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Post-Graduate Semester

A life-long commitment to the art of writing, which we actively foster in the MFA Program for Writers, must overcome many challenges.  For some of our alumni, isolation is one of the most formidable, precluding access to the resources needed to go beyond existing achievement.   

A post-graduate semester is available for Program alumni who have completed the MFA degree at least one year prior to the application.  Appropriate projects might include the completion of a book-length manuscript, new work that represents a radical departure in one’s prior aesthetic, the undertaking of a new form, or the exploration of another genre (including non-fiction).

When the project is within the same genre as the graduate’s MFA Thesis Manuscript, one available model might be the Program’s “Novel Semester,” also extended in this instance to include poetry manuscripts: that is, the first two packet submissions might be combined, allowing for initial faculty review of a substantial portion of the work-in-progress.  (The usual caveat remains, however: Program faculty will not function as line-editors for material being readied for publication.) A project in an unfamiliar genre would necessarily be more exploratory.

Whatever its pedagogical goals, the post-graduate semester will closely resemble degree semesters with which Program alumni are familiar. Expectations include:

  • full participation in an initiating residency;
  • thoughtful assignment of a supervising mentor;
  • a semester’s project plan, developed with the supervisor, addressing the semester’s goals for the student’s poetry, fiction or non-fiction;
  • some analytical component (annotations, working journal, short essays, a lecture) in response to careful reading;
  • active engagement in the production of new work and revision for at least 25 hours per week;
  • full dialogue, throughout the semester, in six packet exchanges;
  • narrative evaluations by the supervisor and student, with the award of 15 hours graduate credit.

Candidates should apply by September 15 for the January semester, or March 15 for the July semester. The application should be submitted electronically via Submittable using the link below and will require:

  • the completed application form;
  • a processing fee of $75 (payable through Submittable as part of the application);
  • a writing sample (10 pages of poetry, or 25 pages of prose, in the proposed genre);
  • a personal essay describing the project, its goals and challenges, as well as how the student hopes to use faculty resources to address them in the creative and analytical work;
  • a short analytical essay (now familiar to the applicant as an “annotation”) focusing on an issue of craft pertinent to his/her own work;
  • one recommendation from a former Program supervisor.

No transcript is necessary.  Applications will be reviewed by the Director and the faculty members of the Admissions Team for the relevant semester.  A limited number of proposals will be accepted for any specific semester, and admission may not be deferred except by the Program.

Post-graduate students will be responsible for full fees (currently $9,675 tuition, $600 residency), and will not be eligible for financial aid.

The MFA Academic Board is enthusiastic about providing this opportunity for alumni.  For additional information, please email Debra Allbery, Program Director.