For Teachers with the Souls of Writers

The First (and only) MA in Creative Writing and Literature for Educators

Expressly designed for high school teachers – as well as aspiring teachers and professors – this advanced degree nurtures your writing while giving you practical tools for using creative writing in the classroom and for teaching literature from a writer’s point of view.

The program is fully online except for one three-day on-campus residency in late June. You’ll never have to compromise your day job! Working at your own pace, you can finish the program in two years or take up to five.

During this year’s online residency, you’ll meet our faculty and fellow students from near and far, and spend time with a distinguished Visiting Writer. Our residency is a program highlight. It’s where students make lasting, supportive relationships with one another and their professors.

Welcome to our community of writers and teachers at Fairleigh Dickinson University!

Program Goals

  • We’ll take your creative writing abilities to the next level, whatever your level. (We admit students from relative beginners to published authors with multiple books to their credit.) Our writing faculty are National Book Award and Pulitzer Prize finalists; no matter how much experience you have, they’ll be able to help you develop your writing, and market it professionally if you so choose. A basic assumption we make is that being a writer makes you a more effective reader and teacher of literature: you’ll combine your “writerly” insight into process with “readerly” critical approaches to form and content.
  • We’ll train you to be a confident, constructive, and versatile teacher of creative writing. We want you to be comfortable teaching all the four main genres of creative writing — fiction, poetry, creative nonfiction, and drama — and responding helpfully to student work. This program is the perfect preparation if you want to start to teach creative writing, and is the natural next step in professional development if you already do.
  • We’ll train you to be a master interpreter of literature, who can use creative approaches and creative assignments to get their students fired up and thinking deeply about challenging texts. We’re sensitive to the demands of Common Core and your local curricula, and we’ll help you work within those constraints to get superior results.

Admission Requirements

Students holding undergraduate degrees from an accredited four-year institution in the U.S. or abroad may apply. 

When to Apply

Applications are accepted on a rolling basis. Applicants can apply by the deadlines below to begin the program according to the timeframe that best meets their schedule. If you would like up-to-date information about the exact dates for the next residency or any session, please email gradwriting@fdu.edu.

Application Deadlines: 

  • Apply by August 1 – Fall semester, begin the program in late August
  • Apply by December 1 – Spring semester, begin the program in late January 
  • Apply by April 1 – First summer session, begin the program in mid-May
  • Apply by May 15 – Second summer session, begin in mid-June

     

The upcoming 2023 residency dates will be June 24th to 26th

How to Apply

Complete the Graduate Admissions form and upload the following documents:

  • A Personal Statement. In at least a couple of paragraphs, and at most a page or two, tell us about your professional background and why you think the program will be a good fit for you. Give us a sense of who you are, and what your goals are, as a teacher and a writer.
  • A Writing Sample. We also want a sense of how you write. One short story, one chapter of a novel, a few poems, one act of a play, or one article or course paper is a good length – but use a piece you have edited, not a first draft.
  • Your Transcript verifies your BA or BS degree.
  • Fill out a FAFSA online ASAP if you are interested in financial aid.
  • GRE and other test scores are NOT required.
  • Letters of recommendation (personal, professional, or academic) are welcome but are NOT required.
  • The program is housed on the Florham Campus in Madison, NJ.

Degree Plan

The first foundational course — Reading Like a Writer — introduces the practice of writerly exegesis and the focus on how meaning is created. Students tell us that the residency is the program’s highlight. It’s where students meet their professors and classmates, make long-term connections, and participate in insightful workshops that will give you tools to bring back to your classroom and use in your own writing. The subsequent writing courses are designed specifically to provide both a creative and writerly/analytical experience in each of the major genres the educators are likely to see in student work. The literature courses offer greater breadth and enriched understanding and connection to the advanced readerly aspects of the literature often taught in high school. Specifically, they address:

  • Areas of the traditional high school curriculum (Shakespeare, young adult literature),
  • Non-Western literature (African writers, world literature),
  • Cross/intercultural literature (ethnic American literature), and

To earn the MA degree, students must attend the three-day residency (2 credits) and complete the following seven courses (four credits each) for a total of 30 credits:

  • Foundation Course: Reading Like a Writer
  • Four Writing/Critiquing Courses (one from each genre below)
  • Two Literature Courses (on any topic of interest to you)

Residency and Foundation Course

Writing/Critiquing Courses

Literature Courses

Special Information

Our tuition is at a deeply discounted rate to accommodate educators.

Program Faculty

Course Descriptions

  • CWLT8000 3 day residency for the MA in Creative Writing and Literature.

  • CWLT8001 This course focuses on reading in a writerly way ? exploring how meaning is created from a writer?s perspective. The emphasis is on close reading and careful analysis of the bones of the text ? structure (narrative, poetic, dramatic), point of view, style, tone, diction, sound, etc.

  • CWLT8101 In this course, students will create and revise a short work of fiction. The emphasis is not on the completed product but rather on the strategies of critiquing and revision that are developed through common readings and discussions. To that end, students and instructor will comment on both the writing and the critiques in on-line workshops. Critiques of the writing use close reading to focus on writerly issues of structure, point of view, style, tone, diction, etc. Commentary on the critiques will focus on usefulness to the writer and to work.

  • CWLT8102 In this course, students will create and revise two poems. The emphasis is not on the completed product but rather on the strategies of critiquing and revision that are developed through common readings and discussions. To that end, students and instructor will comment on both the writing and the critiques in on-line workshops. Critiques of the writing use close reading to focus on writerly issues of structure, prosody, line, style, tone diction, etc. Commentary on the critiques will focus on usefulness to the writer and to the work.

  • CWLT8103 Students create and revise a short work of non-fiction. The emphasis is not on the completed product but rather on the strategies of critiquing and revision that are developed through common readings, discussions and critiques in on-line workshops. Critiques of the writing use close reading to focus on writerly issues of structure, point of view, style, tone, diction, etc.

  • CWLT8104 Students create and revise a short screenplay or stage play. The emphasis is not on the completed product but rather on the strategies of critiquing and revision that are developed through common readings, discussions and critiques in on-line workshops. Critiques of the writing use close reading to focus on writerly issues of dramatic structure, point of view visual storytelling, dialog, style, etc.

  • CWLT8207 Survey of young adult literature of the mid to late 20th century. Examines how this relatively new genre reflects growing changes within culture and society. We will read classics and novels that are standard in high school curricula and consider issues including transition to adulthood, sexuality, conflicts between youth and parents, fantasy, responsibility, and authority.

  • CWLT8209 Focusing on short stories written in the last few decades, we will emphasize unique features of the form, along with elements of craft that it shares with other narrative genres. We will study works from a variety of national traditions, in English and translation, asking how cultural identity effects setting, character, conflict, and theme.

  • CWLT8221 This course looks at modern and contemporary fantasy along with older stories: myth, folklore, and medieval literature. Sometimes this old material is an immediate source - as in Tolkien or CS Lewis, who were both professional medievalists - and sometimes the relationship is more diffuse, but still instructive. We will trace the emergence of the fantasy genre, and look at major fantasy phenomena (Lord of the Rings, Harry Potter, Games of Thrones, D&D and its derivatives - some familiarity with these will be expected) as well as lesser-known works that present a particular interest. We will also discuss relevant issues in theory. The goal is to develop practices for teaching the new through the lens of the old, and vice versa, and to equip you more richly to craft your own works of fantasy.