MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults
Young readers matter. That's why Hamline offers one of only three nationwide programs devoted exclusively to writing for children and young adults.
Dive deep into your chosen format—whether it’s picture books, young adult fantasy, or something else—and work one-on-one with faculty members who are award-winning authors in their own right.
Twice each year, you’ll join other students and our faculty for in-depth lectures, workshops, and readings devoted to writing for children and young adults. Faculty, visiting writers, and graduating students give readings, deliver lectures, and conduct seminars that provide real-world tools for success.
You’ll join a community of learners who offer direction, camaraderie, and support to each other throughout the program and after. You’ll also be able to take advantage of the literary bounty of the Twin Cities' many publishing houses.
Writing for Young Adults MFA program highlights
|Can I enroll even if I live in another state?||With our flexible, low-residency program, you come to our campus just twice a year: Once in January and once in July for 11 days each. You'll do the rest of your work online, wherever you live.|
|When can I start?||With two start dates per year, you can start the next journey in your career as a writer as soon as possible.|
|How long will it take to earn my degree?||Earn your degree in two years—that's four semesters, and five residencies.|
Residencies and semester work
Your core curriculum will develop over the course of five residencies and be executed throughout your four semesters. You'll accomplish your residency work each January and July in 11-day sessions, through lectures and intensive mini-courses taught by core faculty and guest lectures from visiting writers, agents, and editors. Past visiting writers have included Lois Lowry, Rebecca Albertalli, Libba Bray, and others.
Each of your residencies will focus in part on one of the five major elements that cross over all forms and genres: Plot, character, point of view, setting and world building, and theme. Other lectures and mini-courses focus on additional aspects of the core curriculum, including craft techniques (e.g., writing effective dialogue, the use of time in fiction, beginnings and endings, picture book dummy workshop, first chapters, mythological structures, humor writing, the musicality of language, deep revision, etc.). You'll read and discuss common books selected by the faculty that are directly relevant to the primary craft element being explored.
In the mornings, you'll participate in daily, two-hour workshop sessions led by faculty advisors. These sessions develop your ability to provide constructive feedback on your peers' work and receive and integrate feedback into your own writing.
Students who have completed their third semesters present a short lecture based on the material in their extended critical essays, while fourth semester students give a public reading from their critical theses.
During summer residencies, all new students and faculty participate in a multi-session diversity workshop entitled “Not Other, But Us: Writing with Insight and Empathy.”
Your residency work continues over the ensuing semester as you write and rewrite, practicing and refining the lessons you learned during residencies and through your reading. Your faculty advisors, assigned during the residency, will guide your work in this period. Faculty advisors are assigned based on availability, student choice, and content and genre.
Hamline’s faculty/student ratio ranges from 3:1 to 5:1.
Each month during the semester, you'll send your faculty advisors a packet that includes creative writing, critical work, and short bibliographic annotations of books from the required reading list. Your faculty advisors will return these packets with extensive feedback and recommendations for further work.
During your first semester, you'll be introduced to the craft and process of writing for children and/or young adults. You can choose to focus on any of the genres taught in the program.
Second and third semesters
During your second and third semesters, in addition to your new and revised creative work, you will write and revise a critical essay of approximately 20 pages developing a topic relevant to your creative work. You also develop a lecture based on your critical essay to be given during the ensuing residency. Critical essays by program alumni are available online.
During your fourth semester, you will complete a substantive original work of creative writing that illustrates mastery of the craft in your chosen genre(s) and demonstrates your ability to establish an independent artistic process. You will also prepare a public reading based on your creative thesis, which you'll present during your final residency.
Get more information about the 52 credits that make up the master's degree and course details. Program details
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Your MFA is a cost-effective investment for your career, with affordable tuition at our prestigious, private, nonprofit university.
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Creative Writing Programs, College of Liberal Arts