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  • Master’s Degree in Creative Writing

    Low-Residency MFA in Creative Writing

    A Master of Fine Arts (MFA) in Creative Writing should be more than just a writing workshop. It should prepare you for your post-degree career while giving you the space to grow and develop your own unique writing voice. Drexel University’s two-year, low-residency MFA in Creative Writing is designed with the university’s commitment to experiential and career-focused education in mind. Online workshops, reading tutorials, and one-on-one packet exchanges with notable published writers will help you deepen your understanding of your craft, while residencies and an emphasis on learning teaching pedagogy will prepare you with the skills and connections you need to succeed after completing your degree.

    What is an MFA in Creative Writing?

    Designed for aspiring writers, an MFA in Creative Writing empowers you to enhance your creativity, while sharing and developing your work within a supportive academic community. Through workshops, residencies, and literary courses, you'll receive feedback from your peers and professors, gain insight about the world of professional writing, and work toward creating a publishable product.

    Program Features

    • You'll choose a concentration in fiction writing or screenwriting, but also have the opportunity to take courses in both areas throughout the program
    • The majority of your coursework can be completed online to accommodate your busy schedule
    • Optional in-person teaching assistantships let you gain experience and a salary that can be put toward your degree
      • Receive instruction and mentoring in teaching composition
      • Teach up to four courses in year one, and five courses in year two
      • Gain experience in multiple course delivery modalities: in person, hybrid and online
      • Upon successful completion of the pedagogy track you will receive a letter documenting your teaching experience while at Drexel
    • Drexel aims to offer the most civically engaged MFA in the country, using storytelling to effect change, build community, bring joy, and widen opportunities for expression in marginalized populations
      • Take part in elective study abroad experiences like the Haiti Creative Writing Intensive, which focuses on understanding the role of creative writing in creating grassroots change, and the Bioko Creative Writing Intensive at the Biodiversity Research Station in Equatorial Guinea, which highlights writing about the natural world
      • Participate in the one-of-a-kind Drexel CHOP Story Medicine Collaborative, located in the Ryan Seacrest Studio at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, which uses original scripts, live performance, and cutting-edge animation to deliver imagination programing to hospitalized and terminally ill children
      • Additional creative writing opportunities are available with military veterans, incarcerated men and women, and hospice patients
    • Additional study abroad opportunities include an optional 6-day creative writing retreat in Collioure, France

    Residencies

    Throughout the program you’ll participate in three, five day in-person residencies where you’ll meet with authors of distinction, professors, and classmates for workshops, craft talks, and community building.

    The Inaugural Residency
    Students convene in early October for a five-day orientation and intensive craft residency. You’ll meet with mentors and develop a customized plan for your own course of study. This residency will take place on Drexel's campus in Philadelphia. Critically acclaimed novelist Chris Bohjalian will be the visiting author for the inaugural residency.

    October 11-15, 2019

    • Fee: $650 — Includes all breakfasts and some lunches. Transportation and lodging not included.
    • Recommended Lodging: The Study — Approximately $199 per night, plus tax

    The Professional Residency
    A distinctive factor of the Drexel MFA is the designated professional residency. The residency is designed to forge professional ties and gain real-world perspective on the publishing and producing industries. All students must attend one of the professional residencies, but if interested, you may attend both with special permission from the MFA director.

    • Fiction writers convene in New York during spring break of the first year to meet with publishers, agents, and editors. Visiting authors Ann Garvin and Erin Celello of The 5th Semester will provide unparalleled education on the business side of publishing for emerging authors. This education includes active discussions on the current publishing landscape, instruction on pitching, synopsis, and query writing, and creating a plan for making your publishing dreams come true. Ann and Erin will also provide intimate access to agents and editors in a low-pressure environment.

      April 17-21, 2020
      • Fee: $1,000 — Includes all breakfasts and some lunches. Transportation and lodging not included.
      • Recommended Lodging: TBD — Approximately $250 per night, plus tax
    • Screenwriters gather in Los Angeles to meet with agents, directors, and producers during the summer between year one and two. More details to be announced soon.

      Summer 2020 (5 days, exact dates TBD)
      • Fee: $1,500 — Includes all breakfasts and some lunches. Transportation and lodging not included.
      • Recommended Lodging: The Westin — Approximately $275 per night, plus tax

    The Graduation Residency
    The culminating residency takes place on Drexel’s campus. It consists of writing workshops, individual craft meetings with mentors, career modules, and a celebration of students’ thesis work.

    June 2020

    • Fee: $650 — Includes all breakfasts and some lunches. Transportation and lodging not included.
    • Recommended Lodging: The Study — Approximately $199 per night, plus tax

    Residency fees, lodging, and transportation are not included in the price of tuition. All prices are subject to change.

    Archived Webinar

    Grant Opportunity

    Story Medicine is a community-based learning course where Drexel University undergraduates perform live original plays on camera at the Seacrest Television Studio at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP), providing hospitalized children with joyful, innovative, and child-focused programming. One $1,000 grant will be awarded to an MFA in Creative Writing student whose original screenplay is selected to be performed.

    Submission Details:

    • The original screenplay should be written for a half-hour show to be performed live in front of a young audience (ages 3-12). It should have 3-5 actors and be between 2,750 and 3,500 words. Green screen and audio transitions can be included in the production script (but this is not a requirement).
      • This can serve as the writing sample for your MFA application or as supplemental materials.
      • The screenplay must be submitted by July 1, 2020 to Nomi Eve, Program Director at nae28@drexel.edu, and labeled "Story Medicine Grant Application."
    • You must be accepted to the MFA in Creative Writing program and start classes in Fall 2020. The grant will be applied toward tuition during the first quarter of the MFA program.

    What Is A Low-Residency MFA In Creative Writing?

    There are three different types of MFA in Creative Writing programs: a traditional MFA, a low-residency MFA and an online MFA. A traditional MFA takes two to three years and is completed entirely in person. Because of the rigorous schedule and, in some cases, teaching obligations, it can be extremely difficult to complete a traditional MFA and continue to work full-time.

    A low-residency MFA lets students complete much of their coursework online, allowing them to attend the program remotely. Unlike an online MFA, which is completed entirely online, a low-residency MFA requires students to attend a few in-person residencies throughout the program. This allows students flexibility in completing their coursework while still benefitting from the workshop and networking experiences of a traditional MFA.

    This program only admits new students in the fall term.


    Drexel University offers a variety of Graduate Minors that can be added to any master's degree program.
    State restrictions may apply to some programs.

    Curriculum

    This program is organized into four 10-week quarters per year (as opposed to the traditional two semester system) which means you can take more courses in a shorter time period. One semester credit is equivalent to 1.5 quarter credits.

    Up to 15 credits can be transferred into the program (all transferred credits must be approved by Drexel). 

    Core Courses  
    CW 500 Reading as a Writer (Fiction) 3.0
    CW 501 Reading as a Writer (Genre Authors)  3.0
    CW 550 Fiction Writing Online Workshop  3.0
    or CW 655 Fiction Writing In-Person Workshop  
    CW 600 Creative Writing Craft Residency 3.0
    CW 602 MFA Creative Writing Graduation Residency  3.0
    CW 690 Thesis Development  1.0
    SCRP 500 Reading as a Screenwriter 3.0
    SCRP 550 Screenwriting Workshop 3.0
    Track Courses (Select One Track) 17.0
    Fiction Writers  
    CW 555
    Fiction Writing Packet Exchange I  
    CW 556
    Fiction Writing Packet Exchange II  
    CW 601
    Professional Residency in New York  
    CW 691
    Thesis Packet Exchange I  
    CW 692
    Thesis Packet Exchange II  
    Screenwriters  
    SCRP 555
    Screenwriting Packet Exchange I  
    SCRP 556
    Screenwriting Packet Exchange II  
    SCRP 601
    Professional Residency in Los Angeles  
    SCRP 691
    Thesis in Screenwriting I  
    SCRP 692
    Thesis in Screenwriting II  
    Electives (Select two of the following courses)
    6.0
    CW 653
    Creative Writing Intensive Course Abroad  
    CW 654
    Writing Pedagogy  
    CW I599
    Independent Study in Creative Writing  
    CW I699
    Independent Study in Creative Writing  
    CW I799
    Community Based Learning Independent Study   
    CW T580
    Special Topics in Creative Writing  
    CW T680
    Special Topics in Creative Writing  
    PUB 730
    Book Publishing  
    PUB 750
    Small Press Development  
    PUB T680
    Special Topics in Publishing  
    SCRP 670
    Writing for Television  
    SCRP I599
    Independent Study In Screenwriting  
    SCRP I699
    Independent Study In Screenwriting  
    SCRP T580
    Special Topics in Screenwriting  
    SCRP T680
    Special Topics in Screenwriting  
    Total Credits 45.0

    View Course Descriptions

    Admissions Criteria

    • A bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited college or university

    Required Documents

    With multiple ways to submit documents, Drexel makes it easy to complete your application. Learn more by visiting our Completing Your Application Guide.

    • A completed application
    • Official transcripts from all universities or colleges and other post-secondary educational institutions (including trade schools) attended 
    • Personal Statement (250-500 words) addressing:
      • Your experience with creative writing thus far
      • Why you are seeking an MFA
    • Writing Sample - Please provide 20-25 double-spaced pages, in Word or PDF file, of one of the following:
      • Completed short story
      • Collection of flash fiction
      • Novel-in-progress
      • Screenplay
    • Resume
    • Additional requirements for International Students

    Optional Documents for Teaching Assistantships

    If you are interested in pursuing an optional teaching assistantship while in the MFA program, please send the following to Nomi Eve, Program Director, at nae28@drexel.edu. For best consideration, apply by July 1, 2020.

    • One letter of recommendation addressing the applicant's suitability to teaching
    • 2-5 page persuasive or informative essay or a published article that demonstrates your excellence in expository writing
      • Document must be double spaced, in MLA format, and sent as a Word or PDF file

    An in-person or virtual interview will be requested once all materials are received.

    Tuition

    The tuition rate for the academic year 2019-2020 is $652 per credit. (A 50% tuition savings off Drexel's regular tuition rate of $1303 per credit)

    • This program is eligible for Financial Aid.
    • The 50% savings is a special tuition rate
      • This rate applies only to new online students and students being readmitted.
      • Tuition rates are subject to increase with the start of each academic year in the fall term.
      • All students must contact applyDUonline@drexel.edu within the first two weeks of the term to request tuition savings for which they qualify.
      • Special rates cannot be combined. If you qualify for more than one special rate, you'll be given the one with the largest savings.
      • When receiving special tuition plans with Drexel University Online, you may not combine them with other tuition benefits that may be available from Drexel University.

    Faculty

    Headshot Nomi Eve

    Nomi Eve
    Program Director
    nae28@drexel.edu

    Nomi Eve is the author of Henna House and The Family Orchard, which was a Book-of-the-Month Club main selection and was nominated for a National Jewish Book Award. She has an MFA in fiction writing from Brown University and has worked as a freelance book reviewer for The Village Voice and New York Newsday.

    Her stories and essays have appeared in The New York Times, Glimmer Train Stories, The Voice Literary Supplement, Conjunctions, and The International Quarterly. She teaches fiction writing at Drexel University and lives in Philadelphia with her family.

    Headshot Janet Benton

    Janet Benton

    Janet Benton began her career with editorial positions at Ms., Working Woman Magazine, The Brooklyn Heights Press, Chelsea House Publishers, the University of Massachusetts Press, and elsewhere. In 1997 she founded The Word Studio in Philadelphia, through which she has written and edited for cultural institutions, civic groups, and publishers and serves as a mentor to hundreds of writers. She has also edited hundreds of books, and she coauthored and edited episodes of the historical docuseries The Great Experiment, including Fever: 1793, which won a 2013 Mid-Atlantic Emmy for Best Feature Documentary.

    Her historical novel, Lilli de Jong, was published by Nan A. Talese/Doubleday in 2017 and was named a Best Book of the Year by National Public Radio, Library Journal, and others. Her work has appeared in the New York Times Modern Love column, The Philadelphia Inquirer, Writer’s Digest, Glimmer Train, and elsewhere.

    Headshot Brandi Megan Granett

    Brandi Megan Granett

    Brandi Megan Granett is an author, online English professor, and writing coach. She earned her PhD in Creative Writing at Aberystwyth University and her MFA in Fiction from Sarah Lawrence College. Her next novel, Ever Glade, will be released in Fall 2019. Triple Love Score, was published by Wyatt-Mackenzie in Fall 2016. Morrow published her first novel, My Intended, in 2000. Her short fiction appeared in Pebble Lake Review, Folio, Pleiades, and other literary magazines and is collected in the volume, Cars and Other Things That Get Around. When she is not writing or teaching or mothering, you will find her on the archery range.

    Headshot Paula Marantz Cohen

    Paula Marantz Cohen
    cohenpm@drexel.edu
    215.895.1266

    Paula Marantz Cohen is Distinguished Professor of English and Dean of the Pennoni Honors College at Drexel University. She is the author of ten books, including five best-selling novels. These include a series of satirical novels of manners: Jane Austen in Boca; Much Ado About Jessie Kaplan; Jane Austen in Scarsdale or Love, Death, and the SATS; Suzanne Davis Gets a Life; and a historical thriller, What Alice Knew: A Most Curious Tale of Henry James and Jack the Ripper. Her novels have been featured in People Magazine and Vanity Fair and been Book of the Month and Mystery Guild selections. Her play, The Seduction of Genius, was a finalist for the Julie Harris Playwriting Award and was given dramatic readings at the Jewish Ensemble Theater (JET) in Bloomfield, Illinois, and at Smith College.

    She is a frequent contributor to The Wall Street Journal, The Times Literary Supplement of London, The Yale Review, The American Scholar, and The Chronicle of Higher Education. She is a co-editor of jml: Journal of Modern Literature and the host of the nationally distributed television talk show, The Drexel InterView, where her guests have included: the late Nora Ephron and Christopher Hitchens, the filmmaker John Waters, the eminent scientist E.O Wilson, and the chess master and political activist, Garry Kasparov – among other notable and influential figures.

    Headshot Lovinder Gill

    Lovinder Gill

    Lovinder has taught screenwriting and film production for over 12 years. He's written, produced and directed two feature films that both won Best Picture Awards at film festivals and has four produced feature film screenplays including Lost Stallions: The Journey Home starring Hollywood Legend Mickey Rooney and Ball & Chain starring Kal Penn. Lovinder has also written, produced and directed documentaries all over the world including in Nepal on Mt. Everest, India, Guatemala, Bolivia, Canada and, of course, the United States.

    He has his BFA in Film Production from the University of North Carolina School of the Arts and his MFA in Screenwriting from Hollins University. Lovinder is an alumnus of the Squaw Valley Screenwriter’s Workshop and has also been a finalist in the Austin Film Festival Screenplay Pitch Competition. Lovinder's script Strawberry Lassi has been chosen for the Development Program with the International Screenwriter's Association and he has multiple screenplays that have placed in numerous script competitions.

    Headshot David Greenberg

    David Greenberg

    David Greenberg has written or doctored over 50 screenplays for features, shorts and documentaries. His feature writing and directing debut “Stomping Ground” premiered in 2016. The features, “Used To Love Her” and “What Matters Most” both played festivals in the past few years. His short film “Interrogation” won a Special Jury Prize at the LA Neo-Noir Film Festival and another short, “The True Meaning of Cool" won an award from The American Film institute. Other credits include the documentaries “Lovers On The Run: The Bonnie & Clyde Story” and “Celebrity Skin.”

    David is active in the Philadelphia film community, lecturing to groups, sitting on panels, reading screenplays for the Set In Philadelphia Screenplay Competition, judging screenplays for The Philadelphia Independent Film Awards and The Diamond Film Festival at Temple University. He has also read screenplays for the prestigious Austin Screenwriting Conference and has reviewed films for national publications. He contributed a chapter on the history of photography to publisher Walter Foster’s "The Daily Book of Photography" and was hired to write the book "100 Movies To Watch With Your Kids." An interview with him and case study on the production of "Stomping Ground" will be included in an upcoming book about low budget independent filmmaking.

    Headshot Matthew Kaufhold

    Matthew Kaufhold
    kaufhold@drexel.edu
    215.895.2882

    Matt Kaufhold has over 20 years experience in the film industry working as a director, producer, screenwriter, script consultant, and director of photography. His feature screenplay, Soulwalker, is under a shopping agreement with Actium Pictures in New York for co-production with Three Professors Media, a start-up production company in which Matt is a partner. Brick Gypsies, a short documentary on the third-party LEGO economy, is currently in post-production for a festival release in 2015. Matt wrote and produced the award-nominated short film, Customer Service, which had a festival run in 2013. Matt’s background also includes commercial/industrial work for clients ranging from Frito-Lay to the Haverford Township Historical Society.

    Program Director for Drexel University’s Screenwriting & Playwriting Program, Matt holds a Bachelor’s Degree in English and American Literature and Languages from Harvard College and a Master’s Degree in Radio, Television, and Motion Pictures from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. He teaches classes in advanced screenwriting concepts for the Screenwriting & Playwriting Program, narrative video production for the Film & Video Program, and serves as a story development advisor for the Film & Video, Animation & Visual Effects, and Game Art & Production Programs.

    Headshot Harriet Levin Millan

    Harriet Levin Millan
    millanhl@drexel.edu
    215.895.6485

    Harriet Levin Millan is the author of the novel How Fast Can You Run, which grew out of a One Book, One Philadelphia writing project and was excerpted in The Kenyon Review and profiled on NPR. She is also the author of three books of poetry, The Christmas Show, winner of The Barnard New Women Poets Prize and The Poetry Society of America's Alice Fay di Castagnola Award; Girl in Cap, a 2009 National Poetry Series finalist; and My Oceanography. A PEW Fellowship in the Arts Discipline winner, her writing has appeared widely in journals such as Ploughshares, Prairie Schooner, The Iowa Review, The Harvard Review, PEN America, The Forward, and The Smart Set. She received her MFA in Creative Writing from the University of Iowa and teaches creative writing at Drexel where she directs the English Department's Certificate Program in Writing and Publishing.

    Visiting Authors

    Heanshot Chris Bohjalian

    Chris Bohjalian

    Critically acclaimed novelist Chris Bohjalian uses his gripping fiction to explore contemporary social issues and how they play out in the lives of ordinary people, as well as to shed light on some of the most important moments in history. His writing delves into such topics as domestic violence, global climate change, gender identity, genocide, adultery, animal rights, adoption, homelessness, mental illness, and human trafficking with equal facility. He is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of 20 books, and his work has been translated into over 30 languages.

    Midwives, an Oprah’s Book Club selection and a #1 New York Times bestseller, is a contemporary classic whose central questions of individual and societal responsibility remain just as pressing today as when the book was first published 20 years ago. Among Bohjalian’s many standout titles since then have been the New York Times bestsellers The Guest Room, The Sleepwalker, and The Sandcastle Girls.

    Bohjalian’s books have been chosen as Best Books of the Year by The Washington Post, The St. Louis Post-Dispatch, The Hartford Courant, The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Publishers Weekly, Library Journal, Kirkus, Bookpage, and Salon. Bohjalian has written for The New York Times, The Washington Post, Cosmopolitan, Reader’s Digest, and The Boston Globe Sunday Magazine. He was a weekly columnist in Vermont for The Burlington Free Press from 1992 to 2015.

    His awards include the New England Book Award, the Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA) Freedom Award for his work educating Americans about the Armenian genocide, the ANCA Arts and Letters Award for The Sandcastle Girls, and other honors. He is a Fellow of the Vermont Academy of Arts and Sciences.

    Headshot Erin Celello

    Erin Celello

    Erin Celello is the author of the novels Miracle Beach and Learning to Stay. Her work has also appeared in Zocalo Public Square and Proximity Magazine. She is a professor of Creative Writing at the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater, a proud Tall Poppy Writer, and the co-founder of The 5th Semester. She holds a MFA in fiction and a MA in nonfiction writing and composition pedagogy from Northern Michigan University.

    Headshot Ann Garvin

    Ann Garvin

    Ann Garvin, PhD, is the USA Today Bestselling author of I Like You Just Fine When You're Not Around, The Dog Year, and On Maggie's Watch. Her essays have been published in Writer's Digest, USA Today, Psychology Today, The Last Word on Nothing, Huffington Post, and Unreasonable.is. She has performed several times in Listen To Your Mother & The Moth. Ann is a sought-after speaker and has taught extensively in New York, San Francisco, Los Angelos, Boston, and at festivals across the country. She is the founder of the Tall Poppy Writers Marketing Co-op and the co-founder of The 5th Semester where she is committed to helping writers find their voice.

    Headshot Karen Karbo

    Karen Karbo

    Karen Karbo is the best-selling author of 16 works of fiction and non-fiction, including the international best seller The Gospel According to Coco Chanel. Her work has appeared in Vogue, Elle, Outside, Tin House, The Los Angeles Review of Books, and the New York Times Modern Love column. She has taught writing workshops at the University of Oregon, Rutgers University, Portland State University, Tin House, Portland Literary Arts, and the Todos Santos Writers Workshop. She launched Come to Karbohemia, her writing retreat in the South of France, in 2018.

    Headshot Jon McGoran

    Jon McGoran

    Jon McGoran is the award-winning author of nine novels for adults and young adults including the YA science fiction thrillers Spliced and its upcoming sequel Splintered, as well as the acclaimed ecological thrillers Drift, Deadout, and Dust Up. Spliced was named to the American Library Association’s Excellence in Children's and Young Adult Science Fiction Notable List and the American Bookseller’s Association’s 2017 ABC Best Books for Young Readers. Spliced is also on the shortlist for South Carolina’s Young Adult Book of the Year. McGoran’s other books include the D. H. Dublin forensic thrillers Body Trace, Blood Poison, and Freezer Burn; and The Dead Ring, based on the TV show, The Blacklist. He also works as a freelance writer, developmental editor and writing coach, and is cohost of The Liars Club Oddcast, a podcast about writing and creativity.

    Headshot Brandi Kelly Simmons

    Kelly Simmons

    Kelly Simmons is the author of One More Day, The Fifth of July, Standing Still, The Bird House, and coming in 2019, Where She Went. Her work has received stellar reviews and been sold in over a dozen countries. She’s a former journalist and advertising creative director who divides her time between writing, public speaking, vacuuming up dog hair, and refereeing her three daughters. She’s a member of Women’s Fiction Writers of America, The Tall Poppy Writers, and the writer’s mentoring cooperative The Liars Club, which runs free information sessions every month all across the U.S. She’s part of a national weekly writer’s podcast called The Liar’s Club Oddcast. She was born on the same day as Dorothy Parker. Coincidence? She thinks not.

    Academic Calendar

    2019-2020 Academic Year

    Term

    Classes Begin

    Classes End

    Exams Begin

    Exams End

    Fall 2019

    September 23, 2019

    December 7, 2019

    December 9, 2019

    December 14, 2019

    Winter 2020

    January 6, 2020

    March 16, 2020

    March 17, 2020

    March 21, 2020

    Spring 2020

    March 30, 2020

    June 8, 2020

    June 9, 2020

    June 13, 2020

    Summer 2020

    June 22, 2020

    August 30, 2020

    September 2, 2020

    September 5, 2020

    Apply today for the Master’s Degree in Creative Writing

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