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MFA program St Francis College

Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing

New York City's ONLY Low-Residence MFA Program

If you’re ready to put your dreams to work, we’re ready for you.

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.

Experience & Outcomes

Prepare for

an impactful career

Immerse yourself in two 10-day on-campus intensive sessions each year that include faculty workshops, lectures and daily publishing panels with top agents, editors, and publishers to inspire your best writing.

Access to the Publishing World

The Write in Brooklyn event series is one example of how the College connects MFA students with the city’s larger artistic community. The College has hosted such writers as Margaret Atwood, Owen King, Emma Straub, Stephen King, and Dominique Morriseau.

Flexible Format

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.

A Polished Manuscript

You will develop the essential practices, principles, and skills - the foundation of life as a working writer and those seeking careers in academia and publishing. By the end of the program, you will have a polished manuscript that meets the standards of our faculty and fulfills your ambitions.

About the Program

The MFA program offers separate genre tracks in Fiction, Poetry, Dramatic Screenwriting/Playwriting, Graphic Writing, and Non-Fiction Writing.

Ten-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.

Housing Cost for Residencies

St. Francis College provides housing accommodations within a 23-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. Visit the Residence Hall webpage for more information.

Financial Aid

The MFA program now offers MFA Graduate Assistantships.

Three MFA students will get $2,000 in tuition remission each for acting as embedded tutors per semester. Applicants will email a statement of purpose to MFA director Theo Gangi. The statement should be at least 500 words long and discuss why the applicant wishes to teach, the skills that applicants feel they can offer in the classroom, and any relevant experience the applicant brings with them. In the statement, applicants will indicate the course they would like to embed based on the offerings for that semester. More details are available upon request.

Students may qualify for federal student loans by completing a free application for federal student aid (FAFSA).

Program Requirements

  • Translated and Evaluated Undergraduate Transcripts with proof of graduation and/or expected graduation date
    • All transcripts not in English must be translated into English by a verified service.
  • Letter(s) of Recommendation
    • If you have a 3.0 GPA and above, you will require one letter of recommendation, any GPA below a 3.0 will require two letters of recommendation.
  • Copy of your Resume or CV
    • This can detail work experience, educational history, professional projects, community service, etc.
  • Statement of Purpose
    • A statement of purpose is a one- to two-page explanation of why you want to go to graduate school and attend this specific program. Effective statements of purpose demonstrate the candidate’s professional writing skills, detail their professional educational experience, and present the candidate to the admissions committee as a unique intellectual individual.
  • Writing sample
    • Either 10-20 pages of prose fiction or non-fiction, 5-10 original poems, 15-25 pages of a screenplay, play or comic book script.
    • Please submit your writing sample to [email protected].

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.

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.

The SFC low-residency program format is tailored to the needs of aspiring career writers in New York City and beyond.

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.

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?”

Tuition & Fees

Cost, Scholarships, and Financial Aid | MFA in Creative Writing

Year 1Two residencies and two distance workshopsTuition: $16,000
Year 2Two residencies and two distance workshopsTuition: $16,000
Graduate ResidencyTuition: $4,000
Total tuition cost: $36,000
Theo Gangi
Program Director / Lecturer

Theo Gangi

[email protected]
Office: 718.489.5430 
Caroline Hagood
Assistant Professor of English / Director of Undergraduate Writing

Caroline Hagood

Adjunct Lecturer

Marlon James

Assistant Professor

Jive Poetic

Adjunct Lecturer

Jamel Brinkley

Adjunct Lecturer

Jason Starr

Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing News and Events

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