Learn more about our program, and learn if it's the right fit for you.
What do you mean by "low-residency?"A low-residency program is structured so that you can complete your MFA while living in your own community, thus integrating your writing into your daily life. Students attend a 9-day residency at the beginning of each semester (in January and June). At these residencies, students attend readings, craft seminars, and workshops and create a study plan with their faculty mentor for the work to be done that semester. During the distance-learning semester, students and faculty work in a one-on-one mentoring relationship.
How many credits? How long does it take to complete? Can I do the program part-time?This is a 49-credit program. Full-time students take 12 credits per semester for two years. If you must go part-time, that usually means doing only one semester per year. Students attend four full residencies, plus part of a fifth residency at the end of their program, when they give a craft seminar—their final requirement for graduation—and a public reading from their thesis.
How competitive is the program?Admission is selective. Our entering classes comprise roughly 25 percent of the total applications received for a given semester. Lesley’s program was recently named one of the top five low-residency MFA creative writing programs in the country.
What is the structure of the program?For the first three semesters, students take 6 credits in Creative Writing, 3 credits in Craft & Reflection, and 3 credits in Interdisciplinary Studies. For the final semester, students substitute 3 credits of Thesis for the Interdisciplinary Studies portion and 3 credits of Craft Seminar Preparation for the Craft & Reflection portion. During the semester, students submit a mixture of revisions and new work to their faculty mentor, and get detailed feedback.
What is the Interdisciplinary Component, and why is it part of the Lesley low-residency MFA program in creative writing?The interdisciplinary component is a unique feature of the Lesley MFA in creative writing, and constitutes a three-fold recognition: that the borders between artistic genres have become ever more porous; that contemporary writers must be alert to new models of career preparation; and, perhaps most importantly, that along with avid reading and writing, there are always other passions that feed a writer’s imagination.
What are some examples of Interdisciplinary Projects?Examples include: publishing and editing internships at magazines and publishing houses; independent studies in interviewing, reviewing, copy editing, translation, research for writing projects, and art history; and courses in art, literature, and the teaching of writing. The Interdisciplinary Studies credits are meant to support the students’ writing, or to enable them to develop new writing-related skills and experiences.
What genres of writing can I focus on in the program?Students may focus on fiction, nonfiction, poetry, writing for stage & screen, or writing for young people. Students may focus on more than one genre—usually as part of their interdisciplinary study—but they must demonstrate promise in the genre other than the one for which they were accepted.
Where are residencies held?Residencies are held on Lesley’s Cambridge, MA campus. Except in unusual circumstances involving health or religious observations, students must attend all 9 days of the residency. Students living in the area may commute daily. Lunches and dinners are taken together in the dining hall, and meal costs are included in the residency fee. Housing is available at extra cost for those who need it (on campus or at nearby hotels).
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