2020-2021 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.

Admission Requirements

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 explain why you are interested in pursuing this degree.  How will the degree impact your future personal and career goals? 
    • 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. Please provide on standard 8 ½ x 11 paper.

Admissions Materials may be submitted to:
Chatham University
Office of Graduate Admission
Woodland Road
Pittsburgh, PA 15232
Fax:  (412) 365-1609
Email: graduate@chatham.edu

For specific questions about the Program, please reach out to Rachel Fiscus at 412-365-1141 or at r.fiscus@chatham.edu.

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.

Learning Outcomes

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.

Curriculum

+Degree Requirements

42 credits

ENG612I Mentorship I- Part One

Mentorship I is designed for students of Chatham low-Residency MFA in Creative Writing Program as the first-year tutorial class. During the mentorship, a student works one-on-one with a faculty mentor who guides the student's study of literature and craft; the mentor provides written commentary on the student's work. Part one of two.

6
ENG612II Mentorship I - Part Two

Mentorship I is designed for students of Chatham low-Residency MFA in Creative Writing Program as the first-year tutorial class. During the mentorship, a student works one-on-one with a faculty mentor who guides the student's study of literature and craft; the mentor provides written commentary on the student's work. Part two of two.

6
ENG712I Mentorship II - Part One

Mentorship II is designed for students of the Chatham Low-Residency MFA in Creative Writing Program as the second-year tutorial class. This course is designed to expedite the development of the student's MFA thesis. Part one of two.

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ENG712II Mentorship II - Part Two

Mentorship II is designed for students of the Chatham Low-Residency MFA in Creative Writing Program as the second-year tutorial class. This course is designed to expedite the development of the student's MFA thesis. Part two of two.

6
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

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.

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