What is your application deadline?
All admitted students begin our program by attending the June
residency. We accept applications on a rolling basis through May 1
What does “low-residency” mean?
Simply, Saint Leo’s low-residency degree is a family- and
career-friendly option for graduate study. Instead of relocating to
attend a full-time graduate program, you attend classes on campus
for just one eight-day period annually in June. The remainder of
your course work is completed from home.
Low-residency degrees are particularly attractive to students
who have career, community or family commitments that make quitting
a job and relocating across the country impractical or even
impossible. Many low-residency programs require two residencies per
year, the Saint Leo M.A. requires just one, making it that much
When is the residency?
We hold a single eight-day residency each summer. Dates will be
posted on the website. The inaugural residency is July 14-21,
What does a typical residency day look
Each day is divided into several different sessions. Students
attend a workshop where they create and refine their own fiction,
poetry, or creative nonfiction. We eat lunch together as a
community on campus. Our faculty and visiting writers lead
lectures, craft talks, and discussions on topics ranging from
canonical literature to more practical matters, all with a focus on
teaching the student how to enter the world of writing
professionally. After a dinner break, students return for readings
by distinguished visiting writers and Saint Leo graduate creative
How selective is your program?
Our goal is to create and maintain a sense of community and
shared endeavor between all of the working artists in our program.
The most important part of the application is your own creative
work; the admissions committee, comprised of faculty who teach in
the program, looks at the writing sample and the student’s personal
statement to assess whether the student has the ability to complete
the thesis, the book-length creative project that is the cumulative
result of the student’s workshop experience.
How many students do you admit? How many are
enrolled in your program?
We are a new program. Our goal is to admit an initial cohort of
around 15 students.
What can I expect from a low-residency
Students who choose a low-residency program for graduate study
do not come from any specific demographic, ranging from recent
college graduates, to working professionals seeking to explore new
career options, through retirees pursuing the long-deferred dream
How long is the program?
Our program is designed to be completed in just two calendar
years. It requires 36 graduate credit hours of study. Students
attend four semesters of study, plus three summer residencies.
What will I write for my workshops?
We offer tracks of study in fiction, poetry, and creative
nonfiction. Within each of those genres, the possibilities are
endless. We do not favor any particular school of writing. Our main
focus is helping each student improve through a program tailored to
their own unique goals.
Why does Saint Leo award a Master of Arts (M.A.) instead
of a Master of Fine Arts (M.F.A.)?
The ability to produce concise and thoughtful written work is a
fundamental skill not just for fiction writers, essayists, and
poets, but also for successful professionals in almost any field.
This is in keeping with the mission of Saint Leo University, which
fosters a student-centered environment in which the love of
learning is of prime importance.
The reasons someone pursues a graduate degree in the arts are as
varied as the students who seek those degrees. Our degree is aimed
primarily at students who are approaching writing as a type of
personal development, or those who are just beginning their
exploration of the writing life. That means our community is one
that offers mentorship and supportive critique, and provides models
of the professional writing life in all its various forms, helping
students build a base of skills in the study of both writing and
The M.A. at Saint Leo offers a broad approach to preparation for
a possible writing career, requiring not only creative work but
also the study of literature. These literature courses, called
foundations courses, give an M.A. student a sense of both the
historical and contemporary trends in their chosen genre of study.
While the M.F.A. has been considered a terminal degree in the past,
many writers—especially those who wish to teach at the university
level—elect to continue their studies through the doctoral
I’ve been out of college for a long time. Is the Saint
Leo M.A. right for me?
Saint Leo is a national leader in providing educational options
for students of all types. All our programs are designed to assist
professionals in meeting challenging career goals, and to prepare
them for the rapidly changing world in which they live and work.
But there is no “typical” low-residency student; the community is
necessarily diverse in age and background, but it is very much a
community, bound together by a shared love of writing and a desire
to pursue personal development.
How can I pay for my Master’s degree?
As you explore your continuing education, costs need not be an
obstacle. The Saint Leo M.A. is an affordable advanced degree,
costing as much as 50 percent less than degrees at other
Financial aid programs are available and there are ways to help
you finance your educational investments. It may be helpful to know
that there are federal student loan programs for graduate and
professional students. Graduate students may be eligible for up to
$20,500 in Unsubsidized Direct Loans.
Applying for financial aid is easy! The only application you
need is the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), which
can be completed online at www.fafsa.ed.gov.
Alternate ways to finance your education
Saint Leo University students can use SALT, the free program
that helps students manage their loans and finances, budget
efficiently, and find scholarships and internships. www.saintleo.edu/SALT.