Academic Calendar: Writing Seminars
Important Term Details and Deadlines
Upcoming Terms and Residencies
Dates for the upcoming academic terms and on-campus residencies:
- Winter 2024 term: January 4–May 31, 2024 (on-campus residency: January 4-14)
- Summer 2024 term: June 6–November 30, 2024 (on-campus residency: June 6-16)
- Winter 2025 term: January 9–May 31, 2025 (on-campus residency: January 9-19)
Those students currently enrolled who plan to continue do not need to do anything—we assume you will be here next term, as scheduled.
For those students who are currently on Leave of Absence (LOA) or Withdrawn
- March 1 is the application/reentry/reapplication deadline for the June residency.
- September 1 is the application/reentry/reapplication deadline for the January residency.
- Those of you who are currently on a Leave of Absence (LOA) must notify Director Megan Culhane Galbraith in writing by March 1 (for the June residency) or September 1 (for the January residency) of your intent to return (email is fine).
- Forfeited matriculation deposits must be repaid and received in the Writing Seminars Office by March 1 (for June) or September 1 (for January).
- Reapplications must be completed and received in the Writings Seminars Office by March 1 (for June) or September 1 (for January).
Leave of Absence (LOA)
The deadlines for requesting a Leave of Absence are by March 1 (for the summer term, starting in June) and by September 1 (for the winter term, starting in January). Requests must be submitted using this leave of absence form.
- If you entered the program and decide after March 1 (for summer term) or after September 1 (for winter term) to take a Leave of Absence, you will forfeit the $500 matriculation deposit.
- Additionally, any student who decides after March 1 (for summer term) or after September 1 (for winter term) to take a Leave of Absence will be considered withdrawn at the end of the term and will be required to reapply to the Seminars with the same status as other applicants seeking admission for the term to which the student is reapplying.
Third-Term Genre Switch
The Third-Term Switch provides the opportunity to study in a second genre for one term at Bennington. While we don't typically recommend a third-term switch if students have a project underway, the option is available. Students should think about whether they feel they can satisfy their interest in another genre via the master classes and lectures on that genre during residency.
If a student is currently in their second term, they have the opportunity to request a switch to another genre in advance of the third term.
Requests to make a genre switch must be submitted to the Director in writing by March 1 or sooner (for summer/June) or by September 1 or sooner (for winter/January). Approval of your second-term (current) teacher is required. If you are considering making a switch, please notify the Director as soon as possible, to discuss the process.
Current first- and second-term students considering applying for the Dual-Genre Option need to submit three copies of a manuscript in their proposed minor genre by March 1 (for summer/June) or by September 1 (for winter/January). Please contact the Director as soon as possible to discuss the details.
Residential Teaching Fellow
We conduct interviews for the Residential Teaching Fellow during residency and/or via Zoom shortly thereafter. We will notify students by email when applications are open.
The Bennington Writing Seminars offers a full-immersion teaching fellowship to MFA students. The fellowship is the first of its kind in the country to offer full-time undergraduate teaching experience in a low-residency MFA format. This fellowship includes full tuition remission for one term, housing and board, enrollment in one class offered on campus, and experience in arts administration or editorial work thanks to unique partnerships with The Robert Frost Stone House Museum, Bennington Review, and Poetry@Bennington.
The Residential Teaching Fellow works for a full term in an undergraduate classroom where they assist a Bennington College literature faculty member. The Fellow also gains experience in arts administration or editorial work while continuing their regular coursework for the term. We select two Fellows per year.
This competitive fellowship application is open to Bennington MFA students who are rising into their second, third, or fourth term at the time they'll be actively serving in the fellowship. Students in their graduate term are ineligible. Students will be mentored 1:1 with the on-campus faculty member with whom they are working (and/or by the faculty mentor with whom they have been assigned at BWS.)
Students have a voice in choosing the faculty they'd like to work with. Students in their second through fourth terms will be asked to submit a ranked list of faculty they'd like to work with for the coming term. Students in their first term will be assigned a faculty member.
We spend a great deal of time matching students with the best pairing for their writing and their academic study. In doing so, we aim for (but don't guarantee) that students receive their top choice at least once during their time here. Thanks to the strength and depth of our faculty, a student will learn a great deal with whomever they work with.
Deadlines to upload complete workshop materials to The HUB are as follows:
- January Residency: Beginning of December (students will be notified of the exact date)
- June Residency: Beginning of May (students will be notified of the exact date)
- In that notification, you will receive instructions for how to format and upload a copy of your workshop material (original work); do not email your workshop material to email@example.com.
- Plan ahead about which materials you will be sending so that the deadline does not creep up on you.
- Send your best work in progress, i.e., strong work you think will benefit from the critique of your workshop teachers and peers.
- Our goal is to distribute the workshop material in time for faculty and students to read and fully annotate one another’s work prior to coming to the residency.
- "Fully annotate" means substantively respond to the work in writing. Students will give their written responses to each manuscript to its author. We have received many requests from students who want there to be more consistency in the quality of the critique of workshop manuscripts. Thoroughly critiquing manuscripts for workshop will benefit student critics as well as student authors.
- Submit no more than 20 pages of fiction or nonfiction (double spaced, single-sided, in 12pt Times New Roman) and not more than 10 pages of poetry.
- We will strictly adhere to all deadlines. No extensions.
- If you miss the deadline, you will be responsible for sending the material to those in your workshop group, including sending a copy to the Writing Seminars Office and one to each of your workshop teachers.
- A word of caution: If your material is not received on time, teachers have the option to omit your work from the workshop.
Typically, a student might request a letter grade if their workplace requires it for reimbursement of a portion of tuition or if they plan to pursue a PhD.
Letter grades may be requested via this Google form and are due by these deadlines:
- December 1 (for the winter, January–May term)
- May 1 (for the summer, June–November term)
NOTE: Upon the completion of coursework, assigned letter grades cannot be changed back to a pass/fail rating.
Populi is Bennington College’s online student information system. Once you have access to Populi, you will be able to see your schedule and grades/narrative evaluations for a given term and also make a formal name change request, and keep emergency contacts and home and billing addresses up to date. Prior to the beginning of your first term, you will be made a Populi user. Once this happens, you will receive an e-mail at your @bennington.edu email account with instructions on how to officially log into Populi (including your username and password).
Once your account is set up, you may view your schedule for the January or June term by navigating to Populi and entering your Bennington College username and password (these credentials will be the same as when you log into your Bennington College e-mail). Click "My Profile" near the top of the page, and then click the “Student” tab.
To view your grades/narrative evaluations for current and previous terms:
Login to Populi at https://bennington.populiweb.com
Click on My Profile at the top of the page, then click on the Student tab.
For courses that have been graded, you'll see your final grade for that course. To view the narrative evaluation your instructor has written, click on the yellow triangle next to the grade.
For courses that have not yet been graded, you’ll see the placeholder "IP," which means in progress.
If you've Withdrawn from or are Incomplete in a Course, you'll see "W" or "I."
Feel free to contact the Registrar if you have any questions about Populi. Carly Rudzinski is happy to help.
Using Crossett Library
You have access to academic resources, JSTOR, MLA International, and WorldCat through Crossett Library. You can see our full spate of databases at our A-Z Database Guide. If you have an ID already, you'll use the five-digit barcode as well as your last name COMMA first name to access these resources from that above link. Journals can be searched here: Journal Access and that will show what we have in full text. Links for each of these can also be found on Crossett’s homepage (library.bennington.edu) under “Quick Links” on the right. Contact Jared Della Rocca with any questions.
Thesis and Project Guidelines
A student's faculty advisor needs to receive your manuscript as your last official packet or sooner (deadlines are set by each faculty). Aim to complete it earlier if possible
The printed and bound copy, with approval signatures, needs to be displayed in Crossett Library at residency
A digital copy must be uploaded by last Friday of the residency.
- Fiction: A collection of stories or a novel, or a combination of the two, 100 to 120 page
- Nonfiction: A manuscript of either a collection of essays or a single topic book, 100 to 120 pages
- Poetry: A manuscript of poems, 48 to 64 pages
- Dual-Genre: 120 to 150 total pages of prose for nonfiction and fiction, which includes 40-50 pages of poetry
Final Critical Paper
(See full MFA Guidelines)
During the student’s third term, they will write a twenty to twenty-five-page critical essay under the guidance of their faculty mentor for that term. At the end of the term, they will submit that essay to a two-member faculty panel who will read the essay and prepare comments for a face-to-face meeting during the student’s fourth (fifth for dual-genre) residency.
Each student will meet with a two-member faculty panel to present an oral summary of their essay and to receive faculty feedback in the meeting. Faculty will have read the essay, and will provide meaningful but limited written feedback. Faculty offer their notes and suggestions for revision. Notes will be provided to both the student and the program administration for distribution to the student’s fourth-term teacher.
Second readers are assigned within the genre in which the student is studying. Second readers must be teaching in the term in which the thesis is delivered to be considered for a second reader. The second reader’s responsibility is to approve (pass or fail) and write an evaluation of the thesis, which will be made a part of the final record; second readers do not meet and confer with students about their thesis and are chosen by the program administration. Students receive short written feedback from their second reader after their final residency.
If both the students faculty and second reader will be at the residency, you may obtain their signatures at that time, otherwise, send a copy of the signature page for either or both to sign prior to the residency.