Graduate Program in Creative Writing: Low Residency MFA and M.A.

Faculty & Staff

Faculty

Kevin J. Anderson, MFA headshot
Director, Publishing Program, Graduate Program in Creative Writing
B.S., University of Wisconsin-Madison, Physics/Astronomy, 1981 (honors), MFA, Lindenwood University, Fiction Emphasis, 2017
Phone: 719.488.9151
Office Location: Remote
Russell Davis, MFA headshot
Director of Genre Fiction Concentration, Graduate Program in Creative Writing
B.A., University of Wisconsin, English/Creative Writing, 1996, MFA, National University, Creative Writing - Fiction, 2012
Phone: 970.943.2163
Office Location: Remote
Stacia Deutsch headshot
Graduate Program in Creative Writing Faculty
MFA, Western Colorado University, M.A., Hebrew Union-College-Jewish Institute of Religion, B.A., Scripps College
Phone:
Office Location:
Tyson Hausdoerffer headshot
Graduate Program in Creative Writing Faculty
B.A., Western Colorado University, M.A., University of Colorado, Boulder, Ph.D., University of California, Berkeley
Phone:
Office Location:
Ernest Hilbert, Ph.D. headshot
Graduate Program in Creative Writing Faculty
B.A., Rutgers University, MSt, Oxford University, Ph.D., Oxford University
Phone:
Office Location:
Julie Kane, Ph.D. headshot
Lecturer in Poetry
B.A., Cornell University, English, 1974, M.A., Boston University, Creative Writing, 1975, Ph.D., Louisiana State University, English, 1999
Phone: 970.943.2163
Office Location: Remote
J S Mayank, MFA headshot
Director of Screenwriting Concentration
B.A., University of Delhi, Economics, 2004 (honors), M.A., Wake Forest University, Communication & Film, 2007, MFA, Loyola Marymount University, Film Directing & Production, 2010
Phone: 970.943.2163
Office Location: Remote
Candace Nadon, Ph.D. headshot
Graduate Program in Creative Writing Faculty
B.A., Fort Lewis College, English, 1997, MFA, University of Southern Maine, Creative Writing (Fiction), 2006, Ph.D, Georgia State University, English with Creative Concentration, 2013
Phone: 970.943.2163
Office Location: Remote
Andrew Sellon, MFA headshot
Instructor in Graduate Creative Writing MFA Program
B.A., Harvard University, English and American Literature and Language, 1981 (cum laude), MFA, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Acting, 1993
Phone: 970.943.2163
Office Location: Remote
Mark Todd, Ph.D. headshot
Professor of English
B.A., Eastern New Mexico University, French and German, 1972, M.A., Eastern New Mexico University, English, 1983, Ph.D., Texas Tech University, English, 1992
Phone: 970.943.2016
Office Location: Taylor Hall 208G
Richard Wilber, Ed.D. headshot
Visiting Assistant Professor, Graduate Program in Creative Writing
B.A., Southern Illinois University-Edwardsville, Journalism, 1970, M.A., Southern Illinois University-Edwardsville, English, 1976, Ed.D., Southern Illinois University-Edwardsville, 1997
Phone: 970.943.2163
Office Location: Remote

Courses

FOR REQUIRED COURSES AND DEGREE PLANS, VISIT THE OFFICIAL UNIVERSITY CATALOG. This is a sample of courses offered by Western Colorado University. To ensure the courses you need are offered during the current semester, please visit the university course search.

 CRWR 520 - SUMMER INTENSIVE I (3 credits)

Introduces students to the entire publishing process from book concept to taking a book out of print, the different models of publishing companies, the book anatomy and basic design, author relations and acquisitions strategies. The theme, title, and student responsibilities in producing the literary journal is also decided upon. Graded Satisfactory/Unsatisfactory only.

 CRWR 521 - EDITORIAL PRACTICUM I (3 credits)

Involves students in an acquisitions editorial staff that reads and evaluates submissions for publication in the book project for the year. Students review submissions ahead of time and e-mail comments to acquisitions editor on whether work should be considered by entire board, and then participate in online discussions every other week Students also meet online three times to discuss materials from learning modules, and how that information relates to book project and their duties as editors and publishers. Prerequisites: CRWR 520. Co-requisites: CRWR 522, CRWR 523, CRWR 524.

 CRWR 522 - EDITORIAL SKILLS (1 credits)

Teaches these topics: what an editor does (and does not do); what "house style" is and how books conform; steps from developmental edit to copyedit to proofread; and appropriate interaction with authors. Graded Satisfactory/Unsatisfactory only. Prerequisite: CRWR 520. Co-requisites: CRWR 521, CRWR 523, and CRWR 524.

 CRWR 523 - ACQUISITIONS (1 credits)

Focuses on these topics: identifying potential authors and conducting author outreach; market analysis; working with agents and book packagers; negotiating the author contract; and working in editorial review groups – who participates and why. Graded Satisfactory/Unsatisfactory only. Prerequisite: CRWR 520. Co-requisites: CRWR 521, CRWR 522, and CRWR 524.

 CRWR 524 - BUSNS MODELS FOR PRESS HOUSES (1 credits)

Familiarizes students with traditional publishing house models such as nonprofit, for-profit, academic press, and trade press, as well as the emerging online electronic delivery models of publishing. This is offered as Satisfactory/Unsatisfactory credit. Prerequisite: CRWR 520. Co-requisites: CRWR 521, CRWR 522, CRWR 523.

 CRWR 525 - EDITORIAL PRACTICUM II (3 credits)

Involves students in an acquisitions editorial staff that will select, proof, and ready submissions for publication of the book project for the year. Students participate in online discussions every week, meeting as an editorial board to select submissions for publication in the book project for the year. Students finalize selections, proof work, and ready book for publication. Also meets online three times to discuss materials from learning modules, and how that information relates to book project and their duties as editors and publishers. Offered for Satisfactory/Unsatisfactory credit. Prerequisites: CRWR 521. Co-requisites: CRWR 526, CRWR 527, CRWR 528.

 CRWR 526 - DESIGN AND LAYOUT (1 credits)

Provides students with an understanding of such design and layout consideration as typography, use of graphics, cover design, interior book layout, creating an index, interaction with printers, as well as alternative considerations for electronic and e-reader delivery. Offered for Satisfactory/Unsatisfactory credit. Prerequisite: CRWR 521. Co-requisites: CRWR 525, CRWR 527, CRWR 528.

 CRWR 527 - MARKETING AND SALES (1 credits)

Familiarizes student with the topics of 1) the role of the author in marketing and selling a book; 2) the marketing done prior to book publication and what happens after release; 3) effective public relations; 4) sales model-direct, bookstores/retail, hybrid distributions; and electronic promotion, marketing, and delivery; 5) selling books in-house by team, by distribution, and by commissioned reps; 6) tracking and evaluating sales. Offered for Satisfactory/Unsatisfactory credit. Prerequisites: CRWR 521. Co-requisites: CRWR 525, CRWR 526, CRWR 528.

 CRWR 528 - BACK OFFICE AND FULFILLMENT (1 credits)

Covers accounting and inventory issues, customer service, warehousing and shipping of physical book inventory, as well as electronic delivery systems. This course is offered for Satisfactory/Unsatisfactory credit. Prerequisites: CRWR 521. Co-requisites: CRWR 525, CRWR 526, CRWR 527.

 CRWR 530 - SUMMER INTENSIVE II (3 credits)

Focuses on final preparation of the product as well as formulating and launching a marketing plan for distribution. This is offered for Satisfactory/Unsatisfactory credit. Prerequisite: CRWR 525.

 CRWR 597 - ST: SCREENWRITING ASSISTANSHIP (2 credits)

This course is a special topics option, not required for the certificate, and only offered at need. This is offered for Satisfactory/Unsatisfactory credit. Prerequisite: Permission of the instructor.

 CRWR 597 - ST: TEACHING ASSISTANCESHIP (2 credits)

This course is a special topics option, not required for the certificate, and only offered at need. This is offered for Satisfactory/Unsatisfactory credit. Prerequisite: Permission of the instructor.

 CRWR 597 - ST: WRITING THE ROCKIES (2 credits)

This course is a special topics option, not required for the certificate, and only offered at need. This is offered for Satisfactory/Unsatisfactory credit. Prerequisite: Permission of the instructor.

 CRWR 600 - SUMMER ORIENTATION MFA II (1 credits)

Focus on learning mastery of online tools, attending faculty and student readings, and meeting with non-residency mentors during first summer; focus on attendingpresentations and participating in workshop sessions during second summer; and focus on presenting student thesis as well as attending and participating in other readings during third summer. Must be repeated three times for credit.

 CRWR 600 - MFA ORIENTATION III (1 credits)

Focus on learning mastery of online tools, attending faculty and student readings, and meeting with non-residency mentors during first summer; focus on attendingpresentations and participating in workshop sessions during second summer; and focus on presenting student thesis as well as attending and participating in other readings during third summer. Must be repeated three times for credit.

 CRWR 600 - SUMMER ORIENTATION MFA I (1 credits)

Focus on learning mastery of online tools, attending faculty and student readings, and meeting with non-residency mentors during first summer; focus on attendingpresentations and participating in workshop sessions during second summer; and focus on presenting student thesis as well as attending and participating in other readings during third summer. Must be repeated three times for credit.

 CRWR 600 - SUMMER ORIENTATION (1 credits)

Focus on learning mastery of online tools, attending faculty and student readings, and meeting with non-residency mentors during first summer; focus on attendingpresentations and participating in workshop sessions during second summer; and focus on presenting student thesis as well as attending and participating in other readings during third summer. Must be repeated three times for credit.

 CRWR 601 - FUNDMT WRITING GENRE FICTION I (2 credits)

The primary foundation and introduction for the genre fiction track, covering a wide variety of topics including: proper manuscript format, understanding of basic principles of fiction (such as plot and dialogue), the Monomyth, archetypal characters, and voice. Students complete a short story during the course and critique each other’s work in a group setting. This course also lays the groundwork for students to work efficiently during the online portions of the program as well as within their own writing process.

 CRWR 602 - FUNDM WRITING GENRE FICTION II (2 credits)

Begins the process of students planning their theses, using instructor-provided tools on world building, novel outlining and planning techniques, and story arc considerations for longer work. At the end of this course, students are prepared to submit their thesis outline and synopsis to their adviser and move forward during the following year to write it for completion the next spring.

 CRWR 604 - CAREER PLANNG FOR GENRE WRITER (2 credits)

Assists students in preparing a detailed career plan covering the 12 to 24 month period after graduation, including writing, submission, and networking plans. On completion, students have a clear roadmap to follow in the years ahead. In addition, students prepare to give a public thesis reading during the residency.

 CRWR 608 - GNRE WRT I-ROMNCE MYSTERY FICT (6 credits)

The primary genre writing course for the first semester of the program. Students complete exercises, excerpts, and shorter works in the primary subgenres of romance and mystery fiction, including romantic suspense, historical romance, detective fiction, and thrillers.

 CRWR 609 - GNRE STD I-ROMNCE MYSTERY FICT (6 credits)

The primary genre reading course for the first semester of the program. Students study a wide variety of subgenres, including romantic suspense, historical romance, detective fiction, and thrillers, among others, to build a detailed understanding of the specific tropes and hallmarks of each subgenre and how to apply them to their own work.

 CRWR 610 - GENRE FICTION WRTG READNG SURV (6 credits)

A broad genre fiction reading and writing survey course for Out of Concentration students, surveying romance, mystery, speculative fiction, westerns, and young adult category work. Students focus primarily on understanding genre tropes and writing exercises that illuminate them.

 CRWR 618 - GSII:WSTN SPEC YOUNG ADLT FICT (6 credits)

The primary genre reading course for the second semester of the program. Students study a wide variety of subgenres, including westerns, science fiction, epic fantasy, supernatural, and middle grade works, among others, to build a detailed understanding of the specific tropes and hallmarks of each subgenre and how to apply them to their own work.

 CRWR 619 - GWII:WSTN SPC YOUNG ADLT FICTN (6 credits)

The primary genre writing course for the second semester of the program. Students complete exercises, excerpts, and shorter works in the primary subgenres of westerns, speculative fiction, and young adult category fiction, including science fiction, epic fantasy, supernatural, and middle grade works.

 CRWR 620 - SHORT FORMS GENRE FICTION WRTG (6 credits)

Provides students with an opportunity to focus strictly on writing in the shorter forms of genre fiction and gives them an immediately marketable portfolio of materials. Instructors cover craft concerns in flash fiction, short-short, short story, and novelette.

 CRWR 621 - BUS FUNDMTLS FOR GENRE WRITERS (6 credits)

Provides students a fundamental understanding of the business concerns for writers, including verbal/elevator pitching, query letters, proposal packets, contracts, dealing with editors and agents, and royalty statements. Students are required to complete a master proposal packet, which includes a query letter, synopsis, outline, and the thesis manuscript (if completed, partial if not).

 CRWR 631 - SCANSION IMMERSION (2 credits)

Focus on an intensive review of prosody – how to make meter and rhythm work in the poetic line as well as how to discern that structure in the works of others. Prerequisite: Admission to the program.

 CRWR 632 - PUBLIC PERFORMANCE (2 credits)

Focus on the quintessence of public speaking, particularly as it applies to the performance of poetry, delivery of lectures, and participation in panels, understanding of the craft of using their voices and their physical presence to deliver creative, critical and pedagogical work orally to the public, and how to participate in conversations with the greatest possible skill and grace. Prerequisite: Admission to the program.

 CRWR 633 - POETRY AND MUSIC (2 credits)

Focus on exploring some of the complex relations between these two arts, from theoretical discussion to the practical aspects of writing everything from song lyrics to choral odes to opera libretti.

 CRWR 636 - METRICAL TRADS VERSIFICATIN I (6 credits)

Focus on tracing the development of the metrical tradition in English poetry from the beginning to the present. Students read poems in all the major forms (Anglo-Saxon Strong Stress Meter, the ballad, classical imitations, blank verse, the sonnet, iambic tetrameter, etc.) along with historical and theoretical commentary. Students also model such forms and scan their own work and that of others. Students will also trace the development of theories of versification and prosody in English. Students read a wide range of works, many of them by poets, in which they describe their craft and that of others, and they compare theories of and approaches to metrical poetry. In this course students are expected to produce a wide range of short essays on various traditions of versification, along with at least one substantial research paper.

 CRWR 638 - HIST OF ENGL LANG POETRY TRANS (6 credits)

Focus on a two-pronged study, first of the historical development and evolution of English, and second, work to understand translating poetry, studying and comparing translations, reading theories of translation and attempting translations. Prerequisites: Proof of second-year, or its equivalent, of reading competency in a foreign language.

 CRWR 641 - METRICAL TRADS VERSIFICATN II (6 credits)

Focus on emphasizing advanced topics in metrical composition, e.g. stanza forms, longer forms and sequences, narrative forms, nonce forms (including free verse forms). Students not only practice the forms, but read and scan them along with delving into the history, criticism and theory. The course also selects several major traditions in verse theory and explores them in depth, e.g., linguistic theories of verse; structuralist theories; relations between verse and music; attempt to imitate classical forms in modern languages; etc.

 CRWR 643 - HIST FOUND OF ENGLISH PROSODY (6 credits)

Focus on an exploration of the theory and practice of rhythm and rhyme, including all variations, their sources and their traditions in consideration of aesthetic, linguistic, and anthropological theories.

 CRWR 646 - NARRATIVE POETRY (6 credits)

Focus on examination, analysis, study, and writing in the narrative genres and modes of poetry, from the ballad to the epic and novel in verse.

 CRWR 647 - DRAMATC POETRY AND SATRC VERSE (6 credits)

Focus on examination, analysis, discussion, and writing in all the modes of comic verse, including all the modes of satire (Menippean, Horatian, parodic), to verse-based comic approaches such as light verse, doggerel, children’s verse, and more. Additionally, an exploration of dramatic techniques of verse from ancient Greece through the Renaissance, and to modern writers such as T. S. Eliot and up to the present.

 CRWR 653 - POETRY BK REV POETRY LIT PED (6 credits)

Close analysis of the best reviews and criticism of the past and present, and practice in writing similar pieces. Second half of the course focuses on a wide range of techniques and materials available to teachers of poetry.

 CRWR 661 - FILM HIST ANAL:VISUAL NARRTV (2 credits)

Focus on examination, analysis, and discussion of classic and contemporary films from a screenwriting, story, and character development perspective as well as analyses of theme and motif. Students engage in writing activities and exercises to develop a visual narrative style. All such writing goes towards creating material to fuel the mentoring process in upcoming semesters. The main theme here is: when possible show the story element; don’t have a character say it. Finally the prevailing three- and four-act screenplay structures will be explored.

 CRWR 662 - STRY CNFLICT CHAR GENRE SCRWRT (2 credits)

Focus on workshopping of short screenplays and projects along with exploration of story arc, elements of conflict, character development and arc, with an emphasis on film genre choices and styles. Includes proposals for upcoming mentoring semesters, feature-length screenplays, plus an opportunity to practice pitches.

 CRWR 663 - SCRNWRTG COMP REP THE OPTION (2 credits)

Mock or actual 'pitch' sessions of the thesis screenplay. Screenwriting contests researched and entered. Writers Guild guidelines and application explored. Agents, options to produce, and independent film potential also explored.

 CRWR 665 - SCREENWRITING GENRE (6 credits)

Focus on challenging students to write filmic stories in three distinct genre categories, forcing a growth and flexibility to create meaning across a spectrum of setting, time, and circumstance. Dialogue is permitted but is de-emphasized in favor of a more visual narrative.

 CRWR 668 - TELEVISON DRAMA AND SIT COMEDY (6 credits)

Focus on a thorough proposal for both the drama and sitcom is researched and written. The result will be a complete “pitch” portfolio including a “spec” episode teleplay completed for (both or either) a television drama (and/or) a situation comedy.

 CRWR 671 - WRTNG THE 1ST FT-LNGTH SCRNPLY (6 credits)

A thorough review of the existing works in the style and genre of the proposed piece, and a thorough treatment written. Students generate character biographies and a complete story outline. The production is 'pitched' to fellow students along with the mentor. A first draft written and critiqued.

 CRWR 675 - WRITING THE TV PILOT (6 credits)

Focus on choosing and writing an original TV pilot for either a one-hour drama series, or a half-hour sitcom. In addition to the pilot script, this course requires the students to pitch the idea, come up with marketing materials – i.e. treatment for the series, outline of the pilot, a series “bible,” and loglines for at least 4-5 future episodes.

 CRWR 678 - ADAPTATION (6 credits)

Focus on taking preexisting source material (books, newspaper articles, videogames, graphic novels etc.) and learn how to begin adapting such into a screenplay. Students examine various forms of adaptation, write a research paper, and write the first act of their own feature adaptation piece.

 CRWR 684 - TEACHING AND PEDAGOGY (6 credits)

A guided discussion on pedagogy theory and practice with weekly questions on points of interest, suggested readings, and the opportunity for writing teachers and aspiring writing teachers to discuss challenges and insights about the practice of teaching.

 CRWR 690 - SCRNWRTG MSTR'S CAPSTONE PRJ I (6 credits)

Focus on a feature-length screenplay, intended for Hollywood or independent production, proposed including a thorough review of the existing works, treatment, character biographies, and generation of a complete story outline. A first draft of approximately 120 pages written and critiqued.

 CRWR 691 - SCRNWRTG MSTR'S CAPSTNE PRJ II (6 credits)

Focus on completion of the screenplay. Several drafts written and developed with the mentor. Following industry preferences, the screenplay should target approximately 100 pages.

 CRWR 694 - SCRNWRTG MSTR'S CAPSTONE PRJ I (3 credits)

Culmination of the student’s education at Western. In consultation with his or her adviser, the student completes a single work of genre fiction OR a collection of shorter genre fiction works (such as short stories or novellas) of publishable quality, suitable for public reading, and for thesis binding.

 CRWR 697 - ST: TEACHING AND PEDAGOGY (6 credits)

Focus on studies of a particular topic of interest to students in the MFA program to be announced each time the course is offered.

 CRWR 697 - ST:SHORT FORMS GENRE FICTION (6 credits)

Focus on studies of a particular topic of interest to students in the MFA program to be announced each time the course is offered.

Learn Your Craft. Elevate Your Art. Inspire the World.

Western Colorado University's low-residency Graduate Program in Creative Writing offers an MFA and M.A. with five concentrations: Genre Fiction, Nature Writing, Screenwriting for Film and Television, Poetry with an Emphasis on Versecraft and Publishing. 

The program offers a low-residency MFA and M.A. in Genre Fiction, Nature Writing, Poetry with an Emphasis on Versecraft, Screenwriting and Publishing. Students come to Western's campus high in the Rocky Mountains in Gunnison, Colo., for two weeks each July, participating in our Summer Intensives. MFA candidates come for three summers; M.A. students come for two.

Students attend online academic semesters between Summer Intensives. As a result, candidates in all our programs can live and work anywhere during the academic year while pursuing the degree.

The non-residency component of each concentration involves both intensive coursework online, including reading and writing assignments and interactive work on discussion boards, along with faculty advising. Students spend a minimum of 25-30 hours per week on writing assignments. Students also participate weekly in threaded synchronous and asynchronous online voice and discussion boards during each term with other students and mentors. Students earn 12 credits each semester for this work (six credits for each mentored course topic).

MFA candidates in good standing may apply to add a second concentration to their degree by increasing the duration of their program to six semesters and a fourth summer residency. Admission to the second concentration requires a letter of intent and depends on approval from the faculty in both concentrations.

The M.A. is a good choice for teachers who want to advance their knowledge in a particular discipline, but are not as interested in a terminal degree or in writing a full thesis. M.A. candidates may continue into the MFA program at the discretion of the admissions committee.

Graduate Program in Creative Writing Application