Optional Summer Residency

The Optional Summer Residency offers an intensive ten days of programming to motivate and challenge our students’ writing practice, while connecting students with faculty, guest authors, industry professionals, optional-residency and on-campus students.

In addition to workshops, we offer daily keynote talks and interactive craft sessions with faculty and visiting writers. These talks and sessions offer a range of topics and experiential learning across multiple genres. We also offer one-on-one sessions to connect with industry professionals.

Frequently Asked Questions


The Optional Summer Residency is open to all incoming and returning optional-residency MFA students, and to returning on-campus MFA students in their second year and beyond. We usually offer one BFA class and for 2023 we’re offering an MFA alumni class. The Optional-Residency program has a July 1 start date to allow for newly admitted students to attend the summer residency in their first year. If students do not attend the summer residency in July of their first year, they will begin regular scheduled workshops in September.

The Optional Summer Residency is normally held in early July.

UBC School of Creative Writing students should contact Graduate Support for details on the Optional Summer Residency including dates, sessions and speakers.


You can attend the summer residency every summer during your degree, or just once, and you don’t have to take it at all, even if you’re an Optional Residency student – it’s optional!

The courses all run at the same time to allow the classes to come together for the keynotes, panels, etc., so you can only take one residency class per summer.

Each summer residency course is worth 3 credits. Many students use the residency to complete one of their genre requirements, especially if they just want to dip their toes into a genre rather than take a course during the Winter term.

“Full-time” is defined by the University as a minimum of 6 credits from May to August. The residency is worth 3 credits (in term 2), so you’d need to take another 3 credits (in term 1), or be registered in thesis to be eligible for any summer awards. Students who join our program in July and attend the residency in their first year will not be eligible for awards until September.


Thanks to the generous gift of an anonymous donor, we are able to provide awards of $3000 for two continuing Indigenous, Black, or People of Colour (IBPOC) students to attend the summer residency. These awards are to be applied to the costs of housing, travel, per diem, and sundries for 10 days; they will NOT cover the cost of tuition.

There are no other scholarships specifically for the residency. That said, it’s always worth checking the G+PS Award Opportunities database to see what you might be eligible for. Remember that you must be a full-time student in the term that you hold any UBC scholarship.


Students are responsible for their own travel and accommodation bookings. Please see the UBC Conferences & Accommodation site for on-campus options.

List of Guest Authors and Industry Professionals

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