Master of Arts in Creative Writing

Online MA in Creative Writing

Saint Leo University’s low-residency Master of Arts in Creative Writing gives aspiring fiction writers, essayists, memoirists, and poets the tools to begin a new phase of their creative life as a professional writer.

Our low-residency format provides extreme flexibility for working adults, meaning that you can pursue your writing goals without interrupting your existing commitments to career, community, and family. Students spend one week each summer in an intensive residency, return home to work on their own creative projects in a one-on-one mentor relationship with a published writer of national reputation.

Designed to be completed in just two calendar years, the 36-hour master’s degree requires three summer residencies, four semesters of study, and a book-length thesis of the student’s creative work.

  • Students come to University campus for a single, weeklong residency each July. The 2017 residency is scheduled for July 15-22.
  • Saint Leo’s is the only M.A. program in the nation with an optional track of study in war literature and writing for veterans.
  • At just $615 per graduate credit hour, the Saint Leo M.A. offers an affordable way for apprentice writers to explore and enhance their creative lives.

How the Program Works

The program begins with an eight-day annual residency, held on the Saint Leo University Campus, located in suburban Tampa. The residency is designed as an immersive and contemplative retreat; the daily schedule includes a workshop where a faculty mentor leads small groups of students in discussing their own creative work. The rest of the day is divided between lectures, talks on issues of craft in creative writing, and panel discussions, each led by a faculty member, a distinguished visiting writer, or a professional in the writing field, such as an editor or literary agent. Each day ends with a reading by an M.A. faculty member or a visiting writer; these events are free and open to the public.

At the residency, students meet one-on-one with a faculty mentor to design an annual work plan. These plans are specifically tailored to the individual and help guide each student on a unique path to the completion of the program. Then, during the fall and spring semesters, students complete course work from home, communicating with fellow students and mentors online.

In a writing workshop course, each student creates and refines original work in fiction, poetry, or nonfiction. Each workshop is paired with a foundations course, where students read both contemporary and classic examples of writing in their chosen genre of study. In their fourth semester, students work on compiling, revising and editing their creative work into a master’s thesis. Students complete their degree requirements in a third and final summer residency, each giving a public reading from their work and leading a seminar on a subject of literary interest for the other students in the program.

 


Degree Requirements

Creative Writing Core (9 credits)

  • Course
  • Course Name
  • Credits
  • CRW 5011 Theory & Practice Creative Writing I 3

    This survey of both canonical and contemporary prose and poetry offers a focused study of the best writing in both genres. The course will include intensive reading and short critical analysis essays based on the reading list established by the mentor. The reading list will include, but not be limited to, works based on the optional thematic strand of war literature. This course is repeated three times for a total of 9 credit hours. Course numbers will be CRW-5011, CRW-5012, CRW-5013.

  • CRW 5012 Theory & Practice Creative Writing II 3

    This survey of both canonical and contemporary prose and poetry offers a focused study of the best writing in both genres. The course will include intensive reading and short critical analysis essays based on the reading list established by the mentor. The reading list will include, but not be limited to, works based on the optional thematic strand of war literature. This course is repeated three times for a total of 9 credit hours. Course numbers will be CRW-5011, CRW-5012, CRW-5013.

  • CRW 5013 Theory & Practice Creative Writing III 3

    This survey of both canonical and contemporary prose and poetry offers a focused study of the best writing in both genres. The course will include intensive reading and short critical analysis essays based on the reading list established by the mentor. The reading list will include, but not be limited to, works based on the optional thematic strand of war literature. This course is repeated three times for a total of 9 credit hours. Course numbers will be CRW-5011, CRW-5012, CRW-5013.

Creative Writing Workshops (12 credits)

  • CRW 5101 Workshop in Poetry I 3

    This course focuses on the production of new work and the fundamentals of craft in poetry. The course emphasizes writing exercises and the review of draft poems, as well as the critical analysis of poems and works on craft written by professional, established poets. Students and faculty mentors negotiate an individual semester work plan that includes the production of new poems, craft exercises, and close reading in poetry. Students will participate in peer/mentor review workshops and receive feedback on their work. The class accommodates veteran writers who are participating in the MA program’s optional thematic strand of writing for veterans and the study of war literature. Course may be repeated with course numbers CRW-5102, CRW-5103, CRW-5104.

    Prerequisites: Prerequisites: CRW 5011 - Theory & Practice of Creative Writing

  • CRW 5102 Workshop in Poetry II 3

    This course focuses on the production of new work and the fundamentals of craft in poetry. The course emphasizes writing exercises and the review of draft poems, as well as the critical analysis of poems and works on craft written by professional, established poets. Students and faculty mentors negotiate an individual semester work plan that includes the production of new poems, craft exercises, and close reading in poetry. Students will participate in peer/mentor review workshops and receive feedback on their work. The class accommodates veteran writers who are participating in the MA program’s optional thematic strand of writing for veterans and the study of war literature. Course may be repeated with course numbers CRW-5102, CRW-5103, CRW-5104.

    Prerequisites: Prerequisites: CRW 5011 - Theory & Practice of Creative Writing

  • CRW 5103 Workshop in Poetry III 3

    This course focuses on the production of new work and the fundamentals of craft in poetry. The course emphasizes writing exercises and the review of draft poems, as well as the critical analysis of poems and works on craft written by professional, established poets. Students and faculty mentors negotiate an individual semester work plan that includes the production of new poems, craft exercises, and close reading in poetry. Students will participate in peer/mentor review workshops and receive feedback on their work. The class accommodates veteran writers who are participating in the MA program’s optional thematic strand of writing for veterans and the study of war literature. Course may be repeated with course numbers CRW-5102, CRW-5103, CRW-5104.

    Prerequisites: Prerequisites: CRW 5011 - Theory & Practice of Creative Writing

  • CRW 5104 Workshop in Poetry IV 3

    This course focuses on the production of new work and the fundamentals of craft in poetry. The course emphasizes writing exercises and the review of draft poems, as well as the critical analysis of poems and works on craft written by professional, established poets. Students and faculty mentors negotiate an individual semester work plan that includes the production of new poems, craft exercises, and close reading in poetry. Students will participate in peer/mentor review workshops and receive feedback on their work. The class accommodates veteran writers who are participating in the MA program’s optional thematic strand of writing for veterans and the study of war literature. Course may be repeated with course numbers CRW-5102, CRW-5103, CRW-5104.

    Prerequisites: Prerequisites: CRW 5011 - Theory and Practice of Creative Writing

  • CRW 5201 Workshop in Fiction I 3

    This course focuses on the production of new work and the fundamentals of craft in fiction. The course emphasizes writing exercises and the critical analysis of novels, stories, and works on craft written by professional, established fiction writers. Students and faculty mentors negotiate an individual semester work plan that includes the production of new stories or novel chapters, craft exercises, and close reading in fiction. Students will participate in peer/mentor review workshops and receive feedback on their work. The class accommodates veteran writers who are participating in the MA program’s optional thematic strand of writing for veterans and the study of war literature. Course may be repeated with course numbers CRW-5202, CRW-5203, CRW-5204.

    Prerequisites: Prerequisites: CRW 5011 - Theory and Practice of Creative Writing

  • CRW 5202 Workshop in Fiction II 3

    This course focuses on the production of new work and the fundamentals of craft in fiction. The course emphasizes writing exercises and the critical analysis of novels, stories, and works on craft written by professional, established fiction writers. Students and faculty mentors negotiate an individual semester work plan that includes the production of new stories or novel chapters, craft exercises, and close reading in fiction. Students will participate in peer/mentor review workshops and receive feedback on their work. The class accommodates veteran writers who are participating in the MA program’s optional thematic strand of writing for veterans and the study of war literature. Course may be repeated with course numbers CRW-5202, CRW-5203, CRW-5204.

    Prerequisites: Prerequisites: CRW 5011 - Theory and Practice of Creative Writing

  • CRW 5203 Workshop in Fiction III 3

    This course focuses on the production of new work and the fundamentals of craft in fiction. The course emphasizes writing exercises and the critical analysis of novels, stories, and works on craft written by professional, established fiction writers. Students and faculty mentors negotiate an individual semester work plan that includes the production of new stories or novel chapters, craft exercises, and close reading in fiction. Students will participate in peer/mentor review workshops and receive feedback on their work. The class accommodates veteran writers who are participating in the MA program’s optional thematic strand of writing for veterans and the study of war literature. Course may be repeated with course numbers CRW-5202, CRW-5203, CRW-5204.

    Prerequisites: Prerequisites: CRW 5011 - Theory and Practice of Creative Writing

  • CRW 5204 Workshop in Fiction IV 3

    This course focuses on the production of new work and the fundamentals of craft in fiction. The course emphasizes writing exercises and the critical analysis of novels, stories, and works on craft written by professional, established fiction writers. Students and faculty mentors negotiate an individual semester work plan that includes the production of new stories or novel chapters, craft exercises, and close reading in fiction. Students will participate in peer/mentor review workshops and receive feedback on their work. The class accommodates veteran writers who are participating in the MA program’s optional thematic strand of writing for veterans and the study of war literature. Course may be repeated with course numbers CRW-5202, CRW-5203, CRW-5204.

    Prerequisites: Prerequisites: CRW 5011 - Theory and Practice of Creative Writing

  • CRW 5301 Workshop in Nonfiction I 3

    This survey of both canonical and contemporary texts offers a focused study of creative nonfiction designed to reinforce the relationship between close reading and the production of new work. Students examine the emergence of the genre in a historical context from Montaigne’s essays to contemporary texts. Students read from an individual reading list developed in consultation with the faculty mentor. The course will include intensive reading, response essays, and short critical analyses. Students will complete a longer critical paper on a specific topic that emerges from their reading experience. The reading list will include, but not be limited to, works based on the optional thematic strand of war literature. Courses may be repeated with course numbers CRW-5302, CRW-5303, CRW-5304.

    Prerequisites: Prerequisites: CRW 5011 - Theory and Practice of Creative Writing

  • CRW 5302 Workshop in Nonfiction II 3

    This survey of both canonical and contemporary texts offers a focused study of creative nonfiction designed to reinforce the relationship between close reading and the production of new work. Students examine the emergence of the genre in a historical context from Montaigne’s essays to contemporary texts. Students read from an individual reading list developed in consultation with the faculty mentor. The course will include intensive reading, response essays, and short critical analyses. Students will complete a longer critical paper on a specific topic that emerges from their reading experience. The reading list will include, but not be limited to, works based on the optional thematic strand of war literature. Courses may be repeated with course numbers CRW-5302, CRW-5303, CRW-5304.

    Prerequisites: Prerequisites: CRW 5011 - Theory and Practice of Creative Writing

  • CRW 5303 Workshop in Nonfiction III 3

    This survey of both canonical and contemporary texts offers a focused study of creative nonfiction designed to reinforce the relationship between close reading and the production of new work. Students examine the emergence of the genre in a historical context from Montaigne’s essays to contemporary texts. Students read from an individual reading list developed in consultation with the faculty mentor. The course will include intensive reading, response essays, and short critical analyses. Students will complete a longer critical paper on a specific topic that emerges from their reading experience. The reading list will include, but not be limited to, works based on the optional thematic strand of war literature. Courses may be repeated with course numbers CRW-5302, CRW-5303, CRW-5304.

    Prerequisites: Prerequisites: CRW 5011 - Theory and Practice of Creative Writing

  • CRW 5304 Workshop in Nonfiction IV 3

    This survey of both canonical and contemporary texts offers a focused study of creative nonfiction designed to reinforce the relationship between close reading and the production of new work. Students examine the emergence of the genre in a historical context from Montaigne’s essays to contemporary texts. Students read from an individual reading list developed in consultation with the faculty mentor. The course will include intensive reading, response essays, and short critical analyses. Students will complete a longer critical paper on a specific topic that emerges from their reading experience. The reading list will include, but not be limited to, works based on the optional thematic strand of war literature. Courses may be repeated with course numbers CRW-5302, CRW-5303, CRW-5304.

    Prerequisites: Prerequisites: CRW 5011 - Theory and Practice of Creative Writing

Creative Writing Foundations (12 credits)

  • ENG 5101 Foundations in Poetry I 3

    This survey of both canonical and contemporary texts offers a focused study of poetry designed to familiarize students with the major poetic movements in literary history, and to reinforce the relationship between close reading and the production of new work. Students read from an individual reading list developed in consultation with the faculty mentor. The course will include intensive reading, response essays, and short critical analyses. Students will complete a longer critical paper on a specific topic that emerges from their reading experience. The reading list will include, but not be limited to, works based on the optional thematic strand of war literature. Course may be repeated with course numbers ENG-5102, ENG-5103, ENG-5104.

  • ENG 5102 Foundations in Poetry II 3

    This survey of both canonical and contemporary texts offers a focused study of poetry designed to familiarize students with the major poetic movements in literary history, and to reinforce the relationship between close reading and the production of new work. Students read from an individual reading list developed in consultation with the faculty mentor. The course will include intensive reading, response essays, and short critical analyses. Students will complete a longer critical paper on a specific topic that emerges from their reading experience. The reading list will include, but not be limited to, works based on the optional thematic strand of war literature. Course may be repeated with course numbers ENG-5102, ENG-5103, ENG-5104.

  • ENG 5103 Foundations in Poetry III 3

    This survey of both canonical and contemporary texts offers a focused study of poetry designed to familiarize students with the major poetic movements in literary history, and to reinforce the relationship between close reading and the production of new work. Students read from an individual reading list developed in consultation with the faculty mentor. The course will include intensive reading, response essays, and short critical analyses. Students will complete a longer critical paper on a specific topic that emerges from their reading experience. The reading list will include, but not be limited to, works based on the optional thematic strand of war literature. Course may be repeated with course numbers ENG-5102, ENG-5103, ENG-5104.

  • ENG 5104 Foundations in Poetry IV 3

    This survey of both canonical and contemporary texts offers a focused study of poetry designed to familiarize students with the major poetic movements in literary history, and to reinforce the relationship between close reading and the production of new work. Students read from an individual reading list developed in consultation with the faculty mentor. The course will include intensive reading, response essays, and short critical analyses. Students will complete a longer critical paper on a specific topic that emerges from their reading experience. The reading list will include, but not be limited to, works based on the optional thematic strand of war literature. Course may be repeated with course numbers ENG-5102, ENG-5103, ENG-5104.

  • ENG 5201 Foundations in Fiction I 3

    This survey of both canonical and contemporary texts offers a focused study of fiction designed to reinforce the relationship between close reading and the production of new work. Students will examine the development of the novel in literary history, as well as the emergence of the short story as an art form. Students read from an individual reading list developed in consultation with the faculty mentor. The course will include intensive reading, response essays, and short critical analyses. Students will complete a longer critical paper on a specific topic suggested by their reading experience. The reading list will include, but not be limited to, works based on the optional thematic strand of war literature. Course may be repeated with course numbers ENG-5202, ENG-5203, ENG-5204.

    Prerequisites: Prerequisites: CRW 5011 - Theory and Practice of Creative Writing

  • ENG 5202 Foundations in Fiction II 3

    This survey of both canonical and contemporary texts offers a focused study of fiction designed to reinforce the relationship between close reading and the production of new work. Students will examine the development of the novel in literary history, as well as the emergence of the short story as an art form. Students read from an individual reading list developed in consultation with the faculty mentor. The course will include intensive reading, response essays, and short critical analyses. Students will complete a longer critical paper on a specific topic suggested by their reading experience. The reading list will include, but not be limited to, works based on the optional thematic strand of war literature. Course may be repeated with course numbers ENG-5202, ENG-5203, ENG-5204.

    Prerequisites: Prerequisites: CRW 5011 - Theory and Practice of Creative Writing

  • ENG 5203 Foundations in Fiction III 3

    This survey of both canonical and contemporary texts offers a focused study of fiction designed to reinforce the relationship between close reading and the production of new work. Students will examine the development of the novel in literary history, as well as the emergence of the short story as an art form. Students read from an individual reading list developed in consultation with the faculty mentor. The course will include intensive reading, response essays, and short critical analyses. Students will complete a longer critical paper on a specific topic suggested by their reading experience. The reading list will include, but not be limited to, works based on the optional thematic strand of war literature. Course may be repeated with course numbers ENG-5202, ENG-5203, ENG-5204.

    Prerequisites: Prerequisites: CRW 5011 - Theory and Practice of Creative Writing

  • ENG 5204 Foundations in Fiction IV 3

    This survey of both canonical and contemporary texts offers a focused study of fiction designed to reinforce the relationship between close reading and the production of new work. Students will examine the development of the novel in literary history, as well as the emergence of the short story as an art form. Students read from an individual reading list developed in consultation with the faculty mentor. The course will include intensive reading, response essays, and short critical analyses. Students will complete a longer critical paper on a specific topic suggested by their reading experience. The reading list will include, but not be limited to, works based on the optional thematic strand of war literature. Course may be repeated with course numbers ENG-5202, ENG-5203, ENG-5204.

    Prerequisites: Prerequisites: CRW 5011 - Theory and Practice of Creative Writing

  • ENG 5301 Foundations in Nonfiction I 3

    This survey of both canonical and contemporary texts offers a focused study of creative nonfiction designed to reinforce the relationship between close reading and the production of new work. Students examine the emergence of the genre in a historical context from Montaigne’s essays to contemporary texts. Students read from an individual reading list developed in consultation with the faculty mentor. The course will include intensive reading, response essays, and short critical analyses. Students will complete a longer critical paper on a specific topic that emerges from their reading experience. The reading list will include, but not be limited to, works based on the optional thematic strand of war literature. Courses may be repeated with course numbers ENG-5302, ENG-5303, ENG-5304.

    Prerequisites: Prerequisites: CRW 5011 - Theory and Practice of Creative Writing

  • ENG 5302 Foundations in Nonfiction II 3

    This survey of both canonical and contemporary texts offers a focused study of creative nonfiction designed to reinforce the relationship between close reading and the production of new work. Students examine the emergence of the genre in a historical context from Montaigne’s essays to contemporary texts. Students read from an individual reading list developed in consultation with the faculty mentor. The course will include intensive reading, response essays, and short critical analyses. Students will complete a longer critical paper on a specific topic that emerges from their reading experience. The reading list will include, but not be limited to, works based on the optional thematic strand of war literature. Courses may be repeated with course numbers ENG-5302, ENG-5303, ENG-5304.

    Prerequisites: Prerequisites: CRW 5011 - Theory and Practice of Creative Writing

  • ENG 5303 Foundations in Nonfiction III 3

    This survey of both canonical and contemporary texts offers a focused study of creative nonfiction designed to reinforce the relationship between close reading and the production of new work. Students examine the emergence of the genre in a historical context from Montaigne’s essays to contemporary texts. Students read from an individual reading list developed in consultation with the faculty mentor. The course will include intensive reading, response essays, and short critical analyses. Students will complete a longer critical paper on a specific topic that emerges from their reading experience. The reading list will include, but not be limited to, works based on the optional thematic strand of war literature. Courses may be repeated with course numbers ENG-5302, ENG-5303, ENG-5304.

    Prerequisites: Prerequisites: CRW 5011 - Theory and Practice of Creative Writing

  • ENG 5304 Foundations in Nonfiction IV 3

    This survey of both canonical and contemporary texts offers a focused study of creative nonfiction designed to reinforce the relationship between close reading and the production of new work. Students examine the emergence of the genre in a historical context from Montaigne’s essays to contemporary texts. Students read from an individual reading list developed in consultation with the faculty mentor. The course will include intensive reading, response essays, and short critical analyses. Students will complete a longer critical paper on a specific topic that emerges from their reading experience. The reading list will include, but not be limited to, works based on the optional thematic strand of war literature. Courses may be repeated with course numbers ENG-5302, ENG-5303, ENG-5304.

    Prerequisites: Prerequisites: CRW 5011 - Theory and Practice of Creative Writing

Creative Writing Thesis (3 credits)

  • Course
  • Course Name
  • Credits
  • CRW 601 Preparing the Master's Thesis 3

    24 hours of graduate credit; to be taken in second semester of second year only. Students in this course prepare a draft final thesis, a book-length collection of original creative work that is part of the capstone experience of the Master’s program. An acceptable thesis is defined as 48-64 pages of original poetry, or a substantially complete work of prose (regardless of genre) ranging from 125-300 pages. The course will also focus on the thesis as a marketable work product; students will research markets for publication in their genre of concentration and prepare excerpts for submission and possible publication. Students compile a draft version of the thesis at the end of the term; the revised thesis will be submitted during their final on-campus residency, and a public reading from the thesis will be given.

Total Credits 36