Studying in a graduate program while working a demanding job is no small undertaking. Add the demands of becoming a first-time father, and for many students, that would be a recipe for disaster. But, not for Matt Pearl.
Low-Residency Master of Fine Arts in Narrative Media Writing
In just two years, write a marketable screenplay or a publishable nonfiction manuscript and earn your MFA 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 low-residency program is designed to train writers who will be published and produced. The program offers students an unparalleled opportunity to develop narrative journalism and screenwriting skills that will equip them for long and varied careers. The program features a committed and diverse roster of accomplished authors, screenwriters, literary agents and other industry professionals who work closely with students to inspire and support each writer's emerging craft and voice.
MFA graduates are prepared to:
- Write nonfiction books for national and international publishers
- Write screenplays for major motion picture and television companies
- Teach writing at the university level
UGA's unique low-residency MFA program 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 semester by visiting campus for an intensive 8-day residency, followed by a four-month online writing period, during which each student works closely with a professional faculty mentor. Over the course of the program, students build a substantive portfolio of narrative nonfiction or screenwriting, 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 marketable screenplay or full-length manuscript of publishable quality.
Students may choose to concentrate in one of two focused genres:
Narrative Nonfiction track or Screenwriting track not limited to nonfiction.
In both genres, the programs' co-directors — award-winning author and journalist Valerie Boyd and award-winning producer Nate Kohn — have assembled a diverse group of writing mentors who will challenge students to do their best work, to explore the role of the writer in society, and to use their writing to make a difference in the diverse communities in which they live.
The Narrative Nonfiction concentration places journalism at its core, unlike any other nonfiction program in the country. 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 writing long-form, research-based narratives that rise to the level of literature — factual literature. It's for mid-career journalists and other industry professionals who want to elevate their careers and write a book on a subject they feel passionate about. This program is for nonfiction writers who want to use their talents and skills to engage the world.
The Screenwriting concentration is designed for feature film and television writers who want to take their writing skills to the next level and who understand the advantages that the MFA degree affords. The program is aimed at experienced writers who want to explore new creative opportunities in telling stories that matter for large and small screens. The program allows students to work one-on-one with experienced mentors who are currently vital members of the entertainment community and who understand the challenges and opportunities found in new technologies. Most of all, the program is for writers who value the power, purpose and meaning of stories well told.
The University of Georgia is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC) to award baccalaureate, masters, specialist, and doctoral degrees. Contact the Commission on Colleges at 1866 Southern Lane, Decatur, Georgia 30033-4097, or call 404-679-4500 for questions about the accreditation of the University of Georgia.
- Computer with current operating system (Windows or Mac). Additional peripherals such as webcam, headphones and printer may be required.
- High Speed Internet Access.
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.
|Online Tuition||$984 per credit hour||36 credit hours||$35,424 USD|
|Student Fees||$597 per semester||5 semesters||$2,985 USD|
|Total Program Cost||$38,409 USD|
Tuition and fees are subject to change. Current tuition and fees are available on the Bursar's Office website. If you register for less than 5 credit hours, student fees are reduced to $372 in that semester.
Online students pay the following fees: Connect UGA, Green, Special Institutional, and Technology. See UGA Tuition and Fees for the complete schedule of fees.
Visit the Office of Student Financial Aid for information about financial assistance.
Consult your employer about the availability of tuition reimbursement or tuition assistance programs.
Active duty military, veterans, and military families should visit Veterans Educational Benefits to take full advantage of available financial assistance and educational benefits.
University System of Georgia Tuition Assistance Program (TAP)
The purpose of TAP is to foster the professional growth and development of eligible employees. For more information, see Tuition Assistance (refer to the Distance Learning section).
Total Hours Required to Earn Degree: 36 (credit hours)
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
- Application - Submit the Graduate School application online. Application fee: $75 Domestic/$100 International.
- MFA Supplemental Application - Submit the supplemental program application to the Grady Graduate Administrative Assistant, email@example.com.
- Statement of Intent - Submit a one-page statement of intent online to the Graduate School. The statement of intent should clarify the candidate's relevant background, interests, and goals in relation to the program.
- 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, firstname.lastname@example.org. 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.
- Letters of Recommendation - Submit three (3) letters of recommendation online to the Graduate School. Letters should be from individuals who can evaluate the applicant's writing ability and potential for success in a graduate program. Preferably at least two (2) of the letters should be from an applicant's prior teachers or professional supervisors.
- Resume or curriculum vita - Submit online to the Graduate School.
- Official Transcripts – Submit unofficial transcripts from all institutions attended as part of the online application. Send official transcripts after you are offered admission
- Fall: For best consideration apply April 1
UGA's two-year, low-residency MFA program embraces the changing needs of students — particularly working professionals — by allowing them to complete their degree without having to relocate. Our program offers students the chance to continue their lives while learning the skills crucial to advancing their careers. The 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 writing workshops in which student work is discussed and evaluated. The residencies run for eight days, with students immersing themselves in an intensive writing environment for a full, enriching week. 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.
All courses in the student's concentration area are required. There are no prerequisites. The program offers students opportunities to attend craft lectures, seminars and panel discussions across concentrations during the residencies.
Narrative Nonfiction Concentration
|Fall Term||Spring Term|
|Fall Term||Spring Term|
News & Events
Contact the low-residency MFA Coordinator for answers to any additional questions you may have.
About the Residency
The residency portions of the MFA program run for eight days, with students immersing themselves in an intensive writing environment for a full, enriching week. The residency provides 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.
A special thank you to Jittery Joe’s for afternoon coffee breaks at our residencies and the inspiration that follows!
Browse our residency photo album on Flickr!
Sample Residency Guides
Each guide is specific to your chosen program concentration.