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Master of Fine Arts in Writing

At Albertus Magnus College, you can earn your MFA in creative writing in just two years – without sacrificing family time or your full time career.  We know that Online MFA programs are growing in demand, and Albertus is leading the way in this growth.

Albertus provides a Master of Fine Arts degree online option, and a low-residency option for students to pursue an MFA.

Traditional low-residency creative writing programs require you to be a full-time student, or dedicate an entire 2 weeks at once to the program.  These formats can encroach on your career and family life.

The Master of Fine Arts in Writing Program at Albertus Magnus College is a member of the Association of Writers & Writing Programs.

The MFA in Writing at Albertus lets you follow your dreams – on a schedule you choose.

 

The Albertus Difference

What Makes Writing at Albertus Different?

Engaged
Students

  • Hands-on, experiential learning
  • Interdisciplinary perspectives
  • Emphasis on collaborative work

Great
Teaching

  • Personally invested professors
  • Small class sizes
  • Innovative, well-rounded programs
  • Resources and opportunities for research

Vibrant
Communities

  • Lively extracurricular activities
  • Campus-wide events
  • Service and community engagement

Successful
Outcomes

  • Active career counseling
  • Opportunity-building networks
  • Access to internships and professional experiences
Hands-On Learning

The Albertus Writing Degree Program

Three times each semester, students will meet for intensive classroom sessions and writing workshops. These meetings can take place either virtually in an online forum or in-person at our New Haven campus. The rest of the time, you pursue your MFA in creative writing online at your own pace – guided by an award-winning faculty and encouraged by a community of like-minded students pursuing writing degrees.

Creative & Professional

The Albertus Master of Fine Arts in Writing Program Schedule

The Master of Fine Arts requires a minimum of thirty-six credits for completion. It is designed to be delivered in either a fully online or a blended format and schedule that will maximize potential student access. Classes meet three times each during the fall and spring semesters -- in either an online or in-person format -- with the remaining instruction and coursework occurring online.

A Blended or Online Learning Environment

  • Three times each semester, classes either meet virtually in an online environment or meet "on the ground" at our New Haven campus. The choice is yours!
  • Each session lasts 2 hours for each 4-credit course.
  • Detailed course packets provide MFA students with an outline of readings and assignments for the entire semester.
  • Students may enroll in the program on a full or part-time basis.

A Portfolio Process

  • Students will work toward creating a portfolio of publishable work in their chosen genres. A portfolio mentor advises and guides the student through the course of study.
  • A process that is focused, efficient and meaningful.
  • MFA students can enroll as full-time graduate students and complete the program in two years.

Faculty Authors

  • Students are guided by faculty which includes published poets, short story writers, and authors of academic monographs as well as creative non-fiction.
  • Students maximize interaction with each other and their professors through the MFA learning community website and through on-campus meetings once every five weeks.

Going for this degree helped me start thinking of myself as a writer. When I embarked on this program, it was a way to tell my family, friends, even myself that I was serious about writing. It also helped me bracket those few years and say, “I’m doing this now; and I’m deciding to give it my time.”

Jennifer Peterson , Master of Fine Arts in Writing '13

Faculty Spotlight

Meet Professor Charles Rafferty

Professor Charles Rafferty has been the Co-Director of the MFA program since its inception in 2010, and currently co-chairs the department with fiction writer Sarah Harris Wallman. His poetry has been featured in numerous publications, including the New Yorker.

“The published industry is changing constantly and rapidly, we want to see students well on their way to producing that first book.”

Rafferty has published 7 books of poetry and 2 books of short fiction. His collection of prose poems, The Smoke of Horses, was published by BOA Editions. His work regularly appears in such publications as The New Yorker, The Gettysburg Review, and The Southern Review.



Visit Charles’ Faculty Profile

Meet Professor Charles Rafferty at Albertus Magnus College
Practice Your Craft Every Day“On the need to write every day: No one can shoot a nickel off the back of a galloping ox with just one bullet. The most one bullet will get you is a dead ox.”
Your Schedule, Fully Online

MFA Residency Program Types

MFA program formats vary widely. Traditional programs, of course, require students to be on campus on a daily basis, to be at a particular place at a particular time -- which makes it hard for students trying to juggle career and family obligations. Low-residency programs require students to be on campus for 1 to 3 weeks each year. While the exotic locations of these residencies are obviously attractive, they force students to use up all their vacation time to complete their degrees.

The Albertus MFA is a "no residency" program -- it is completely online. You can earn your degree from the comfort of your own home, on a schedule you devise.

MFA Program Format Comparison
  No Residency Programs Low-Residency Programs Traditional Residency Programs
  Fully online from the comfort of home on your own schedule Students must be on campus for 1 to 3 weeks per year Students must be on campus daily
Access to Great Faculty
Strong Foundation in Your Chosen Genre
Avoid Using Up Your Vacation Time for Classwork
Complete Work on Your Own Schedule
Interactive Workshops
Better Balance Career and Family Life
On-Campus Visitors

Albertus' Recent Visiting Writers

Dick Allen
Lauren DeStefano
Daniel Donaghy
Tom Hazuka
Nancy Kuhl
Leslie McGrath
Pat Mottola
Mark Oppenheimer
Tim Parrish
Ethan Rutherford
Eric Sasson
Margot Schilpp
Vivian Shipley
Lisa Siedlarz
Brian Francis Slattery
Sarah Pemberton Strong
Chris Torockio
Jessica Treat
BJ Ward
Cynthia Zarin
Claire Zoghb
Featured Works

Selected Albertus MFA Alumni Publications

The MFA in Writing is designed to assist each student in acquiring the repertoire of skills of professional writers. The ultimate proof that these skills have been acquired is in the publication records of our students.

Missing

Elizabeth Gilliam (poetry '17):
Three poems in Lost River

Missing

Benjamin Thomas (fiction '15):
Jack Be Quick (a novel)

Missing

Benjamin Christensen (fiction '14):
“The Blue Line” (Static Movement, January 2012)
“Snow & Cognac” (Static Movement, March 2012)
“Caves” (Another Sky Press, March 2013)
“Beautiful Thieves” (Scars Publications, September 2012)
“New Years” (The Speculative Edge, March 2013)

Jennifer Hudson, MFA Writer from Albertus Magnus College

Jennifer Hudson (fiction '14)
“Fetch,” (Soul Reflections, Wicked East Press, 2013)
“Forgotten Manners,” (Ink Monkey, 2013)
“Foreign Tongue,” (Meat for Tea: The Valley Review, volume 8, issue 2, 2012)
“X,” (Colere, 2012)
“Mixed Nuts,” (Epiphany, issue 13, 2012)
“Melting the Ice,” (Weirdyear, 3 April 2011)

Krista Surprenant, MFA Writer from Albertus Magnus College

Krista Surprenant (poetry '14)
“Seminole County, Florida,” (SN Review, Winter/Spring 2013)
“Planting Paper Flowers,” (SN Review, Winter/Spring 2013)
“Sitting in the Classroom,” (SN Review, Winter/Spring 2013)
“Third Street Miracle,” (Blast Furnace, volume 3, issue 1, April 2013)

Gerard Bianco, MFA Writer from Albertus Magnus College

Gerard Bianco (fiction '13)
“A Tattoo” at Burningwood Literary Journal
The Deal Master (2012) (a self-published novel)
Discipline: A Play (2011; selected as a finalist in the 2013 National Indie Excellence Awards)

Missing

Bette Isacoff (nonfiction '13)
Star Crossed (Headwinds Publishing, November 2013)

Coral Moore, MFA Writer from Albertus Magnus College

Coral Moore (fiction '13)
“Deep Water” (a short story single with Dreamspinner Press)
Elements of Rebellion (a self-published novel with an impressive sales record)
Broods of Fenrir (a series of self-published urban fantasy books with good sales)

Careers

Where Will Your Writing Degree take You?

The MFA at Albertus prepares students for various job opportunities after graduation. Students will understand how the publishing industry operates and will be well-positioned to enter the workforce in fields such as editing, writing, marketing, and teaching.

Possible career paths with a Master of Fine Arts degree in Writing include:



Creative Writer
Copywriter
Web Content Editor
SEO Executive
Content Marketing Specialist
Social Media Specialist
Email Marketer
Public Relations
Proofreader/Sub-Editor
College Professor
Communications Coordinator
Courses

Writing Courses

Students enrolled in the Master of Fine Arts degree program at Albertus can expect to gain experience in preparing an effective writing project synopsis and outline, in submitting materials that conform to industry standards, and in planning and executing a major project in a specific genre of writing. Most students can complete their Writing degree in 2 years while taking 9 credits per semester.

Upon completing the MFA program of study in Writing, students will develop:

  • A knowledge of the conventions of specific writing genres;
  • An understanding of the creative process;
  • A knowledge of market trends in specific areas of professional writing;
  • The ability to develop an effective project synopsis, outline, as well as submission materials that conform to industry expectations and standards;
  • Highly developed writing skills;
  • The ability to plan and execute a major project in a specific genre of writing.
Process and Product Courses - 8 Credits
EN 500 Writing Portfolio (required each semester) This course serves as the central mentoring experience for M.F.A. students, in which the student develops a body of work from classes and in preparation for the Master Project. An individual advisor guides the writer in the process of honing the craft and developing the writing portfolio. Through guided revision, students will emerge from the program with a portfolio of work reflecting their strengths as writers. Students will also benefit from responses from other students in the program through periodic workshop meetings that will build a community of writers. (1 credit per semester, 4 credits total)
EN 541 The Creative Process An examination of the creative process including the stages, elements, and the products. Students learn ways to explore levels of creative unconsciousness and how and why the creative process works. Topics include: inspiration, authenticity, vision, voice, “performicity.” How do creative individuals achieve their ends? Students will develop a critical understanding of their own deepest level of imaginative experience. Also in this course, they will begin to consider an original and artistic approach that will culminate in a directed writing (Master) project in EN 692. (4 credits)
Genre Studies Courses - 12 Credits
A minimum of 8 credits in one genre, plus 4 credits in a second.
EN 543 Seminar in Poetry I Advanced seminar course(s) aimed at intensive study in exploring and developing students’ interests in poetic form and technique. Through a workshop approach that emphasizes process, students will share impressions and analyses as they study approaches and read and write different poetic forms. These courses seek to foster an appreciation for poetry as a genre and provide an occasion for crafting original work. (4 credits)
EN 643 Seminar in Poetry II Advanced seminar course(s) aimed at intensive study in exploring and developing students’ interests in poetic form and technique. Through a workshop approach that emphasizes process, students will share impressions and analyses as they study approaches and read and write different poetic forms. These courses seek to foster an appreciation for poetry as a genre and provide an occasion for crafting original work. (4 credits)
EN 544 Seminar in Fiction I Advanced seminar course(s) aimed at intensive study in exploring and developing students’ interests in the form and techniques of creative fiction. Through a workshop approach that emphasizes process, students will share impressions and analyses as they study approaches and read and write different fictional forms. These courses seek to foster an appreciation for fiction as a genre and provide an occasion for crafting original work. (4 credits)
EN 644 Seminar in Fiction II Advanced seminar course(s) aimed at intensive study in exploring and developing students’ interests in the form and techniques of creative fiction. Through a workshop approach that emphasizes process, students will share impressions and analyses as they study approaches and read and write different fictional forms. These courses seek to foster an appreciation for fiction as a genre and provide an occasion for crafting original work. (4 credits)
EN 545 Seminar in Nonfiction I Advanced seminar course(s) aimed at intensive study in exploring and developing students’ interests in the form and techniques of non-fiction. Through a workshop approach that emphasizes process, students will share impressions and analyses as they study approaches and read and write different literary forms. These courses seek to foster an appreciation for non-fiction as a genre and provide an occasion for crafting original work. (4 credits)
EN 645 Seminar in Nonfiction II Advanced seminar course(s) aimed at intensive study in exploring and developing students’ interests in the form and techniques of non-fiction. Through a workshop approach that emphasizes process, students will share impressions and analyses as they study approaches and read and write different literary forms. These courses seek to foster an appreciation for non-fiction as a genre and provide an occasion for crafting original work. (4 credits)
Professional Development Courses - 16 Credits
EN 521 Readings in Fiction In this course, students will take measure of the contemporary literary scene by extensive and intensive reading of recently published short stories, novellas, and novels. In addition to knowing their literary history, M.F.A. students must be prepared to enter in the conversation currently happening in their chosen field. This course will foreground the debates raging in academia and on the bookshelf, for example, the controversy over “cultural appropriation” sparked by Lionel Shriver’s 2016 speech and the #ownvoices movement. We will examine the difference between innovation and trendiness. Students will emerge with the context they need to locate their voices in the writing worlds they wish to inhabit (or subvert). (4 credits)
EN 522 Readings in Poetry In this course, students will take measure of the contemporary poetry scene by extensive and intensive reading of recently published poetry, including major prize-winning collections (Pulitzer, National Book Award, etc.) and anthologies like the Best American Poetry series. In addition to knowing their literary history, M.F.A. students must be prepared to enter into the conversation currently happening in their chosen field. This course will foreground the ongoing debates in the poetry world—for example, the question of accessibility and whether rhymed and metered verse is still relevant. We will examine the difference between innovation and trendiness. Students will emerge with the context they need to locate their voices in the writing worlds they wish to inhabit (or subvert). (4 credits)
EN 523 Readings in Nonfiction In this course, students will take measure of the contemporary literary scene by extensive and intensive reading of recently published essays, memoirs, and journalism. In addition to knowing their literary history, M.F.A. students must be prepared to enter in the conversation currently happening in their chosen field. This course will foreground the debates raging in academia and on the bookshelf, for example, questions of ethical representation in nonfiction. We will examine the difference between innovation and trendiness. Students will emerge with the context they need to locate their voices in the writing worlds they wish to inhabit (or subvert). (4 credits)
EN 551 The Literary Marketplace This is a course that centers on the methodology of publicity and promotion and commonly used tools and techniques that can be employed by writers to attract readers. Students will engage in an analysis of the contemporary writer’s market, from major publishers, to independent presses, to the Internet. By researching trends and developing an understanding of how their writing fits into market categories and compares with similar works, students will develop an understanding of how to frame writing projects for agents and publishers. A strong focus is placed on website and social media techniques for self-promotion. This course may include visits from guest publishers and authors. (4 credits)
EN 692 Master Project The Master Project is the culminating product of the M.F.A. in Writing. Students will begin in the fall of the first year, and continue throughout the program, to create, revisit, develop, and refine a body of substantial work in their chosen genre. Drawing on extensive background reading of relevant literary works, each student will prepare a manuscript that meets program standards for professional work in one of the following forms: a book-length manuscript of collected poems; a book-length collection of short stories; a completed novel; a book-length manuscript of non-fiction (autobiography, memoir, a sequence of personal essays). Master Projects will be housed in the Albertus Magnus College Library upon completion and final approval. (8 credits required)

Interested in learning more about the diverse courses offered at Albertus?

What We will Need from you

Writing Admission Requirements

To be admitted to the Writing program, applicants must submit the following:

  • A writing sample of one of the following:
    • Fiction: 10 pages, double-spaced. This can be a chapter, a scene, a completed story, or multiple flash stories.
    • Nonfiction: 10 pages, double-spaced. This can be a chapter, an essay, a scene, or multiple flash memoirs.
    • Poetry: 10 pages, single-spaced. This can be a single long poem or multiple poems.
  • A completed application
  • Bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited college or university with a minimum cumulative G.P.A. of 3.0 on a 4.0 system*
  • Official transcripts reflecting conferral of prior degree (a minimum of a bachelor’s degree for master’s programs). All transcripts are to be submitted from the original institutions.
  • For non-native English speakers, minimum TOEFL score of 550 paper-based, 80 internet-based, or 213 computer-based
  • Proof of immunization in accordance with Connecticut State requirements
  • For online degrees, a valid Driver’s License or DMV Photo ID
  • For applicants who intend to use Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Educational Benefits:
    • Military, university and college transcripts
    • Certification of Eligibility letter or, for reservists, Notice of Basic Eligibility
    • Veteran’s Intent to Register form
  • Two letters of recommendation specifically addressing suitability for the program
  • A written essay of 750 to 1,000 words, double-spaced, on “The Writer’s Journey,” detailing the applicant’s personal reflections on the writer’s craft
We have Faith in Your Future

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Purposeful Vision & Direction

The Albertus Writing Degree Mission Statement

The mission of the Department of English is consonant with the mission of the College, which is to provide solid academic grounding and an education that will enable students after their college years to lead productive and enriched lives. The Department of English works with every student to improve basic written and oral communication and to instill a knowledge of and critical appreciation for literature in English. The Department strives to foster a spirit of inquiry and a habit of reasoning directed toward the discovery of a system of values.

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