasy, etc.)
  • Nonfiction (including creative, literary, narrative, etc.)


Available: Online with certain weeks on campus
Campus: Northwest Denver
Course Length: 16-week semesters
Time to Complete: 2 years
Total No. of Credits: 54
Tuition: $640/credit hour

This program 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.


Over the course of two years, you will work closely with three to four mentors in your specialized genre. You’ll start with an idea and graduate with a full manuscript of work (a book-length feature in fiction or nonfiction, or a compilation of work in poetry) and the knowledge you need to start your journey to publishing.

As a part your first two semesters with your mentor, you’ll create a reading list of four to eight books to critically study published works, and write a critical essay in your third semester. This will help you identify trends, witness structure that works (or doesn’t) and find your unique voice among the literary landscape.

In your fourth semester, you’ll propose a way your writing will benefit your community in our Writing in the World Action Plan assignment.

Learn more about assignments.


  • 5:1 average student-faculty ratio, the lowest ratio in the country
  • One of only two Jesuit low-residency MFA programs in the country (a Jesuit education focuses on academic rigor and the idea of cura personalis, or care for the whole person)
  • One of only three low-residency MFA in creative writing programs that require students to use their writing talents to contribute to their community
  • The only program that offers a ski day during the January residency and a whitewater adventure during the July residency
  • Offers a remote residency in Ireland or Czech Republic


Traditional MFA programs require students be on campus for all workshops and seminars. In contrast, our low-residency format puts special attention on the craft through prioritizing one-on-one mentorship over workshops. Workshops are organized only for the residencies when you’re on our Denver campus. Residencies are nine-day intensives for you to immerse yourself in writing and build a community. Our residencies are typically the first week in January and the third or fourth week in July. You will complete five residencies in the program, with four craft semesters in between. View an in-depth look at a residency.

Because the majority of your work is online, you’re not only afforded a flexibility that will allow you to maintain your schedule (with an anticipated 20-25 hours of study a week), it gives us the freedom to cultivate talented faculty from across the United States. Learn more about our faculty.


In the second semester of the program, you can optionally choose to expand your knowledge in one of six ways:

  • Have your work edited and edit other authors with Heidi Pitlor, editor of Best American Short Stories

  • Teach with Rachel Weaver, former director of the Colorado Writing School (now known as Lighthouse Writers Workshop North)
  • Learn about the publishing industry and how to run a small press with Alyse Knorr of Switchback Books
  • Work with award-winning playwrights Steven Cole Hughes, Marty McGovern and Janna Goodwin to craft scripts for performance
  • Study drawing or painting with Tony Ortega to start your journey as a graphic novelist or picture book author
  • Dive into the world of children’s lit with Denise Vega, author of “If Your Monster Won’t Go to Bed”

Learn more about the second semester specialization.


You may also choose to apply (by the end of your first writing semester 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). As a dual-genre student, you will take three residency workshops and three semesters in your main genre (i.e. the genre in which you will write your MFA thesis) and two residency workshops and two semesters in your secondary genre. 

You can add a second specialization in one of these genres:

  • Poetry
  • Fiction
  • Nonfiction


Regis University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

Visit our department page for a more in-depth look at all aspects of this unique program and to meet our notable faculty.

Program Requirements

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

Course Requirements (54 credit hours)
MFA 601 Residency I
MFA 602 Residency II
MFA 603 Residency III
MFA 604 Residency IV
MFA 605 Residency V
MFA 651 Writing Semester I
MFA 652 Writing Semester II
MFA 653 Writing Semester III
MFA 654 Writing Semester IV
MFA 670 Writing in the World Action Plan
MFA 690 MFA Thesis
Optional Dual-Genre Study (12 additional credit hours)
MFA 602D Dual-Genre Residency
MFA 652D Dual-Genre Writing Semester

Please note: For official program requirements based on academic year, please refer to the academic catalog.

Download a printable fact sheet with program details.

Residency Info



  • 2020: Friday July 24-Sunday August 2
  • 2021: Friday July 23-Sunday August 1
  • 2022: Friday July 22-Sunday July 31


  • 2021: Friday Jan. 8-Sunday Jan. 17
  • 2022: Friday Jan. 7-Sunday Jan. 16


After being admitted to the program and being registered for Residency I (MFA 601), but before arriving for their first residency, students will read Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott and one book on the theory of their particular genre (see below):

Lee Gutkind, You Can't Make This Stuff Up

FICTION (including YA)
Stephen King, On Writing


Jane Hirschfield, Nine Gates: Entering the Mind of Poetry


Students are required to submit their first workshop sample one month prior to the start of each residency via email to their residency instructor. Residency instructors will email students specific guidelines about the first day of workshop prior to this deadline. Writing samples should be work students want to edit and get feedback on during the residency workshop.

Workshop Sample Page Length:
- Poetry: 5-10 pages
- Fiction: 12-20 pages (double-spaced)

- Creative Nonfiction: 12-20 pages (double-spaced)

Workshop Sample Formatting: Work should be typed, double-spaced, with 1-inch margins, 12-point serif font (e.g., Times New Roman or Garamond.) Put your name and genre on the upper left corner of the first page of your submission. For excerpts, include a brief paragraph that contextualizes the work.


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.

During 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 that mentor) finalize a semester study plan.

A month prior to every residency, students will submit a sample of their work (12-20 pages of double-spaced prose and 10-15 pages of poetry) 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.


  • Morning workshops
  • Afternoon craft seminars and panels
  • Writing Breaks/Social Hours
  • Evening readings
  • Visiting Writer readings and chats
  • Student/Faculty Semester Study Plan meetings
  • Intermezzo/Student Night
  • Thesis Defenses
  • MFA Degree Ceremony


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 of the eight workshop classes to receive credit for the workshop portion of their residency.


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” projects (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 and publishing. Students will attend a minimum of ten craft seminars and/or panels to receive credit for their residency.


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 finalize their semester study plan, attend a thesis defense, 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.


Before the end of each residency, students will meet with their faculty mentors (either in-person or via Skype) to finalize their writing plan and reading list for the semester. The purpose of the reading list, and of the annotations and MFA Program Assignments 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.


1. Students meet with their mentor (in-person of via Skype or phone) during or before the residency to set writing semester packet & MFA program assignment deadlines & to discuss and finalize the required texts for their reading list.

2. Students should come with a reading list draft, completed description or their writing project and/or critical essay and in semester III, a completed Thesis Proposal for review and approval by the Faculty Mentor.

3. Following the study plan meeting, students will email the program coordinator and their mentor the COMPLETED electronic PDF study plan form. The FINAL DEADLINE for submissions of Semester Study Plan forms is by NOON on the FINAL DAY OF EACH RESIDENCY.


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


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.


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), 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 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.


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 at least once over the duration of the program. 


Every residency will feature public thesis defenses, when our graduating students will formally defend their theses.

MFA Degree Ceremony 

At the end of each residency we will celebrate our graduating students in an MFA Degree Ceremony. All students, as well as family and friends of the graduates, are invited to attend. 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; excerpts from the graduates’ theses; and gifts from the program administrators, followed by champagne and other refreshments.


To receive full credit for residencies, students are required to attend at least seven workshop meetings, at least ten afternoon craft seminars and/or panels, and at least seven evening readings.


9:30-12:00       Workshops

12:00-1:00       Lunch

1:00-2:15         Craft Seminar

2:15-2:30         15 min. Coffee Break

2:30-3:30         Afternoon Panel or Seminar

3:45-4:30         Thesis Defense

4:30-5:30         Break: Writing Time, Social Hour, Mentor Meetings

5:30-6:00         Dinner

6:00-7:00         Core Faculty or Visiting Writer Reading/Q&A   



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.

Apply Now!

Admissions is awarded on a rolling basis. However, application deadlines are as follows:

January term:

  • Priority deadline, Sept. 15
  • Final deadline, Nov. 10
  • Deposit deadline to accept your spot, Dec. 1

July term:

  • Priority deadline, April 1
  • Final deadline, May 1
  • Deposit deadline to accept your spot, June 1

If you have any questions pertaining to the admissions process, please contact an admissions counselor at 303.458.4300.


  • 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


  • 15-page writing sample to demonstrate an exceptional writing ability or the potential for exceptional writing
  • 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 


Visit our Cost of Tuition page to see the tuition and fee schedule.