Courses & Requirements

MFA in Creative Writing (Low-Residency)

Naropa's Master of Fine Arts degree in Creative Writing is a hybrid online/distance mentorship program that offers students rigorous instruction in innovative prose, poetry, and cross-genre forms, as well as professional development. To usher students into contemporary arts and letters movements, the program draws on the juxtaposition of Eastern wisdom and Western scholarship, with a focus on contemplative writing practices.

Since 2003, we have served students who desire to study writing in the communities where they currently live, enjoying what Boulder has to offer during 14 annual days of residency. Our students live full lives, with demanding professions and families and still wish to broaden their literary networks through correspondence and face-to-face interactions with some of today’s most provocative writers.

Highlights of the curriculum include:

  • Two-year MFA degree with fourteen days of residency in Boulder, CO
  • Open-genre curriculum
  • One-on-one mentorship with accomplished faculty
  • Emphasis on contemplative writing practices
  • Participation in the Summer Writing Program
  • Guidance in preparing the creative thesis for publication
  • Cohort model developing a strong sense of community among MFA students

Degree Requirements

Fall and Spring Residencies: 4 credits

Over the course of two years, a total of fourteen days of residencies, divided between spring and fall, are completed at Naropa’s Boulder campus and occur concurrently with mentorships.

  • WRI789WE Fall Writers Practicum (1)
  • WRI791WE Spring Writers Practicum (1)

Summer Writing Program: 4 credits

Two eight-day summer residencies are completed at Naropa’s Boulder campus. Choose two of the following:

  • WRI751 Week One: Summer Writing Program MFA Credit (2)
  • WRI752 Week Two: Summer Writing Program MFA Credit (2)
  • WRI753 Week Three: Summer Writing Program MFA Credit (2)

Craft of Writing Mentorship: 26 credits

Students work one-on-one with a mentor, exchanging packets—consisting of letters, bibliographies, contemplative reflections, creative manuscripts, and critical essays—throughout the semester.

  • WRI631E Craft of Writing: Rooting in the Archive (6)
  • WRI648E Craft of Writing: Contemplative Experiments (6)
  • WRI678E Craft of Writing: Cultures and Communities (4)*
  • WRI735E Craft of Writing: Contemporary Trends (6)
  • WRI755E Craft of Writing: Professional Development (4)*

*Students may take up to 6 weeks of the Summer Writing Program in exchange for WRI678E Craft of Writing: Cultures and Communities and WRI755E Craft of Writing: Professional Development.

MFA Thesis: 6 credits

In their final full semester, MFA students submit an MFA thesis—a book-length creative manuscript. Additional information about the MFA thesis is available from the JKS office.

  • WRI880E MFA Thesis (6)

Total Credits: 40


This is where experiential learning meets academic rigor. Where you challenge your intellect and unlock your potential.