Arcadia University

Pennsylvania, United States

Residential program

Arcadia is a top-ranked private university offering several master's degrees in the writing field. We keep our class sizes small, and make sure that our students have the attention they need from faculty members to improve as writers and achieve their goals.

Arcadia is also a pioneer in international education, and as such all of our writing programs offer a chance for students to study abroad. Every student in Arcadia's low-residency MFA Program in Creative Writing spends one residency abroad, and MA students also frequently take courses overseas.

With small class sizes, study abroad opportunities, and a dynamic integration of technology, Arcadia's writing students graduate prepared to enter the global writing world.

Contact Information

450 S. Easton Rd.
Department of English
Pennsylvania, United States
Phone: 215-572-2146
Fax: 215-572-8541

Type of Program: Studio/Research
Genres: Fiction, Professional Writing (technical writing, PR, etc.), Criticism & Theory, Writing for Children, Playwriting, Creative Nonfiction, Poetry
Unit of Measure: Hours

Graduate Program Director

Joshua Isard
Program Director
450 S. Easton Rd
Dept. of English
Pennsylvania, United States

Overview of the Program:

Arcadia's low-residency MFA Program in Creative Writing utilizes online technology to allow each student an experience that fits into his or her lifestyle. While many low-residency programs are still correspondence courses through the mail, we bring as much of the workshop environment online as possible. Additionally, the programs we use are tablet and smart-phone friendly, so the course goes anywhere you want it to.

We offer programs in fiction and poetry, and each runs for two academic years.

The Residencies:

During the two-year duration of the MFA Program, the students meet in-person three times: the first at the beginning of the program in August, at our King of Prussia campus; the second during the following summer for the residency abroad, either in Italy or Scotland; and the final time in January of the second year, again in King of Prussia.

Each residency is about a week long, and includes workshops, writing exercises, discussions with a visiting writer, and a building of community within the group.

The Workshops:

Workshops are conducted during each fall and spring semester, and consist of online discussion boards. These discussions are asynchronous, meaning that while there are weekly deadlines there is no one time that students need to be online, and each student can fit the workshops into his or her specific schedule.

Additionally, the software we use for the discussions themselves and for file sharing are accessible via apps on tablet computers and smartphones, meaning the the classroom truly is portable wherever you go.

Students each get to submit work for peer review three or four times per semester, and review their peers' work every week.

The Practicums:

Students take a practicum each fall and spring semester while they're also taking a workshop, meaning that they take six credits each semester.

A practicum is a series of one-on-one meetings with an instructor through the semester, and students have at least four meetings, but usually no more than six or seven. Students schedule these meetings at their convenience, often in the evenings, to accommodate their work schedules. Additionally, these meetings can be held via Skype or Face Time, allowing for those outside the Philadelphia area to complete the MFA without any problems.

Each meeting focuses on a piece of writing which the student submits to the instructor a few days before the appointment. This can be a revision of a piece the student has submitted to workshop, or a new piece of writing. Each practicum appointment is about an hour long and consists of an in-depth discussion about the work in question and the specific methods or techniques the student might adopt to improve his or her work.

The Thesis:

MFA students turns in a thesis at the end of their second year in the program. For fiction students this is a manuscript of roughly 60,000 words, and can be either a novel or a collection of short fiction. For poets this is a manuscript of about 48 pages of verse.

The guidelines can be discussed with the faculty and changed based on the goals of each student. Most importantly, in producing the thesis each student develops the habits necessary to lead the life of a writer, including a plan for publication after the program ends.


Arcadia's MFA program is one of the few low residency programs with a large online content. We conduct workshops through online forums, and students can connect with their instructors for one-on-one appointments via programs like Face Time and Skype. This means that a student can complete most of the work from anywhere with a wifi connection—the three residencies are the only times when students must meet in-person.

The program is also completely mobile accessible. Discussion boards, document sharing, and appointments can be completed on any iOS or Android device. While no mobile device is required for the program, we do recommend that incoming students consider investing in a tablet or smartphone in order to have access to their courses' content as much as possible.

All students must have consistent internet access once they are enrolled in the program, regardless of the type of computer they use.

Type of Program: Low-Residency Program
Largest Class Size: 15
Smallest Class Size: 5
Genres: Fiction, Poetry
Tuition $720 per credit. Partial funding is available.
Duration of Study: 2 years
Unit of Measure: Credits
Total Units for Degree: 39
Application Deadline Fall: 07/30/2017
Application Requirements: Transcripts, Writing Sample, Application Form, Letters of Recommendation, Cover Letter, Other

Graduate Program Director

Joshua Isard
Program Director
450 S. Easton Rd
Dept. of English
Pennsylvania, United States

Small Classes and Personal Attention:

The Master of Arts in English gives students the flexibility to tailor courses of study to meet their individual needs and professional goals. A highly versatile program, it emphasizes writing, critical thinking, and interpretive skills, even as it fosters the growth of initiative and self-confidence—qualities much in demand in today’s professional world. Small classes and the dedicated attention of graduate faculty ensure a nurturing environment for growth.

Overall, the degree is designed for individuals interested in teaching writing and literature at the college level; pursuing a career as a writer or writing consultant in business, industry and government; or working in the publishing field. The degree also is appropriate for students planning to enter a doctoral program in English.

The program offers three areas of emphasis:

Professional and Creative Writing and Teaching:

Writing helps to prepare students for jobs in teaching, writing and publishing. This area affords training in fiction and poetry writing, screen scripting and play scripting, the art of the memoir, technical writing, public relations writing, and magazine and travel writing. It also offers instruction in the teaching of expository writing.

Writing and Communications:

This area is valuable for those who want to work for the media or in the corporate sector. Students are encouraged to undertake a professional internship. This area exposes students to principles of mass media, the semiotics of film, linguistics and semantics, and other interesting practical and theoretical issues. The Master of Arts in English does not, however, offer studio courses in media training.

Literary and Critical Studies:

Arcadia offers advanced study to high school and college teachers of literature, film and drama and can lead to doctoral programs. This area provides a judicious balance between theory and the study of individual artworks and exposes students to a broad range of experiences with canonical as well as non-canonical texts. The program offers a particularly broad range of courses in this area. “Special topics” seminars focusing on individual authors or artistic movements mingle with courses on standard periods of literary history; interdisciplinary courses link literature and film from different nationalities.

Additional Opportunities for Students:

Study Abroad: Students in the Master of Arts in English program are encouraged to consider study abroad as part of their degree program. Students may arrange to take up to 9 credits of work in English and related fields at foreign institutions through Arcadia’s College of Global Studies. Study abroad arrangements require the approval of the Coordinator of the Master of Arts in English program.

Internships: Students also may do a graduate-level professional internship in a job placement related to the field of English. The internship is an unpaid, 3-credit experience conducted under the supervision of the Coordinator of the Master of Arts in English program or an appropriate member of the Department. Arrangements for the internship must have formal departmental approval before the beginning of the semester in which the student is to do the internship.

Type of Program: Research/Theory/Studio
Unit of Measure: Hours
Application Requirements: Transcripts, Writing Sample, Application Form, Letters of Recommendation, Cover Letter


Richard Wertime

Director of Graduate Studies in Engliah and the Humanities. Publications include Citadel on the Mountain: A Memoir of Father and Son, winner of the 2001 James A. Michener Memorial Prize in the literature

Joshua Isard

Director of the MFA Program in Creative Writing. Publications include: stories in StoryChord, Broadkill Review, & Northwind Magazine. Conquistador of the Useless, a novel, published in 2013.

Stephanie Feldman

Fiction Professor. Publications include: The Angel of Losses, a novel.

James Warner

Poetry Professor. Publications include the poetry volumes: Too Bad It's Poetry, and Social Studies.

Genevieve Betts

Poetry Professor. Publications include: The poetry volume, An Unwalled City. Also, poems in Clockhouse Review, Buddhist Poetry Review, Poetry Quarterly, OVS Magazine, The 33rd Anthology, Quarter After Eight, Nano Fiction, 42opus

Paul Elwork

Fiction professor. Publications include: The Girl Who Would Speak For The Dead, a novel, and stories in SmokeLong Quarterly, Philadelphia Stories, Word Riot, Quiet Feather, and Johnny America.

Eric Smith

Fiction professor. Publications include: Inked, a novel, and The Geek's Guide To Dating.