The program begins with an eight-day annual residency, held on
the Saint Leo University Campus, located in suburban Tampa. The
residency is designed as an immersive and contemplative retreat;
the daily schedule includes a workshop where a faculty mentor leads
small groups of students in discussing their own creative work. The
rest of the day is divided between lectures, talks on issues of
craft in creative writing, and panel discussions, each led by a
faculty member, a distinguished visiting writer, or a professional
in the writing field, such as an editor or literary agent. Each day
ends with a reading by an M.A. faculty member or a visiting writer;
these events are free and open to the public.
At the residency, students meet one-on-one with a faculty mentor
to design an annual work plan. These plans are specifically
tailored to the individual and help guide each student on a unique
path to the completion of the program. Then, during the fall and
spring semesters, students complete course work from home,
communicating with fellow students and mentors online.
In a writing workshop course, each student creates and refines
original work in fiction, poetry, or nonfiction. Each workshop is
paired with a foundations course, where students read both
contemporary and classic examples of writing in their chosen genre
of study. In their fourth semester, students work on compiling,
revising and editing their creative work into a master’s thesis.
Students complete their degree requirements in a third and final
summer residency, each giving a public reading from their work and
leading a seminar on a subject of literary interest for the other
students in the program.