Western State Colorado University :: Creative Writing Programs :: NewPages Guide

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Western State Colorado University

MFA in Creative Writing/Certificate in Publishing

Contact Information:

600 N. Adams St.

Gunnison, CO  81231

Website: www.western.edu/mfa

Program director/contact: Dr. Mark Todd

Phone: (970) 943-2016

Email: mtodd@western.edu

Program Information:

Degrees offered: MFA in Creative Writing, Certificate in Publishing

Type of program: low-residency

Length of program: 25 months

Genres: popular genre fiction/nonfiction, poetry with emphasis in versecraft; screenwriting, publishing

Enrollment: 36 total in each yearly cohort

Total credits required: 60

Application deadlines: rolling admissions with corresponding start dates for fall, spring, or summer terms

Scholarships: yes (see website)

Assistantships: yes (see website)

Core faculty: Dr. Mark Todd; concentration directors Dr. Barbara Chepaitis (genre fiction), Dr. David J. Rothman (poetry), Larry Meredith (publishing), and Jack Lucido, M.F.A. (screenwriting)

Visiting faculty: Russell Davis and Michaela Herman-Roessner in genres; David Yezzi and Dr. Ernest Hilbert in poetry; J.S. Mayank and Bob Shayne in screenwriting; Sonya Unrein in publishing.

Publishing/editing courses: yes (see website)

Literary magazine: Book Press, Think Journal

Reading series: yes, (see website)

Recent visiting writers: Paolo Bacigalupi, Kevin Alexander, Matt Wilson, David Mason, Anne Hillerman, Joe Haldeman, Charlie Craig

Program description: Set within the breathtaking landscapes and skylines of Gunnison County, the Western State Colorado University Low-Residency MFA program offers disciplined writers the opportunity to pursue their passion, network with noted writers, and realize a deeper understanding of the broader audiences we write for. Mentored by a dedicated and accomplished faculty, students establish the skills, networks, and industry knowledge needed to make their passion their career.

Students engage in four semesters of rigorous online coursework that includes a combination of weekly online discussion, writing, and critiques with individual faculty mentors as well as weekly interaction with peers. Students must earn and successfully complete 60 credits. The program includes two-week, on-campus residencies during three consecutive summers for nine credits; and a capstone thesis for three credits. The master's candidate earns a degree in one of three tracks:

  • Popular Genre Fiction/NonFiction
  • Poetry with a Focus in Versecraft
  • Screenwriting for Feature Film and Television

The program also offers a 13-month Certificate in Publishing, during which students help prepare and produce an annual anthology with nationally submitted poems stories and essay for Western Press Books.

Surrounded by the unspoiled mountain landscapes and rugged beauty of Western Colorado, the summer residency immerses students in the writer's life. For two weeks each summer, MFA and Publishing certificate students gather from across the country to inspire, direct and connect with one another through intensive and illuminating workshops, critiques, panels, and both student and faculty readings. Here students realize a vibrant literary community while enjoying the natural playgrounds all around them. Students may stay in college residence halls or explore various housing options in the towns of Gunnison and Crested Butte. Students have access to the Leslie J. Savage Library along with multiple computer labs.

During the summer residency, the MFA Program hosts the Writing the Rockies conference. Led by nationally celebrated authors, editors, and industry professionals, the conference offers students additional opportunities to explore their craft while learning the ins and outs of the publishing industry. In addition to workshops, panels and readings, celebrated poets and critics gather at the Critical Path Poets Symposium to discuss, debate, and explore modern criticism. Students may attend those tracks and sessions that interest them most. These events include opportunities for pitch sessions with agents, producers, and acquisition editors.

The program enables students to realize their role as active participants in the creation of prose, verse, and film. Through online course work, student and faculty readings, workshops, and master classes students discover a non-competitive, cohesive community devoted to their development. Our low student-faculty ratio ensures that each student receives individualized feedback and support. Our low-residency model allows students to engage their passions and pursue a degree in creative writing while maintaining the responsibilities and meeting the demands of adult life.

The MFA curriculum starts a new cohort of students each summer. Admissions continue until the program reaches enrollment caps for a new beginning cohort each July.

last updated 10/08/2013