Creative Writing Programs :: NewPages Guide

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California Institute of Integral Studies

MFA in Writing & Consciousness
MFA in Creative Inquiry, Interdisciplinary Arts

1453 Mission St

San Francisco, CA  94103


Program director: Cindy Shearer

Program contact: Brynn Saito

Phone: 415-575-6264


Degrees offered: MFA

Genres: Fiction, poetry, non-fiction

Type of program: residency

Length of program: 2 years

Enrollment: 1 cohort per year; 20 total enrolled students

Total credits required: 48

Application deadlines: February 1st

Scholarships available: yes

Core faculty: Judy Grahn; Carolyn Cooke, MFA; Sarah Stone, MFA, Cindy Shearer, DA (Program Chair); Randall Babtkis, MFA; Anne Bluethenthal, MFA; Kris Brandenburger, PhD.

Visiting faculty: Daphne Gottlieb, Daria Halprin, Pireeni Sundaralingam, Bruce Gelfand, Holly Hughes

Assistantships: yes

Publishing/editing courses: yes

Literary magazine: yes

Reading series: yes

Recent visiting writers: Jane Hirshfield, Danzy Senna, Lysley Tenorio, Gene Luen Yang, Thaisa Frank, Genny Lim

Program description: The MFA in Writing and Consciousness at CIIS offers a unique multigenre, multidiscipline approach, and a strong focus on diverse, international, contemporary literary models. This two-year, 48 unit program can be accomplished entirely through 6 weekend intensives per semester, with limited supplementary online coursework. It is geared towards working writers, and multi-disciplinary writer-artists, who hold the view that writing is both an art and a calling.

For writers and poets who are interested in a more interdisciplinary MFA experience, please visit the home page for the MFA in Creative Inquiry, Interdisciplinary arts.  The MFA in Creative Inquiry, Interdisciplinary Arts welcomes artists crossing disciplines (writer-performers, visual artist-dancers, actor-musicians, for example) and artists practicing or trained in a single discipline who are drawn to the interdisciplinary arts, and who are interested in placing their own work at the center of their creative inquiry.  This two-year, 48 unit program can be accomplished entirely through 6 weekend intensives per semester, with limited supplementary online coursework.

The curriculum combines intellectual rigor with playful curiosity and the willingness to take risks and experiment in workshop, art, and craft courses. We do not believe that literary artists exist in a vacuum, separate from the culture; rather, we hold the view that art provides a profound method for engaging self and culture and can transform the individual and world.

The heart of the program--the MFA Workshop and MFA Project--gives students a chance to focus on their own work while learning from the work of their peers. Students have a range of choices in establishing their individual programs and areas of study. Students read substantially, write critical and creative work, and complete a creative project in the genre of their choice: fiction, creative nonfiction, poetry, text/image, or mixed-genre work. Students work closely with our faculty of active writers, both in small courses and one on one (in person and online).Visiting writers lead workshops and are invited to present at our guest artist series, Saturday Night @ CIIS, so that our students' journeys are enriched by multiple perspectives.