Low-residency program

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A low-residency program (or limited residency program) is a form of education, normally at the university level, which involves some amount of distance education and brief on-campus or specific-site residencies—residencies may be one weekend or several weeks. These programs are most frequently offered by colleges and universities that also teach standard full-time courses on campus. There are numerous Master's degree programs in a wide range of content areas; one of the most popular limited residency degree programs is the Master of Fine Arts in creative writing. The first such program was developed by Evalyn Bates and launched in 1963 at Goddard College in Plainfield, Vermont.[1]

There are many low-residency MFA programs in creative writing and Master of Arts programs in a wide range of content areas, and a few schools that offer limited residency undergraduate options: Goddard College, Prescott College, Lesley University, New Hampshire Institute of Art, and Union Institute & University.


Programs vary, but in the intensive low-residency model requires students to come to campus every six months for 1-2 weeks, during which time students engage in a variety of activities and lectures during the day, and create detailed study plans. During the non-residency semester periods, students study independently, sending in "packets" to their faculty mentors every month or so. The content of the packets varies with each individual, but focuses on research, writing, and reflection related to each student's individualized study plan. A few schools, such as Western State Colorado University, actually conduct live online classes via Skype each week during the non-residency periods as well as having instructors reading students' work and provide written feedback weekly.

List of Colleges With Low-Residency Programs[edit]

United States[edit]





  1. ^ Carlson, Scott (Sep 9, 2011). "Goddard College Takes a Highly Unconventional Path to Survival". The Chronicle of Higher Education. LVIII: A6.