Program Details

A unique program that bridges the connection between oral storytelling and the writing process.
Milford, United States
Program Type:
Full Degree
Degree Level:
Literature & Writing, Literature & Writing

Program Overview

Program Description:
For 12 years, The Graduate Institute has offered the M.A. in Oral Traditions, which explores the power of the spoken word as a force for transformative action in the fields of education, community organization, and the arts. For the first time, this dynamic program will take on a new focus – one that serves aspiring writers by bridging the connection between the spoken and written word. Why Oral Traditions? Long before the advent of written language or any publishing technology, oral traditions served as humankind’s principal communications medium. Even today, there exists somewhere around 10,000 world languages and among them, only 78 publishing traditions! Though our own culture may rely heavily on written text, we still use oral communication more than any other medium. For writers seeking new ways of improving their craft, it is useful to turn to the oral language arts for important lessons on character development, story structure, and emotional resonance. Whether examining the vast impact of Greek mythology on personality archetypes, the pervasiveness of folklore and fairy tale in informing modern tales, or the universality of the Hero’s Journey as a prototype for effective story arc, there are untold ways that contemporary writing can find its roots, and its potential, in the oral traditions. The Invitation: In this program, colleagues (i.e. students) will study the oral foundations of contemporary literature, conduct their own ethnographic research, complete a series of independent and group projects, engage in peer critiques, and ultimately execute a manuscript or written project of their own design. The Writers Cohort also serves as a forum for the intellectual and spiritual growth and development of each writer. By examining the narrative structure of their own lives, and by analyzing their personal experiences in the application of their writing, each participant engages in processes that help them realize their true writing potential within the context of a genre and a voice that is authentically theirs. Candidates will complete their book or project and earn their Masters degree in just 22 months. This is an ideal opportunity to utilize a wide array of resources and mechanisms in service of one’s work. Whether starting from scratch or using a work-in-progress, writers can expect to develop their idea, conduct support research, engage in the ongoing process of writing and revision while receiving valuable peer and faculty feedback, and present their final work product at the culmination of the degree program. Classes meet one weekend per month in Connecticut, plus one full week in the summer. The degree is completed in under 2 years.

Additional Program Information

The Graduate Institute is fully licensed and accredited by the State of Connecticut Department of Higher Education.

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