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Flexible Scheduling

a top-10 low residency MFA program

Poets & Writers, year after year after year

The Spalding low residency MFA in Writing program offers flexible scheduling to meet the needs of its students, who may need to juggle full- or part-time jobs, family commitments, and other obligations along with their studies. The goal is to allow students the best educational experience possible.

Choosing Among Fall, Spring, and Summer Semesters

All the Spalding low residency MFA semesters include

  • intense, invigorating 10-day residencies
  • individualized study throughout the independent study with prize-winning, publishing faculty
  • low student-faculty ratio
  • opportunities for Spalding scholarships/ assistantships and/or federal student loans
  • editing/publishing component
  • cross-genre: introduction to modes of writing other than the major area
  • innovative special features
  • emphasis on interrelatedness of the arts through attendance at cultural events
  • a choice of accommodations
  • featured guests who are active contemporary writers. Our featured guests have included novelists Tim O’Brien, Ernest J. Gaines, Ann Patchett, Susan Vreeland, and Michael Ondaatje; poet and essayists Yusef Komunyakaa and Molly Peacock; children’s writers Jaqueline Woodson, Daniel Handler (aka Lemony Snicket), Donna Jo Napoli, Patricia MacLachlan, and Nancy Willard; poets W. S. Merwin and Claudia Emerson; essayists Terry Tempest Williams, Pico Iyer, Barry Lopez, and Scott Russell Sanders; poet and children’s writer Naomi Shihab Nye; screenwriters Debra Granik (Winter’s Bone) and Robert Moresco (Crash); and playwrights Marsha Norman, Heather Raffo, and Rebecca Gilman. In Spring 2014, the Program hosted the third Diana M. Raab Distinguished Writer in Residence Frank X Walker, Kentucky poet laureate.

Students should choose summer study if they

  • wish to enrich their creative writing studies with international travel
  • can participate in a residency more easily in summer than in spring or fall
  • prefer a longer (9-month) semester with a less intensive writing schedule at home (12-15 hours a week)
  • would like to spread tuition costs over a longer period of time
  • want to complete the program in 4 years

The summer semester schedule provides a break from March to mid-June. Teachers may find that this schedule fits well with their own teaching year.

(Students who prefer the longer semester but do not wish to travel abroad may combine the spring Louisville residency with the 9-month summer semester schedule.)

Students should choose a combination of spring/fall study if they

  • wish to complete the program in 2 years
  • prefer residencies in Louisville, a culturally rich, easily accessible American city
  • choose to spend 25 hours a week on their studies in a shorter 6-month semester

Students who mix the summer and spring/fall semesters can finish the program in about three years. Students sometimes choose to take a leave of absence for a semester during their program because of financial or scheduling reasons. Students may take up to ten years to complete the program.

The Spalding low-residency MFA program is a 65-hour degree. For a detailed description of the requirements, see the course descriptions on the About Us page.


Spalding University’s low-residency MFA in Writing program is accredited by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools. Spalding University’s low-residency MFA in Writing program 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.

last updated 07-09-14 information subject to change without notice

Spalding University
851 South Fourth Street
Louisville, KY 40203

MFA Office: (502) 873-4400 or (800) 896-8941, ext. 4400
mfa@spalding.edu

FAX: (502) 992-2409