IAIA - Institute of American Indian Arts

The Residency-Only Option

Writers wishing to deepen and refine their work and expand their writing community are invited to attend the MFA Residency week as non-degree students.

Join us for seven full days of craft talks, workshops, panels, classes, conferences, and readings featuring some of our finest contemporary writers, as well as guest editors and agents. The twice-annual residencies are rare opportunities to engage in sustained and meaningful conversation with others who share your passion for writing.

The Residency-Only Option is ideal for:


  • individuals who already have an MFA or MA in Creative Writing
  • teachers seeking continuing education credits (the residency awards 3 graduate credits)
  • individuals who are exploring the idea of enrolling in a creative writing graduate program
  • individuals who seek new directions or inspiration for their work

Upcoming Residency Dates

  • July 23-31, 2016
  • January 7-15, 2017
  • July 29-August 6, 2017


The residencies take place on the beautiful campus of the Institute of American Indian Arts in Santa Fe, New Mexico, just 10 miles south of the Santa Fe Plaza. Surrounded by mountains, the IAIA campus features green belts and open spaces for hiking or biking, and opens onto some of the most gorgeous sunsets imaginable.


Each day is filled with presentations and readings designed to provide skills and inspiration for the art of writing. In the mornings, students attend  workshops. After lunch they attend craft talks, panels, guest-taught workshops, or meet in conference with visiting writers, agents, and editors. Each evening closes with readings by the MFA faculty and visiting writers. In addition to the scheduled events, the residency includes time for contemplation, writing, and informal gatherings with other students, faculty, and visiting writers.


Residency-Only participants, together with the full-time MFA students, are assigned to a workshop specific to their genre (fiction, creative nonfiction, screenwriting, or poetry). Workshops meet for six sessions and include up to 12 students. Each student receives at least one close critique of his or her manuscript, then spends the remaining workshop hours offering reviews to the other students.

Faculty Mentors

The writers who serve as faculty mentors are outstanding for both their level of literary achievements and for their teaching records and abilities. These accomplished authors bring careful attention and diverse writing styles and voices to the mix. For more information about the faculty, go to the faculty page here.

Meals & Lodging

Because a strong and supportive community is an integral part of the residency, students are encouraged to reside together for the seven days. In the July-August residency, students stay in the IAIA dorms. In January, students stay in private rooms at the nearby Inn at Santa Fe. Meals are provided by Bon Appetit in the IAIA cafeteria. Students who live in the Santa Fe area are welcome to commute, but should plan their schedules to take full advantage of the 9:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. immersive experience. Attendance is required at all residency events to receive credit.


Students who have demonstrated talent, are committed to developing their writing, are able to look objectively at their work, and are willing to use criticism in a discriminating manner are encouraged to apply. Admission is based primarily on the quality and promise exhibited in the application manuscript. An undergraduate degree is not required for admission to the Residency-Only option. Please complete the simplified Residency-Only application here. (Do not use the regular MFA application.)

To apply, please submit the following.

  1. A completed application, available here.
  2. A $25, non-refundable application fee.
  3. A sample of your creative work.

Please submit examples of your work:

  • Poetry: maximum of 10 pages (single-spaced, not more than one poem to a page)
  • Fiction: maximum of 15 pages (double-spaced)
  • Creative nonfiction: maximum of 15 pages (double-spaced)
  • Screenwriting: maximum of 20 pages (industry-standard formatting)

Each manuscript should be typewritten, single-sided, numbered in the lower-right hand corner, and set in 12-point, Times Roman (Courier for a screenplay) font. Please do not staple. Manuscripts will not be returned. We encourage you to send a smaller sample of your best work.  Any pages beyond the maximum will not be read.

You may also email the creative manuscript in a Word or pdf attachment to admissions@iaia.edu.


For priority consideration, submit all application materials by June 15th for the July residency or November 15th for the January residency. Applications will be considered up until two weeks before the residency as space allows.

Costs for Residency-Only Option

Non-refundable Application Fee           $25
Tuition      $1,170
Technology Fee           $30
Meals & Housing         $510/summer, $725/winter
Books & Supplies (est)         $50
Travel (est)         $600
Refundable Deposits
Key Deposit           $20/summer, $0/winter
Housing Deposit         $100/summer, $0/winter
Classroom/Library Deposit           $75
Unusual Fees
Returned Check Fee           $30
Student I.D. Replacement Card           $20



We welcome the opportunity to speak with applicants and invite you to call or write us with any questions you may have. Please contact Jon Davis   at 505-424-2365.