AUSB’s MFA in Writing and Contemporary Media program is a low residency program that is made up of 48 academic units distributed across four semesters. Every semester begins with a 7 or 8-day residency. Each semester continues using Antioch University’s virtual learning environment (i.e., Sakai) for the remainder of the term. Students will also be required to attend a 3-day Graduation Residency to make a final presentation of a portion of their Thesis Project.
The Residency is an essential part of the AUSB MFA experience. Students spend an intensive week immersed in craft seminars, writing workshops, and developing an individualized reading and writing plan for the coming semester under the guidance of a mentor who is an expert in the student’s chosen genre of writing. Residencies also typically include guest artists. Recent guest artists include Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist and screenwriter Richard Russo and acclaimed screenwriter Leslie Dixon.
Students attend four full residencies, one before each of the four semesters of the program. After the end of the fourth semester, students attend a fifth “graduation residency” for 3 days where they will each present a portion of their final manuscript and attend a graduation ceremony.
After each residency, students return home and begin a 20-week project period. During this time, each student will submit 5 packets of work to their mentor. Each packet will contain 25-30 pages, which will include both scholarly and creative writing. Students will read at least two books, plays or screenplays during each packet period, and will write short annotations of each work read.
During the student’s final two semesters, they will create a final manuscript or project appropriate to their chosen genre. For example, a screenwriter would create a polished draft of a feature-length screenplay. Or a TV writer might create a pilot script for a series as well as a second episode script. For emerging media, the length and format of the project will be determined in consultation with a faculty mentor.