Master of Arts in Creative Writing


Saint Leo University’s low-residency Master of Arts in Creative Writing gives aspiring fiction writers, essayists, memoirists, and poets the tools to begin a new phase of their creative life as a professional writer.

Our low-residency format provides extreme flexibility for working adults, meaning that you can pursue your writing goals without interrupting your existing commitments to career, community, and family. Students spend one week each summer in an intensive residency, return home to work on their own creative projects in a one-on-one mentor relationship with a published writer of national reputation.

Designed to be completed in just two calendar years, the 36-hour master’s degree requires three summer residencies, four semesters of study, and a book-length thesis of the student’s creative work.

    • Students come to University campus for a single, weeklong residency each July. The 2017 residency is scheduled for July 15-22.

    • Saint Leo’s is the only M.A. program in the nation with an optional track of study in war literature and writing for veterans.

    • At just $615 per graduate credit hour, the Saint Leo M.A. offers an affordable way for apprentice writers to explore and enhance their creative lives.

How the Program Works

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.


One of the top-ranked universities in Florida, Saint Leo is a Catholic, liberal arts school serving learners of all faiths.

We are traditional, but we are cutting edge

Established in 1889 by the Order of Saint Benedict of Florida, the university seeks balanced growth in mind, body and spirit for all members of our community. Saint Leo has grown from a peaceful campus in the rolling hills of Central Florida to an institution of international consequence—ranked one of the best regional universities in the South by U.S. News & World Report.

Our Tampa-area campus remains committed as ever to student-centered liberal arts education, and is strengthened by the global reach of our regionally accredited online programs and Education Centers in seven states across the U.S., including on many military bases.

We are Catholic, but we are for everyone

Our determination to make higher education more accessible to all has made Saint Leo a world leader in redefining the 21st century university. Saint Leo now serves more than 14,000 students from 49 states and 86 countries—ranking us among the five largest Catholic higher education institutions in the United States. Saint Leo is also one of the nation's 10 leading providers of higher education to the U.S. military.

While we are proudly Catholic, we teach students not because they are Catholic, but because we are Catholic. And our faith compels us to imagine and contribute to a more socially just society.

Ranked One of the Best Regional Universities in the South




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"Saint Leo has been named a Top 10 Gold-level Military Friendly® School for 2017, and was cited as one of the ‘best of the best."

- Dr. William J. Lennox, Jr.
  President, Saint Leo University
  LTG(R), U.S. Army


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