Program in Creative Writing and Poetics Graduate Programs Naropa University

Program in Creative Writing and Poetics Graduate Programs Naropa University

Boulder, CO
student ratio
total students
Not Reported
average amount to complete degree
January 15
fall application deadline
acceptance rate
1 Degree Offered
degrees offered


Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing and Poetics Degree Program at Naropa University

Naropa University offers a Master of Fine Arts (M.F.A.) in Creative Writing and Poetics degree program that combines rigorous academics with contemplative practice to cultivate highly-skilled writers and scholars who make a difference in the world.

The program's curriculum consists of specialized writing workshops about poetry, prose, and cross-genre composition and courses in contemplative practice, letterpress printing, pedagogy, and publishing. It also includes contemplative practices -- like meditation, tai chi chuan, aikido, and yoga -- that lead to greater self-awareness, inner wisdom, mindfulness, and compassion.

This unique curriculum enables students to design individualized courses of study that reflect their artistic, literary, and personal goals.

M.F.A. in Creating Writing and Poetics Degree Program Curriculum

The 2-year M.F.A. in Creative Writing and Poetics degree program consists of 48 credits of courses.

Students take 9 credits of writing workshops, 9 credits of poetics seminars, and 12 credits in the Summer Writing Program. Additionally, they complete 3 credits of contemplative practice, 3 credits of professional development (teaching or publishing), and 6 credits of electives.

They also complete theses (6 credits) that involve writing book-length creative manuscripts and critical research poetics essay.

Summer Writing Program

The Summer Writing Program takes place over 4 weeks during each summer of the M.F.A. degree program. It consists of workshops, lectures, panels, readings, special events, individual meetings with guests, and other events.

It allows students to engage in the composition of poetry, cross-genre study, inter-arts, prose fiction, translation, and writing for performance. It also gives students the opportunity to network with renowned guest faculty members and speakers including fiction writers, poets, scholars, translators, performance artists, activists, printers, and editors.

Poetics Emphasis

The M.F.A. in Creative Writing and Poetics degree program at Naropa University is 1 of the only graduate writing programs in the nation to focus on poetics as well as creative writing.

Poetics pertains to a theoretical and contemplative structure for writing in any genre. It allows for discourse about aesthetic practice and the critical inquiries that prompt that practice.

Teaching Opportunities

M.F.A. degree program students have the opportunity to hone their teaching, activist, and leadership skills while helping others learn the craft of writing. Positions include instructors, lecturers, panelists, and faculty member liaisons.

Students may also participate in project outreach in which they lead creative writing workshops at local schools and other institutions.

In addition to providing hands-on experience and networking opportunities, some of these positions provide course credits and monetary compensation.

Publishing Opportunities

Naropa University offers M.F.A. degree program students several opportunities to gain real-world experience with writing, editing, and publishing.

For example, students assist with editing the "Bombay Gin," the literary journal of the Kerouac School, which administers the program. They also write for and edit the "Summer Writing Program Magazine" and publish magazines like the "Monkey Puzzle," "Fact-Simile," "Belladonna," and "Hot Whiskey."

In addition, students learn about fine craft letter press printing through the Harry Smith Print Shop and Kavyayantra Press.

Reading Opportunities

Students have many opportunities to share their work with others and engage in literary discussions.

For example, they can participate in 4X4 Student Readings. This collaboration between Naropa University, University of Denver, Colorado State University, and University of Colorado allows M.F.A. and Ph.D. degree program students to meet quarterly at the host university to read their works.

Students may also showcase their works at M.F.A. Readings and the annual Women of Naropa Reading.

Financial Aid at Naropa University

Naropa University provides several forms of financial aid for students in the M.F.A. in Creative Writing and Poetics degree program. It awards scholarships like the Ted Berrigan Scholarship, Robert Creeley Scholarship, and Zora Neale Hurston Scholarship.

It also awards fellowships to students who exhibit promise in experimental/innovative writing. Recipients receive full funding (tuition and fees), stipends, and graduate instructor positions.

Additionally, Naropa offers administrative, instructive, and research graduate assistantships that provide tuition remission.

Esteemed Faculty Members

Faculty members -- like Michelle Naka Pierce, M.F.A. -- are publishing writers who receive numerous grants and recognitions and lecture and perform internationally. They are also dedicated to helping their students excel academically, professionally, and personally.

Ms. Pierce, a core associate professor and director of the Kerouac School, is an award winning poet who has authored 4 chapbooks and 4 full-length books. Junior Burke, M.F.A., is also a core assistant professor whose published works include "Something Gorgeous," a novel that examines the world behind F. Scott Fitzgerald's "The Great Gatsby."

Andrea Rexilius, M.F.A, Ph.D., is professor of writing and poetics and Summer Writing Program coordinator. Her published works include "Half of What They Carried Flew Away" and "To Be Human Is to Be a Conversation."

Naropa University

Naropa University -- a Buddhist-inspired, liberal arts university -- offers education aimed at cultivating the mind, body, and heart. It provides more than 1,000 students rigorous academics, contemplative practice, faculty member mentoring, and community engagement opportunities.

Students gain deeper understanding of themselves and the world, and they learn to communicate effectively and think critically. As a result, they graduate with the skills and maturity to create fulfilling careers, lead meaningful lives, and improve the lives of others.

Naropa is located in beautiful Boulder, Colorado, in the western region of the United States.

Location & Contact

Program in Creative Writing and Poetics

Graduate Programs
Naropa University

2130 Arapahoe Avenue
Boulder, CO 80302-6697
United States

Ms. Bhanu Kapil

Dean, Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics

Phone: 303-245-4629

Office of Admissions

Phone: 303-546-3572
Fax: 303-546-3583

Request More Info

Degrees & Award

  • Degrees Offered
    • Major Degree Levels Offered
    • Writing Master of Fine Arts (MFA)
  • Degrees Awarded
    • Master's Degrees 22
    • Doctoral Degrees Not reported
    • First Professional Degrees Not reported
    • Other Advanced Degrees Not reported
    • * Shows the number of degrees awarded for the last academic year that data was reported.
  • Earning Your Degree
    • Part-time study available? No
    • Evening/weekend programs available? No
    • Distance learning programs available? No
    • Terminal master's degree available? Not reported
  • Degree Requirements
    • Master's Degrees
    • Doctoral Degrees Not reported
    • First Professional Degrees Not reported
    • Other Advanced Degrees Not reported


63% of applicants are admitted.
  • Acceptance Rate
    • Applied 57
    • Accepted 36
    • Acceptance Rate 63
    • Enrolled 13
  • Applying
    • Application Fee - Domestic $60
    • Application Fee - International $60
    • Electronic applications accepted? Yes
    • Applications processed on a rolling basis? Yes
  • Application Deadlines
    • Type Domestic International Priority Date
    • Fall deadline January 15th January 15th Yes
    • Winter deadline Not Reported Not Reported Not Reported
    • Spring deadline October 15th October 15th Yes
  • Entrance Requirements
    • Master's Degreesresume, 2 letters of recommendation, transcripts, statement of interest, and 10-15 page writing sample, phone interview
    • Doctoral's DegreesNot Reported
    • First-Professional's DegreesNot Reported
    • Other Advanced DegreesNot Reported
    • International DegreesTOEFL required, 600 paper based, TOEFL iBT

Tuition & Fees

  • Tuition & Fees *
    • Tuition & FeesNot Reported
    • *Average dollar amount (tuition & fees) required to complete the degree
  • Financial Support
    • Financial award applicants must submitFAFSA
    • Application deadlines for financial awardsMarch 1
    • Types of financial support availableFellowships, Research Assitantships, Tuition Waivers, Career or Field-Related Internships, Financial Support for Part-time Students, Scholarship and/or loans, Graduate Assistantships

Student Body

  • Gender
    • Total Graduate Students35
    • Female Percentage54%
    • Male Percentage46%
  • Participation
    • Total Graduate Students35
    • Part-time Percentage31%
    • Full-time Percentage69%
  • Ethnicity
    • Hispanic / Latino18%
    • Black / African American3%
    • White / Caucasian68%
    • American Indian / Alaskan Native0%
    • Asian0%
    • Native Hawaiian / Other Pacific Islander0%
    • Two or more races6%
    • Unknown5%


  • Faculty Breakout
    • Total Faculty10
    • Full-time Percentage60%
    • Part-time Percentage40%
    • Female Percentage70%
    • Male Percentage30%



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