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University of California, Riverside – Low Residency MFA

Contact Information

75080 Frank Sinatra Drive
Palm Desert, CA 92211

P: 760-834-0926
E: [email protected]

Degree Type


Application Deadline

Spring intake: February 01 -- Fall intake: August 01


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The low residency MFA in creative writing and writing for the performing arts takes a 21st century approach to the graduate degree in creative writing. Our philosophy is simple: We presume you’re here to learn not just how to write but also how to publish and produce. In that light, our focus is on getting your work out of the classroom and into the real world — you’re going to be read not only by the award-winning writers on our faculty, but also by top industry professionals in publishing, television and film. These are the literary agents, editors, producers and show runners who are essential to the next phase of your writing career and who make up our guest faculty each residency. Our goal is to help you find the best way into your story and, in the process, provide you with the tools to make a lasting career in the arts.

We offer majors in fiction, nonfiction, poetry and screenwriting, as well as all forms within those genres — including (though not limited to) literary and commercial fiction, memoir and narrative nonfiction, contemporary and experimental poetry, blockbuster and independent film, dramatic and comedic television. Each of our students also has the opportunity to work in a secondary genre of his or her choice (including playwriting) for the first six quarters, either effectively as a minor where the focus will be a single secondary genre or by dipping their toes into a different form each term. This is central to our philosophy of helping you to become a well-rounded professional writer — one who is capable of a sustained career by being skilled in more than one arena, so that you’re always able to find the right medium for the stories you wish to tell. It’s the touchstone of our program and of our exceptionally successful graduates.

We’re also home to The Coachella Review, an online literary magazine boasting excellent fiction, nonfiction, poetry and writing on the arts. The Coachella Review is student edited and features an intensive magazine publishing compendium for interested students.

Students work one-on-one with their professors during the course of seven quarters of online study and five concentrated 10-day residencies at the beautiful Rancho Las Palmas Resort & Spa, just minutes from Palm Springs, California. We recommend that you visit our residency page to see our most recent guest faculty line-up, as well as to get a flavor for what you can expect from a typical residency week — it’s a jam packed time, but also, we think, the best time of the year! During the final thesis residency, all students have their thesis manuscripts read by agents, producers and publishers. Visit our blog for up-to-date news, events and updates. And please feel free to contact us with any questions you might have or to set up a residency visit.

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