• Books for Children and Young Adults by Hamline Authors

    Program Details

    As a student at Hamline, you will graduate with a comprehensive knowledge of the following:

    • The forms and elements of the craft of writing used by published authors in their chosen genre(s)—picture book, early reader, middle-grade and young adult fiction, nonfiction, poetry and verse novel, comics, and graphic novel;

    • The writing process from generation of creative work through substantive revision;

    • Reading and analysis of literature as writers, mining texts for lessons in craft;

    • The structure and content of a critical essay;

    • Key texts and major cultural trends in children’s and YA American literature;

    • The diverse social contexts in which writers write and readers read, including the roles of gender, race, ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation, dis/ability age, class, etc.

    • The business of publishing;

    • The writer’s life (e.g., keeping the work going; finding and then working with an agent and/or editor; promoting one’s work; making a living as a writer).

    The core curriculum outlined above enables you to move from a basic understanding to an ability to execute the process and craft of writing at the most advanced levels. You will be able to mine works of literature for lessons in craft and be far better able to think and write critically. You will graduate with an effective writing practice and will know how to navigate the literary marketplace as preparation for publishing and promoting your work.


    The core curriculum is developed over the course of five residencies and executed throughout your four semesters. Residency work is accomplished through lectures and intensive mini-courses offered by core faculty as well as guest lectures given by visiting writers, agents, and editors. Each residency focuses in part on one of the five major elements of the craft of writing that cross over all forms and genres: plot, character, point of view, setting/world building, and theme. Other lectures and mini-courses focus on additional aspects of the core curriculum, including a wide range of 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. In addition to the lectures and mini-courses, students read and discuss common books selected by the faculty that have direct relevance to the primary craft element being explored.

    In the mornings students participate in daily, two-hour workshop sessions led by faculty advisors. These sessions continue to build students’ understanding of the craft and develop their ability to provide constructive feedback on the work of their peers and to receive and integrate feedback on their own writing.

    Students who’ve completed their third semesters give 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.” The goal of the workshop is to more fully understand what it means to write for a diverse audience and to be able to execute that knowledge in the work. It also means being able to engage in complicated and sometimes difficult conversations in civil and respectful ways. Writing well for a diverse audience often demands a deeper knowledge of our own and other’s multiple identities (e.g., cultural, racial, gender, sexual orientation, age, religion, ability/disability, etc.) and how those identities shape our work.

    Visit the Residency site to see what's scheduled for the upcoming residency.

    Semester Work

    The work of the residency is continued and deepened over the ensuing semester as students write and rewrite, practicing and refining lessons learned during residencies and through their reading. They are guided in this work by faculty advisors assigned during the residency. Faculty advisors are assigned based on availability, student choice, and content/genre being explored.

    Hamline’s faculty/student ratio ranges from 3:1 to 5:1; faculty work with from three to five students per semester.

    Each month during the semester, students send their faculty advisors a packet that includes creative writing, critical work, and short bibliographic annotations of books from the required reading list. Faculty advisors return these packets with extensive feedback and recommendations for further work.

    First Semester
    During your first semester, you are 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.  Each month you send the following to your faculty advisor: (1) an extensive amount of new creative writing and/or revision in response to detailed feedback from faculty advisors; (2) short bibliographic annotations of books from the required reading list; (3) a short critical essay based on issues of craft or topics that arose from your own creative work or from assigned reading.

    Second Semester
    During your second semester, you will build upon your knowledge of the craft and process of writing. In addition to new and revised creative writing and brief bibliographic annotations of books from the required reading list, you will complete a longer, research-based essay on issues of craft or topics that arose from your own creative work or from assigned readings.

    Third Semester
    During your third semester, in addition to your new and revised creative work, you will write and revise a critical essay of approximately twenty 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.

    Fourth Semester
    During your fourth semester, you will complete a substantive project of original work 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 to be given during your final residency.

  • The MFAC Program At A Glance

    The low-residency model accommodates working adults and those who do not wish to or cannot relocate. Learn more about the "literary Twin Cities" of St. Paul & Minneapolis.

    Program Founded:   


    Credits Required:             


    Time to Complete:

    2 years + 1 residency


     View latest tuition costs


     $31,500 annually

    Degree Structure:    

    4 semesters, 5 on-campus residencies (January and July, 11 days each), monthly correspondence with faculty advisors. Critical Essay & Creative Thesis. Critical Essay lecture & reading.

    * Hamline advantage over key competitors

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