Prepare for a life as a literary artist.
Our low-residency MFA in Creative Writing program is devoted not only to the education of literary 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 adult learners for careers and meaningful lives as writers, editors, teachers, and engaged literary citizens.
This degree is offered by AU Los Angeles.
Antioch University’s MFA in Creative Writing is comprised of on-campus 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 low-residency model supports and mirrors the lives that professional writers actually live. The Antioch Los Angeles 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 on-campus residency, followed by a five-month online project period during which each student writes fiction, poetry, creative nonfiction, writing for young people, and literary translation, as well as scholarly work, under the supervision of a faculty mentor each term. Students also participate in online discussion forums 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, and writing for young people), but can write and study more than one genre including literary translation—and even to 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 artists, community engagement, 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.
Core requirements are completed during the 10-day on-campus residencies or the 5-month online project periods that follow each residency.
On-Campus Residency Core Requirements
During each residency, students in the MFA in Creative Writing program are required to participate in an assigned genre writing workshop, and to attend at least seven additional learning activities (faculty/guest seminars and graduating student presentations). Some of these learning activities are listed below; required seminars are denoted by an asterisk(*).
- Arts, Culture, and Society I & II*
- Faculty and Guest Seminars on Craft, Aesthetics, and Critical Reading
- Orientation to the Field Study *
- Genre Studies
- Genre Writing Workshops*
- Critical Paper Seminar
- Teaching of Creative Writing
- The Art of Translation Seminar*
- Writers at Work Sessions
- Reading as a Writer*
- Graduating Student Presentation *
- Graduating Student Reading *
Online Project Period Core Requirements
- Monthly packets of student creative work and book annotations
- Art of Translation and Adaptation Online Conference*
- Field Study
- The Critical Paper*
- The Final Manuscript*
- Cumulative Annotated Bibliography*
For detailed curriculum and degree requirements, please visit the AULA catalog.
MFA Low Residency
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. Your two years in AULA’s MFA in Creative Writing program will be spent alternately in two rhythms:
- Five 10-day residencies where you will attend classes at AULA’s Culver City campus, and form a collective of working writers. The on-campus residency builds a strong literary community around engagement with language, literature, and social and aesthetic issues that working writers must confront.
- Four 5-month-long online project periods spent in your home city (or the location of your choice), where you 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.
The 10-day on-campus residencies include:
- Faculty and guest seminars and graduating student presentations: Small and large classes on craft taught by graduating students, faculty, and visiting faculty.
- Genre 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.
The 5-Month Project Periods include:
- Mentor correspondence: During your time at AULA, 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 be subject to constructive analysis by 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 or writing for young people), 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. And 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 on-campus 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.
Writing for Young People
Writing for 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 on-campus residency, as well as mentors during the 5-month online Project Periods.
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 entering 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, and writing for young people.
- Critical reading, writing, and thinking skills required of a literary artist.
- Knowledge of ethical dilemmas and social values of the literary arts.
- Readiness to assume the working life of a professional writer, whether in academia, commercial or independent publishing, or within one’s community.
MFA Professional Development Semester
The MFA Professional Development Semester is designed to further the professional aspirations of MFA students and alumni at affordable prices. Offered exclusively for continuing MFA students and returning alumni. Professional Development Semester offers additional Mentoring and Career Consultation (5 units), 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.
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||Application Deadline***||1st Residency|
|Winter/Spring 2022||September 1, 2021||Dec. 9-18, 2021|
|Summer/Fall 2022||March 1, 2022||June 16-25, 2022|
*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) or program-specific requirements) must be submitted at the time of the final application deadline.
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, Writing for Young People: 20-page maximum). For prose, work samples should be typed and double-spaced with your name at the top of each page. For prose, the 20 pages can be from different pieces. For poetry, work samples should be single-spaced with one poem on each page.
- 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.
|4th Semester (Includes two residencies)||$13,881|
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 three $10,000 merit-based scholarships, along with several other scholarships of varying amounts.
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