The MFA in Creative Writing program now offers a year-long, intensive certificate program titled The Prologue. As an introduction to the MFA, The Prologue is a 12-credit post-baccalaureate program that provides creative writers of all levels with two semesters of rigorous, graduate-level one-on-one mentorship to help them jumpstart or finish a book-length project. Students receive individualized guidance from experienced MFA faculty members and authors who provide in-depth feedback to help develop and edit works in progress.
The Prologue certificate program is perfect for writers interested in pursuing an MFA in creative writing but who want to gain a better understanding of the experience prior to enrolling. It is also ideal for MFA graduates who have already earned their master’s degree but are working on a new project for which they are seeking feedback. Students interested in pursuing their MFA will be able to transfer their 12 credits toward a Master of Fine Arts degree at Fairfield upon completing their certificate.
The cost for the 12-credit Certificate in Creative Writing program is based on the $700 per-credit cost of the MFA program tuition.
Structure: The coursework for each semester is a six-credit individual mentorship. This is delivered remotely, with no need to come onto campus. Students are assigned a mentor from the MFA faculty roster, and the mentor contacts the student to start coursework. This may consist of developing short pieces, starting a new work, or revising works in progress. Since the focus is on the student's writing, the student gets to decide where to focus his or her energy. This programming is the same structure of the MFA coursework, minus the assignment of outside readings and craft commentary work.
Process: After a student enrolls, they work with a faculty member to outline a plan for the semester. If, for example, a certificate student wants to work on a novel manuscript, the student may start the semester by sending the mentor the work in progress for the first submission so that the mentor can make overall comments on the work At four times during the semester the student sends the mentor a "packet" consisting of about 20 pages of writing for prose or an agreed-upon number of poems for poetry. The packet is sent either by post or by email depending on the mentor's preference. The mentor then sends back comments in the form of line edits and a global letter of commentary offering suggestions for development of the piece. After the student has had time to digest the comments, the mentor and student arrange for a time to talk via phone or Skype to answer questions. These can be any questions that have been raised for the student about the work in progress or writing in general. This process is then repeated three more times per semester.
Can I stop the program after one semester? Yes, you can pause the certificate program at any time. You can complete one semester or two semesters.
How are mentors selected? After a review of student writing, the MFA Director consults with faculty members to assign a student to an appropriate mentor in genre.
Is financial aid available? Yes. Because you will be taking six credits of graduate coursework, you are eligible for financial aid through Fairfield University. Please contact Financial Aid for more information.
Can I work on more than one genre of writing? Yes, definitely. Let us know when you apply that you are interested in doing so, and we can assign you a mentor who has expertise in the range of writing you'd like to work on.
Can I work on screenplays or plays? Yes! We have mentors in those areas as well.
I loved the certificate and want to continue. How do I enroll in the MFA program? Students wishing to transfer credit into the MFA program from the certificate program should contact the MFA director after they have completed 12 credits. A student will then fill out a formal application to the MFA program (admission is not guaranteed based upon completion of the certificate). If accepted, the student will then complete one 3-credit independent study in directed reading, which will get them ready for the MFA. At that point they will have earned one semester toward the MFA and will have 3 semesters to go to complete the degree.
If I feel I am not yet ready for an MFA, will the certificate program help me get ready? Yes, definitely. A focused period of working with a mentor is the perfect preparation for work in a low-residency program.
I've already done an MFA. Can I do the certificate program if I've got a book manuscript and need feedback? Yes; this need was one of our main goals to meet when we started the program. Our faculty members are experts at diving into well-developed book projects and offering high-level commentary. As in the MFA, we meet each student where they are and offer them feedback and support to reach the next level of their goals.
If you have any other questions, please feel free to contact the MFA program director.