Low Residency MFA in Creative Writing

Dominican offers a unique low-residency MFA in Creative Writing, located in the vibrant community of the San Francisco Bay Area. Along with tracks in poetry, fiction, and creative nonfiction, our program offers an optional emphasis in narrative / poetic medicine—the only such MFA track in the country. Whatever your literary ambitions, our program will move your writing forward.
MFA June 2018 - meadowlands porch .jpg

The low residency MFA in Creative Writing degree can be completed in two years through distance mentorship and twice yearly campus residencies.

As an aspiring memoirist and poet, I’ve been instantly immersed in an environment of intense work and reflection – with great artists reflecting back - which has seen my work improve immeasurably.

Rob Hotchkiss
MFA Creative Writing Student
Class of 2019

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Writing for Renewal

Joan BaranowDirector's Message
"As we take pause from our whirlwind academic year, I’d like to celebrate the first birthday of our fledgling MFA program..." Read More

The act of writing can effect powerful change in perception and feeling—our low-residency MFA program is geared towards this change. Writing may be a personal journey of discovery or may arise from a desire to change the course of our literary heritage. Renewal is central to the work of all writers and poets, whether it be forging a new poetics or delving into forbidden subject matter.

In addition to the genres of Poetry, Fiction, and Creative Nonfiction, we offer an optional track in Narrative/Poetic Medicine. “Writing for Renewal” brings together poets and writers who seek to explore the illness story. Recent years have seen the publication of profound medical memoirs, authored by patients, nurses, and doctors alike. Changes in healthcare practices--most notably the electronic medical record--have worked to sideline the human relationship central to the healing arts. Patients and caregivers have turned to writing as a place to reclaim their story.

The Low Residency Format

The university lays claim to an unsurpassed geographical location, a gorgeous campus, convenience to airports and public transportation, comfortable dorms, and a dedicated faculty who are published writers and poets.

The low-residency MFA program consists of twice yearly residencies and semester distance mentorships, allowing you to advance your writing career without disruption to your family or job.

Low Residency MFA in Creative Writing Degree Requirements

You will complete five on-campus residencies, three summer and two winter, over the course of two years. The 11 day summer residency and the 8 day winter residency consist of morning workshops, afternoon talks, and evening readings. Four semesters of distance mentorship give you a personalized academic experience based on your unique writing goals. You share work with faculty through a mutually agreed upon mode of communication, whether that be through our online Moodle platform, video chat, campus meetings for local students, or even snail mail. Online chats and video conferencing keep you in touch with your fellow students and faculty.

Our Residencies

Nature is never far away. Sisters Creek runs through the campus. Mount Tamalpais can be seen in the distance. Muir Woods, Stinson Beach, and Point Reyes National Seashore are less than an hour away.

Residencies offer group workshops, tutorials, craft lectures, and readings, all designed to prepare you for your semester work. You meet with your mentor to receive detailed feedback on your writing, set goals, and design an individualized syllabus for the upcoming semester. These gatherings will also give you the opportunity to build a literary community with fellow writers and poets. The schedule allows for casual meetings with faculty and guest speakers, as well as opportunities to read your work at local venues.

During the summer residencies, students stay at Edgehill Village, a suite-style dorm featuring a central living room, two bedrooms, and a shared bathroom. Meals are served in the campus dining hall. Conlan Recreation Center offers workout rooms and an outdoor pool. During winter residencies, students are housed in accommodations close to campus.

Winter 2018 Residency
Saturday, January 6th - Saturday, January 13th

Summer 2019 Residency
June dates TBA

Finca Window

Writing Retreat at the Finca

Midway through the program, students may apply for an extended writing retreat at the Finca, an historic brickworks nestled among olive and almond groves. Located in Castile-La Mancha, one hour outside Madrid, the Finca provides a perfect backdrop for a sustained period of reflection for writing.

Wolf Ridge Press Partnership

In partnership with Wolf Ridge Press, MFA students will have the opportunity to participate in all aspects of seeing a book through to publication, from reviewing manuscript submissions to collaborating on cover art. Each year WRP sponsors the Narrative/Poetic Medicine Prize, a chapbook competition for a manuscript that illuminates the life-changing events of illness and recovery. We honor poems that push the imagination to unexpected places, that delight us with clear soundings of the human voice, and that ultimately usher us to a place of healing.

Public Events

Afternoon talks and evening readings are open to the public for a fee.  Visit our Public Events Schedule page for more information.

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