Genre Fiction

Get Involved

Completing an MA/MFA degree means more than a piece of paper. It’s a gateway to new opportunities, from expanding and refining your skills and seeing your work in print, to learning how to teach others, work collaboratively and connect with industry professionals.

  • Submission reading for magazines and publications.
  • Independent projects including creative journaling and mixed media.
  • Building strong audiences and social media cohorts.
  • Mentoring and community support.

Faculty & Staff


Candace Nadon, Ph.D. headshot
Genre Fiction Concentration Faculty
Phone: 970.943.2163
Office Location: Remote
Richard Wilber, Ed.D. headshot
Genre Fiction Concentration Faculty
Phone: 970.943.2163
Office Location: Remote
Fran Wilde, MFA headshot
Director, Genre Fiction Concentration
Office Location: Remote
  • Master of Arts
  • Master of Fine Arts



Western Colorado University’s Genre Fiction Concentration offers one of the few genre-specific MFA/M.A. degrees in the country, and one of the only such programs west of the Mississippi. For over a decade, students have participated in our low-residency MFA to elevate their writing practice, their understanding of genre and the scholarship within, and to learn how to work and live as a writer.

Our graduates gain a mastery of their craft, a familiarity with the many forms genre takes— from romance and science fiction to comics and graphic novels, and encompassing reading audiences from middle grade and young adult to adult. Our faculty—award-winning, internationally published professionals in their fields—help students learn how to write work that will find its audience, how to teach in their field and how to engage professionally with the publishing industry.

At the same time, the low-residency option allows Western Genre MFA/M.A. students the opportunity to gain an advanced degree while not having to relocate or put their lives on hold.

Western’s unique curriculum celebrates the art and skill of popular genres, combined with intensive and innovative courses of study in writing, pedagogy and business practices. From the first class to the final creative thesis, students connect with faculty and their peers in ways that forge strong networks for their writing and their careers beyond the academy.

The Program

The Western MFA/M.A.: a low-residency course of study exclusively focused on genre fiction, based in the stunning Colorado Rockies.

Through online classes and virtual meetings during the academic year, and three two-week residencies each July, students work closely with nationally-recognized faculty and their peers on their writing, as well as lectures, readings, discussions and scholarly papers.

The result is a broad understanding of the field, combined with an intensive honing of craft and skill.

  • Residency: Three summer residencies, each two weeks in length. The first prepares students for the first academic year. The second residency focuses again on coursework and collaboration. The third residency is the capstone residency, where graduates present their work to their peers.
  • Academic Year: During the academic year, full-time MFA students take two courses each semester. These six-credit courses make use of virtual meetings and Blackboard for online work in both the reading and analysis of fiction and the writing of fiction.
  • Matriculation: To complete their MFA, students produce a thesis project over the course of their final year. This project, plus other work completed during the course of study, represents a comprehensive creative portfolio. Ongoing discussions with professionals in the field, including editors and agents, prepare Western graduates to emerge into industry with polished, exciting projects.
  • Alternate Courses of Study: M.A. students pursue an identical curriculum to MFA students, but only come for two summers and one academic year. M.A. students do not write a thesis. A secondary concentration option allows students to complete their degrees in two fields, with unique, powerhouse combination including such as Genre Fiction and Screenwriting, Genre Fiction and Publishing, or Genre Fiction and Nature Writing.

Opportunities, Careers and Partnerships

  • Study with successful, currently publishing, award-winning authors.
  • Meet and ask questions of industry professionals, including some of the best editors and agents in the industry.
  • Learn best business and educational practices from authors and industry professionals.
  • Discover the best methods for crafting and pitching your novels as well as constructing a long-term career beyond that first book.
  • Expand your horizons by adding coursework in Screenwriting for Film and Television, Poetry, Nature Writing and Publishing.

Launch your career in:

  • Genre Fiction
  • Traditional publishing
  • Independent publishing
  • Teaching writing
  • Content development
  • Romance
  • Science fiction
  • Fantasy
  • Thrillers
  • Horror
  • Comics and graphic novels
  • Children’s literature
  • Adult literature
  • Media tie-ins
  • Crossover media

Faculty and Alumni Bookshelf

  • Updraft, Cloudbound & Horizon (Wilde) – Nebula and Compton Crook winning series, Tor Books 2015-17
  • The Jewel & Her Lapidary (Wilde) – Hugo and Nebula Finalist, an LA Libraries 2016 Best Book, Publishing 2016
  • An Unkindness of Magicians (Howard) – Alex-Award winner, an NPR Best book of 2017, Saga Press, 2017
  • Roses and Rot (Howard) – Locus Award Finalist, Saga Press, 2018
  • Sal & Gabi Break The Universe (Hernandez) – Disney/Hyperion 2019
  • The Assimilated Cuban’s Guide to Quantum Santeria (Hernandez) – Rosarium Press 2016
  • “The Moon’s Evening Chill,” (Nadon) Hartskill Review, 2014
  • “Fire,” (Nadon) The Fourth River, 2014
  • “Wolves” and “Cursed:” (Nadon) New South’s Reading Series, Atlanta, Georgia, 2013
  • Alien Morning (Wilbur) – Tor Books (2016)
  • Rum Point (Wilbur) – McFarland (2010)

Learn More

Reach out to Michelle Wilk for more information.