The Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing at OSU-Cascades is a two-year, 84 credit program divided equally between intensive ten-day residencies and term-length individual mentorships. OSU-Cascades runs on a quarter system, with mentorships in the winter and summer quarters and residencies in the fall and spring quarters. Four residency quarters and four mentorship quarters are required to graduate.

To complete the course of study for the Low-Residency MFA in Creative Writing, the student’s record must indicate the following:

  • Full participation in four residency sessions
  • Successful completion of four mentorship quarters
  • A minimum accumulation of 84 graduate credits in the following categories:
    • 48 credits in Residency (WR 500)
    • 29 credits in Mentorship (WR 513)
    • 7 credits in Thesis (WR 503)
  • Broad reading in literature and contemporary letters, as evidenced by the critical introduction to the thesis and the annotated bibliography of 15-18 texts
  • A thesis manuscript of high quality, including creative work and a critical introduction
  • Participation in Graduating Student Collaborative Capstone, as evidenced by reflective essay
  • Completion of oral examination, per graduate school guidelines

Term One: Residency
12 credits, WR 500

4 credits of Workshop with mentor
2 credits of Craft Seminar in genre (Fiction students take Narrative Foundations. Poetry students take Lyric Foundations. Creative nonfiction students get to choose. Craft seminars have a mix of first- and second-year students.)
1 credit in Literarture Seminar of choice (Students choice. Literature seminars have a mix of first- and second-year students.)
2 credits of Words In Action
2 credits of Common Vocabulary
1 credit of How To Say The Wrong Thing

Term Two: Mentorship
12 credits, WR 513

8 credits of Workshop with mentor
1 credit of Artist Life Seminar
3 credits of Peer Editorship with mentor

Term Three: Residency
12 credits, WR 500

4 credits of Workshop with mentor
2 credits of Craft Seminar in genre (Fiction students take Narrative Foundations. Poetry students take Lyric Foundations. Creative nonfiction students get to choose. Craft seminars have a mix of first- and second-year students.)
1 credit of Literature Seminar of choice (Students choice. Literature seminars have a mix of first- and second-year students.)
2 credits of Collaboration & Installation
1 credit of Compositional Improvisation
1 credit of Publishing
1 credit of Research

Term Four: Mentorship
5 credits, WR 513
4 credits of Workshop with mentor
1 credit of Artist Life Seminar

Term Five: Residency
12 credits, WR 500

4 credits of Workshop with mentor
2 credits of Craft Seminar in genre (Fiction students take Narrative Foundations. Poetry students take Lyric Foundations. Creative nonfiction students get to choose. Craft seminars have a mix of first- and second-year students.)
1 credit of Literature Seminar of choice (Students choice. Literature seminars have a mix of first- and second-year students.)
2 credits of Words in Action
2 credits of Close Reading
1 credit of How To Say The Wrong Thing

Term Six: Mentorship
12 credits, WR 513

8 credits of Workshop with mentor
1 credit of Artist Life Seminar
3 credits of Peer Editorship with mentor

Term Seven: Residency
12 credits, WR 500

4 credits of Thesis with thesis advisor
2 credits of Craft Seminar in genre (Fiction students take Narrative Foundations. Poetry students take Lyric Foundations. Creative nonfiction students get to choose. Craft seminars have a mix of first- and second-year students.)
1 credit of Literature Seminar of choice (Students choice. Literature seminars have a mix of first- and second-year students.)
1 credit of Compositional Improvisation
2 credits of Post-MFA Existence
2 credits of Collaboration & Installation

Term Eight: Thesis Mentorship
5 credits, WR 503

6 credits of Thesis with thesis advisor
1 credit of Artist Life Seminar

A Typical Day At The Residency

Morning: Workshop/ Project Planning or Elective
12-12:45 p.m.: Brown Bag Faculty Sign-Up Lunch
Afternoon: Seminar or Foundational Course
3:30-5 p.m.: Writing Time
5-6 p.m.: Free Time
6 p.m.: Dinner
Evening: Faculty reading or panel, informal social event, or homework time

Mentorship Philosophy

Mentorship relationships start during workshop in the residency term and last for two terms. Assignments are pedagogical and seek to match the particular strengths, experience and
enthusiasms of faculty and students. Students have the opportunity to work with up to four different mentors and it is expected that they will work with at least two. Unless there is some compelling pedagogical reason to do otherwise, it is assumed students will be paired with a variety of mentors throughout their course of study. Students may work in multiple genres.