Although MFA students are accepted into the program in a single genre (poetry, fiction, creative nonfiction or writing for young people), they have many opportunities to read, write, and study multiple genres, as well as to explore the relationships among them. Lectures and faculty-led seminars often pull material from two or more disciplines—for instance, poets might talk about rhythm in fiction; creative nonfiction writers might address the importance of staging a scene. Our faculty members publish successfully in multiple genres and are often glad to support students in their cross-genre explorations. Reading assignments during the project period may pull from any genre, or film and music—if relevant to the student’s exploration of craft. And every seminar and lecture during the residency is open to all students, regardless of the genre they are studying during the ensuing project periods.


The fiction program is staffed by well-published short story writers and novelists who participate in small workshops during each on-campus residency and mentor a different group of students during each online project period. Our mentors represent a wide range of aesthetics and interests, and are committed to the mentorship process. Students in fiction submit new and revised pages each month, along with book annotations and ongoing craft dialogue. Meet our faculty.


Poetry students work with risk-taking faculty who offer diverse perspectives on what poems are and how to write them. Poetry students write and rewrite. In their assigned readings they engage issues of contemporary literature and craft, as well as develop knowledge of poetic traditions. Monthly packets of writing range in size from 7-20 pages, with numerous book or craft-focused annotations. Meet our faculty.

Creative Nonfiction

Our creative nonfiction program admits students who are committed to writing compelling, energetic work in this innovative genre, which includes literary reportage, memoir, biography, travel writing, magazine writing, and the essay. Students read widely, exploring the techniques that make creative nonfiction resonate and signify. Our outstanding and generous faculty provide detailed critiques on new and revised work, annotations, and craft considerations each month. Meet our faculty.

Writing for Young People

Writing for Young People students learn the craft of writing for children and young adults, and explore the art of creative collaboration. Illustrators, editors, and agents serve as MFA guest faculty during each 10-day on-campus residency, as well as mentors during the 5-month online Project Periods. Meet our faculty.

Genre Jumping—Mixed Genre Experience

During a student’s second or third term at AULA, they may transfer into a second genre for the length of the semester—while still completing the program on time.

Dual Concentration—Double-Genre

Students may choose to spend an extra semester at AULA so that they may graduate with a dual concentration, spending three terms in the primary entering genre, and two terms in the alternate genre.

Post-MFA Certificate in the Teaching of Creative Writing

AULA’s low-residency MFA program offers a one-semester post-graduate program that is unique among low-residency MFA formats—a certificate in creative writing pedagogy that blends theory with practice, providing MFA graduates with supervised teaching experience in their home communities. The post-MFA certificate program helps writers who aspire to teach, but who lack the knowledge of instructional methodology and practical teaching experience, become more competitive on the job market. The program also offers experienced instructors an opportunity for professional development and potential advancement. Learn more about about the Post-MFA in Teaching of Creative Writing.