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INTRODUCTION: The Solstice Low-Residency MFA in Creative Writing Program of Pine Manor College announces the establishment of its Post-Graduate Certificate Program, enabling everyone with an MFA in Creative Writing degree to further their studies in a genre secondary to their MFA concentration. Adding a year of coursework and two residencies to the two years required for the MFA degree, the certificate represents 22 credits and serves those writers who wish to master a second genre.

Over the years, many alumni have said they’d like to continue on or come back for “another MFA” in order to focus on a different genre; our new certificate accommodates that desire. Having a certificate in a second genre also gives students who hope to teach creative writing at the college level a leg-up in the job market.

ELIGIBILITY: The Solstice Post-Graduate Certificate Program is available to its current MFA students immediately upon graduation as well as to program alumni and writers with MFAs from institutions other than PMC.

HOW IT WORKS: The certificate requires two residencies, during which students will take a set number of craft classes and participate in workshops within their secondary genre; it also requires two semesters of independent study spent working one-on-one with a faculty mentor, much like the independent study semesters of our graduate program.

For current students: 

  • Students wishing to earn a certificate in a second genre should let MFA Program staff know as early as possible; view our application deadlines. There is no application fee for current students who apply for a certificate.

  • Students accepted into the Certificate Program will technically graduate from the MFA program along with their cohort at the end of their fifth, graduating residency (they will have earned 60 credits); but by that point they will have been assigned a mentor and set up a fifth-semester plan, as they will be continuing on with their certificate studies immediately.

  • During their fifth, graduating residency, students who will be continuing on in the Certificate Program will (as is usual) participate in workshops related to their primary genre; their first Post-Grad workshop takes place after their first semester of independent study with their Post-Grad mentor.
  • Students who wish to take a semester or more off before beginning the certificate will simply apply as alumni (see next section).

For alumni:

  • Alumni wishing to complete a certificate will need to apply to the program by the spring/fall deadline established for all new students**. There will be a $30 processing fee. (Deadlines are always posted here.)
  • Alumni begin with a semester of independent study with a faculty mentor (no residency precedes this work). Their first Post-Grad Certificate residency takes place after this initial semester spent working in their secondary genre.

For writers who have already earned an MFA:

  • Writers wishing to complete a certificate will need to apply to the program by the spring/fall deadline posted on our Website. There will be a $30 processing fee. (Deadlines are always available here.)
  • Writers begin with a semester of independent study with a faculty mentor (no residency precedes this work). Their first Post-Grad Certificate residency takes place after this initial semester spent working in their secondary genre.

All Students in the Certificate Program: 

  • During the first independent study period (essentially semester 5), students focus on work similar to semester 1 of the Graduate Program, meaning:

Each of the five packets exchanged with a mentor will contain: a cover letter, a manuscript (approximately 25 pages of double-spaced fiction or nonfiction, or single-spaced poetry manuscripts totaling 8-10 pages, or picture book manuscripts totaling 3 to 10 pages, including new and revised work) and six to twelve double-spaced pages of craft analyses (two or three short essays, or one longer) based on assigned readings.

  • As in semesters 1-4 of the Graduate Program, students will also be required to read 15 – 20 books.
  • During residency/semester 6, students focus on work similar to the Graduate Program’s semester 4, meaning:
  • During the residency, Post-Grad Certificate students are in the workshop (24 hours total) that represents their secondary/certificate genre.
  • Post-Grad Certificate students are required to take 5 CCT classes and 3 ESS sessions during the residency.
  • During the second and last independent study period, students will read upwards of 15 to 20 books while working to complete a manuscript; while some pages will be considered drafts, a set number of polished pages will represent the creative thesis (about half the length of a major concentration’s creative thesis; see #4 below). No critical writing will be required at this point in the program.
  • Assessment criteria and formatting for creative thesis manuscripts related to the Certificate Program remain the same as what is outlined for all creative theses in the Solstice MFA Program’s Handbook. Guidelines regarding length are essentially half of what is required for theses related to a primary genre:
  • Prose writers (for adults) must submit 60 – 75 pages of polished work. Young-adult novels or young-adult short-story collections must be 50 – 75 pages.
  • Collections of flash fiction/vignettes/short hybrid texts must be 25 – 35 pages long. (Flash fiction pieces generally run 1,000 words or fewer each. Each vignette generally should run no longer than 800 words.)
  • Poets submit 25 – 35 pages of paginated, finished work. Novels-in-verse manuscripts must be 35 – 60 pages.
  • Children’s *picture-book manuscripts are generally one to three pages each; the total manuscript pages must fall between 10 and 20 pages.
  • YA/children’s writers who wish to combine picture-book manuscripts with longer prose should submit 40 – 50 pages of paginated prose and 3 – 10 pages of paginated, illustratable work according to the specifications outlined in the Solstice Handbook. (Total should equal 43 – 60 pages.)
  • YA/children’s writers who wish to combine picture-book manuscripts with poetry should submit 12 – 15 pages of poetry and 6 – 10 pages of paginated, illustratable work according to the specifications above. (Total should equal 18 – 35 pages.).
  • Picture book writer-illustrators must submit one illustrated book (32, 40, or 48 pages).
  • Picture book writer-illustrators who wish to combine an illustrated book with longer prose should submit one self-illustrated book (32,40, or 48 pages) with 20 -25 pages of a YA/MG novel or creative nonfiction work.
  • Cartoonists/graphic novelists must submit 20 – 30 pages of finished work, as well as a typewritten script for the project as a whole. Writers illustrating prose works must submit 30 – 40 pages of finished work, and all illustrations intended for inclusion in the completed piece.
  • Residency #7, the final Post-Graduate Certificate residency, requires that the student be in workshop (24 hours total); 5 CCT classes and 3 ESS sessions are also required. There will be a short public reading for students earning a certificate; they will not be required to teach a craft lecture. They will be recognized at commencement, but will not be formally presented with their certificate as they were when they received their MFA diploma.
  • Writers accepted into the Post-Graduate Certificate Program will receive mentor assignments by mid-January or mid-July (near the end of our winter or summer residencies). Packet exchanges with a mentor must be scheduled within the approximately 22 weeks of the semester, following the schedule of the graduate program. A semester plan will be submitted as per the graduate program, including the schedule for packet exchanges and a reading list. At the mid-semester point and at semester’s end, Post-Graduate Semester students and their assigned mentors will be asked to submit evaluation forms.
  • Participating faculty members are listed on our application form.


Entrance Essay: three to five typed (12 pt. font), double-spaced pages should address:

why the writer wishes to pursue the certificate in a specific genre

what the writer has been reading in that genre and the impact/influence that reading has had on his/her work

the writer’s goals for the Certificate Program

Application manuscripts must follow these guidelines:

All writers: be sure your name appears on every page of your manuscript!

Poetry — no more than 10 pages; single spaced, 12-point font; one poem per page; longer poems okay, but indicate continuation onto next page (if you do not know how to format poems that run more than one page, ask us to send you a sample).

Fiction or Creative Nonfiction — 15 to 20 pages; double spaced, paginated, 12-point font; may include multiple short pieces.

Writing for Children Young Adults —15 to 20 pages; double spaced, paginated, 12-point font; applicants may submit a combination of picture book and prose narrative genres.

Comics/Graphic Narratives(fiction or nonfiction) — no more than 8–12 pages of sequential fiction or nonfiction.

Application fee: Current students pay no application fee; alumni pay a $30 processing fee.

Click here to view our application deadlines



*Tuition (discounted): 

Semester 5 (indep study only): $4,000

Semester 6 (residency + indep study): $5,500

Residency 7: $800

*Certificate-Program students are also responsible for the residency hospitality fee, room board, travel, etc.


Financial Aid is available for this newly accredited program! Contact Susan Gonzales for information and assistance:; 617-731-7129.


CREDIT STRUCTURE (total credits: 22 ):

Fifth Semester (independent study only, 6 credits) 

Semester-long independent study with faculty mentor in second genre (6 credits)

Sixth Semester (15 credits)

Residency (7 credits):

Creative Writing VI (8 three-hour workshops in second genre) 3 credits

Craft, Criticism, Theory IV (3 two-hour classes) 2 credits

Elective Seminars Studies IV (2 one-hour classes) 2 total credits

Semester-long independent study with faculty mentor (completion of creative thesis under tutelage of faculty mentor; the polished number of pages required for the Certificate Program’s creative thesis are half what they are for the major creative thesis). 8 credits

Seventh, culminating residency (1 credit)

Participation in creative writing workshops (24 hours, second genre) mandatory; CCT classes and ESS sessions also mandatory.

Students are recognized at commencement, but do not participate in the formal ceremony.

QUESTIONS? Email Program Director Meg Kearney and Assistant Director Quintin Collins at