Courses & Requirements for MFA in Creative Writing

Unlike many online creative writing MFA programs, our asynchronous classes build community through writer-to-writer feedback and a structured curriculum. Students study contemporary trends in experimental literature through craft classes and seminars with distinguished working writers across genres. Writers work with multiple professors throughout their degree program, culminating in one-on-one mentorship for their final manuscript with the mentor of their choice.  

The 40-credit Low-Residency Creative Writing MFA Includes:

Degree Requirements

  • 26 credits of online asynchronous craft courses 
  •   6 credits of MFA Thesis (faculty mentorship on a book-length creative manuscript)
  •   4 credits of the Summer Writing Program 
  •   4 credits of fall and spring residencies in Boulder, CO.


Through a unique blend of hybrid learning, writers engage with experimental forms, small press publishers, and interdisciplinary artists throughout their 2-year degree program. With options to extend their Boulder residency during the Summer Writing Program or take professional development courses, writers in the Low-Residency Creative Writing MFA have the freedom to tailor their degrees to their personal and professional writing career goals. 

Fall and Spring Residencies: 4 credits

Annual fall and spring residencies give writers the opportunity to connect with other writers, deepen their craft, and participate in symposium readings and panels with other MFA students in Boulder, CO.

  • WRI789WE Fall Writers Residency (1)
  • WRI791WE Spring Residency (1)
Recent residencies and symposia include:
Fall 2022: Panel on Diaspora & Poesis :: Genéve Chao | Marcia Douglas | Poupeh Missaghi
Spring 2022: Panel on Autofiction :: Danielle Vogel | Robert Gluck | J’Lyn Chapman 

Summer Writing Program: 4 credits

Low-Residency MFA students have the opportunity to choose which week of Summer Writing Program they want to attend each summer for a total of 4 credits over 2 years:

  • 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 Online Courses: 26 credits

Students work through one themed Canvas course alongside their peers each semester. Writers exchange 4 packets of work throughout the term–consisting of letters, bibliographies, contemplative reflections, creative manuscripts, and critical essays—with their classmates and professor. This approach provides flexible learning and mirrors the professional life of many writers. Craft of Writing online courses include:

  • 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 work one-on-one with an MFA thesis advisor towards their thesis—a book-length creative manuscript in the genre of their choice. Additional information about the Low-Residency MFA thesis is available from the JKS office.

  • WRI880E MFA Thesis (6)

Total Credits: 40

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This is where experiential learning meets academic rigor. Where you challenge your intellect and uncover your potential. Where you discover the work you’re moved to do—then use it to transform our world.

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Naropa Campuses Closed on Friday, March 15, 2024

Due to adverse weather conditions, all Naropa campuses will be closed Friday, March 15, 2024.  All classes that require a physical presence on campus will be canceled. All online and low-residency programs are to meet as scheduled.

Based on the current weather forecast, the Healing with the Ancestors Talk & Breeze of Simplicity program scheduled for Friday evening, Saturday, and Sunday will be held as planned.

Staff that do not work remotely or are scheduled to work on campus, can work remotely. Staff that routinely work remotely are expected to continue to do so.

As a reminder, notifications will be sent by e-mail and the LiveSafe app.  

Regardless of Naropa University’s decision, if you ever believe the weather conditions are unsafe, please contact your supervisor and professors.  Naropa University trusts you to make thoughtful and wise decisions based on the conditions and situation in which you find yourself in.