Saint Leo Introduces Graduate Program in Creative Writing and Special Track for Writing for Veterans

April 22, 2016

Saint Leo University is launching a new, low-residency graduate program in creative writing that will offer students individualized instruction and the support to create a book-length work. 

The program, which confers the Master of Arts degree, is meant to be completed in two years.  Students complete 36 hours of graduate study in fiction, poetry, or creative nonfiction. In an option unique to the Saint Leo program, those who are interested in writing about war experiences will select one of those genres, but instead of taking generalized writing courses within their specialty, they will enroll in courses in fiction, creative nonfiction, or poetry that reflect wartime or post-war experiences.

Students will emerge with the skills to pursue a professional writing career; further graduate study in English or creative writing; a possible teaching career; or their own, individual goals, buoyed by their new expertise and confidence.

Saint Leo University President William J. Lennox Jr. said the new program fits well with Saint Leo’s initiatives in artistic pursuits. “Our new creative writing program will serve two of Saint Leo’s most important constituencies. Hosting program activities furthers our development as one of Tampa Bay’s cultural hubs. Also, the optional track of study in war literature with writing by and for veterans helps reinforce our historically strong ties with the men and women of our armed services,” said Dr. Lennox.  

The MA program begins with a single eight-day residency, July 16 to 23, 2016, at Saint Leo’s University Campus in Central Florida. Students review their own creative styles and work methods, meet one-on-one with a faculty member who will help students design an annual work plan, go to lectures, and attend readings from accomplished writers.Student -shot -at -reading -event

Semester work follows the initial residency, with most work completed online via one-on-one mentoring by a writer of national repute. Students also communicate with other students by whatever means they choose. In all, students complete four semesters of course work, attend three summer residencies, and produce a thesis that is a book-length project of their own work.

“Our program opens the door to a life in writing,” said Dr. Steve Kistulentz, program director and Saint Leo associate professor of English. “Its intimate size and its focus on one-on-one mentoring are ideal for working professionals. And the individualized attention students receive from faculty means that whether you graduated from college yesterday or 40 years ago, you’ll get the support you need to pursue your writing goals.”

The university anticipates that many of the program’s students will come from Southern states within easy flying or driving distance of the scenic University Campus.  

Tuition is $595 per credit hour for the 2016-2017 academic year, and the overall tuition cost of the program is about one-third less than that of similar programs at many other private institutions. Unsubsidized loans may be available.

Accreditation of the program is pending with the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).*

For more information on the program and application procedure, please visit: /admissions/graduate/creative-writing.aspx

Saint Leo’s University Campus is also the home of the annual, one-day Sandhill Writers Retreat held each May. For more information on that event, visit: /academics/schools/school-of-arts-sciences/the-sandhill-writers-retreat.aspx

*The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges can be contacted at 1866 Southern Lane, Decatur, GA 30033-4097/ or call (404) 679-4500.

Media contact: Interviews with Dr. Kistulentz are available. Contact Jo-Ann Johnston, Saint Leo academic communications manager, at (352) 588-8237, or by email at