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MA-MFA in Literature, Creative Writing, and Social Justice - Online

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Get started on your Journey


Our Lady of the Lake University’s 100% online Master of Arts (MA) in Literature, Creative Writing, and Social Justice and the 100% online Master of Arts-Master of Fine Arts (MA-MFA) in Literature, Creative Writing, and Social Justice, prepare students to become critically engaged and socially aware scholars, writers, educators, and professionals. This nationally unique, completely virtual program is designed to attract and foster the growth of individuals who wish to combine creativity with practical skills and critical knowledge, all while keeping in mind the pursuit of social justice in their own work, their communities, and their professional practice. Further, a student can complete the MA and the MA-MFA completely by distance. Every one of our courses is offered either asynchronous online or hyflex—synchronously online and face-to-face for those on the San Antonio campus. 

Program Design

Using the online and hyflex delivery modes, the Program offers two to three courses each fall and spring semester and one to two courses per summer. 

If a student takes courses in the fall, spring, and summer, the MA can be completed in two academic years, and the combined MA-MFA, with a social justice project and a critical-creative thesis, can be completed in three academic years. 

Degree Plans and Course Descriptions

Curriculum Design

Literature Courses

The curriculum balances a study of the art of writing with the study of literature through a variety of courses with diverse and extensive reading lists.

Creative Writing Workshops

Writing-intensive workshops in fiction, nonfiction, screenwriting, and poetry are offered through the program. Students have multiple opportunities for revisions that will help them produce a thesis manuscript.

Courses of Professional, Scholarly, and Academic Development

Students complete coursework in pedagogy; critical theory; research tools, methods, and scholarship; translation; and social justice philosophy; as well, a variety of literary editing and publication courses are offered.



By the generosity of private donors, scholarships from the Benoist Endowed Scholarship Fund and the Griffith Endowed Fellowship Fund are made available to graduate students pursuing the MA or MA-MFA in Literature, Creative Writing, and Social Justice. These generous donors want to recognize students for their demonstrated advocacy for social justice as well as their academic achievements. 
The annual Benoist Scholarship and Griffith Fellowship are available to graduate students enrolled full-time while pursuing the MA or MA-MFA in Literature, Creative Writing, and Social Justice. 

For application qualifications, please contact Dr. Wallis Sanborn, Graduate Program Head and English Chair, at 210-431-5571 or

Program Highlights

J. Bruce Fuller

Visiting Writer Program ávez 

OLLU welcomes well-known authors to campus to take part in the Visiting Writer Program. Under the program, an author visits OLLU for a semester to work with students and give a public reading. 

Current Visiting Writer


Student sitting down in class smiling

Social Justice Reading Seriesávez 

The series brings an author whose work is couched in social justice to campus each year to read and discuss the role of social justice in the literary arts.

  • Marcela Ochoa - "My Name is Maria DeJesus" - Spring 2020
  • Reginald Dwayne Betts - "A Question of Freedom: A Memoir of Learning, Surviving and Coming of Age in Prison" - Spring 2019
  • Sheryl St. Germaine - "The Small Door of Your Death" - Fall 2018
  • Mary Ann Smothers Bruni - "Quest for Honor" - Fall 2017
  • Fred Rivera - "Raw Man"  - Fall 2017
  • Matthew Salesses - "The Hundred Year Flood" - Spring 2017
  • Elizabeth Harris - "Mayhem: Three Lives of a Woman" - Fall 2016
  • Hayan Charara - "Something Sinister and The Sadness of Others" - Spring 2016
  • Owen Lewis - "Best Man" - Fall 2015
The Thing Itslelf journal

The Thing Itselfávez 

The OLLU literary journal, The Thing Itself , is published annually by the English department. Students, faculty and staff, as well as national and international writers and artists, can submit poetry, fiction, nonfiction, and art for publication consideration in the journal.

Group of students on international tour standing in front of wall art

International Study Toursávez 

Some courses feature opportunities for students to study abroad. One such course is the British Literature course. Students who have taken the course in recent semesters have had the opportunity to travel to the United Kingdom with their classmates to visit some of the landmarks that they have read about through their coursework.