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, full-time, 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.
- 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
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.
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.
- 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.
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.
All residencies take place from Friday – Tuesday. The cost of the residencies is not included in the price of tuition and will be announced shortly.
Online Open House
Join us on Tuesday, April 16th from 3 - 4 p.m. EST to learn more about the MFA program and have your questions answered by a Drexel representative. Register Today!
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.
- 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 August 2, 2019 to Nomi Eve, Program Director at firstname.lastname@example.org, and labeled "Story Medicine Grant Application."
- You must be accepted to the MFA in Creative Writing program and start classes in Fall 2019. 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.
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).
|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 Writing Packet Exchange I|
|Fiction Writing Packet Exchange II|
|Professional Residency in New York|
|Thesis Packet Exchange I|
|Thesis Packet Exchange II|
|Screenwriting Packet Exchange I|
|Screenwriting Packet Exchange II|
|Professional Residency in Los Angeles|
|Thesis in Screenwriting I|
|Thesis in Screenwriting II|
|Electives (Select two of the following courses)
|Creative Writing Intensive Course Abroad|
|Independent Study in Creative Writing|
|Independent Study in Creative Writing|
|Community Based Learning Independent Study|
|Special Topics in Creative Writing|
|Special Topics in Creative Writing|
|Writing for Television|
|Independent Study In Screenwriting|
|Independent Study In Screenwriting|
|Special Topics in Screenwriting|
|Special Topics in Screenwriting|
- A bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited college or university
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
- Additional requirements for International Students
Optional Documents for Teaching Fellowships
If you are interested in pursuing an optional teaching fellowship while in the MFA program, please send the following to Nomi Eve, Program Director, at email@example.com by the application deadline.
- 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.
The tuition rate for the academic year 2018-2019 is $633 per credit. (A 50% tuition savings off Drexel's regular tuition rate of $1265 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.
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.
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.
Paula Marantz Cohen
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.
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.
Harriet Levin Millan
Harriet Levin Millan is the author of two books of poetry, The Christmas Show (Beacon Press, 1997), which won a Barnard New Women Poets Prize, a Poetry Society of America Alice Fay di Castagnola Award, an Ellen LaForge Memorial Poetry Prize and was a Philadelphia Inquirer Notable Book of the Year. Her second book, Girl in Cap and Gown, (Mammoth Books, 2010) was a 2009 National Poetry Series finalist. Millan is finishing writing a novel that is based on conversations with Lost Boy of Sudan Michael Majok Kuch. She met Michael when One Book One Philadelphia and City Paper commissioned her writing class to conduct interviews with local Sudanese refugees in conjunction with One Book's selection, What Is The What, which is about the Lost Boys.
Another project that grew out of the interviews is the Reunion Project, an annual fundraising event that seeks to reunite Lost Boys and Girls with their mothers living abroad. Drexel students have participated in read a thons and other events to raise over $15,000 for this project.
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.
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.
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.
Please note that the first term for accepted students is Fall 2019. Classes are currently scheduled to begin on September 23, 2019.
2018-2019 Academic Year
September 24, 2018
December 8, 2018
December 10, 2018
December 15, 2018
January 7, 2019
March 16, 2019
March 18, 2019
March 23, 2019
April 1, 2019
June 8, 2019
June 10, 2019
June 15, 2019
June 24, 2019
August 31, 2019
September 3, 2019
September 7, 2019