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Creative Writing, MFA

Online MFA with a low-residency at the Lied Lodge

Program Description

This low-residency MFA in Creative Writing is a focused program of instruction composed of four 16-week semesters of individualized one-on-one instruction at home and five 10-day symposium-style residencies in Nebraska. 

While devoting a minimum of 25 hours per week to your studies, you will have time to maintain commitments to family or job while you pursue your literary studies within a flexible structure of writing, guided readings, and critical response.

Choose From 3 Majors

  • Fiction
  • Poetry
  • Creative Nonfiction

Low-Residency Program

Our low-residency approach combines the flexibility of an online format with the benefits of an intensive on-site experience.

The 10-day residencies (five sessions) at the Lied Lodge Conference Center in Nebraska City combine craft and theory lectures, manuscript workshops, and readings of original work to ready students for the semester ahead. Students receive three credit hours for the residency experience.

Symposia participants have the opportunity to interview Faculty Mentors and make choices regarding your preferences for the coming semester.

Nebraska City's Lied Lodge is a stunning facility with Adirondack styling set in a serene and peaceful setting. After a professionally rewarding day, participants may enjoy walking trails, fitness center, swimming pool and sauna, and other amenities.

Learn more about the residency experience >

Outstanding Faculty and Mentors

Our faculty are chosen not only for their literary and teaching accomplishments, but also because their approaches to teaching and the craft of writing coincide with our emphasis on individual mentors of each student.


Delivery Format

Home Campus: University of Nebraska Omaha

Method of Delivery: Blended Program - what's this? Some components of the program are synchronous, meaning students and instructor interact in real time. These meetings may be online or face-to-face/on campus.

All online courses are accessed via the Internet and use a learning management system. Technology requirements may vary by program and course, but all campuses have basic recommended requirements. High-speed Internet is required.

Interaction with professors and other students may include:

  • E-mail
  • Online discussion boards
  • Phone or video conferencing
  • Other forms of electronic and print communication

Supplemental materials for some courses may include:

  • Printed material and scanned documents
  • Digital resources accessed through university libraries
  • Videos accessed via the Internet, CDs or DVDs
  • Other media

To be successful, students taking online classes should be reasonably comfortable using a computer and the Internet. Learn more about online student tips for success.

Special Requirement

Students attend five 10-day symposium-style residencies in Nebraska.

Residencies are held in January and July of each year and provide an opportunity for intensive writing time along with lectures, workshops, small group activities, and Mentor interviews.

Academic Year 2015 - 2016

Tuition rates are effective for the academic year listed.  Tuition is subject to change.

Nebraska Resident:

 TuitionDistance Ed. FeeTechnology FeeLibrary FeeTotal
Per credit hour$400.00$25.00$11.00$4.00$440.00
3 credit hour$1,200.00$75.00$33.00$12.00$1,320.00


 TuitionDistance Ed. FeeTechnology FeeLibrary FeeTotal
Per credit hour$626.00$25.00$11.00$4.00$666.00
3 credit hour$1,878.00$75.00$33.00$12.00$1,998.00

Note: In addition to the costs outlined above, students will be assessed a $57.75 registration fee each semester they enroll in courses.

Students will also be assessed a Residency Meals and Lodging Fee. Please see the Admissions tab for more information.

Tuition listed in the table above is for degree area courses. Tuition for distance education courses in other subject areas, or offered by other colleges may be different. For more information visit the UNO Student Accounts page, or contact a program adviser listed on the Admissions tab of this page.

The Master of Fine Arts in Writing is a 60 credit hour degree. Choose an area of focus:

  • Fiction
  • Poetry
  • Creative Nonfiction

The program is composed of four 16-week semesters of individualized one-on-one instruction at home and five 10-day symposium-style residencies in Nebraska.

Course Name
Course #
Core Courses

Residency Session

MFAW 8700

A ten-day colloquium presenting lectures, classes, workshops, readings and individual conferences with seminar faculty. Taken 4 times, the Residency Session ends one seminar session and begins the next. The session affords students intensive contact with faculty and peers before returning to their writing projects. Prereq: Admission to MFA in Writing program. Not open to nondegree students.

Graduating Residency Session

MFAW 8710

The Graduation Residency Session is the final residency for MFA students who have successfully completed their seminars and creative thesis. In the ten days of this residency, students will give a graduating lecture, "mentor" new students in their first residency, and give a reading from their thesis. A graduating ceremony will cap their activities during this session. Prereq: Permission of Program Director. Not open to nondegree students.

Nonfiction Seminar

MFAW 8840

An individualized course in nonfiction writing. Taken four times, the seminar offers practical instruction in writing and criticism. Students will compose both original nonfiction and critical analyses of nonfiction. Prereq: Admission to the MFA in Writing program. Not open to nondegree students.

Poetry Seminar

MFAW 8820

An individualized course in poetry writing. Taken four times, the seminar offers practical instruction in writing and criticism. Students will compose both original poetry and critical analyses of poetry. Prereq: Admission to the MFA in Writing program. Not open to nondegree students.

Fiction Seminar

MFAW 8830

An individualized course in fiction writing. Taken four times, the seminar offers practical instruction in writing and criticism. Students will compose both original fiction and critical analyses of fiction. Prereq: Admission to the MFA in Writing program. Not open to nondegree students.

University of Nebraska online programs have the same quality instructional faculty as on campus; individuals from a variety of backgrounds, who embody the combined qualities resulting from research experience and professional/field experience.

This program also draws on faculty and mentors from across the country. These instructors are chosen for their professional accomplishments as well as their genuine care for our students' work.

Fred Arroyo, Faculty Mentor

Candace Black, Faculty Mentor

Pope Brock, Faculty Mentor

David Carkeet, Faculty Mentor

Allison Adelle Hedge Coke, Faculty Mentor

Richard Duggin, Program Director, Faculty Mentor

Charles Fort, Faculty Mentor

Kate Gale, Faculty Mentor

Teri Youmans Grimm, Faculty Mentor

Amy Hassinger, Faculty Mentor

Patricia Henley, Faculty Mentor

Art Homer, Graduate Chair, Faculty Mentor

William Kloefkorn, Faculty Mentor

Steve Langan, Faculty Mentor

Patricia Lear, Faculty Mentor

Jim Peterson, Faculty Mentor

John T. Price, Faculty Mentor

Richard Robbins, Faculty Mentor

Lee Ann Roripaugh, Faculty Mentor

Karen Gettert Shoemaker, Faculty Mentor

Mark Haskell Smith, Faculty Mentor

Brent Spencer, Faculty Mentor

Mary Helen Stefaniak, Faculty Mentor

Catherine Texier, Faculty Mentor

William Trowbridge, Faculty Mentor

Leigh Allison Wilson, Faculty Mentor

Charles Wyatt, Faculty Mentor

Guidelines for Admittance

To participate in this program the student must have:

  • A bachelor's degree or equivalent professional certification from an accredited college or university


Application Checklist

  1. Apply and be admitted to Graduate Studies at the University of Nebraska at Omaha.
  2. Apply and be admitted to the program:
    • Include a one- to two-page single-spaced self-assessment of your background in writing, reasons for wanting to enter the MFA program, and your goals as a writer.
      • Include a single manuscript representing your best work in the genre track (poetry, fiction or creative nonfiction) for which you are applying: 15 total pages of poetry, 30-40 total pages of fiction or nonfiction.
    • Names and e-mail addresses of three references:
      • References will be sent an online recommendation form to complete, asking for an evaluation of your ability to complete a course of graduate study, the ability to work independently, and/or the quality of your prior literary achievements. References will receive an e-mail with instructions for submission. (Please inform each of them to expect this correspondence.)
    • One set of official transcripts.
    • If your native language is not English, demonstrate English proficiency by one of the following*:

Paper-based TOEFL score of 550 or higher Internet-based TOEFL score of 79 or higher

*These minimum requirements are higher than the minimum requirements for admission to Graduate Studies.

Application Deadlines

Winter Residency and Spring Semester August 15 
Summer Residency and Fall Semester March 15 

Upon request, applications received after a priority deadline may be considered for admission in the upcoming term. Contact Jenna Lucas,, 402.554.3020 for more information.

Upon acceptance, a $500 non-refundable deposit is required to hold a student's place in the program. This deposit is applied toward the first Residency Meals and Lodging Fee. Prior to the first residency, applicants admitted to the Program will register for one residency session (3 credit hours). During the residency, students will register for the semester's distance seminar (12 credit hours).

Applicants not admitted into the program may reapply with new manuscript material after one year.

Format Requirements:

Your self-assessment statement and your manuscript sample must be submitted in your online application in .pdf format. If you are unable to submit your materials in .pdf format or have questions regarding the content of your submissions, please contact Jenna Lucas. Manuscript format should be in 12 pt. typeface with 1" margins. Poetry may be single-spaced, prose should be double-spaced, pages numbered top right, applicant's last name at top left of each page. Material in genres other than the one in which you are applying will not be read.
Applicants are admitted to the Program primarily on the basis of the original manuscript; therefore, the manuscript should exhibit sufficient quality of work, level of commitment and sophistication of skills to suggest you are ready for graduate work in writing and literature. Manuscripts are read by a panel of faculty and the Program Director to determine whether an applicant has a working understanding of the represented form, as well as whether the writing possesses the more abstract qualities of energy, enthusiasm for language, and ambitious intent. Comments made in response to application manuscripts are intended for the Program Director’s internal use and are not made available to applicants, nor can the Program Director supply individual faculty evaluations to those applicants who are denied admission. If denied admission, please wait one year to reapply.


Online Worldwide Educational Representative

Program Contact
Jenna Lucas
Phone: 402.554.3020

Military/Veteran Student Office
Phone: 402.554.2349

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