MFA in Creative Writing
We are proud to announce the addition of 2015 Man Booker winner Marlon James to our MFA faculty.
Our NYC location means we bring the publishing industry to our students, running daily roundtables and panel discussions with top agents, editors and publishers. Our 6-to-1 student to faculty ratio offers an intimate, focused environment for aspiring writers to flourish in our downtown Brooklyn community.
Degree Program Credits:
The Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing program consists of four semesters, each including one residency (4 credits) and one distance workshop (4 credits). A final graduation residency (4 credits) completes the program, for a total of 36 credits.
The MFA program offers separate genre tracks in Fiction, Popular Fiction, Poetry, and Dramatic Screenwriting/Playwriting.
10-day residencies convene twice per year, January 2nd - 12th and July 5th - 15th. Residencies consist of intensive faculty workshops, lectures and daily publishing panels with top agents, editors, and publishers. During the 6 months in between residencies, students will regularly exchange writing online with their faculty mentors, continuing the work that began in residency. Students will take 4 online workshops and attend 5 residencies to earn the 36 credits for their MFA degree. The 5th and final residency will culminate in a creative thesis—a novel, a chapbook of poetry or a short story collection.
We feel this structure reflects the realities of life as a working writer. Aspiring writers learn how to be productive in their everyday lives with editorial feedback and contact, without giving up their day jobs. Unlike traditional MFA programs that demand a full-time commitment, our low-residency model represents the working life of the overwhelming majority of professionals in the field.
Our approach is realistic about the challenges of succeeding as a career writer. We offer access to the publishing world, freedom and flexibility to work and write, and among the most affordable programs in the country. Tuition for our 36 credit Master of Fine Arts is well below the national average, far below that of other New York City institutions, and comparable to public university programs.
Ph.D, Stanford University
MFA, Columbia University
M.A., Wilkes University
A low-residency program offers candidates such as working professionals in New York or out-of-state residents to pursue the degree without uprooting or giving up their day jobs, as one would with a traditional program.
This is of prime importance for a career in writing and publishing, where the balance of a day job in one’s writing life is crucial to success. According to The Bureau of Labor Statistics, New York employs the second-most writers of any state in the US, with 6,710 working writers. 68% of working writers identify as self-employed. According to the Author’s Guild, only 39% of writers in 2015 supported themselves exclusively with writing-related work. 61% of writers work a second or third job.
The SFC low-residency MFA program format is tailored to the needs of aspiring career writers in New York City and beyond.
These figures support the low-residency MFA structure as more suited to the reality of a working life as a writer. Traditional MFA programs that demand a full-time commitment, such as the 14 MFA programs in New York, do not allow aspiring writers a day or night job, and do not accurately represent the working life of the majority of professionals in the field.
A global favorite hub of art and character, Brooklyn has been a prime location for working writers from the time of Walt Whitman to the annual Brooklyn Book Festival, hosted, in part, on the SFC campus. In the words of acclaimed author Colson Whitehead, “Google ‘Brooklyn writer’ and you’ll get, Did you mean: the future of literature as we know it?”
St. Francis College provides housing accommodations within a five minute walk to the College. MFA students may stay at the residence in either single or double occupancy rooms.
Student housing is just one option for you, but is not a requirement for the residencies. The current estimated cost for housing is $1,000 for 10 days in a shared double or $2,000 for a single room.
Winter 2018 Priority Application deadline: December 18th
Please email the following in a pdf or word file to MFA@sfc.edu
- 10 pages of poetry, or 20 to 25 pages of fiction, or a full length play (applicants may apply in one or more genres).
- Fiction manuscripts should be typewritten, single sided, double-spaced, numbered in the lower right-hand corner, and in Times Roman 12-point font.
- Official transcripts of all previous undergraduate coursework.
- Two letters of recommendation.
- A statement of purpose (500 words max) detailing how the applicant plans to meet the challenges of the MFA program and life as a working writer.