1. A sense of community is extremely important to me. How can the Western State Colorado University MFA program provide this through a low-residency format?
A sense of community, of belonging and support, is crucial in any successful MFA program; it's especially important for a low-residency program. At Western State College, developing and strenthening our literary community defines the very meaning of what we do and how we do it.
The intensity and vibrancy of both the summer residencies and the semester dialogueg between faculty mentors and students create a remarkable sense of belonging. Within this program, you discover a disverse, talented, and generous community dedicated to a shared vision and purpose. The residencies and semesters foster a non-competitive spirit. This spirit sparks conversations that build towards remarkable friendships. our students and faculty come from diverse backgrounds, each with thier own unique vision and voice. This diversity becomes a source of both inspiriation and unity. We recognize that we are united by our passion for writing and our commitment to our future as writers. We also recognize that something special ahppens when you bring this passion, these points of view, and this kidn of a program together. We are all pursuing a dream, an often deferred ream, in the face of multiple questions and challenges. Here, you can develop the skills and knowledge to make a lifelong commitment to your writing while realizing a supportive literary community that will continue to support and inspire your writing long after you receive your degree.
2. Who will my classmates be?
The students in our program come to us from across the United States. They range in age from their early 20's to their mid 50's. Each bring a wealth of unique expeirences, lessons, and motivations that enrich and inspire the program. From beatnik poets and activists to publishing agents and chemists, from cowboys to city slickers, layers to bartenders and everyone in between, the diversity and scope of the program is its greatest strength. This richness generates a profound sense of unity and belonging that comes from being a part of a community of writers, that is, a communtiy of individuals who have dedicated their lives to the art of writing.
3. Who will my professors be?
Your relationship with your instructors is an integral part of your program. A low faculty to student ratio ensures that your instructor's focus is where it belongs : on you and your writing. Each of our faculty members are active writers with decades of combined experience living, working, and thriving in th eworlds of poetry, fiction, and film. The Screenwriting concentration is the only accredited MFA program taught entirely by current Hollywood screenwriters and producers. Both the poetry and mainstream fiction concentrations are taught by currently publishing authors.
4. What can I expect for the online component of the program?
You can expect a rigorous and challenging year of discussion, composition, and growth. The school year is based on a studio-mentor format. You're partied one-on-one with a faculty mentor within your concentration. You can expect to spend a minimum of 25-30 hours a week completing writing assignments, for which mentors provide weekly feedback. You participate in threaded synchronous and asynchronous online voice and discussion boards during each term with other students and mentors.
5. How intensive is the program?
In a word: very. It asks of nothing less than your best. the flexibility of the low-residency format is paired with the intensity anad high expectations of a Master's degree program. The MFA program insists on a high degree of commitment and excellence from its students.
6. Can I take classes in more than one concentration?
Exceptional students may elect to study two of these concentrations by increasing the duration of their program. Students must earn 30 credits within this second area of emphasis.
7. Genre fiction/nonfiction? Poetry with Versecraft? Screenwriting? Why don't I see these concentrations offered in other MFA degree programs?
To quote program director, Mark Todd, there's a change on the horizon of MFA programs, a transformation of interest and focus seen through isolated courses at universities, published comments from authors and critics, and various conferences that focus on and celebrate mainstream writing. The MFA program and concentrations at Western State College were created in response to these changes. We wanted to offer something unique in the MFA world, but something that we aloso felt passionately about. Both these goals were brought together in a program that celebrates and supports writers who aspire to reach audiences beyond academic circles, writers who hope to reinvigorate poetry, film, and fiction while pursuing excellence within their craft.
There are very few MFA programs that offer these concentrations. We've found that students are searching for a program that will enable them to pursue a lifelong commitment to their writing. And that's exactly the kidn of MFA we have created - a program that addresses the world of writing in a refreshing way, a program that enables students to develop their craft while realizing their dreams and passions.
8. What separates your program from the dozens of other MFA programs out there?
A rigorous and unique program of study, a low student to faculty ratio, and our commitment to you, to your writing, and to your career as a writer - we strive to bring something different to the table, another option and a new perspective as to what an MFA program can be. We invite you to explore our courses, and to enter a dialogue with our instructors, students, and staff. You'll realize a shared passion for the art of writing and the audiences we write for; you'll discover an innovative program and a supportive and inspired community committed to you and your ambitions.