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Low-Residency MFA in Narrative Nonfiction

Low-Residency MFA in Narrative Nonfiction

photo of Moni Basu, program director of the Low-Residency MFA in Narrative Nonfiction

I like to write vivid, provocative stories that linger in readers’ minds. My passion is to tell tales about people; to bring out the extraordinary in the seemingly ordinary.

Moni Basu

Overview

Do you want to be a published writer? 

In just two years, you can write a nonfiction manuscript or publish your work in award-winning magazines while you earn an MFA in Narrative Media Writing with a concentration in Narrative Nonfiction from the Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication, home of the Peabody Awards and one of the top journalism schools in the country. This two-year online low-residency MFA in Narrative Nonfiction Degree program is designed to train writers who desire to be published. 

The online low-residency MFA in Narrative Nonfiction program offers students an unparalleled opportunity to develop narrative journalism skills that will equip them for long and varied careers. The program features a committed and diverse roster of accomplished authors, literary agents, and other industry professionals who work closely with students to inspire and support each writer’s emerging craft and voice.  The online low-residency format also perfectly simulates the life of the writer — offering two things that every successful writer needs: a strong, supportive community as well as the freedom and solitude to write.

Graduates of the online low-residency MFA in narrative nonfiction are prepared to write books for national and international publishers as well as publish in magazines like The Atlantic, Oxford American, and Bitter Southerner. And they teach journalism at the university level. 

A concentration in Screenwriting is also available.

Over the course of the program, students in narrative nonfiction build a substantive portfolio reflecting their individual styles and interests. Students receive individualized instruction from assigned mentors who help them to develop and hone crucial career skills, ultimately completing a full-length manuscript of publishable quality.

Listen to the narrative nonfiction podcast Hear-Tell which features writing from current low-residency MFA students, alumni, faculty, and visiting lecturers.

Hear-Tell Podcast graphic reads Hear Tell Check out Hear-Tell, our podcast on true stories and how they get told.

How many times will I have to come to campus while pursuing a low-residency MFA In Narrative Nonfiction? 

UGA’s unique online low-residency MFA program offers concentrations in narrative nonfiction or screenwriting and allows students to complete most of the degree requirements off campus while developing their skills and talents under the guidance of experienced faculty writing mentors. Students begin each of five semesters by visiting campus for an intensive eight-day residency, followed by a four-month online writing period, during which each student works one-on-one with a professional faculty mentor.

Why choose UGA Online’s Low-Residency MFA In Narrative Nonfiction? 

The narrative nonfiction concentration places journalism at its core, unlike many other low-residency programs. It is designed for students who want to develop their research, reporting, and writing skills to take on topics of national and global importance, beyond the self-focused genres of memoir and personal essay. The narrative nonfiction concentration is for people who have had some writing experience, but who want to explore long-form storytelling research-based narratives that rise to the level of literature. It’s ideal for mid-career journalists and other industry professionals who want to elevate their careers and write a book. This program paves the way for nonfiction writers to use their talents and skills to engage the world.  

What can I do With a low-residency MFA In Narrative Nonfiction? 

As one of the best online low-residency journalism programs in the nation, the Narrative Nonfiction MFA prepares students to write nonfiction books for national and international publishers or teach writing at the university level. A concentration in screenwriting is also available.

What are the benefits of UGA Online’s low-residency MFA In Narrative Nonfiction? 

The MFA in Narrative Nonfiction is offered through the Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication, home of the Peabody Awards and one of the top journalism schools in the country. 

Online graduates become part of an extensive University of Georgia alumni network and a longstanding tradition of striving for excellence in every pursuit.  For over 200 years, UGA has been on a mission of leadership and service, and today, U.S. News & World Report ranks it  16 among the nation’s top public institutions by 

Online students are granted the same access to online resources, career services, library services, and technical support as all enrolled University of Georgia students to help ensure that they are equipped for success in every way.  

Accreditations

The University of Georgia is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC) to award baccalaureate, master’s, specialist, and doctoral degrees. The University of Georgia also may offer credentials such as certificates and diplomas at approved degree levels. Questions about the accreditation of the University of Georgia may be directed in writing to the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges at 1866 Southern Lane, Decatur, GA 30033-4097, by calling (404) 679-4500, or by using information available on SACSCOC’s website (www.sacscoc.org).

Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication is accredited by the Accrediting Council on Education in Journalism and Mass Communications (ACEJMC).

Admissions

Total Hours Required to Earn Degree: 36 (credit hours)

Online Low-Residency MFA in Narrative Nonfiction Admission Requirements:

Students applying to The University of Georgia must be accepted by the Graduate School. Persons holding a bachelor’s degree from any institution accredited by the proper regional accrediting association are eligible to apply for admission to the Graduate School.

Applications are accepted starting in Fall semester prior to anticipated Fall semester matriculation. Although the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) is not required for admission to this program, requirements include:

  • Personal Statement
  • A 20-page Writing Sample
  • Three (3) Letters of Recommendation
  • Resume or Curriculum Vitae

Online Low-Residency MFA in Narrative Nonfiction Application Checklist:

  1. Application – Submit online to the Graduate School Admissions. Application fee: $75 Domestic/$100 International. (waived for US veterans).
  2. Select Campus – Online
  3. Select Intended Program – MFA, Narrative Media Writing (College of Journ-Mass Comm) [MFA_NMWR_ONL] 
  4. Select Area of Emphasis – Nonfiction Writing
  5. Statement of Purpose – Submit a one-page statement of purpose online to the Graduate School. The statement of intent should clarify the candidate’s relevant background, interests, and goals in relation to the program.
  6. Writing Sample – Submit a 20-page sample of your best writing (nonfiction, fiction or screenplay) in a PDF document to the Grady Graduate Administrative Assistant. The writing sample may be a single work or a portfolio of various articles, essays, short screenplays, etc. Program faculty will assess the quality of each applicant’s work — a major criterion for admission.
  7. Resume or curriculum vita – Submit online to the Graduate School.
  8. Transcripts – Submit unofficial transcripts from all institutions attended as part of the online application. Send official transcripts after you are offered admission
  9. Letters of Recommendation – Submit three letters of recommendation online to graduate school. Letters should be from individuals who can evaluate the applicant’s scholarly ability and potential for success in a graduate program. Preferably at least two of them are from faculty who have instructed the applicant in a previous program of study. The application will prompt your recommenders to submit their letters electronically.

Application Deadlines:

Fall application Deadline: April 1

Cost

Tuition & Fees

Tuition rates and student fees can change each year. 

Based on 2022 credit hour cost, a person completing this program at the recommended pace would have paid $35,424 in tuition.  

Please use the Estimated Cost Calculator on the Bursar’s Office website to calculate one academic (Fall/Spring) year’s current tuition. 

This program is an E-Rate program, so choose “yes” for the E-Rate line item within the calculator.

Online students pay the following fees: Connect UGA, Green, and Technology. The total for those fees in the fall semester of 2022 was $147 for students enrolled in exclusively online courses. 

Potential additional costs include textbooks, exam proctoring fees, and technology upgrades. 

The complete cost of attendance can be found at https://osfa.uga.edu/costs/.

Financial Aid

Visit the Office of Student Financial Aid for information about financial assistance.

Corporate Assistance

Consult your employer about the availability of tuition reimbursement or tuition assistance programs.

Military Assistance

Active duty military, veterans, and military families should visit Veterans Educational Benefits to take full advantage of available financial assistance and educational benefits.

Technology Requirements

  • Computer with current operating system (Windows, Mac, or Linux). Additional peripherals such as webcam, headphones, and microphone are required.
  • High-speed internet access.

Curriculum

Low-Residency Format

UGA’s two-year, online low-residency MFA program embraces the changing needs of students — particularly working professionals — by allowing them to complete their degrees without having to relocate. Our program offers students the chance to continue their lives while learning the skills crucial to advancing their careers. The online low-residency format also perfectly simulates the life of the writer — offering two things that every successful writer needs: a strong, supportive community as well as the freedom and solitude to write.

Each 15-week semester begins with a campus residency that features a demanding program of craft sessions and writing workshops. The residencies run for eight days, in which students immerse themselves in an intensive writing environment. The flexible schedule accommodates professionals who have two weeks of paid leave — while providing students with the opportunity to build a sense of community with their peers and to engage in serious, focused study with their faculty mentors. Each residency includes daily seminars and craft lectures, as well as panel discussions and readings by faculty members, visiting writers, editors, agents, and other publishing and entertainment industry professionals.

Online Low-Residency MFA in Narrative Nonfiction Program Structure

All courses in the student’s concentration area are required. There are no prerequisites. The Online Low-Residency MFA in Narrative Nonfiction program offers students opportunities to attend craft lectures, seminars, and panel discussions across concentrations during the residencies.

Narrative Nonfiction Concentration

 Fall Term Spring Term
Year 1Nonfiction Writing I:  Explorations & BeginningsNonfiction Craft & Reflection I:  Research, Reporting & EthicsNonfiction Writing II:  Developing the ManuscriptNonfiction Craft & Reflection II:  Analyzing Narrative
Year 2Nonfiction Writing III:  Work-in-Progress ManuscriptNonfiction Craft & Reflection III:  Critical EssayNonfiction Writing IV:  Final Thesis ManuscriptNonfiction Craft & Reflection IV:  Seminar Preparation
Final ResidencyNonfiction Writing V:  Public Reading

Faculty

This program is taught by a diverse group of full-time faculty, visiting writing mentors and industry experts. In addition to our core faculty mentors, a variety of accomplished writers and recognized industry leaders are brought in to share their knowledge with our students at each residency.

The Residency

The next MFA residency will be held in Athens, Georgia July 28 – August 3, 2024.

The residency portions of the Online Low-Residency MFA in Narrative Nonfiction program run for seven days. Students immerse themselves in an intensive writing environment for a full, enriching week. They build a sense of community with their peers and engage in focused study with their faculty mentors. Each residency includes daily seminars and craft lectures, as well as panel discussions and readings by faculty members, visiting writers, editors, agents, and other publishing and entertainment industry professionals.

Browse our residency photo album on Flickr!

News & Events

Short-form Journalists Turns Author

February 1, 2024

What is your X factor? Explore what makes you exceptional and develop it. Grady Alum Polina Marinova Pompliano shares how she uncovers news-worthy subjects' X factors.

Low-Residency visiting writers infuse podcast content.

September 5, 2023

One of the many benefits of the Low-Residency MFA in Narrative Media Writing are the two required, on campus residencies over the course of the program. These two 8-day residencies allow students to immerse themselves in an intensive writing environment and provide students with the opportunity to build a…

The Peabody Awards – An Honor Like No Other

May 16, 2023

The Peabody Awards is an honor like no other with a history like no other. Housed at University of Georgia’s Grady School of Journalism and Mass Communication, the Peabody Awards celebrate excellence in entertainment in documentary, news, podcast/radio, arts, youth, and public service programming. The awards are presented…

See more news articles related to this program

Contact Information

Contact us using the request for information form or call 706-452-7947.

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