During the MFA in Creative Writing's biannual residency periods, you meet with your cohort of students, core faculty mentors, and distinguished visiting writers to sharpen your writing skills, diversify your artistic and aesthetic portfolio, establish a community of colleagues and peers, deepen your 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. Students complete approx. 10 hours of coursework per day and are required to participate fully in the entire 10-day residency for award of the term’s credit and the MFA in Creative Writing degree.

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Fall 2018: November 2-11

Spring 2019: June 7-16

Fall 2019: November 1-10

Spring 2019: June 14-23

Fall 2020: November 6-15

Spring 2020: June 12-21

Our fall residencies run the first Friday through the second Sunday in November, and our spring residencies run the second Friday through the third Sunday in June. Residencies start at 2 p.m. for new students and 4 p.m. for returning students. Residencies end at 11 a.m.


Residency Fees are $1250 and cover meals and lodging. The residency fee is due one month in advance of the residency.

Payments may be made to the Office of Enrollment Services via check, money order or credit card.

If you are paying by mail, please send either check or money order, payable to OSU-Cascades. Include your OSU ID number and “MFA residency” in the memo area on your payment. (Your ID number is included in your university admission letter and on the registration instruction sheet.) Our mailing address is:

Office of Enrollment Services
1500 SW Chandler Avenue
Bend, OR 97702

Receipt of your payment will be mailed to your current mailing address unless you request a different address with your payment.

To pay via credit card, please call enrollment services at 541-322-3100. Whoever answers the phone can help you. However, you will need to know your OSU ID and say specifically that the payment is for MFA residency fees. Otherwise the payment will get credited to your student account and untangling that with the business office could be next to impossible.


Our residencies happen in a glorious natural landscape. All students and faculty live, learn, and create together at the Caldera Arts Center, located in an old-growth forest on the shores of Blue Lake on the east side of the Cascade mountain range, on the edge of the High Desert Plains. We write in a place that offers opportunities for contemplation, encounters with other species, long walks in the woods, and forays to small towns and other places unique to the region.


Redmond Airport (RDM) is approx. 20 miles from Bend. Airport rides will be coordinated for students arriving by 12 p.m. on the first day of the residency and for students with flights scheduled after 2 p.m. on the last day of the residency. Students arriving outside these times, or to a different airport (Portland), must arrange their own transportation to Caldera.


Breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks are provided. Lunch and dinner are important socializing opportunities for all students and faculty and are provided by a private chef using high-quality locally-sourced food. Dietary requirements are due two months before the residency.

What To Pack

Mountain weather is very unpredictable so please pack: layers, waterproof gear, good walking/hiking shoes, a headlamp or flashlight, allergy and/or sinus medication and so forth.
Lodging is communal, so please pack a bathrobe and plan to share bathrooms with your colleagues. Printing is available, but we advise that you print as much as possible in advance of the residency. Lunch, dinner and coffee are provided by OSU-Cascades; you will have the opportunity to purchase extra provisions on our group excursion from Bend to Caldera. Caldera is a remote location 13 miles from Sisters. Please plan to bring everything you think you will need to live, work, and create comfortably for 10 days. Specifically:

1) SHOES. Only bring shoes in which you can walk on gravel, mud and dirt, as you will be doing so several times each day between the lodging and class buildings.
2) HEADLAMP or FLASHLIGHT. (It gets very dark at night and there is no lighting between buildings.)
3) BATHROBE. Bathrooms are shared and in the hall.
4) COMFORTABLE LAYERS. The weather changes often and rapidly, and there are no closets or hangers, so don't bring clothes that need to be hung up.

Cell Phones

Cell phone service is limited at Caldera Arts; there is good WIFI, however, so plan to contact your family and friends via email and/or Skype.


At both OSU-Cascades and Caldera Arts, we are committed to creating an alcohol-free environment. You may bring and drink your own alcohol; please note, however, that unless otherwise noted our curricular events are alcohol-free. Those non-curricular events during which alcohol is permitted are BYOB.

Mentorship Logistics

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.

At the end of each residency, students work with their mentors to complete a project plan, which is an individualized syllabus for the upcoming mentorship term.

The Project Study Plan includes:

  • a project descriptions (300-500 words)
  • 5 genre-specific learning objectives
  • 5 learning objectives general to the craft of creative writing
  • a statement of your primary ambition for this mentorship (100 words or less)
  • a reading list (6 texts that will be included in the annotated bibliography)
  • a statement about how you will practice the writing life (250-400 words)
  • a detailed schedule for packet exchange between student and mentor, along with the method of submission.