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Creative Writing

  • Master of Fine Arts
  • Low-Residency
  • Prose and Poetry in the Expanded Field

Expand and develop your creative practice by joining our dynamic community of writers and artists. The MFA of the Americas is a two-year, low-residency program in creative writing with degrees in Prose and Poetry in the Expanded Field. Our program embraces all of the Americas, geographically and culturally, encouraging you to grow as a writer and global citizen.

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Program Overview

Designed to fit into your already full lives, the program allows learning and life to coalesce around the reading, writing, seeing and listening that shapes your work. We gather twice annually for ten days of workshops, performances and artist talks in an energizing community of writers. These residencies rotate between the Atlantic Center for the Arts in New Smyrna Beach, Florida, and various international locations in the Americas. Between residencies, students exchange original work with a faculty mentor; the program culminates in a student's final project, reading, and craft talk. You are admitted to the program primarily on the strength of your application work sample.

Course Catalog

MFA of the Americas and the Expanded Field

The MFA of the Americas is designed to bridge gaps between working and student writers/artists—across cultural and regional divides, geographic and political boundaries, artificial barriers of mode and genre, and individual and collective forms of expression. We engage artistic traditions in and beyond the US while reimagining an America inclusive of all hemispheric experiences.

Our interdisciplinary curricula in Prose and Poetry in the Expanded Field are critical to this mission. The program focuses on the rich narrative, aesthetic, and cultural traditions of the Americas, while challenging students to examine the relationship between the written word and other artistic modes: digital, cinematic, photographic, sculptural, performative, and sound.

Our students arrive from different disciplines and modalities, such as poetry, narrative prose (fiction and non-), visual art, sound, dance, social media, video, graphic design, and performance. Some are working on novels and others are creating multi-media performances, social media poetics, artist books, installation and site-specific work, videos and photographs. They are self-motivated and challenge themselves to navigate between forms, genres, and modes of art, while also gaining a solid ground in literary craft and practice. They extend the scope of what literature can be and achieve.

Residencies: During and Between

Each residency is an intensive engagement—with your own writing and that of your peers. You'll be attending small group workshops, individual mentoring sessions, craft lectures, translation workshops and performances by faculty, guests, and students. There's time for writing, cultural excursions, and talking about publishing, all while pushing you to go further and deeper with your own practice.

The Atlantic Center for the Arts

The Atlantic Center for the Arts is one of the most significant art residency sites in the United States—ideal for concentrated creation. For 10 days in January, its award-winning architecture belongs exclusively to Stetson MFA students. The site includes a sculpture studio, a painting studio, a music studio, a library, a computer studio, a dance studio and a black box theater—which you will have access to 24 hours a day.

The ACA is located in a beautiful natural preserve in New Smyrna Beach, Fla., just a short drive from the ocean. While you're responsible for your own travel to the ACA, once there, room and board are included as part of your tuition.

We are excited to re-convene at the Atlantic Center for the Arts and are currently planning an in-person residency for January 2022. However, Stetson University's COVID policy will dictate our course of action. The residency may shift to a hybrid or fully virtual medium if certain safety protocols become necessary. The MFA program is monitoring the situation and will continue to update participants as more information is available.


Every June, we meet at an international location. To prepare, faculty develop a program-wide suggested engagement list of practitioners from the host country, including writers, visual artists, musicians, filmmakers, choreographers and more. During the residency, there are craft lectures and performances by local and indigenous artists and writers. There is also ample time to explore the area's cultural and historical sites, sometimes as part of your workshop. It is intended that you use these experiences to question your work and expand your practice.

Students are responsible for covering their travel expenses, including food, during the international residences, but your hotel is included with your tuition. Enrolled students may apply for a scholarship through W.O.R.L.D.: International Learning at Stetson to help offset international travel costs.

Past and Future Summer Residencies

  • Mexico City, Mexico, June 2022
  • Online Residency, June 2021
  • Online Residency, June 2020
  • Buenos Aires, Argentina, 2019
  • Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, 2018
  • Santiago, Chile, 2017
  • San Miguel de Allende, Mexico, 2016

Between Residencies and Beyond

Between residencies, you work directly with a faculty writer, exchanging four online packets of work and reading a book list established in coordination with the instructor. In the final semester, you complete a final project, which you'll present during a fifth partial residency (two nights). The presentation includes a public reading and craft studio visit/installation. Students may opt to attend either the ACA or the international residency to present their final work.

Note: Degree Requirements provides more information.


Our faculty consists of lively and engaged writers and artists who are well-known in their fields and excellent educators. Guest scholars have included world-renowned writers and artists, such as MacArthur geniuses Edwidge Danticat and John Keene, Francisco Goldman, Patricia Engel, Ronaldo Wilson, Laura Mullen, Tracie Morris, Amaranth Borsuk, Jeffrey Renard Allen, Jessica Lee Richardson, Matt Roberts, Andrea Jeftanovic, Mike Wilson, Carlos Soto Roman, Ana María Briede, John Keene, Karen Tei Yamashita, Sergio Bessa, Erica Baum, Leonora de Barros, Ana Paula Maia, URCA Institute, Samuel R. Delany, Pola Oloixarac, Latasha N. Nevada Diggs, Sergio Vega, Douglas Kearney, Pablo Helguera, Krista Franklin and Yuri Herrera. Our experimental translation workshops are taught by writer-translators, such as John Pluecker and Poupeh Missaghi.

Our faculty are always willing to engage with prospective students who are interested in the program. You may request an appointment with a graduate faculty member and our Office of Graduate Admissions will help you confirm the appointment.

Current Faculty

What Makes Stetson's MFA Program Unique?

The MFA of the Americas meets writers where they're at while challenging students to examine their aesthetic positions and habits. You'll receive a lot of individual attention—in our small residency workshops (faculty-student ratio, 1:5), and over the course of the semester via written feedback and online meetings. A few distinguishing factors include:

  • One of the few low-residency programs that welcome experimentation, and the only program offering “Poetry in the Expanded Field” as a concentrated focus. Our Prose option allows focus on fiction, creative nonfiction and everything in between.
  • June residencies abroad, including the chance to study and connect with writers/artists from the host country.
  • January residencies at the Atlantic Center for the Arts—designed by Charles Rose Architects—including full use of their studio facilities.
  • An exploratory option, where students take courses in Poetry in the Expanded Field and Prose before deciding which they'd like to concentrate on for their final project.

Burrow Press: our in-house small press and literary journal

Founded by a Stetson MFA alum in 2010, Burrow Press moved its operations to Stetson's MFA of the Americas program in 2020. Burrow publishes award-winning poetry and prose in print, as well as online via BP Review. Students in the MFA of the Americas program have the opportunity to get hands on experience working with Burrow, and to attend quarterly workshops and talks focusing on various aspects of the publishing industry. Burrow maintains strong community ties to Central Florida and beyond, and receives vital support from its dedicated base of subscribers.

Career Outlook

In a low-residency program, many MFA students have full-time jobs; students enroll in order to gain depth and breadth in their creative practices and to broaden their professional opportunities. The MFA of the Americas, like all MFAs in the arts, is considered a terminal degree; it is thus accepted as a valid degree for teaching at the college or university level, especially when combined with a strong publication record.

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