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Frequently Asked Questions

About the Program

The goal of the program is to develop your craft as a writer in the fiction, creative non-fiction or poetry genres, and to improve your text through peer feedback. It will teach you how to evaluate your own writing, as well as how to apply revision strategies to plot, characterization, style, setting, narration, dialogue, point of view, structure, clarity, length and originality.

There are no traditional classes in this program. The program consists of editorial exchanges with your mentor over a period of two consecutive academic terms. You will endeavor to meet the learning outcomes of the program through the interactions with your mentor. You will work with the same mentor for the length of the program to meet the program learning outcomes.

Instruction consists primarily of manuscript exchanges with your mentor; these take the form of cover emails with attached submissions. Students have at least two phone/video calls with their mentor to discuss overall progress, clarify points addressed during manuscript exchanges, and ask questions about writing craft and process. There are no online classes as such; however, students have access to online resources specific to the program.

The program is two consecutive semesters, beginning in either September or January. For more information, please see the program page.

Students have the opportunity to interact with each other via Blackboard, Humber’s online learning tool, where they can access a discussion forum, an informal virtual workshop, and a rich repository of literary resources. Students can also take part in a bi-weekly Zoom drop-in.

There is no syllabus or individual classes. The instruction centres around the writing project the student brings to the program.

We encourage students to try to complete the program in two consecutive semesters in order to maintain a consistent working relationship with their mentor. If you choose to take a semester off, we cannot guarantee that you would be paired with the same mentor again when you return to the program. Requests for a reduced course load due to medical reasons are allowed; students must contact Humber’s Accessible Learning Services for information.

We often have alumni who agree to speak to prospective students. To inquire, please write to Program Coordinator Alissa York:

This is allowed and happens with some regularity; however, returning students cannot receive a second graduate certificate. Students can apply to the program a second time with a new project, or to effect a substantial revision of the project they worked on previously. Humber keeps transcripts on file for one year only, so some returning students may have to resubmit.

About Mentors

Students indicate their top four choices of mentors on their work-in-progress form. The selection committee takes this into account when matching students and mentors.

We are unable to post updates on individual mentor availability. Students will be informed who their mentor is after the application deadline passes.

There is no guarantee that a student will be paired with the mentor of their choice, but one’s odds are improved by applying earlier rather than later. Students who submit before the deadline are usually paired with their first- or second-choice mentor. However, the final decision rests with the selection committee and it may be that the committee believes that a particular mentor is better suited to a student’s work.

The number of students each mentor supervises varies depending on the mentor’s availability.

About the Workload

Students writing prose (novels, stories, creative nonfiction) must submit a minimum of 150 and a maximum of 300 double-spaced pages of prose in 12-point font over the two-term period. Students writing poetry must submit from 50 to 100 single-spaced pages of prose in 12-point font over the two-term period.

There is no absolute rule, but expect to have anywhere from 10-14 exchanges with your mentor over the course of the 28 weeks. This will provide you time to write and give your mentor the time to read, consider and respond to your submissions. Typically, a successful outcome of this program means you have a complete draft of a manuscript together with a complete set of editorial remarks from your mentor. However, many manuscripts require several drafts. This program is intended to take you through a complete draft of an average novel, memoir, or collection of poems or short stories.

Many of our students take the program while working part or full time. To estimate the amount of time the program will demand, expect to be writing, on average, ten double-spaced pages of prose per week.

Many mentors do not use texts and stick with editorial commentary. Some mentors recommend texts that are appropriate to your work. One text that is required of all prose writers to read is Janet Burroway’s Writing Fiction: A Guide to Narrative Craft. Poets should consider The Making of a Poem: A Norton Anthology of Poetic Forms edited by Eavan Boland and Mark Strand. You should own a good grammar book.

Fees and Financial Aid

For information on financial assistance, please visit Humber’s Financial Aid Office.


Some scholarships are available to students who can demonstrate financial need. Please see the scholarships page, or contact Humber’s Financial Aid Office for information about additional financial assistance.

Fees for both domestic and international students can be found here. For information on when fees are due, and how they can be paid, please click here.