The Fifth Semester course fee of $3,980 includes:

  • A three-day residency in Chicago, focused on the craft of writing and story development (room, board, and meals included);
  • Four months of one-on-one mentorship which includes a monthly exchange of draft pages, a telephone conference with your mentor, and email check-ins. At the New York residency, mentors will provide a developmental critique of full manuscript up to 300 pages and individual conference to discuss future strategies and goals;
  • A three-day residency in New York, focused on the business of writing (room and board, and breakfast and lunch, included);
  • Access to agents and editors;
  • A program that adheres to Association of Writers and Writing Programs (AWP) standards and is taught by university professors/published authors; and
  • A community of writers.


2017 Sessions

Session 1: Residency I – Chicago: May 4-7 | Residency II – New York: August 24-26 FULL

Session 2: Residency I – Chicago: July 13 – 16| Residency II – NYC: Nov. 3 -6

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Special Madison, WI-based session – $3,000: Residency I: September 9-10 | Residency II: December (date TBD) [Does not include lodging or meals, except for lunch on Sept. 9th. Both session I and II will be held in Madison, instead of Chicago and NYC] This session will concentrate on nonfiction and creative nonfiction. Interested in a Madison-based fiction session? Leave your name and email here, and we’ll let you know when we get one scheduled!

  • Pay $500 deposit [Balance is due by August 15th, 2017. May be paid in two installments of $1,250 on July 15th and August 15th).
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  • Pay full tuition ($3,000)
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2018 Sessions

Session 1: Residency I – Chicago: January 4-7 | Residency II -New York: May 4-6

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Session 2: Residency I – Chicago: May 17-20 | Residency II -New York: August 23-26

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Session 3: Residency I – Chicago: July 26-29 | Residency II – New York: November 8-11

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Payment plans are available. Make a $500 deposit below to hold your spot. THEN, email the5thsemester(at) with 1) your name, 2) your preferred session, and 3) if you would like to be invoiced in one or two installments of the balance owed. Payment in full is due upon receipt of your final invoice, or your spot will be released. 

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Cancellation by TFS

  • The Fifth Semester (TFS) reserves the right to cancel an event due to low enrollment or other circumstances which would make the event non-viable.
  • If TFS cancels an event, registrants will be offered a full refund.
  • Should circumstances arise that result in the postponement of an event, TFS reserves the right to either issue a full refund or transfer registration to the same event at a future date.

Cancellation by Participant 

  • The $500 deposit is non-refundable.
  • Registrants may switch sessions based on availability; however, the deposit can be applied to the new session only if payment is made in full at that time. Switching sessions a second time will be considered a withdrawal and subject to the refund policy outlined below.
  • For students who withdraw from the program, the refund schedule is as follows:
    • Up to 90 days before the start of the session – full refund;
    • Up to 60 days before the start of the session – 50% refund (minus $500 deposit);
    • Up to 30 days before the start of the session – 25% refund (minus $500 deposit);
    • Cancellations within 30 days of the start of a session are not eligible for a refund or credit.
  • Refunds will also not be available for students who do not meet the mutually-established deadlines and/or agreement for the mentorship period.
  • Tuition refunds will not be available for registrants who do not attend a residency weekend. Postponing attendance to a later session is subject to availability and may result in additional fees.