Program Details

OSU-Cascades’ Low-Residency MFA in Creative Writing is a two-year 54-74 credit program comprised of synchronous virtual classes, asynchronous coursework, and four ten-day residencies.

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
  • An accumulation of 54-74 graduate credits*
  • Completion of ethics training seminar
  • 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 literary merit and publishable quality
  • Completion of oral examination, per graduate school guidelines

Year One*

Fall - 10 Weeks

Residency 1

Winter - 10 Weeks

Spring - 10 Weeks Residency 2 Summer - 10 Weeks

Reading for Writers (3)

Mentoring Meetings

Compassionate Critique (3)

Workshop (3)

Mentoring Meetings

Critical Studies 1 (2)

Foundations 1 (3)

Program One-Read with Distinguished Visiting Writer (DVW)

Critical Studies 2 (2)

Foundations 2 (3)

Program One-Read with Distinguished Visiting Writer (DVW) Independent Study (1-3)
Independent Study (1-3) Participation in Events/Community Engagement Independent Study (1-3) Independent Study (1-3) Concentrated Writing Time  
  DVW Seminar     DVW Seminar  
6-9 credits   5-8 credits 6-9 credits   3-5 credits


Year Two*

Fall - 10 Weeks

Residency 3

Winter - 10 Weeks

Spring - 10 Weeks Residency 4 Summer - 10 Weeks

Adv. Workshop 1 (3)

Mentoring Meetings

Foundations 4 (3)

Adv. Workshop (3) Mentoring Meetings Thesis (6-9)

Foundations 3 (3)

Participation in Events/Community Engagement

Critical Studies 4 (2)

Pedagogy or Publishing (one-class required) (2)

Concentrated Writing Time

Pedagogy or Publishing (optional) (2)
Critical Studies 3 (2) Program One-Read with Distinguished Visiting Writer (DVW) Independent Study (1-3) Revision (2) Program One-Read with Distinguished Visiting Writer (DVW)  
Independent Study (1-3) DVW Seminar   Independent Study (1-3) DVW Seminar  
8-11 credits   5-8 credits 7-10 credits   6-11 credits

*Subject to change.

Mentor meetings are part of the MFA experience and allow students to interact 1:1 with faculty and are crucial to students’ development as writers. Faculty will coach students through the creation of new material and the revision of existing material, help students connect what they are reading to what they are writing, and provide substantial and consistent feedback on students’ material.

Residencies consist of three major components: scheduled academics, writing time and creative exploration events.

During these biannual residency periods, students meet with their cohort of students, core faculty mentors, and distinguished visiting writers. Students should expect to sharpen writing skills, diversify portfolios, establish a community of colleagues and peers, deepen understanding of the writing life and explore the craft of creative writing from a variety of perspectives.

These writing retreats seed conversations between students and their faculty mentors and also, significantly, between students across all genres of study.

Example residency day:

  • Morning: optional special topic workshop (topics vary and are unique to faculty interests) or 1:1 faculty mentor meeting.
  • Lunch or dinner with the program or your cohort
  • Evening literary event
  • Plenty of free time for writing, exploring and meeting with faculty or peers.

This is an example and subject to change.

Workshops (3 credits)

WR 529 Intro to Workshop (all genres)
WR 530 Intro to Writing Poetry
WR 531 Intro to Writing Fiction
WR 532 Intro to Writing Nonfiction
WR 533 Advanced Poetry Writing (2 req)
WR 534 Advanced Fiction Writing (2 req)
WR 535 Advanced Nonfiction Writing (2 req)
WR 539 Creative Writing Workshop in Spanish

Genre-based craft series (3 credits)

WR 554 Fiction Foundations 1: Narrative Conventions
WR 555 Fiction Foundations 2: Short Fiction
WR 556 Fiction Foundations 3: Narrative Design
WR 557 Fiction Foundations 4: Experimental Forms
WR 558 CNF Foundations 1: Narrative
WR 559 CNF Foundations 2: Documentary
WR 560 CNF Foundations 3: Lyric
WR 561 CNF Foundations 4: Experimental
WR 550 Foundations in Poetry 1: Prosody
WR 551 Foundations in Poetry 2: Transnational Translations
WR 552 Foundations in Poetry 3: Poetics
WR 553 Foundations in Poetry 4: Experimental Forms

Critical Studies series (2 credits)

WR 570 Critical Studies: Reading Difference, Power & Privilege
WR 571 Critical Studies: Writing Difference, Power & Privilege)
WR 572 Critical Studies: Community Engagement
WR 574 Critical Studies: Critical Introduction

1st Year Courses

WR 528 Compassionate Critique (2 Credits)
WR 526 Reading for Writers (3 Credits)

2nd Year Courses (2 credits)

WR 536 Revision Workshop
WR 538 Pedagogy Workshop
WR 542 Publishing Workshop

Directed & Independent Studies
Thesis (6-9 credits)
WR 502 Independent Study (1-3 credits)
WR 599 Special Topics (1-3 credits)

  • Produce and defend an original significant contribution to knowledge
  • Demonstrate mastery of subject material
  • Conduct scholarly or professional activities in an ethical manner