Low residency

The low residency model supports and mirrors the lives that professional writers actually live. It provides both a nurturing literary community, as well as time to write independently, inspired by real-world engagement.

Your two years in AULA’s MFA in Creative Writing program will be spent alternately in two rhythms:

  • Five 10-day residencies where you will attend classes at AULA’s Culver City campus, and form a collective of working writers.  The on-campus residency builds a strong literary community around engagement with language, literature, and social and aesthetic issues that working writers must confront.
  • Four 5-month-long online project periods spent in your home city (or the location of your choice), where you will write and read extensively, examining and confronting issues of tradition and craft.  The online project period pairs you with an assigned mentor (an actively publishing writer who is also an excellent teacher) and a small group of other MFA students with whom you will read and discuss a variety of books and other publications. The online project period provides you with a dedicated apprenticeship in words and craft, a time of exploration and risk-taking in your developing life as a writer.

The 10-day on-campus residencies include:

  • Faculty and guest seminars and graduating student presentations: Small and large classes on craft taught by graduating students, faculty, and visiting faculty.
  • Genre workshops: 10 hours of intensive peer and faculty review of student work.
  • One-on-one meetings with your assigned mentor: Plan out your individual study with your faculty mentor for the term.
  • Community:  Meet with students and faculty in your class and genre.
  • Readings:  Experience new work by faculty and students.

The 5-Month Project Periods include:

  • Mentor correspondence: During your time at AULA, you will select 4 to 5 different faculty mentors with whom to work.
  • Reading and writing: You’ll turn in new and revised creative work, and read to explore issues of craft.
  • Narrative critiques: Your work will be subject to constructive analysis by your instructors and peers.
  • Special projects: These may include translation projects, field study, and independent research.

Student Learning Evaluations

AULA’s low-residency MFA program is ungraded.  You will work with a different professional mentor each term, receiving detailed critiques and a final narrative evaluation that help to hone your craft.