Low-Residency (or Summer Study) MFA and MA Programs

For three years (2004-07) I maintained (and routinely updated) a “Primer on Low-Residency MFA Programs,” which was for sale online. At the end of August 2007, however, I retired that text from circulation.

A portion of the primer was devoted to listing current low-residency MFA programs for writers. While I won’t provide full contact information or details about any of the programs here on this page, I will do my best to keep it current (with working links) and complete. Please leave a comment if you have any problems with the links and/or know of programs to add.

I hope this list will be a useful resource to writers looking for low-residency (or summer study, or fully-online) graduate programs in creative writing.

Links last checked and updated January 2020

Alaska Pacific University
Albertus Magnus College
Alma College
Antioch University Los Angeles
Arcadia University
Ashland University
Augsburg College
Bard MFA
Bath Spa University (U.K.; low-res option began in October 2012)
Bay Path University (fully online)
Bennington Writing Seminars
California Institute of Integral Studies
Carlow University
Cedar Crest College (Pan-European program)
Chatham University
Cornell College
Converse College
DeSales University
Dominican University of California (narrative/poetic medicine option)
Drexel University
Eastern Kentucky University (“Bluegrass Writers Studio”)
Eastern Oregon University
Fairfield University
Fairleigh Dickinson University
Goddard College
Goucher College
Hamline University
Hollins University
Institute of American Indian Arts
Ithaca College ([writing/photography])
Lancaster University (U.K.)
Lesley University
Lindenwood University (online option)
Miami University
Mississippi University for Women
Murray State University
Naropa University
National University (fully-online program)
New England College
New Hampshire Institute of Art
New York University Writers Workshop in Paris
Oklahoma City University (“Red Earth MFA”)
Oregon State University-Cascades
Pacific University
Pacific Lutheran University (“Rainier Writing Workshop”)
Pine Manor College (“Solstice Low-Residency MFA in Creative Writing Program”)
Queens University of Charlotte
Randolph College
Regis University (“Mile-High MFA”)
Reinhardt University (“Etowah Valley MFA” [“Story and Place in the New South”]”)
St. Francis College
Saint Leo University
Salve Regina University (“Newport MFA in Creative Writing”)
Seattle Pacific University
Seton Hill University
Sewanee School of Letters
Sierra Nevada College
Southern New Hampshire University (fully-online program)
Southern New Hampshire University (low-residency Mountainview program)
Spalding University
Stetson University (“MFA of the Americas”)
Stonecoast/University of Southern Maine
University of Alaska (Anchorage)
University of Arkansas at Monticello (“non-residency”)
University of British Columbia (Canada) (optional-residency)
University of California (Riverside)/Palm Desert
University of Cambridge (UK, leading to MSt)
University of Georgia
University of Houston-Victoria
University of King’s College/Dalhousie University (Canada)
University of Nebraska
University of New Orleans
University of Tampa
University of Texas-El Paso (fully-online program)
Vermont College of Fine Arts (MFA in Writing)
Vermont College of Fine Arts (MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults)
Vermont College of Fine Arts (International MFA in Creative Writing and Literary Translation)
Warren Wilson College
West Virginia Wesleyan College
Western Colorado State University
Western Connecticut State University
Western New England University
Wilkes University
Wilson College

Laptop on a table; binders in the background; text label announcing 75 low-residency/no-residency MFA programs.

16 thoughts on “Low-Residency (or Summer Study) MFA and MA Programs

  1. D. Brian Anderson says:

    The University of Texas at El Paso just introduced an MFA program that is comletely online.

  2. Erika D. says:

    Thanks so much for that information. Do you happen to have a link available?

  3. Erika D. says:

    I’ve just located a link. Writers, click here for more information. Thank you again, D. Brian Anderson, for the tip.

  4. James C. says:

    I was wondering if there were resources for folks who are looking to start up low-residency MFA programs. We’re specifically looking for sample syllabi, budgets, and first-year start-up plans/budgets/narratives. Any suggestions? Thank you!

    1. Erika Dreifus says:

      I’d suggest looking through this list for programs that seem similar to what you’d like to do and contacting their administrators to see if they’d share any materials with you. You could also contact the Association of Writers & Writing Programs (AWP). See especially their “Hallmarks of an Effective Low-Residency MFA Program in Creative Writing,” available at http://awpwriter.org/membership/documents.htm. Good luck!

  5. Jason K says:


    Thank you for the great list. Do you know if there are any programs that do not require a portfolio?

    Take care,

    1. Erika Dreifus says:

      Sorry, Jason, I don’t know–but I can’t imagine that a graduate program in writing would admit anyone without some writing samples. And I’d be concerned if I were admitted to one that did!

  6. Robin says:

    Hi Erika!

    Just wanted to update your list some — Western State College of Colorado is now Western Colorado State University, and the link for their low-residency MFA program is now: http://www.western.edu/academics/graduate/creative-writing

    1. Erika Dreifus says:

      Thanks very much, Robin.

  7. Hi Erika,

    Just a quick update – Bay Path is now Bay Path University. The MFA in Creative Nonfiction is completely online. Here’s the website: https://www.baypath.edu/academics/graduate-programs/creative-nonfiction-mfa/

    Thanks so much for all you do!



    1. Erika Dreifus says:

      Thanks, Sandy. I’ve changed the word “College” to “University”—everything else was already there!

  8. M Warner says:

    The link for Drew University gives a 401 error. In fact, I can’t find anything on their website for an MFA in Creative Writing. Could be I simply missed it.

    1. Erika Dreifus says:

      It has been a long time since I updated this list. I’ll try to check on this matter soon.

  9. Michael Warner says:

    Also, there are several online or low residency masters programs based in the UK. And several of them are surprisingly affordable, even for international students.
    University of Gloucestershire
    University of East Anglia
    University of Glasgow
    Middlesex University
    Open University
    University of Hull
    Teesside University
    Manchester Metropolitan University
    Lancaster University
    Oxford University
    University of Cambridge
    Bath Spa University

    1. Erika Dreifus says:

      A couple of these are already mentioned on the list above. If/when I’m able to devote time to further research on the others, I’ll be happy to add them.

Comments are closed.