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Frequently Asked Questions

Select an FAQ: Program | Faculty | Residency | Admission | Expense If you don’t find an answer to your questions on our site, let us know. We’re happy to help: Contact Us.


We’re glad you asked. We have a good answer for that: The Randolph Difference.

Our low-residency MFA program is a two-year academic program in creative writing. 

The low-residency distinction means that a majority of the semester is spent with students working intensively in one-on-one mentorship with accomplished writers instead of attending traditional on-campus class sessions.

Our students can live and work anywhere in the world, as long as they are able to attend our intensive, ten-day residency sessions each summer and winter.

For more detailed information about our program, check out our overview page: MFA Program.

Flexibility: Students do not need to move, quit their jobs, or disrupt their lives to dive into a low-residency program. Of course, they will be adding a lot of new learning, reading, and writing, but this program is built for people who want to integrate the writing life into their daily routine.

Personalized Study: Successful low-residency programs foster the most personal and individualized education. The ten-day residencies are intense, full-time, and put you in constant contact with your classmates, faculty and the program staff.

Faculty Mentorship: During the semester, you continue to work closely with one faculty member, and you receive significantly more critiqued work from your faculty mentor than most traditional MFA faculty provide each student. 

Students must successfully complete four semesters and five residencies to obtain their degree. A minimum of 60 credit hours of graduate MFA coursework must be completed, and all requirements must be completed within six calendar years.

During the program, students complete a book-length work in their chosen genre, and during their final residency, students present a craft lecture and a public reading.

For a more detailed explanation of our program requirements, examine our full curriculum: MFA Curriculum

Some say that the MFA is only for future professors and full-time novelists, but that’s only a starting point for understanding the degree. 

The MFA also works as continuing education for many K-12 teachers, and it can result in an increased salary. The MFA also makes sense in a myriad of professional endeavors. We know plenty of MFA holders who write creatively and also work in professional writing, editing, publishing, online copywriting, marketing, law, sales, non-profit leadership, research jobs, and much more.

Yes, you can be a full-time novelist, but the MFA is a statement to any employer that you have demonstrated significant ability to think, write, and communicate clearly and creatively—in other words, many, many jobs will be interested in an MFA graduate.


We have an exceptional group of core faculty, and we will continue to add more faculty as our program grows. See our current faculty list here: Faculty.

In addition to our core faculty, you can expect our residency sessions to include visits from scholars and artists. Our guest faculty will present lectures, panels, and consultations with students.

One of the great benefits of earning a low-residency degree is the quality and number of exceptional writers with whom you will work–this group will evolve and grow along with the program. Although you will only have one primary mentor each semester, you will inevitably be influenced by many more of our writers.

We are committed to maintaining a stylistically and socially diverse faculty of the highest quality: exceptional writers, teachers, and humans. 


Each semester you will have one primary faculty member for one-on-one mentorship; however, that mentor will change each semester. Furthemore, you will have regular opportunities to interact with and learn from all of our faculty during our residency sessions.

You’ll not only attend lectures, panels and readings by our faculty, but you’ll also have meals, informal discussions, and continual interaction with the faculty. This interaction is not limited to the faculty in your genre.

In the first few days of the residency, the faculty and the program staff assess the needs of each student, which includes an evaluation of each student’s journey as described in their evolving writing plan. 

Students may fill out a mentor-preference form, which allows them to comment on their preferred mentors and provide a rationale.

The program directors, at the direction of the faculty, select the mentor pairings for each semester. It is generally understood that students will work with a new mentor each semester.


The ten-day residency in Virginia is a time for you and our faculty to gather to launch each new semester and for our graduating students to complete their MFA degrees.

The residency days are packed with workshops, seminars, lectures, discussions, readings, activities, and visits from scholars and artists: writers, editors, performers, painters, dancers, and musicians.

In short, you can expect to have a lot of literary fun!

Prior to attending the residency sessions, students submit new work to be discussed by our faculty and your peers in our faculty-led workshops.

Regardless of your chosen genre, you are able to attend lectures and discussions in all three genres: poetry, fiction, and nonfiction.

Yes, prior to attending the residency sessions, students submit new work, which will be discussed by our faculty and your peers in our faculty-led workshops.

We have two ten-day residencies. The summer residency begins in midsummer, and the winter residency begins in late December. Our website lists specific dates of upcoming residencies: Residency Schedule.


Please see the application requirements here: Application Requirements.


We Do Not require an application fee. 

We Do Not require GRE scores. 

Students must have completed a bachelors degree by the time they begin the MFA.

For more details on admissions: Application Information.

Application deadlines are March 1 for the July semester and September 1 for the January semester. 

We will send admission decisions no later than three weeks after the application deadline. Feel free to apply early and avoid the last-minute rush.

See our application process for more details: Application Deadlines.

The most important thing that we assess in our applicants is the quality of their writing. Students in low-residency MFA programs range in age from students straight out of their undergraduate experience to retirees. It’s common to have a group of mid-career professionals, who are finally ready to take the leap toward writing their novel or returning to poetry.

Students may transfer one semester’s credits (15 credits, including successful completion of one residency) from another low-residency MFA program. 

Students may transfer 15 credits from a traditional-residency MFA program.

For a more detailed explanation of our program requirements and the details of our transfer policy, please examine our full curriculum: MFA Curriculum.

Applicants may apply in more than one genre. If an applicant is accepted as a duel genre student, their time in the program will be extended by one year as they will complete Workshop I & II in an additional genre. 

All students study primarily one genre each semester, and most students study that genre throughout their program. Keep in mind that even if you choose one genre as your primary specialization, you will still read outside of your genre, and you will have lots of opportunity to attend reading, lectures, and panels in other genres–all of our graduates should be conversant in multiple genres.

In unusual circumstances, if applicants demonstrate that they are already working successfully in a hybrid, multi-genre style, they may be approved to take one semester in one genre and another semester in another genre. Please examine our full curriculum for details and contact us if you have specific questions: MFA Curriculum.


Full tuition per semester is $8,190.00.

For more info about our tuition and fees, check out our information page: Tuition & Aid

Students who are approved through FAFSA and demonstrate need should be eligible for significant support. 

For more information about financial aid, scholarships, and grants: Tuition & Aid.


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