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.
Two, 10-day residencies convene in July and in January. 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
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.
MFA, Columbia University
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.
M.A., Wilkes University
Marlon James was born in Kingston, Jamaica, in 1970. He is the author of the 2015 Man-Booker Prize winning novel A Brief History of Seven Killings. His novel The Book of Night Women won the 2010 Dayton Literary Peace Prize, The Minnesota Book Award and was a finalist for the 2010 National Book Critics Circle Award in fiction as well as an NAACP Image Award. His first novel John Crow’s Devil was a finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Prize and the Commonwealth Writers Prize, and was a New York Times Editor’s Choice. In his third novel, A Brief History Of Seven Killings, James is exploring multiple genres: the political thriller, the oral biography, and the classic whodunit to confront the untold history of Jamaica in the late 1970’s; of the assassination attempt on Bob Marley, and the country’s own clandestine battles of the cold war.
James graduated from the University of the West Indies in 1991 with a degree in Language And Literature, and from Wilkes University in 2006 with a Masters in creative writing. His short fiction and nonfiction have appeared widely including in Esquire, Granta, and The Caribbean Review of Books.
MFA, Iowa Writer's Workshop
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.
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.
Summer 2017 deadline: May 31st
- 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.
- 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.