Prepare for a Life as a Literary and Dramatic Artist
Antioch University’s low-residency MFA in Creative Writing program is devoted not only to the education of literary and dramatic artists but to community engagement and the pursuit of social justice. The program features one-on-one mentoring with a variety of successful, publishing writers and includes instruction in craft, revision, and critical reading and thinking skills. The rights and ethical responsibilities of creative writers are also addressed, along with practical career concerns related to the business of writing and publishing. The MFA program prepares students for careers and meaningful lives as writers, editors, teachers, and engaged literary citizens.
This low-residency degree is offered by AU Los Angeles.
Antioch University’s MFA in Creative Writing is comprised of hybrid residencies—which include seminars, readings, and workshops—complemented by five-month online project periods during which students live and write in their home communities. The hybrid residency allows students to attend fully online, in-person, or a combination of both. We believe a flexible learning environment allows our students to flourish personally and creatively.
The low-residency model supports and mirrors the lives that professional writers actually live. The Antioch’s MFA program provides both the nurturing literary community and the solitary discipline of writing that working writers need. An MFA semester consists of an intensive 10-day hybrid residency, followed by a five-month online project period during which each student writes fiction, poetry, creative nonfiction, young people, writing for the screen, playwriting, and literary translation, as well as scholarly work, under the supervision of a faculty mentor each term. Students also participate in online discussions covering assigned readings and literary issues, and produce other work specified in their individualized Project Period Contract.
MFA students are admitted in a single genre (fiction, poetry, creative nonfiction, young people, writing for the screen, and playwriting), but can write and study more than one genre including literary translation—and even challenge the notion of genre itself. Our faculty members publish successfully in multiple genres and are often glad to support students in their cross-genre explorations.
The MFA Field Study is what sets this creative writing program—and the people who graduate from it—apart from others. The Field Study asks students to put their knowledge and skills as writers to work in service of something they personally value in their local communities. Each Field Study must address at least two of the three aspects of the MFA program’s unique purpose: the education of literary and dramatic artists, community engagement or service, and the pursuit of social justice. MFA Field Studies have changed the lives not only of the students but of those their efforts have served.
MFA students participate in a 10-day hybrid residency which includes an assigned genre writing workshop and 7+ learning activities such as faculty seminars, guest speakers, and graduating student presentations.
Explore Residency Requirements, Speakers, and Seminars
Online Project Period Core Requirements
- Monthly packets of student creative work and book annotations
- Participation in Book Circles (group book discussions)
- Art of Translation Course
- Field Study
- Critical Paper
- Final Manuscript
- Cumulative Annotated Bibliography
For detailed curriculum and degree requirements, please visit the AU Catalog.
A Low Residency MFA
The low residency model supports and mirrors the lives that professional writers actually live.
It provides both a nurturing literary community, as well as time to write independently, inspired by real-world engagement. The two years in Antioch’s MFA in Creative Writing program will be spent alternately in two rhythms:
- Five 10-day hybrid Residencies – Students attend classes online, in-person, or a combination of both at Antioch University Los Angeles’ campus in Culver City, California, and form a collective of working writers. The residency builds a strong literary community around engagement with language, literature, and social and aesthetic issues that working writers confront.
- Four 5-Month-Long Online Project Period – Spent in your home city (or the location of your choice), students will write and read extensively, examining and confronting issues of tradition and craft. The online project period pairs you with an assigned mentor (an actively publishing writer who is also an excellent teacher) and a small group of other MFA students with whom you will read and discuss a variety of books and other publications. The online project period provides you with a dedicated apprenticeship in words and craft, a time of exploration and risk-taking in your developing life as a writer.
- Faculty and guest seminars and graduating student presentations: Small and large classes on craft taught by graduating students, faculty, and visiting faculty.
- Writing workshops: 10 hours of intensive peer and faculty review of student work.
- One-on-one meetings with your assigned mentor: Plan out your individual study with your faculty mentor for the term.
- Community: Meet with students and faculty in your class and genre.
- Readings: Experience new work by faculty and students.
5-Month Project Periods
- Mentor correspondence: During your time at Antioch, you will select 4 to 5 different faculty mentors with whom to work.
- Reading and writing: You’ll turn in new and revised creative work, and read to explore issues of craft.
- Narrative critiques: Your work will receive constructive feedback from your instructors and peers.
- Special projects: These may include translation projects, field study, and independent research.
Although MFA students are accepted into the program in a single genre (poetry, fiction, creative nonfiction, young people, writing for the screen, or playwriting), they have many opportunities to read, write, and study multiple genres, as well as to explore the relationships among them.
Lectures and faculty-led seminars often pull material from two or more disciplines—for instance, poets might talk about rhythm in fiction; creative nonfiction writers might address the importance of staging a scene. Our faculty members publish successfully in multiple genres and are often glad to support students in their cross-genre explorations.
Reading assignments during the project period may pull from any genre, or film and music—if relevant to the student’s exploration of craft. Every seminar and lecture during the residency is open to all students, regardless of the genre they are studying during the ensuing project periods.
The fiction program is staffed by well-published short story writers and novelists who participate in small workshops during each residency and mentor a different group of students during each online project period. Our mentors represent a wide range of aesthetics and interests, and are committed to the mentorship process. Students in fiction submit new and revised pages each month, along with book annotations and ongoing craft dialogue.
Poetry students work with risk-taking faculty who offer diverse perspectives on what poems are and how to write them. Poetry students write and rewrite. In their assigned readings they engage issues of contemporary literature and craft, as well as develop knowledge of poetic traditions. Monthly packets of writing range in size from 7-20 pages, with numerous book or craft-focused annotations.
Our creative nonfiction program admits students who are committed to writing compelling, energetic work in this innovative genre, which includes literary reportage, memoir, biography, travel writing, magazine writing, and the essay. Students read widely, exploring the techniques that make creative nonfiction resonate and signify. Our outstanding and generous faculty provide detailed critiques on new and revised work, annotations, and craft considerations each month.
Young People students learn the craft of writing for children and young adults and explore the art of creative collaboration. Illustrators, editors, and agents serve as MFA guest faculty during each 10-day residency, as well as mentors during the 5-month online Project Periods.
Writing for the Screen
Writing for the Screen students explore the ever-changing landscape of storytelling through writing screenplays for film and television.
Screenwriters, producers, and other film industry experts serve as MFA guest faculty during each 10-day residency, as well as mentors during the Project Periods. Through intensive study and mentorship, students strengthen their creative thinking and writing skills, applying those skills to their chosen focus. With this balance of creative expression and practical application, our students learn how to employ a full range of story-crafting techniques in various professional settings, match the right creative goal with the right genre and media platform, and how to market and sell their own creative product.
Playwriting students receive expert instruction in writing for the stage, learning from internationally renowned playwrights, theatre directors, dramaturgs, and other theatre professionals.
Genre Jumping—Mixed Genre Experience
During a student’s second or third term at AULA, they may transfer into a second genre for the length of the semester—while still completing the program on time.
Students may choose to spend an extra semester at AULA so that they may graduate with a dual concentration, spending three terms in the primary genre, and two terms in the alternate genre.
Some MFA programs are designed to help aspiring writers complete a manuscript and find a publisher. The goals of Antioch’s program are much broader. We place an emphasis on preparing writers for the complete life of a literary artist. Our MFA in Creative Writing graduates will demonstrate:
- Proficiency in at least one of the following genres: fiction, poetry, creative nonfiction, young people, writing for the screen, and playwriting.
- Critical reading, writing, and thinking skills are required of a literary and dramatic artist.
- Knowledge of ethical dilemmas and social values of the literary and dramatic arts.
- Commitment to a broad range of issues and activities associated with a literary writer and the communities in which the writer lives and works.
Professional Development Semester
Designed to further the professional aspirations of MFA students and alumni at affordable prices. The Professional Development Semester is offered exclusively for continuing MFA students and returning alumni, the Professional Development Semester (5 units) offers an additional semester of mentoring to help begin or complete a manuscript, work in a new genre, or consult with a trusted mentor about matters of writing, career, and publication.
Post-MFA Certificate in the Teaching of Creative Writing
In a single semester, our low-residency Post-MFA Certificate program takes aspiring teachers from theory to practice, focusing on methods of teaching writing and allowing the student to gain practical classroom experience through either a face-to-face or an online supervised teaching placement. Experienced writing instructors may pursue the certificate for professional development purposes, as well as to improve their personal classroom pedagogy.
Admissions / Cost / Aid
|Semester||Priority Deadline||Application Deadline***||1st Residency|
|Summer/Fall 2023||Accepting applications on a rolling basis.||June 15-24, 2023|
|Winter/Spring 2024||September 1, 2023||Accepting applications on a rolling basis.||December 7-16, 2023|
|Summer/Fall 2024||March 1, 2024||Accepting applications on a rolling basis.||June 13-22, 2024|
*In addition to satisfying AULA’s admission requirements for a specific academic program, International Students have additional, general requirements that must be met for admission.
***All application requirements (all unofficial or official transcripts, admissions essay(s), and program-specific requirements) must be submitted for the application to be reviewed.
How to Apply
The Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing (MFA) program seeks applicants who want to participate effectively as writers in professional, academic, and community settings; want to develop their skills in the craft of writing; care deeply about the role of the arts and artists in society, and share a commitment to and appreciation for culturally diverse writers and traditions. The program upholds Antioch University Los Angeles’s tradition of honoring both academic and experiential learning. Applicants must be self-motivated individuals who are able to work independently in a distance-learning format. Program participants must have access to a computer, Microsoft Word, and the Internet.
- Complete the Online Application and the Admissions Dialogue Essay.
- Submit the $50 non-refundable Application Fee.
- Send in an official transcript indicating Bachelor’s degree conferral from a regionally accredited college or university. The requested copy of official transcripts must be sent directly to the Admissions Office at Antioch University Los Angeles from the institution from which you received your accredited bachelor’s degree. A student copy of a transcript may be submitted with your application, but official transcripts are required upon admission.
- Submit all supplemental materials: Samples of your creative work in the genre in which you are applying for admission (Poetry: 10-page maximum, Fiction: 20-page maximum, Creative Nonfiction: 20-page maximum, Young People: 20-page maximum, Writing for the Screen: 20-page maximum, Playwriting: 20-page maximum). For prose, work samples should be typed and double-spaced with your name at the top of each page. The 20 pages can be from different pieces. For poetry, work samples should be single-spaced with one poem on each page. For writing for the screen and playwriting: Use the standard format appropriate for the genre. Use of FinalDraft is
strongly encouraged as industry-standard with default margins; other options include Celtx, Trelby, and WriterDuet.
- Recommendations: Please provide the names and contact information (email and phone) of two references whom we may contact during our admissions process (you will be prompted to do so during the application process). If you would like to turn in recommendations voluntarily, please have your recommender(s) send them to [email protected].
Please submit all materials to Antioch University Los Angeles, Admissions Office, 400 Corporate Pointe, Culver City, CA 90230 or [email protected]. All application materials submitted become part of an applicant’s file and cannot be returned.
Cost & Aid
|4th Semester (Includes two residencies)||$14,870|
Please note: Additional fees for all Antioch University Los Angeles programs may include (but are not necessarily limited to) charges for materials, late registration, enrollment maintenance, parking, graduation, transcripts, tuition payment plan, late payments, late registration, and returned checks.
A majority of AULA students finance their education through some form of financial aid. You may not be sure which federal, state, public and private aid packages – such as loans, scholarships, and grants—are right for you. Our staff is here to help you, so you can focus on what’s most important: beginning your academic program at AULA. Returning to school is a big decision, but it doesn’t have to be a stressful one.
The MFA Program has numerous scholarships available for students based on factors such as merit and need. Once you are accepted into our program, you will receive additional information about how to apply for these scholarships. We offer one full scholarship (The Spe Futura Artis Scholarship) for students over 40 years old (currently for an incoming June 2022 student), three to four $10,000 merit and need-based scholarships, along with several other scholarships of varying amounts through the Eloise Klein Healy Scholarship Fund.
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