The Master of Fine Arts in Writing for Children and Young Adults (MFAC) is part of The Creative Writing Programs (CWP) at Hamline University. The MFAC program offers an exciting opportunity to those individuals who wish to write fiction, nonfiction, and poetry for children and young adults. This program, established in 2007, is a natural extension of the Master of Fine Arts in Writing that Hamline established in 1994.
The MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults is a low-residency program that requires limited, intense periods of time on campus. Students and faculty congregate twice a year, each for eleven days. During the residencies, students attend lectures and workshops. They are then assigned to an advisor to work with throughout the semester. The low-residency model accommodates working adults and those who do not wish to or cannot relocate to attend college.
MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults Requirements (Total 52 Credits):
The usual time frame for earning the MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults degree is two years.
Five Residencies (20 credits):
Each January and July, faculty and students gather for eleven days of intensive—and exhilarating—lectures, workshops, seminars, and readings devoted exclusively to writing for children and young adults.
Our unique, comprehensive program is not defined by specific required courses, rather it examines the following subjects in depth over the period of five residencies:
* Elements of the craft
* The writing process
* Forms of writing (e.g., picture book, novel—fantasy, mystery, science fiction, historical; nonfiction; poetry, etc.)
* The history of children’s and YA literature (including classic texts)
* The business of publishing
* The writer’s life (e.g., keeping the work going, finding and then working with an agent and editor, promoting one’s work, teaching, etc.)
Children and young adult literature will be explored through a required reading list, lectures during the residencies by experts in the field, and on-line presentations given by Hamline University faculty in the School of Education. Additionally, guest presenters such as agents, editors, and publishers bring the business-of-books to real life.
Faculty, visiting writers, and graduating students deliver lectures that examine a broad range of issues for writers in the field. Workshops and seminars are led by faculty. Personal attention for students is assured by the low student-faculty ratio that is a hallmark of our program. Readings allow students and faculty alike to share their latest creative work with attentive and enthusiastic audiences. All residency events will be held on the Hamline University campus. Summer living quarters will be on the Hamline campus as well, while winter living quarters will be at a nearby hotel with shuttle-bus service provided for students and faculty to travel easily from their lodgings to campus and back. Following each residency, the student works with a faculty advisor who provides mentoring and detailed manuscript critique by way of monthly correspondence. During the final (fifth) residency, students present a formal lecture as well as a reading of their work.
Four Semesters (32 credits):
In the first two semesters, students are required to submit—in addition to their creative writing—monthly critical responses to assigned works in the field. The assigned reading is designed to provide students with pertinent lessons in craft as well as a comprehensive overview of the field of children’s literature in English. In the third semester, students must submit—in addition to their creative writing—a critical thesis of twenty or more pages on an aspect of children’s/young adult literature, or an aspect of craft or literary theory pertaining to the field. In the fourth semester, students must submit a creative thesis: a book-length manuscript of original work (e.g., poems, short stories, picture books, a novel—middle grade or young adult, creative nonfiction).
MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults Application Requirements:
- Complete application (online at http://www.hamline.edu/graduate/admission/cla/).
- Complete questionnaire.
- Critical Essay: Write a 3-4 page critical essay, focusing on an element of craft or a particular subject in a children’s or young adult book that has impressed you.
- Writing sample: Attach a writing sample in at least one of the following areas: two to three picture book stories, 20 pages middle grade prose (double-spaced,) 20 pages young adult prose (double-spaced.).
- Official, sealed transcripts from your undergraduate degree-granting institution.
- Two letters of recommendation. Request these letters from two people familiar with your academic and/or professional qualifications.
- Any supplemental materials you wish the admission committee to consider.