MFA in Writing

A top-10 low-residency MFA program
Poets & Writers, year after year after year

The Spalding low-residency MFA in Writing Program offers:

  • An intellectually stimulating and emotionally supportive educational experience
  • Unparalleled flexibility and individually tailored graduate study
  • A diverse and close-knit community of faculty and students

Our low-residency MFA program

  • Ideally suited to the writing life: study with a great community of writers and write in your own home
  • Ten-day residencies feature intensive, supportive workshops, lectures, and panel discussions with award-winning faculty
  • One-on-one correspondence with faculty mentor, post residency
  • Mix and match options for fall and spring residencies in Louisville and summer residencies in summer residencies in an international destinations

Admissions deadlines: spring and summer semesters: February 1 and fall semester: July 1. The spring residency is May 23-June 1 in Louisville. The summer residency is  July 10-22  in Prague and Berlin. The fall semester is November 14-23 in Louisville.

See the menu to the upper right for further information.

Curious about what our residencies are like? Click here.


Spalding’s low-residency MFA in Writing Program helps students develop high-quality literary fiction, work distinguished by complex characterization, psychological depth, stylistic richness, thematic resonance, a distinctive sense of time and place, and an original approach to form and structure. As part of their training, students are exposed to and encouraged to work with many different forms of fiction-sudden fiction, short story, novella, short story cycle, and the novel. For more information about fiction, click here.


Poetry writing combines the interests of the poetry faculty (some of whom write formal poetry and some of whom write in open forms) and the interests of the students. Ultimately, students are exposed to a range of contemporary poetry writing today: from new formalism to free, open forms to language poetry or experimental poetry, though not necessarily in any systematic order. Mentors follow the lead of the students and work with their poems as objectively as possible both in workshop and during the semester not encouraging poets to “write like me” but to be the best they can in their chosen styles. For more information about poetry, click here.

Creative Nonfiction

Creative Nonfiction is similar to “literary nonfiction.” It is NOT standard daily journalistic prose; i.e., it does not follow a formula dictated by space, “fairness” and 8th-grade reading level constraints. Instead, it makes use of the full range of literary techniques and elements employed by writers of other genres, including fiction, poetry, and playwriting. It is not constrained by subject matter or voice or point of view. For more information about creative nonfiction, click here.

Writing for Children and Young Adults

Writing for children and young adults is  for students who wish to write for young audiences. The four-semester Spalding low-residency program stands alone in giving equal weight to audience considerations and serious study of craft. One or two semesters are spent on craft instruction in one of five focal areas: playwriting, fiction, poetry, creative nonfiction, or screenwriting. This approach ensures that students learn to engage their young audiences with work of literary merit. For more information about writing for children and young adults, click here.


The unique Spalding University low-residency Master of Fine Arts degree combines traditional on-campus classes with nontraditional distance learning. The on-campus pr abroad experience initiating each semester lasts ten days; after returning home (where writers actually do their writing), students use long-distance delivery techniques to work with their mentors in a way that is both intense, individually tailored, and one-on-one with their expert teacher. In a brief-residency program, students write more scripts and teleplays and those scripts receive more individual attention from the instructor than in traditional programs located in Los Angeles or New York. For film, TV, and theater professionals who wish to earn a terminal degree, the Spalding low-residency MFA offers the perfect course of study. For more information about screenwriting, click here.


The Spalding low-residency MFA in Writing offers individual tracks in Playwriting or Screenwriting, with an opportunity for optional interdisciplinary study for the student interested in acquiring a mastery of writing for both screen and stage. Guest lecturers, screenings, group discussions, workshops and one-on-one mentor correspondence focus on issues of craft and the wider professional arena. Basic fundamentals of dramatic writing are emphasized along with highly individualized courses of study. For more information about playwriting, click here.

Spalding University’s low residency MFA in Writing is accredited by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools to award the Master of Fine Arts in Writing. Spalding University’s low-residency MFA in Writing is a member of the Association of Writers and Writing Programs, the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI), and the Playwrights’ Center.

Contact the MFA Program:

800-896-8941 x 4400 or 502-873-4400

Master of Fine Arts in Writing Program
Spalding University
851 S. Fourth St.
Louisville, KY 40203

last updated 4-4-14