NYC's First Low Res MFA Program

St. Francis College offers the first low-residency MFA program housed in New York City, the world’s publishing capital.

A low-res program gives college graduates and working professionals the time and space to hone their craft within a community of established authors. Our goal is to connect writers with the energy, rhythms, and personalities of the Brooklyn literary world. The SFC low-residency program format is tailored to the needs of aspiring career writers in New York City and beyond.

MFA Application Requirements

Summer 2017 deadline: May 31st

  • 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.
  • Three 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.

Where to Send Your Completed Application:

St. Francis College
Attention: Admissions
180 Remsen Street
Brooklyn, NY 11201

About the Program

The MFA program creates a writing community that extends beyond classrooms and lecture halls.

The program offers three separate genre tracks: Poetry, Fiction and Dramatic Screenwriting/Playwriting.

For the two (2) year, 4-semester program, students participate in 4 intensive ten-day residency periods (held in January and August). Students may enter the program in either the summer or winter residency period. Each of the residencies is followed by an intensive online workshop (practicum). The final workshop is dedicated to the writing of a thesis. A creative thesis—a novella, a chapbook of poetry, or a short story collection—is to be submitted following the student’s final workshop. The project must be approved by the thesis adviser and the director of the Writing Program. The mentor and director of the program agree upon a second reader.

MFA candidates must meet the following guidelines:

  • Poetry: minimum 30 poems for a chapbook,
  • Fiction: 5 short stories [at least 100 pages] or 150 pages of a novel,
  • Screenwriting/ Playwriting: a play, TV or movie script.

Each faculty member will mentor a maximum of 6 students. Students are expected to spend a sustained amount of individual time writing in between residencies, and sharing their original work with a mentor and their peers.

Packets are exchanged through online course software for feedback and critiques. Mentors will provide regularly emailed letters of critical evaluation to writers. Writers in the program will complete 20 hours per week on their writing and reading each term. This will be a 36 credit MFA.

While in residence, students engage in all aspects of literary creation, including group workshops, craft and form discussions, master classes, individual conferences, special guest lectures and readings, and manuscript consultations. Special panels are also held with publishers, editors, literary agents, and writing teachers. The low-residency format allows for flexibility, freedom, and functionality.

Why Low-Residency?

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 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.

Why Brooklyn?

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?

Meet the Faculty

Annie Finch

Annie Finch

Titles: Adjunct Lecturer
Degrees: B.A., Yale University
P.hd, Stanford University
Roles: Faculty & Staff
Departments: MFA Writing

Annie Finch is the author of six books of poetry, including Eve, Calendars, Among the Goddesses, and most recently Spells: New and Selected Poems (Wesleyan University Press). She has also written popular nonfiction, plays, opera libretti, memoir, and numerous books and anthologies on poetry and poetics, including A Poet's Craft: A Comprehensive Guide to Making and Sharing Your Poetry (University of Michigan Press). Educated at Yale (B.A.) and Stanford (Ph.D), she has taught widely and served for a decade as Director of the Stonecoast MFA in Creative Writing. Annie's honors include the Robert Fitzgerald Award for her lifetime contribution to poetics and the Sarasvati Award for Poetry.

Theo Gangi

Theo Gangi

Titles: Program Director, Lecturer
Degrees: B.A., Goucher College
MFA, Columbia University
Roles: Faculty & Staff
Departments: English, MFA Writing

Theo Gangi is the author of the apocalyptic novel A New Day in America, an iBooks and B&N Top 100 Nook best seller, and the breakout crime thriller Bang Bang. His story Eddy May in the Lee Child edited First Thrills "out-twists them all,” according to Booklist. He's written stories for The Greensboro Review, The Columbia Spectator and the Kratz Sampler. A graduate of Columbia University’s School of the Arts, he is the Director of the Low-Residency MFA Program in Writing at St. Francis College and lives in Clinton Hill, Brooklyn.

Tony Tulathimutte

Tony Tulathimutte

Titles: Adjunct Lecturer
Degrees: B.A., Stanford University
MFA, Iowa Writer's Workshop
Roles: Faculty & Staff
Departments: MFA Writing

Tony Tulathimutte’s novel Private Citizens was called “the first great millennial novel” by New York Magazine. A graduate of Stanford University and the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, he has written for The New York Times, VICE, The New Yorker, The Atlantic, The New Republic, N+1, Playboy, The Paris Review, and many others. He has received an O. Henry Award and a MacDowell Fellowship, and appeared as a guest on Late Night with Seth Meyers.


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