University of California, Riverside

Palm Desert Center

Academic Programs

Graduate Programs

Master of Fine Arts (MFA)

MFAThe MFA in Creative Writing and Writing for the Performing Arts is a unique seven quarter low residency program that provides writers with a path toward publication and production in all genres of writing including fiction, nonfiction, poetry, and screenwriting. Students explore multiple genres, allowing for a cross-disciplinary approach that is ideal for writers seeking the artistic latitude to move fluidly within the field. A unique feature of the program is that each student meets with a literary agent in their last quarter to examine their work. Visit MFA for more information.

Continuing Education

Explore. Advance. Connect.

Whether you're looking to train for a new career; advance in your current field; exploreUNEX the wonders of our changing world; or connect with people who share your interests, UCR Extension offers you more than 90 certificate programs and enrichment courses online and in classroom settings to meet your educational, career and enrichment needs. Visit UCR Extension,  search for classes, or find out more about the OSHER Lifelong Learning Institute.

UCR Extension Courses at the Palm Desert Center

Weekend Writing Seminars February 20-21, 2016


Kickstart your writing with an intensive workshop! Taught by the faculty of the MFA in Creative Writing & Writing for the Performing Arts, the Weekend Writing Seminars, offered in conjunction with the UCR Extension, feature immersive courses in the craft of writing. Fee includes two-day course, editorial feedback, and a continental breakfast each day. For more information, please contact Agam Patel at 760-834-0926 or via email at


    • Writing Your Novel with Mark Haskell Smith
      In this intensive two-day seminar, you’ll learn the hallmarks of successful first novels, and have the first 25 pages of your own book read and critiqued by the workshop’s leader. In class, we’ll examine the intersection of character and setting, the mechanics of plot, the art of dialogue, the dynamics of timing and pace, and, finally, the path to publication. The goal is to provide you with not only a working blueprint of your novel, but also the tools to get you through the first draft.
    • Writing the Screenplay with Mickey Birnbaum
      Writing a feature film isn’t as easy as typing the words “FADE IN” and hoping for the best. In this intensive workshop, Mickey Birnbaum will take you from idea to execution, teaching you the fundamentals of writing a script that sells. The goal is to leave the class with the craft required to finish a first draft, along with a rock-solid professional outline to get you ready to pitch. No previous screenwriting experience required. The workshop leader will read and critique your first 25 pages.
    • Writing Your Memoir with Emily Rapp
      Turning your life story into a compelling book isn’t merely recounting your adventures; you must also find an essential truth, some moment that exceeded the bounds of your previous life. We’ll take you down the path from memory to action, finding the story you not only wish to tell, but the story you must tell. Utilizing in-class readings, writing exercises and the critical examination of published work, we’ll move you ever closer to the book you’ve been trying to write. The workshop leader will read and critique your first 25 pages.

More Information 

General Campus Information

University of California, Riverside
900 University Ave.
Riverside, CA 92521
Tel: (951) 827-1012

Department Information

UCR Palm Desert Center
75080 Frank Sinatra Drive
Palm Desert, CA 92211

Tel: (760) 834-0800
Fax: (760) 834-0796

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