Vermont College of Fine Arts :: NewPages Guide to Creative Writing Programs

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Vermont College of Fine Arts

MFA in Writing

Contact Information:

36 College Street

Montpelier, VT 05602


Program director/Program contact: Louise Crowley

Phone: (802) 828-8840


Program Information:

Degrees offered: MFA

Type of program: low-residency

Length of program: 4 semesters

Genres: creative nonfiction, fiction, poetry

Enrollment: 120

Total credits required: 60

Scholarships available: yes (see website)

Assistantships: no

Core faculty: Ralph Angel, Jen Bervin, Mark Cox, Trinie Dalton, Matthew Dickman, Abby Frucht, Connie May Fowler, Jody Gladding, Douglas Glover, LeAnne Howe, Richard Jackson, David Jauss, Ellen Lesser, Patrick Madden, Jamaal May, Richard McCann, Clint McCown, Jacquelyn Mitchard, Mary Ruefle, Natasha Saje, Betsy Sholl, Sue William Silverman, Martha Southgate, Domenic Stansberry, Larry Sutin, Nancy Van Winckel, Leslie Ullman, Robert Vivian, David Wojahn

Visiting faculty: Richard Bausch, Patricia Hampl, Barbara Hurd, Wally Lamb, Barry Lopez, Jean Valentine

Publishing/editing courses: no

Literary magazine: Hunger Mountain

Recent visiting writers: Julia Alvarez, Julianna Baggott, Damien Echols, Harrison Candelaria Fletcher, Maureen Freely, Kathleen Graber, Ron Padgett, Emily Raboteau, Richard Russo

Program description: The Master of Fine Arts in Writing Program is designed for students with a serious interest in developing professional skills in writing poetry, fiction, and nonfiction. Each semester begins with a 10-day period in residence on the Vermont campus – or at the optional overseas residencies in Slovenia and Puerto Rico -  followed by a six-month period of nonresident study. During each residency, students take part in intensive seminars and workshops with professional writers in areas important to the developing writer: contemporary letters, the literary tradition, techniques of writing, and critical analysis. The residency also includes public readings of poetry and prose, panel discussions, and special guest presentations.

During the residency, each student plans a semester-long study project in consultation with a faculty advisor. The project focuses on the student’s own writing and includes a reading component appropriate to the individual’s background, interests, and needs.

The student carries out the study project in the following six months, keeping in close touch with their faculty advisor throughout the period. Students submit a manuscript, as well as critical work, to their faculty advisors every three to four weeks for extensive comment and criticism.

At the end of the six-month period, the student returns to campus to evaluate the completed project, participate in residency events, and design the next independent study project. At the end of each semester, the student and faculty advisor evaluate the project through narrative evaluations rather than traditional grades. Additionally, the student submits an evaluation of his/her own participation in the residency workshops, classes, lectures, and readings.


last updated 06/05/2014