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.