Our two-year, low-residency program allows students to live anywhere and work a full-time job. We never allow the number of students to exceed 65, so our students develop close and sustaining relationships with faculty during our intensive weeklong residencies in June and January. During the rest of the year our students work with faculty one-on-one, receiving thorough, regular editorial letters supplemented with phone calls.
If you’ve already completed your MFA, and would like to revise, reconceive or complete a creative manuscript, check out our Advanced Certification in Creative Writing on campus.
The Mountainview Low-Residency MFA in Fiction or Nonfiction
- An award-winning, nationally-recognized faculty
- Great flexibility of schedule
- A curriculum designed to help each student finish an excellent, publishable book
- A vibrant and supportive creative writing community
- An advisory board of agents and editors from the best agencies and publishing houses, committed to our program and to working with students
- Internship and teaching opportunities
- A cap of 65 students, to maximize one-on-one teaching
- Two faculty members who specialize in Young Adult literature
- Two faculty members who specialize in environmental writing
- An annual writing contest whose winner is published in the university literary magazine
- Awards and scholarships
- Highly competitive tuition costs
- No GRE required
Graduate Certificate in the Teaching of Composition
Due to COVID-19, the on campus Graduate Certificate in the Teaching of Composition program is postponed until further notice.
The Graduate Certificate in the Teaching of Composition program at SNHU offers Mountainview MFA students with an interest in teaching composition an avenue to earn a graduate certificate in that field. By dedicating a portion of your MFA program to teaching, you can open up new career avenues as you earn your master's degree.
The program is open to just two students per year, and applicants must have been accepted into the Mountainview Low-Residency MFA in Fiction or Nonfiction program at SNHU. The program is available at no extra tuition cost, and, following completion, SNHU will provide opportunities for work as an adjunct professor teaching composition (as positions become available).
Looking for an online MFA or MA program? Check out our other graduate writing options:
Letter from the Director
In our program, it's traditional for students to refer to their professors as their "mentors." I like this tradition because it reminds faculty of what we aspire to be. We don't want to be mere lecturers in craft, foisting the same lessons on every student. We are teachers who get to know each student one-on-one, face-to-face and in writing, and we tailor our instruction to our students' artistic needs.
Our weeklong summer and winter residencies take place at the Mountain View Grand Resort in Whitefield, NH. There, we faculty meet with our students (our "mentees") in workshops and seminars. The conversations tend to continue over meals and on the veranda, which overlooks the White Mountains. After residency, the semester begins. Students send us their work every five weeks; we write thorough and precise editorial letters in response. We make ourselves available to discuss our students' writing beyond these regular exchanges, on the phone and by Gchat and email. No faculty member takes on more than five students at a time.
We're a young program, fourteen years old, but we've already seen our students and alumni score book deals with major publishers, including Pantheon, Viking, HarperCollins, and Simon & Schuster. One alumnus is a Guggenheim Fellow. One of our alumni was a finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Prize/First Fiction Award.
- Our faculty, all accomplished writers and teachers
- Our visiting editors and agents, who work for the best imprints and agencies
- Our close and supportive community of students and alumni
- Our robust programs in both fiction or nonfiction
- Specialized instruction in environmental nonfiction and Young Adult fiction
- Our curriculum, designed not only for the traditional novelist but also the essayist, the Young Adult writer, the memoirist, the short-story writer
- Scholarships, awarded to applicants with top writing samples
- A contest whose winner is published in our literary magazine, which has featured writers such as Joshua Cohen, Allan Gurganus, and Ayana Mathis
- Our almost unsettlingly lovely location, the Mountain View Grand
From a substantial applicant pool, we accept a cohort of about 16 students each semester, maintaining a student-faculty ratio of 4:1. Students complete four residencies during the four-semester program, and work toward a Master of Fine Arts, a terminal degree which qualifies graduates to teach at the college level. If you have questions about our program, please don't hesitate to contact our administrative director. If you have questions specifically for me, they will pass them along and I'll get in touch.
I look forward to hearing from you,
SNHU requires an undergraduate Grade Point Average (GPA) of 2.75 (or equivalent) for admission. If you are an international student in need of a visa to study on campus, please see our international admission requirements.
Acceptance decisions are made on a rolling basis throughout the year for our three 16-week graduate terms. You can apply at any time and get a decision within two weeks of submitting all required materials. To apply, simply complete our online application form.
In Southern New Hampshire University's Mountainview Low-Residency MFA in Fiction and Nonfiction, you will spend two years honing your skills in a small cohort of students, learning from national best-selling and award-winning authors, and receiving personal consultation from leading agents and editors.
- Deadline for June 2021 cohort: May 15, 2021
- Deadline for January 2022 cohort: October 1, 2021
Applications for the Mountainview MFA program will be reviewed on a rolling basis. Because we accept only 15 -17 new students per residency, we encourage candidates to apply early. Depending upon availability, we may consider candidates after an application deadline.
How to apply:
- Submit the Mountainview MFA Application (Please note: $40 application fee waived through COVID-19 pandemic)
- Submit an official transcript from the college or university that conferred your bachelor's degree. Please have transcripts sent to email@example.com.
- Submit an 800-1000 word personal statement describing your writing experience and the nature of your commitment to writing. Please include your assessment of why you are a good candidate for the program. We are always interested in learning about a candidate's academic, personal and professional experiences.
- Submit a 20- to 30-page, double-spaced writing sample, using 12 pt. font, in fiction or nonfiction. Your writing sample may consist of a novel excerpt, a story, or multiple stories, if fiction, or a memoir excerpt, a creative essay, or multiple creative essays, if nonfiction.
- Submit two letters of recommendation from people capable of assessing your ability to work independently and your preparation to succeed in an MFA program.
Submit documents to: firstname.lastname@example.org
Our two-year program includes mentored courses that allow you to write from home and be part of a supportive Mountainview MFA writing community, both online and during twice-yearly residency programs.
During these two years, students work toward completing their creative thesis, a book-length manuscript of publishable quality, turning in monthly submissions to their mentors, and receiving detailed feedback via correspondence and conferencing.
Each semester, students work with their individual faculty mentors in developing reading lists. Students read approximately two books a month, focusing their attention on craft analysis. Every part of the curriculum is designed to advance the writer in his/her skills and understanding of the writing craft, and toward helping the student with his/her final thesis.
Upon completion of the program, students will have earned a 60-credit graduate degree, which is considered ''a terminal degree'' in creative writing. The Mountainview MFA degree prepares students and qualifies them for applying for college teaching positions.
Required Texts for MFA Program
*Please note: the below texts are the only required texts for the MFA program. Other assigned reading will be determined on an individualized basis, as each MFA student designs a reading list with his or her mentor for each semester he or she is enrolled. Students typically read two books per month, including required texts.
1. The Elements of Style, Strunk & White, Longman ISBN 978-1945644016
2. "Politics and the English Language," essay, George Orwell
3. Reading Like a Writer, Francine Prose, Harper Perennial, ISBN 978-0060777050
1. How Fiction Works, James Wood, Picador (Fiction Only)
2. The Art of Memoir, Amy Karr, Harper Perennial (Nonfiction Only)
3. “The Nature of the Fun,” essay, David Foster Wallace
3rd Semester (Nonfiction only)
1. The Situation and the Story, Vivian Gornick ISBN 978-0374528584
View Full Curriculum in the Catalog
View Full Curriculum in the Catalog
|Courses May Include|
|MFA in Fiction or Nonfiction Campus|
|MFA 511||MFA Workshop: Fiction Writing II||Fiction Writing II is designed to extend a student's understanding of the essential principles of writing excellent fiction. As in Fiction Writing I, students will submit to the instructor every five weeks 10-25 pages of manuscript, double-spaced, in 12 point font, with pagination. In addition, and on a schedule established with the instructor, students will submit three polished fiction writing exercises throughout the semester and ten short essays, each on one book in a reading list compiled by the mentor in consultation with the student. By the end of the course the student should have completed a total of between 60 and 160 pages of polished fictional prose (prose well beyond the first or second draft) and 60 pages of polished fiction exercises.|
|MFA 512||Graduate Fiction Workshop III||Fiction Writing Workshop III builds on the foundations lain in the previous year (two writers' residencies and two six-month faculty-mentored courses, MFA 510 and 511). In this course, students will write a 10- 15-page close-reading essay on a single work of fiction (a novel, story, or story collection) and continue work on their manuscript pages, which by now should start to take the form of a thesis to be turned in at the end of fourth semester. The student should have completed between 90 and 240 manuscript pages by the end of this course.|
|MFA 513||Graduate Fiction Workshop IV||Fiction Writing Workshop IV completes the sequence of four residencies and four mentored semester of reading, critical analysis, writing and participation in workshops, lectures and public readings. In order to graduate, the student will turn in a final thesis of 100 to 300 manuscript pages, either a novel, a collection of stories, or a self-contained section of a novel.|
|MFA 520||Master of Fine Arts Workshop: Nonfiction Writing I||Nonfiction Writing I is a course designed to help the student entering the MFA program in nonfiction grasp the central principles of writing professional-quality nonfiction. Students will submit to the instructor every five weeks 10-25 pages of manuscript, double-spaced, 12 point font, with pagination. In addition, and on a schedule established with the instructor, students will submit three polished nonfiction writing exercises throughout the semester and ten short essays, each on one book in a reading list compiled by the mentor in consultation with the student. By the end of the course the student should have completed between 30 and 80 pages of polished nonfictional prose (prose well beyond the first or second draft) and 30 pages of polished nonfiction exercises.|
|MFA 521||Master of Fine Arts Workshop: Nonfiction Writing II||Nonfiction Writing II is designed to extend a student's understanding of the essential principles of writing excellent fiction. As in Nonfiction Writing I, students will submit to the instructor every five weeks 10-25 pages of manuscript, double-spaced, in 12 point font, with pagination. In addition, and on a schedule established with the instructor, students will submit three polished nonfiction writing exercises throughout the semester and ten short essays, each on one book in a reading list compiled by the mentor in consultation with the student. By the end of the course the student should have completed a total of between 60 and 160 pages of polished nonfictional prose (prose well beyond the first or second draft) and 60 pages of polished nonfiction exercises.|
|MFA 522||Graduate Nonfiction Workshop III||Nonfiction Writing Workshop III builds on the foundations lain in the previous year (two writers' residencies and two six-month faculty-mentored courses, MFA 520 and 521). In this course, students will write a 10- 15-page close-reading essay on a single work of nonfiction (a memoir, work of literary journalism, creative essay, or essay collection) and continue work on their manuscript pages, which by now should start to take the form of a thesis to be turned in at the end of fourth semester. The student should have completed between 90 and 240 manuscript pages by the end of this course.|
|MFA 523||Graduate Nonfiction Workshop IV||Nonfiction Writing Workshop IV completes the sequence of four residencies and four mentored semesters of reading, critical analysis, writing and participation in workshops, lectures and public readings. In order to graduate, the student will turn in a final thesis of 100 to 300 manuscript pages, either a memoir, a work of literary journalism, a collection of essays, or a self-contained section of a memoir or work of literary journalism.|
|Total Credits: 60|
Master of Fine Arts in Fiction or Nonfiction (MFA) Cost
Summer Residency Fee
Winter Residency Fee
Southern New Hampshire University is a private, nonprofit institution accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education (NECHE) as well as several other accrediting bodies.
Our two principal goals:
- Create a close and vibrant writing community
- Graduate every student with an excellent manuscript in hand
Students choose to focus on fiction or nonfiction. Some choose specializations like Young Adult fiction and environmental writing.
Our full-time faculty members have won numerous awards, published multiple New York Times Bestsellers, and received international acclaim in every literary category from Young Adult to lyric essay to crime. Their work appears in such forums as The New Yorker, Harper's, The New York Times Magazine and Best American Short Stories. Our faculty members, often referred to as "mentors," work to help each student find a literary voice, master craft and produce a manuscript of high literary quality, generally book-length.
Some of our alumni have book contracts with houses like Perseus and Viking. Others teach creative writing at the college level.
Both annual writing residencies take place at the Mountain View Grand Resort in Whitefield, New Hampshire. The MVG is an elegant, renovated nineteenth-century hotel where Charles Dickens stayed on his American tour. It has walking trails and a small farm. In the summer, students take their morning coffee on a porch overlooking the White Mountains; in the winter, they read by stone fireplaces. The residencies provide both rigorous classes and a social experience with other writers that nurtures creativity, friendship and reflection.
Once you complete the admission process, you can begin your program with either the Summer Residency or the Winter Residency.
Mountain Scholarships - $2000
Mountain Scholarships are awarded by the director to students whose writing samples show extraordinary literary merit. A Mountain Scholarship may be renewed semester by semester.
Residency Scholarships - $1000
Residency Scholarships are applied toward the residency fee for the term. They are awarded by the director to students with superior writing samples. A Residency Scholarship may be renewed term by term.
Orion Scholarship - $2000
Orion Scholarships are awarded by the director to students addressing ecological and social justice issues in their writing. An Orion Scholarship may be renewed term by term.
Elodie Reed, recipient of the 2017 Orion Scholarship
Elodie is a New Hampshire native who learned to love the world around her by watching thunderstorms from her porch, climbing the big tree at Grampy Joe's and swimming to the Big Rock in Lake Sunapee. Before she entered the Southern New Hampshire University Mountainview MFA program, she worked as a newspaper reporter and photographer in New Hampshire and Vermont for four years. Her favorite experiences include the six months she documented a pig from "piglet to pork-chop," the days she chased presidential candidates from town hall to town hall and the time she sat inside an igloo built by a man living outdoors near the Canadian border. While Elodie continues to explore her newest New England community in Massachusetts' Berkshire County, she has recently turned her gaze inward, to her spiritual landscape. As she enters her second semester in the Mountainview MFA program, she continues to write about the relationship between her inner world and the outer one. She's very grateful and excited to be chosen as a recipient of the Orion Scholarship.
Additional Scholarships and Fellowships
The program awards other scholarships and fellowships at the director's discretion.