2022-2023 Course Catalog
Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing - Low Residency
Chatham University’s Low-Residency Master of Fine Arts Creative Writing (MFA) program is 42 credits hours that can be completed in two years with two summer residencies of 10 days each. The program is very similar to Chatham University’s highly acclaimed residency program with the same innovative focus on nature, environment, and travel writing. It is the premier graduate program for nurturing creative writers interested in the environmental imagination and place-based writing. Alumna Rachel Carson, a creative writer whose work demonstrates both lyricism and social conscience, inspires the program.
The low residency program is different from the residency program in a couple of ways. First, in lieu of writing workshops and literature courses each term, students take six-credit mentorships with a publishing writer. These mentorships are meant to combine the rigors of a writing workshop with that of a graduate-level literature course. Second, low residency students must complete two residencies of ten days each in their first and second summers. The MFA program's Summer Community of Writers residency takes place on the Chatham University Eden Hall Campus in Pittsburgh and consists of intensive workshops, craft lectures, panels, and readings with well-known creative writers and faculty. Students are required to live and eat on campus. A residency fee of approximately $500 covers lodging and all meals in the dining hall. Low residency students have the opportunity to take one of the creative writing field seminars along with the residency students, although the field seminar is not required. Field seminars include additional fees for travel and lodging and will vary depending on the location.
The Low Residency Program is a rolling admission Program, there is no formal application deadlines.
- Have a completed baccalaureate degree from an accredited college or university, with an overall undergraduate grade point average (GPA) of 3.0 or above on a 4.0 scale
- 6 credits in undergraduate Writing are recommended, but not required.
If a Student has below a 3.0 GPA, please feel free to apply if you show extreme promise through other achievements. Additional Admissions documents may be requested.
- Complete application for admission, including:
- Online application
- In approximately 500 words, please tell us about yourself as a creative writer. What do you like to write? What contemporary authors do you enjoy reading? What are your writing goals? Why do you want to pursue graduate-level study in creative writing at Chatham?
- Curriculum vita or resume
- Two official letters of recommendation, preferably written by former writing teachers or professors who know your writing
- Official transcripts from all colleges and universities attended
- Writing Sample ranging from 10-20 (maximum) pages. It can be one work or several pieces combined.
Admissions Materials may be submitted to:
Office of Graduate Admission
Pittsburgh, PA 15232
Fax: (412) 365-1609
For specific questions about the Program, please reach out to Grant Catton at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Integrated Degree Program
Chatham University undergraduates applying through the Integrated Degree Program (IDP) must complete all requirements outlined on their respective admission or track tab on the IDP Portal Site. All IDP applicants should work closely with their academic advisor to ensure they are meeting all requirements according to their IDP course of study.
At the completion of the MFA program students will:
- Develop and hone skills in creating, editing and revising in the student's primary genre.
- Demonstrate ability to read and respond thoughtfully and critically in both oral and written form to other student’s work.
- Analyze and write with care about literary texts of considerable difficulty. Recognize critical positions, including the student’s own critical position. Demonstrate a good reading knowledge of modern and contemporary literature.
- Cultivate a professional identity in terms of self-presentation in both written and oral forms. Write and publicly present (orally) a polished creative manuscript of marketable quality.
ENG600 Foundations of Creative Writing
ENG 600 is a first-year tutorial course comprised of one teacher and one student; it is designed to provide a foundation in creative writing craft for the student writer.
3 ENG601 Foundations in Literary Analysis
ENG 601 is a first-year tutorial course for students choosing the low-res MFA format, comprised of one teacher and one student; it is designed to provide a foundation in analytical reading and writing for the student writer.
3 ENG621 Advanced Literary Analysis I
ENG 621is a first-year mentorship, comprised of one teacher and one student; it is designed to deepen the development of the student writer. In it, students work one-on-one with a faculty mentor who guides their study of literature and analysis. ENG 621 should build off the work of ENG 601.
3 ENG622 Advanced Creative Writing I
ENG 622 is a first-year mentorship, comprised of one teacher and one student; it is designed to deepen the development of the student writer. In it, students work one-on-one with a faculty mentor who guides their study of creative writing craft. ENG 622 should build off the work of ENG 600.
3 ENG623 Advanced Literary Analysis II
ENG 623 is a second-year mentorship comprised of one teacher and one student; it is designed to refine the development of the student writer. In it, students work with a faculty mentor who guides their study of literature and analysis. ENG 623 should build off the work of ENG 621.
3 ENG660 Thesis Writing Mentorship
ENG 660 is a second-year mentorship course comprised of one teacher and one student; it is designed to expedite the development of the student’s creative thesis project. During the 3-credit mentorship, a student works one-on-one with a faculty mentor who guides the student’s generation of creative thesis materials.
3 ENG624 Advanced Creative Writing II
ENG 624 is a second-year mentorship comprised of one teacher and one student; it is designed to refine the development of the student writer. In it, students work with a faculty mentor who guides their study of advanced creative writing. .
3 ENG698 Final Manuscript
Independent work on the final creative thesis and critical introduction. Taken in the last year of the MFA. The Thesis Seminar (ENG 605, 606, 607, 608, or 609) is a prerequisite for this course.
Pre-requisites Complete any 1 of the following courses:
- ENG605 Prose Thesis Seminar
- ENG606 Thesis Seminar
- ENG607 Thesis Seminar: Poetry
- ENG608 Thesis Seminar: Children's Writing
- ENG609 Thesis Seminar: Screenwriting
3 ENG710I Summer Community of Writers - Part One
Summer Community of Writers - Part One
6 ENG710II Summer Community of Writers - Part Two
Summer Community of Writers - Part Two
Pre-requisites Complete any 1 of the following courses:
- ENG710 Summer Community of Writers
- ENG710I Summer Community of Writers - Part One
6 ONE content courses, (3 credits). This may be literature, publishing, or internships. Non-creative writing. Course offerings may include ENG585 Travel Writing, ENG584 The Environmental Imagination, ENG674 International Field Seminar, ENG569 Practicum: Fourth River Journal etc. ONE elective course (3 credits) This may be any course in literature, creative writing, publishing, or internships. Course offerings may include ENG585 Travel Writing, ENG584 The Environmental Imagination, ENG674 International Field Seminar, ENG569 Practicum: Fourth River Journal, ENG709 Summer Community of Writers, etc.