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Master of Fine Arts (MFA) in
Creative Writing (Low-Residency)

Earn your MFA degree in creative writing at an esteemed university while still remaining connected to your existing writing community. Find artistic freedom from your home writing desk.

Naropa’s Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing Low-Residency program is designed for writers who wish to take their craft a step further. Maybe you have the sketch for a novel waiting to be written. Perhaps you're a teacher ready to begin your journey towards a doctorate. Or, you're a poet and editor craving knowledge of the publishing industry. Our low residency writing program welcomes writers from all walks of life and all parts of the country.

Through online courses and summer intensives, our MFA graduate students experiment with language, receive mentorship from published writers, and learn the ins and outs of publishing.

Quick Facts

  • 40 Credit Hours
  • 30 Total Days of Residency in Boulder, Colorado
  • 2 Years to an MFA Degree in Creative Writing


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in the Creative Writing Low Residency Writing Program

Your two years in the low residency MFA in creative writing will be rich in both rigorous writing instruction and professional development. Through online mentorship, intensive residencies in Boulder, and concentrated work on a final creative manuscript, graduate students deepen their writing craft and widen their literary networks.

Students with already full lives appreciate Naropa's low-residency MFA in creative writing because it affords them the opportunity to grow as writers and readers. Here, you can explore the contemporary arts and letters movements, engage in contemplative writing practices, and find yourself through your work. 

Courses in Naropa’s low-residency MFA in creative writing include: 

See Full Course Catalog



If you're seeking an MFA creative writing program that allows you to keep your current zip code, choose the only low-residency option with a focus in contemplative practices and open-genre instruction. Join a community of writers from around the country in a transformative creative experience.


Open Genre Curriculum

Founded in 1974 by Allen Ginsberg and Anne Waldman, the Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics embodies the spirit of creative writing through experimentation and innovation. While there are many low-residency writing programs to choose from, Naropa's is the only MFA in creative writing that embraces an open genre curriculum. 

Our graduate students are encouraged to earn their MFA degrees by honoring their individual artistic processes and welcoming creative expansion. Here, you are welcome to explore poetic forms, mix genres, take risks, and play with language. Your final, ready-for-publication MFA thesis will be a reflection of your own distinctive style.

Personalized Mentorship

At Naropa, earning your MFA in creative writing online is an experience of expansion, not isolation. You'll work closely with MFA in creative writing faculty, engaging in powerful written exchanges that include creative manuscripts, reflective essays, and critical responses to literature. Naropa's faculty mentors — all active, published writers — offer clear, compassionate feedback aimed at drawing the best, most authentic work from graduate student writers. 

From unearthing your personal writing process to preparing your creative manuscript for publication, your mentor will do more than help you earn an MFA degree. They'll help you find your voice.

Enriching Residencies

Expanding your writing community may not seem like the likely outcome of an online creative writing degree, but Naropa’s low residency MFA offers a host of opportunities for connecting with other writers. 

During your spring and fall residencies, held on our campus in Boulder, Colorado, you will convene with fellow low residency MFA students over the study of literature, poetic form, literary history, and writing practice. 

Your summer residencies, each eight days in length, offer participation in Naropa's celebrated Summer Writing Program. This convocation of scholars, poets, fiction writers, performers, and more is fertile ground for sharpening your craft and building community.



“I believe one way to stay young is to challenge myself with new situations. Since there is no sense of cliquishness [at Naropa], it is easy to interact with the younger students. One of the students just taught me a simple approach to writing a critical analysis, which is something I had never learned before. I also feel as if my life experiences add to the discussions, as if I am a grandmother elder giving back to a community.”
Jackie Henrion, MFA in Creative Writing (Low Residency), 2016


What to Expect

Highly Developed Writing Craft

Fine tune your technique and feel confident in your final drafts.

Skill in Critical Analysis

Learn to discuss literary works through a variety of critical lenses.

Contemplative Writing Practice

Use your writing practice as a tool for self-inquiry and discovery.

Social and Cultural Awareness 

Recognize the role of race, class, and gender in literary history and works.

Career Preparedness

Graduate with a publishable manuscript and/or professional dossier.