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Independent Study

Our independent study focuses on the mentor-student working relationship, a primary strength of the low-residency model.

Before the session begins, student and mentor collaboratively create a study plan that includes five packet exchanges. For prose and script writers, each packet includes 25-45 pages of creative writing. Poets send 5-7 poems; picture-book writers, 5-7 texts. The mentor responds with detailed, thoughtful feedback.

Students write short essays about their reading to cultivate an explicit understanding of craft.

Third-semester students write an extended critical essay while continuing creative work. Fourth-semester students complete a creative thesis and prepare a capstone lecture and reading. 

Hands-on Editorial Experience

Students gain valuable editorial experience reading submissions for The Louisville Review, a national literary magazine. It’s a rare opportunity to view writing from the editor’s seat—a perspective that helps students break out of writing ruts, recognize common pitfalls, and develop a working knowledge of the contemporary literary landscape.

Cross-genre, Translation, Enrichment

Students may take one core semester in translation or another concentration. They may also add a semester to complete a project or study a third area.

Flexible Scheduling

  • Spring and fall semesters last six months. The independent-study workload is 25 hours a week, with degree completion in two years.
  • Summer semesters are nine months, extending coursework over four years. The weekly independent-study workload is about 12 hours.
  • A “stretch” option pairs spring residency with the extended independent study.
  • Students may intersperse longer and shorter semesters.
  • Leaves of absence are permitted.