Nature Writing

Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing, Master of Arts

Degree Type

Master of Arts, Master of Fine Arts


Graduate Program in Creative Writing

Writing as an art form can be a powerful agent of change. Honing your ability to write passionately about policies, values and current global events will prepare you for a successful career in journalism, teaching, communications, and more.

Program Overview

Use your passion for writing as a force for good.

Western’s MFA and M.A. in Nature Writing program offers an ethically alert, cutting-edge curriculum in the heart of the Rocky Mountains. The practical focus of the program is on publication, professional development and partnerships with relevant nonprofits, newspapers, and think tanks.

Through extensive reading, intellectual inquiry and rigorous creative writing, you’ll engage with diverse voices, challenging questions and critical issues facing our world today. In the program, you’ll be encouraged to prepare your own works for submission using a wide range of literary techniques and styles. You’ll also be trained in major literary sub-genres relevant to the field, including memoir, political writing, history, poetry, fiction, creative nonfiction and more.

Inspired by our surroundings

Western’s Nature Writing students have the unique opportunity to explore the breathtaking landscape of the Gunnison Valley in order to inspire their writing and creativity.


At Western, course rotations are crafted to encompass a variety of subject fields for a comprehensive education and versatile degree. For required courses and degree plans, visit the official University Catalog. Below is a general overview of courses at Western Colorado University related to this area of study.

Code Title Credits Description
CRWR 600 Summer Orientation 1 View
CRWR 681 Nature Writing Intensive 2 View
CRWR 682 The Poetics of Nature Writing 2 View
CRWR 683 Thesis Seminar in Nature Writing 2 View
CRWR 685 Craft of Creative Nonfiction 6 View
CRWR 686 Genres of Nature Writing 6 View
CRWR 687 Writing about Nature and Science 6 View
CRWR 688 Writing about Nature and Society 6 View
CRWR 689 Special Topics in Nature Writing 6 View
CRWR 694 Capstone 1-3 View
CRWR 695 Professional Development in Nature Writing 6 View
CRWR 696 Introduction to Creative Nonfiction Elective 3 View


Career preparation starts your first year at Western and is the primary focus of every degree.

Visit Career Services in Library 120 or online to discover your interests, define your goals, and land the career of your dreams.

The data below is automatically collected by Burning Glass Technologies, a firm that sources job market data and provides analytics. The statistics illustrate general trends in U.S. careers, but do not precisely represent every job and salary.

The Program

Advance your career in our convenient, low-residency program.

Western’s Creative Writing MFA and M.A. concentrations are low-residency programs. Faculty and students interact online during the academic year and gather for two weeks in July on campus for classes and writing.

  • MFA students attend three summer residencies: one prior to the first semester, one between years one and two and one in the third summer.
  • During the academic year, full-time MFA students take two courses each semester. These six-credit courses make use of conference calls and web platforms for online work.
  • To complete the MFA, students work on a culminating portfolio throughout their final year.
  • M.A. students pursue an identical curriculum to MFA students, but only come for two summers and one academic year and do not write a final portfolio.

Making an impact

Western’s innovative Nature Writing program encourages students to utilize creative writing in an effort to engage with environmental issues through an ethically alert curriculum

Opportunities and Partnerships

  • Take courses or even add a concentration in Western’s other low-residency Creative Writing concentrations: Poetry, Screenwriting for Film and Television, Publishing or Genre Fiction.
  • Practicums with High Country News, located at Western, with features covering the American West, including Tribal Affairs, Immigration, Climate and more!
  • Collaborate with the Center for Humans and Nature, a creative think-tank that entertains multiple perspectives on resilient futures for all.
  • Collaborate with the Coldharbour Institute, located in the Gunnison Valley, which “facilitates education, incubation and demonstration of regenerative personal, community and land practices.”
  • Students can propose other collaborations within their own local communities and/or other justice and movement-building, activist, grassroots and/or policy-making groups.

Coldharbour Institute

Nature Writing students have the opportunity to collaborate with the Coldharbour Institute (CI) — a unique 350-acre nonprofit ranch in the beautiful Gunnison Valley—at the confluence of the Tomichi and Cochetopa creeks.

Department Information

Graduate Program in Creative Writing


Tyson Hausdoerffer, Ph.D.

Director, Graduate Program in Creative Writing

Program Support Coordinator

Corinne Sublette

Program Support Coordinator

Contact Information


Campus Location

Western Colorado University
Quigley Hall 117
1 Western Way
Gunnison, CO 81231