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The 10 Best MFA Creative Writing Programs [2024]


Many people have a talent for stories, but not everyone will become a successful author. In many cases, people simply need to hone their skills – and the best MFA creative writing programs are the key.

If you have an undergrad degree and are looking for the next step in your academic adventure, you’re in luck: We’ve scoured MFA creative writing rankings to find you the best programs.

Table of Contents

The 10 Best MFA Creative Writing Programs

1. johns hopkins university – krieger school of arts & sciences.

Johns Hopkins University

Master of Fine Arts in Fiction/ Poetry

Located in Baltimore, Maryland, Johns Hopkins is a world-renowned private research university. Their Master of Fine Arts in Fiction/Poetry is one of the best MFA creative writing programs anywhere. Students take courses and receive writing practice (in fiction or poetry) at the highest level. This MFA program also offers the opportunity to learn with an internationally renowned faculty.

  • Duration:  2 years
  • Financial aid:  Full tuition, teaching fellowship (for all students set at $33,000/year)
  • Acceptance rate: 11.1%
  • Location: Baltimore, Maryland
  • Founded: 1876

2. University of Michigan –  Helen Zell Writers’ Program

University of Michigan

Master of Fine Arts

The University of Michigan is a public research university – and the oldest in the state. Its Master of Fine Arts program is one of the best MFA creative writing programs in the country, exposing students to various approaches to the craft. While studying under award-winning poets and writers, students may specialize in either poetry or fiction.

  • Duration: 2 years
  • No. of hours: 36
  • Financial aid: Full funding
  • Acceptance rate:  26.1%
  • Location: Ann Arbor, Michigan
  • Founded: 1817

3. University of Texas at Austin – New Writers Project

University of Texas at Austin

Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing

The University of Texas at Austin is a well-known public research university with around 50,000 students at the graduate and undergraduate levels. It offers one of the best MFA programs for creative writing, aiming to enhance and develop its students’ artistic and intellectual abilities.

  • Duration:  3 years
  • Financial aid:  Full funding
  • Acceptance rate:  32%
  • Location:  Austin, Texas
  • Founded:  1883

4. University of Nebraska – Kearney

UNK logo

Master of Arts

The University of Nebraska strives to provide quality, affordable education, including its online MA English program. Students can focus on four areas, including Creative Writing (which provides experiential learning in either poetry or prose).

  • Credit hours: 36
  • Tuition : $315 per credit hour
  • Financial aid :  Grants, Work-study, Student loans, Scholarships, Parent loans
  • Acceptance rate: 88%
  • Location: Online
  • Founded: 1905

5. Bay Path University (Massachusetts)

Bay Path University

MFA in Creative Nonfiction Writing

Bay Path University is a private university with various programs at undergraduate, graduate, and doctorate levels (including women-only undergraduate programs). This creative non-fiction writing program is one of the first fully online programs in the country. No matter their location, students are able to develop their creative writing skills and knowledge – in a range of literary genres.

  • Credits:  39
  • Tuition: $775 per credit
  • Financial aid :  Federal Stafford loan, Student loans
  • Acceptance rate: 78%
  • Founded:  1897

6. Brown University (Rhode Island)

Brown logo

MFA in Literary Arts

Brown is a world-famous Ivy League university based in Providence, Rhode Island. Its two-year residency MFA in Literary Arts is designed for students looking to maximize their intellectual and creative exploration. The highly competitive program offers extensive financial support. In fact, over the past 20 years, all incoming MFA students were awarded full funding for their first year of study (and many for the second year).

  • Tuition:  $57,591  (but full funding available)
  • Financial aid :  Fellowship, teaching assistantships, and stipends.
  • Acceptance rate: 9%
  • Location: Providence, Rhode Island
  • Founded:  1764

7. University of Iowa (Iowa)


MFA in Creative Writing

The University of Iowa is a public university located in Iowa City. As one of the most celebrated public schools in the Midwest, students learn under established professors and promising writers during their two-year residency program.

  • Credits:  60
  • Tuition: $12,065 for in-state students, and $31,012 out-of-state
  • Financial aid :  Scholarships, teaching assistantships, federal aid, and student loans.
  • Acceptance rate: 84%
  • Location: Iowa City, Iowa

8. Cornell University (New York State)

Cornell University

Cornell is an Ivy League university located in Ithaca, New York. This highly competitive program accepts only eight students annually, and just two from each concentration. Not only do students enjoy a generous financial aid package, but they also have the opportunity to work closely with members of the school’s celebrated faculty.

  • Tuition:  $29,500
  • Financial aid :  All accepted students receive a fellowship covering full tuition, stipend, and insurance.
  • Acceptance rate: 14%
  • Location: Ithaca, New York
  • Founded:  1865

9. Columbia University ( NYC )

Columbia University logo

MFA in Fiction Writing

Founded in 1754, Columbia University is the oldest tertiary education institution in New York – and one of the oldest in the country. The school offers a Writing MFA in nonfiction, fiction, poetry, and literary translation. The fiction concentration promotes artistic and aesthetic diversity, with a diverse teaching staff and adjunct faculty from a wide range of diverse experience.

  • Credits:  60 points
  • Tuition:  $34,576
  • Financial aid :  Scholarships, fellowships, federal aid, work-study, and veterans’ grants.
  • Acceptance rate: 11%
  • Location: NYC, New York
  • Founded:  1754

10. New York University (NYC)

NYU logo

New York University (NYU) is known for delivering high-quality, innovative education in various fields. Located in the heart of NYC, the institution’s MFA in Creative Writing boasts celebrated faculty from poetry, fiction, and creative non-fiction backgrounds. This dynamic program fosters creativity and excellence through literary outreach programs, public reading series, a literary journal, and special seminars from visiting writers

  • Credits:  32
  • Tuition:  $53,229
  • Financial aid :  Fellowships, scholarships, and federal aid.
  • Location: NYC
  • Founded:  1886

Common Courses for MFAs in Creative Writing 

As part of your master’s in creative writing program, you’ll usually need to complete a number of compulsory courses, along with certain electives. Common courses you’ll need to take include:

  • Literary theory
  • History of storytelling
  • Genre conventions
  • Market trends
  • Marketing manuscripts to publishers
  • Thesis or dissertation

Typical Requirements for Applying to an MFA Creative Writing Program

Besides the application form and fee, most MFA in creative writing programs have standard requirements. While the following are the most typical requirements, always check with the specific program first:

Make sure your resume  includes all relevant information to showcase your interests, skills, and talent in writing.

2. Writing Sample(s)

MFA creative writing program selection committees look for applicants who are serious about writing. Therefore, they typically ask for at least one 10-20 page writing sample. The best samples showcase talent in your preferred area of writing (e.g., fiction, non-fiction). MFA poetry programs have varied sample requirements.

3. Transcripts

You’ll need to show your undergraduate degree (and possibly high school) transcript.

4. Statement of Purpose

A statement of purpose is usually 1-2 pages and shows your passion for writing and potential to succeed in the program.

5. Recommendation Letters

Most programs require letters of recommendation from academic or professional contacts who know you well.

Related reading: How to Ask a Professor for a Grad School Recommendation

6. GRE Scores

Some MFA programs require GRE scores (though this is not the case for all universities). If you happen to need some assistance while studying for your GRE or GMAT, be sure to check out Magoosh for easy test prep!

What Can Creative Writers Do After Graduation?

As a creative writer with an MFA, you’ll have a variety of career options where your skills are highly valued. Below are a few of the common jobs an MFA creative writing graduate can do, along with the average annual salary for each.

Creative Director ( $90,389 )

A creative director leads a team of creative writers, designers, or artists in various fields, such as media, advertising, or entertainment.

Editor ( $63,350)

An editor helps correct writing errors and improve the style and flow in media, broadcasting, films, advertising, marketing , and entertainment.

Academic Librarian ( $61,190)

An academic librarian manages educational information resources in an academic environment (such as a university).

Copywriter ( $53,800 )

Copywriters typically work to present an idea to a particular audience and capture their attention using as few words as possible.

Technical Writers ($78,060)

Technical writers are tasked with instruction manuals, guides, journal articles, and other documents. These convey complex details and technical information to a wider audience.

Writer ( $69,510 )

A writer usually provides written content for businesses through articles, marketing content, blogs, or product descriptions. They may also write fiction or non-fiction books.

Social Media Manager ( $52,856 )

A social media manager is responsible for creating and scheduling content on social media, and may also track analytics and develop social media strategies.

Journalist ($ 48,370 )

Journalists may work for newspapers, magazines, or online publications, researching and writing stories, as well as conducting interviews and investigations.

Public Relations Officer ( $62,800)

A public relations officer works to promote and improve the public image of a company, government agency, or organization. This is done through work such as: preparing media releases, online content, and dealing with the media.

Lexicographer ( $72,620 )

Lexicographers are the professionals who create dictionaries. They study words’ etymologies and meanings, compiling them into a dictionary.

Can You Get a Creative Writing Degree Online?

Yes, a number of institutions offer online master’s degrees , such as Bay Path University and the University of Nebraska. Online courses offer a high degree of flexibility, allowing you to study from anywhere – and often on your own schedule. Many students can earn their degrees while continuing with their current job or raising a family.

However, students won’t receive the full benefits of a residency program, such as building close connections with peers and working with the faculty in person. Some on-campus programs also offer full funding to cover tuition and education expenses.

Pros and Cons of an MFA in Creative Writing

Like anything, studying an MFA in Creative Writing and pursuing a related career can have its benefits as well as drawbacks.

  • It’ll motivate you to write.

Many people are talented but struggle sitting down to write. An MFA program will give you the motivation to meet your deadlines.

  • You’ll have a community.

Writing can be a solitary pursuit. It can be hard to connect with others who are just as passionate about writing. An MFA program provides students with a community of like-minded people.

  • Graduates have teaching prospects.

An MFA is one option that can help you find a teaching job at the university level. Unlike some majors that require a Ph.D. to enter academia, many post-secondary instructors hold an MFA.

  • Not always the most marketable job skills

Although an MFA in Creative Writing will provide several useful skills in the job market, these are not as marketable as some other forms of writing. For example, copywriting arguably has a wider range of job prospects.

  • It could limit your creativity.

There is a risk that your writing could become too technical or formulaic, due to the theories learned during your MFA. It’s important to know the theory, but you don’t want to let it limit your creativity.

How Long Does It Take to Get an MFA Degree in Creative Writing?

A master’s in creative writing typically takes between 2-3 years to complete. Unlike other master’s degrees’ accelerated options, creative writing program requirements require a greater number of workshops and dissertations.

Alternatives to Creative Writing Majors

There are plenty of similar majors that can set you on the path to a career in the creative writing field. Consider alternatives like an MA in English , literature, humanities, media studies, and library sciences.

Related Reading: Master’s in Fine Arts: The Ultimate Guide

Frequently Asked Questions

What can i do with an mfa in creative writing .

An MFA graduate could teach creative writing at a secondary or college level. They may pursue a career in advertising, publishing, media, or the entertainment industry. They could also become an author by publishing fiction, non-fiction, or poetry.

Are MFA Creative Writing Programs Worth It?

Having an MFA opens doors to a range of well-paid careers (more on that above). If you’re skilled in writing – and want to make a decent living with it – an MFA program might be an excellent choice.

How Do I Choose an MFA in Creative Writing?

First, consider whether an on-campus or online MFA program is best for you (depending on your lifestyle and commitments). Another key consideration is a university with renowned authors on their teaching staff who will give you the highest levels of training in creative writing. Also, consider your preferred focus area (e.g., fiction, poetry, nonfiction) .

What Are MFA Writing Programs?

An MFA in writing or creative writing is an advanced program that teaches students the art and practice of writing. During these programs, students hone their writing skills and equip themselves to publish their own work – or pursue a career in media, teaching, or advertising.

Can You Teach with an MFA? 

Yes! Teaching is one of the many career options an MFA provides . An MFA in creative writing can qualify you to be a teacher in creative writing (in schools or the higher education sector).

Is It Hard to Be Admitted to MFA Creative Writing Programs?

MFA creative writing programs are relatively competitive. Therefore, not all applicants will get into the program of their choice. However, if you are talented and ambitious that becomes more likely. Having said that, the most prestigious universities with the best MFA creative writing programs accept a small percentage of the applicants.

What Is the Best Creative Writing Program in the World? 

A number of creative writing programs are known for their famous faculty and excellent courses, like the Master of Fine Arts in Fiction/ Poetry from Johns Hopkins and the MFA in Literary Arts from Brown University . Outside the US, the most celebrated English program is likely the University of Cambridge’s MSt in Creative Writing.

How Hard Is It to Get an MFA in Creative Writing?

An MFA is an intensive, highly-involved degree that requires a certain amount of dedication. Anyone with a passion for creative writing should find it rewarding and satisfying.

Should I Get an MA or MFA in Creative Writing?

Whether you choose an MA or MFA in creative writing depends on your own interests and career ambitions. An MFA in creative writing is ideal for anyone passionate about pursuing a career in fiction, poetry, or creative non-fiction. An MA is a broader degree that equips students for a wider range of career choices (though it will qualify them for many of the same roles as an MFA).

Can I Get Published Without an MFA?

Absolutely. However, studying for an MFA will equip you with a range of skills and knowledge that are extremely helpful in getting your work published, from honing your craft to submitting your manuscript to working with publishers.

What Are the Highest-Paying Jobs with a Master’s in Creative Writing?

An MFA in creative writing can help you land a range of jobs in the creative and literary fields. The highest-paying jobs for graduates with a master’s in creative writing include creative directors ($90,000) and technical writers ($78,000).

Key Takeaways

An MFA in creative writing program will hone your talents and develop the skills you need to become a successful writer. The best MFA creative writing programs will give you incredible knowledge of the field while developing your practical skills in fiction, non-fiction, or poetry.

The acceptance rate for the best MFA writing programs is fairly low, so it’s crucial to understand the requirements well and prepare thoroughly. To help you with your application, check out our guide to applying to grad school .

  • Top 5 Easiest Master’s Degrees + 10 Easiest Grad Schools to Get Into
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Lisa Marlin

Lisa Marlin

Lisa is a full-time writer specializing in career advice, further education, and personal development. She works from all over the world, and when not writing you'll find her hiking, practicing yoga, or enjoying a glass of Malbec.

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The Best 15 Creative Writing MFA Programs in 2023

April 7, 2023

mfa creative writing programs

Whether you studied at a top creative writing university , or are a high school dropout who will one day become a bestselling author , you may be considering an MFA in Creative Writing. But is a writing MFA genuinely worth the time and potential costs? How do you know which program will best nurture your writing? This article walks you through the considerations for an MFA program, as well as the best Creative Writing MFA programs in the United States.

First of all, what is an MFA?

A Master of Fine Arts (MFA) is a graduate degree that usually takes from two to three years to complete. Applications require a sample portfolio for entry, usually of 10-20 pages of your best writing.

What actually goes on in a creative writing MFA beyond inspiring award-winning books and internet memes ? You enroll in workshops where you get feedback on your creative writing from your peers and a faculty member. You enroll in seminars where you get a foundation of theory and techniques. Then you finish the degree with a thesis project.

Reasons to Get an MFA in Creative Writing

You don’t need an MFA to be a writer. Just look at Nobel Prize winner Toni Morrison or bestselling novelist Emily St. John Mandel.

Nonetheless, there are plenty of reasons you might still want to get a creative writing MFA. The first is, unfortunately, prestige. An MFA from a top program can help you stand out in a notoriously competitive industry to be published.

The second reason: time. Many MFA programs give you protected writing time, deadlines, and maybe even a (dainty) salary.

Third, an MFA in Creative Writing is a terminal degree. This means that this degree allows you to teach writing at the university level, especially after you publish a book.

But above all, the biggest reason to pursue an MFA is the community it brings you. You get to meet other writers, and share feedback, advice, and moral support, in relationships that can last for decades.

Types of Creative Writing MFA Programs

Here are the different types of programs to consider, depending on your needs:

Fully-Funded Full-Time Programs

These programs offer full-tuition scholarships and sweeten the deal by actually paying you to attend them.

  • Pros: You’re paid to write (and teach).
  • Cons: Uprooting your entire life to move somewhere possibly very cold.

Full-Time MFA Programs

These programs include attending in-person classes and paying tuition (though many offer need-based and merit scholarships).

  • Pros: Lots of top-notch programs non-funded programs have more assets to attract world-class faculty and guests.
  • Cons: It’s an investment that might not pay itself back.

Low-Residency MFA Programs

Low-residency programs usually meet biannually for short sessions. They also offer one-on-one support throughout the year. These MFAs are more independent, preparing you for what the writing life is actually like.

  • Pros: No major life changes required. Cons: Less time dedicated to writing and less time to build relationships.

Online MFA Programs

Held 100% online. These programs have high acceptance rates and no residency requirement. That means zero travel or moving expenses.

  • Pros: No major life changes required.
  • Cons: These MFAs have less name-recognition

The Top 15 Creative Writing MFA Programs Ranked by Category

The following programs are selected for their balance of high funding, impressive return on investment, stellar faculty, major journal publications , and impressive alums.

Fully Funded MFA Programs

1) johns hopkins university, mfa in fiction/poetry (baltimore, md).

This is a two-year program, with $33,000 teaching fellowships per year. This MFA offers the most generous funding package. Not to mention, it offers that sweet, sweet health insurance, mind-boggling faculty, and a guaranteed lecture position after graduation (nice). No nonfiction MFA (boo).

  • Incoming class size: 8 students
  • Admissions rate: 11.1%
  • Alumni: Chimamanda Adiche, Jeffrey Blitz, Wes Craven, Louise Erdrich, Porochista Khakpour, Phillis Levin, ZZ Packer, Tom Sleigh, Elizabeth Spires, Rosanna Warren

2) University of Texas, James Michener Center (Austin, TX)

A fully-funded 3-year program with a generous stipend of $29,500. The program offers fiction, poetry, playwriting and screenwriting. The Michener Center is also unique because you study a primary genre and a secondary genre, and also get $3,000 for the summer.

  • Incoming class size : 12 students
  • Acceptance rate: a bone-chilling less-than-1% in fiction; 2-3% in other genres
  •   Alumni: Fiona McFarlane, Brian McGreevy, Karan Mahajan, Alix Ohlin, Kevin Powers, Lara Prescott, Roger Reeves, Maria Reva, Domenica Ruta, Sam Sax, Joseph Skibell, Dominic Smith

3) University of Iowa (Iowa City, IA)

The Iowa Writers’ Workshop is a 2-year program on a residency model for fiction and poetry. This means there are low requirements, and lots of time to write groundbreaking novels or play pool at the local bar. Most students are funded, with fellowships worth up to $21,000. The Translation MFA, co-founded by Gayatri Chakravorti Spivak, is also two years, but with more intensive coursework. The Nonfiction Writing Program is a prestigious three-year MFA program and is also intensive.

  • Incoming class size: 25 each for poetry and fiction; 10-12 for nonfiction and translation.
  • Acceptance rate: 3.7%
  • Fantastic Alumni: Raymond Carver, Flannery O’Connor, Sandra Cisneros, Joy Harjo, Garth Greenwell, Kiley Reid, Brandon Taylor, Eula Biss, Yiyun Li, Jennifer Croft

4) University of Michigan (Ann Arbor, MI)

Anne Carson famously lives in Ann Arbor, as do the MFA students U-Michigan’s Helen Zell Writers’ Program. This is a big university town, which is less damaging to your social life. Plus, there’s lots to do when you have a $23,000 stipend, summer funding, and health care.

This is a 2-3-year program, with an impressive reputation. They also have a demonstrated commitment to “ push back against the darkness of intolerance and injustice ” and have outreach programs in the community.

  • Incoming class size: 18
  • Acceptance rate: 4% (which maybe seems high after less-than-1%)
  • Alumni: Brit Bennett, Vievee Francis, Airea D. Matthews, Celeste Ng, Chigozie Obioma, Jia Tolentino, Jesmyn Ward

5) Brown University (Providence, RI)

Brown offers an edgy, well-funded program in a place that doesn’t dip into arctic temperatures. Students are all fully-funded for 2-3 years with $29,926 in 2021-22. Students also get summer funding and—you guessed it—that sweet, sweet health insurance.

In the Brown Literary Arts MFA, students take only one workshop and one elective per semester. It’s also the only program in the country to feature a Digital/Cross Disciplinary Track.

  • Incoming class size: 12-13
  • Acceptance rate: “highly selective”
  • Alumni: Edwidge Danticat, Jaimy Gordon, Gayl Jones, Ben Lerner, Joanna Scott, Kevin Young, Ottessa Moshfegh

Best MFA Creative Writing Programs (Continued) 

6) university of arizona (tucson, az).

This 3-year program has many attractive qualities. It’s in “ the lushest desert in the world ”, and was recently ranked #4 in creative writing programs, and #2 in Nonfiction. You can take classes in multiple genres, and in fact, are encouraged to do so. Plus, Arizona dry heat is good for arthritis.

This notoriously supportive program pays $20,000 a year, and offers the potential to volunteer at multiple literary organizations. You can also do supported research at the US-Mexico Border.

  • Incoming class size: 9
  • Acceptance rate: 4.85% (a refreshingly specific number after Brown’s evasiveness)
  • Alumni: Francisco Cantú, Jos Charles, Tony Hoagland, Nancy Mairs, Richard Russo, Richard Siken, Aisha Sabatini Sloan, David Foster Wallace

7) Arizona State University (Tempe, AZ):

Arizona State is also a three-year funded program in arthritis-friendly dry heat. It offers small class sizes, individual mentorships, and one of the most impressive faculty rosters in the game. Everyone gets a $19,000 stipend, with other opportunities for financial support.

  • Incoming class size: 8-10
  • Acceptance rate: 3% (sigh)
  • Alumni: Tayari Jones, Venita Blackburn, Dorothy Chan, Adrienne Celt, Dana Diehl, Matthew Gavin Frank, Caitlin Horrocks, Allegra Hyde, Hugh Martin, Bonnie Nadzam


8) new york university (new york, ny).

This two-year program is in New York City, meaning it comes with close access to literary opportunities and hot dogs. NYU is private, and has one of the most accomplished faculty lists anywhere. Students have large cohorts (more potential friends!) and have a penchant for winning top literary prizes.

  • Incoming class size: 40-60
  • Acceptance rate: 6%
  • Alumni: Nick Flynn, Nell Freudenberger, Aracelis Girmay, Mitchell S. Jackson, Tyehimba Jess, John Keene, Raven Leilani, Robin Coste Lewis, Ada Limón, Ocean Vuong

9) Columbia University (New York, NY)

Another 2-3 year private MFA program with drool-worthy permanent and visiting faculty. Columbia offers courses in fiction, poetry, translation, and nonfiction. Beyond the Ivy League education, Columbia offers close access to agents, and its students have a high record of bestsellers.

  • Incoming class size: 110
  • Acceptance rate: 21%
  • Alumni: Alexandra Kleeman, Rachel Kushner, Claudia Rankine, Rick Moody, Sigrid Nunez, Tracy K. Smith, Emma Cline, Adam Wilson, Marie Howe, Mary Jo Bang

10) Sarah Lawrence (Bronxville, NY)

Sarah Lawrence offers speculative fiction beyond the average fiction, poetry, and nonfiction course offerings. With intimate class sizes, this program is unique because it offers biweekly one-on-one conferences with its stunning faculty. It also has a notoriously supportive atmosphere.

  • Incoming class size: 30-40
  • Acceptance rate: N/A
  • Alumni: Cynthia Cruz, Melissa Febos, T Kira Madden, Alex Dimitrov, Moncho Alvarado


11 bennington college (bennington, vt).

This two-year program boasts truly stellar faculty, and meets twice a year for ten days in January and June. It’s like a biannual vacation in beautiful Vermont, plus mentorship by a famous writer, and then you get a degree. The tuition is $23,468 per year, with scholarships available.

  • Acceptance rate: 53%
  • Incoming class: 40
  • Alumni: Larissa Pham, Andrew Reiner, Lisa Johnson Mitchell, and others

12)  Institute for American Indian Arts (Santa Fe, NM)

This two-year program emphasizes Native American and First Nations writing. With truly amazing faculty and visiting writers, they offer a wide range of genres offered, in screenwriting, poetry, fiction, and nonfiction.

Students attend two eight-day residencies each year, in January and July, in Santa Fe, New Mexico. At $12,000 a year, it boasts being “ one of the most affordable MFA programs in the country .”

  • Incoming class size : 22
  • Acceptance rate: 100%
  • Alumni: Tommy Orange, Dara Yen Elerath, Kathryn Wilder

13) Vermont College of Fine Arts

One of few MFAs where you can study the art of the picture book, middle grade and young adult literature, graphic literature, nonfiction, fiction, and poetry for young people. Students meet twice a year for nine days, in January and July, in Vermont. You can also do many travel residencies in exciting (and warm) places like Cozumel.

VCFA boasts amazing faculty and visiting writers, with individualized study options and plenty of one-on-one time. Tuition is $48,604.

  • Incoming class size: 18-25
  • Acceptance rate: 63%
  • Alumnx: Lauren Markham, Mary-Kim Arnold, Cassie Beasley, Kate Beasley, Julie Berry, Bridget Birdsall, Gwenda Bond, Pablo Cartaya


14) university of texas at el paso (el paso, tx).

The world’s first bilingual and online MFA program in the world. UTEP is considered the best online MFA program, and features award-winning faculty from across the globe. Intensive workshops allow submitting in Spanish and English, and genres include poetry and fiction. This three-year program costs $14,766 a year, with rolling admissions.

  • Alumni: Watch alumni testimonies here

15) Bay Path University (Long Meadow, MA)

This 2-year online program is dedicated entirely to nonfiction. A supportive, diverse community, Bay Path offers small class sizes, close mentorship, and a potential field trip in Ireland.

There are many tracks, including publishing, Narrative Medicine, and teaching. Core courses include memoir, narrative journalism, and the personal essay. The price is $785/credit, for 39 credits, with scholarships available.

  • Incoming class size: 20
  • Acceptance rate: an encouraging 78%
  • Alumni: Read alumni testimonies here

Prepare for your MFA in advance:

  • Best English Programs
  • Best Creative Writing Schools
  • Writing Summer Programs

Best MFA Creative Writing Programs – References:

  • The Creative Writing MFA Handbook: A Guide for Prospective Graduate Students , by Tom Kealey (A&C Black 2005)
  • Graduate School Admissions

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Julia Conrad

With a Bachelor of Arts in English and Italian from Wesleyan University as well as MFAs in both Nonfiction Writing and Literary Translation from the University of Iowa, Julia is an experienced writer, editor, educator, and a former Fulbright Fellow. Julia’s work has been featured in  The Millions ,  Asymptote , and  The Massachusetts Review , among other publications. To read more of her work, visit

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University of Pittsburgh

Pittsburgh , PA

Degrees Offered

Fiction, Poetry, CNF

Residency type

Program length, part-time study.

Yes, you can enroll in the program on a part-time basis, but you should keep in mind that the statute of limitations on the degree is four years.

Financial Aid

In each incoming class, the Writing Program awards two Teaching Assistantships to incoming students in each of the three genres, so there are six students each year who enter as TAs. At any given time, approximately 18 students in the Writing Program are active TAs.  Six students a year receive William S. Dietrich Fellowships to cover their first year of study, which means their teaching is deferred until their second year.  All entering students are fully funded (with salary, medical benefits, and tuition remission). Pitt’s English Department is well-known for its excellent teacher preparation, which is an asset to students who seek careers in teaching after graduation. English Department TAs teach 1 course per semester, typically a course with 24 students or fewer. For teaching this course, work defined as requiring approximately 20 hours per week, full tuition scholarships and medical benefits are provided, and TAs are paid a salary. TAs who are making satisfactory progress as students and teachers will have their appointments renewed for an additional 1-2 years, depending on when they began teaching. After the second year, TAs generally teach advanced composition and introductory creative writing classes. Graduate Student Assistantships A Graduate Student Assistant (GSA) typically assists a faculty member in library research, editorial duties, or similar academic tasks. For such services, a GSA receives a salary for the term of their contract, either one or two terms. A full GSA position requires 20 hours of work each week, a half GSA position 10 hours per week. The University offers GSAs holding full or half positions full or partial tuition remission. Out of the 31 students currently enrolled in the program, 5 have full GSAs and 4 have half GSAs. K. Leroy Irvis Fellowships MFA applicants will be considered for K. Leroy Irvis Fellowships, which are designed to help the university recruit and retain underrepresented minority graduate and professional students, and ultimately enhance their presence in the professorate. These fellowships provide distinguished minority graduate students with individual mentoring and a first-year stipend independent of teaching responsibilities. The value gets adjusted each year, but the fellowship carries full tuition remission, medical benefits, and a stipend of at least $16,000. The stipend for an Irvis Fellowship is the same as for a TAship.

Teaching opportunities

Taships are available

Editorial opportunities

 Students may work as editors of the literary journals Hot Metal Bridge and Aster(ix)

Cross-genre study

Welcomed and supported

  • Jan Beatty MFA (Poetry) 1990
  • Katie Booth MFA (CNF) 2013
  • Brian Broome MFA (CNF) 2021
  • Laura Lynn Brown MFA (CNF) 1991
  • Garnett Kilberg Cohen MFA 1985
  • Kristen Cosby MFA (CNF) 2006
  • Katie Coyle MFA (Fiction) 2012
  • Matthew Ferrence MFA (Fiction) 1999
  • Eugene Garcia-Cross MFA (Fiction) 2006
  • Amanda Giracca MFA (CNF) 2013
  • Terrance Hayes MFA (Poetry) 1997
  • Cate Hodorowicz MFA (Poetry) 2003
  • Katherine Karlin MFA (Fiction) 2004
  • Michael Larkin MFA (Fiction)
  • Emily Maloney MFA (CNF) 2015
  • Jane McCafferty MFA (Fiction) 1988
  • Sarah Menkedick MFA (CNF) 2013
  • DovBer Naiditch MFA (Fiction) 2011
  • Ashleigh Pedersen MFA (Fiction) 2009
  • Adriana E. Ramírez MFA (CNF) 2009
  • Aaron Smith MFA (Poetry) 1998
  • Brandon Som MFA (Poetry) 2002
  • Emily Stone MFA (CNF) 2010
  • Julie Marie Wade MFA (Poetry) 2006
  • Stacey Waite MFA (Poetry) 2002
  • Lois Williams MFA (Poetry/CNF) 2002
  • Kara van de Graaf MFA (Poetry)

Send questions, comments and corrections to [email protected] .

Disclaimer: No endorsement of these ratings should be implied by the writers and writing programs listed on this site, or by the editors and publishers of Best American Short Stories , Best American Essays , Best American Poetry , The O. Henry Prize Stories and The Pushcart Prize Anthology .

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2022 Creative Writing MFA Applicants Forum

  • creative writing


By CanadianKate March 22, 2021 in Literary

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For those of us who plan to apply for a Creative Writing MFA in 2021 (start date 2022)

  • Brother Panda and CHRISTOPHER QUANG BUI


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Cross posted to Draft but I JUST GOT INTO GEORGE MASON???? FOR POETRY???? WHAT THE ACTUAL HELL??? I'M SO HAPPY I just checked the portal and the decision was there I haven't heard about notifs or

Hi, I may or may not apply this fall. It all depends if I can obtain letters of rec from these continuing studies English instructors since I've been out of school for eight years. It would be my first application cycle.  ?

  • Leeannitha , CanadianKate and Brother Panda

Hi! I am an extreme planner and planning to apply this year. Working on getting my list of schools whittled down over the next few months. :) 

  • CanadianKate , lenagator1997 , Brother Panda and 1 other
  • 2 weeks later...


Hello! This will be my second time applying. (Didn’t apply last year but the year before.) I am starting much earlier this year than last time!

So far, I am applying to Iowa (fiction), UMass Amherst (poetry), Stegner Fellowship @ Stanford (LOL- thought I’d give it a shot) and Michener. Going to be adding some more as I narrow it down. 

Brother Panda

On 3/22/2021 at 3:26 PM, CanadianKate said: For those of us who plan to apply for a Creative Writing MFA in 2021 (start date 2022)

Thanks for starting this! Didn’t apply for the season getting results right now but did do some major lurking. 

  • 3 weeks later...


On 3/22/2021 at 12:26 PM, CanadianKate said: For those of us who plan to apply for a Creative Writing MFA in 2021 (start date 2022)

Hey, thanks for starting a new thread, Kate! 

Oof, here we go again...

  • Brother Panda and CanadianKate
  • 3 yr dr. t pinned this topic

Hey all! I'm an MFA student who haunts these forums because I remember what it was like to be waiting to hear back from programs. I have a few things to say to applicants if you're willing to listen. 

1) Only apply to funded programs. I know it's old advice, but  it's still good advice. Even funded programs that are "lower" tier are still better than the best unfunded program. Consider that Columbia costs around 150k, comparable to medical school, and that even doctors have a hard time paying off their loans. So please don't think you'll be paying it off with writing. Only go to a non-funded school if you have 150k to spend, in which case, do it if you really want to. It will still be the same thing--some workshops, some other classes, some award-winning writers. Every MFA has that stuff.

2) Actually do your homework. Read some work by the authors at these programs. If you like the work, mention that author by name in your statement of purpose. Everyone loves to be complimented, and they will feel good knowing that you have actually done the work of seriously looking into the school. And speaking of SoPs, actually take the time to truly tailor each one to the school.

3) Submit your best (and favorite) work. Take your best and favorite story or two (or poem or essay) and revise and revise and revise until every single word can stand trial and still remain in the story. As Raymond Carver said (quoting another author), you are finished revising when, on one pass, you take a single comma out of the story, and on the next pass, you put it back in.

4) Submit and forget. Once you've submitted, go back to doing things you love. Go to the gym. Hang out with friends. Anything that will be good for your soul and push the dreaded decision letter out of your mind.

Good luck everyone! It took me a couple application rounds to get into a program. If you don't get in, just keep living and writing and try again next time.

  • CHRISTOPHER QUANG BUI , maybesamiah , evergreen13 and 3 others


Hey, y'all! Glad to see some familiar faces around here. For those of you who don't know me, I've been on GradCafe for a couple years. I did two rounds of applications before I got into the right program, and this board was so helpful! I'll be popping in occasionally to offer my opinions/bother y'all.

It's still way early in the cycle, but I will say: don't underestimate the importance of the research phase! I rushed through it my first round, and it bit me in the butt. If funding is a major concern (and it should be for most applicants), I recommend digging deep for less famous programs. UMass, Michener, Iowa, etc. are great, but applying to 5 programs that accept >1% of applicants gives you much lower chances than applying to one program that accepts 10% (e.g. Hollins -- which is still fully-funded and well-respected). And trust me, each program you add to your list piles on more work than you think.

Aaaanyway, good luck, everyone! I'll see you around :)

  • CHRISTOPHER QUANG BUI and Brother Panda

I was a bit of  lurker last year. I can't even remember what my username was. But I am taking the 2022 application round much more seriously. I've already started on my writing sample. I know someone else started a thread for 2022. The problem is she called it 2021, which is the same thing the thread was called last year. People are going to end posting on both threads called 2021, and we'll have to check two threads. It is better to have a thread called 2022. So what are people doing: are they editing their writings sample from last year, or are they starting from scratch? 

After getting rejected this year I was finally able to put MFAs out of my mind. I didn't feel at all motivated for this next application cycle, even though I explicitly had the intentions of applying again. Well, now I'm finally sucked back into thinking about it every day.

Janice Salley

Considering applying to (in alphabetical order):

Alabama Alaska Denver Houston Iowa Johns Hopkins Kansas Mississippi Missouri Nebraska Syracuse Tennessee Vanderbilt WashU (in St. Louis)  



I'm an incoming MFA CW Nonfiction student going to The University of New Hampshire who applied in Fall 2020. If anyone wants any advice on the application process as a whole, or about any of the programs I applied to below let me know! My biggest pieces of advice are:

1. Have your portfolio reflect your best work, as well as the widest range of your abilities as a writer possible. Admission committees like to see your depth.

2. Ask for your letters of recommendation as early as possible to have a stress-free life for you and your professor.

3. Cast a wide net when applying for schools. I know they say rankings and selectivity don't matter but they do. (see book below for some statistics)

4. Figure out what type of program works best for you. Consider if you want high or low res, cross genre or a more focused program, size, faculty, ect.

Also here is a link to the book: The Insiders Guide to Graduate Degrees in Creative Writing, which I wish I would have found sooner in the process:

University of Wyoming

University of Minnesota

Columbia College Chicago

Rosemont College

University of New Hampshire

Hollins College

Sarah Lawrence

UNC Wilmington

Washington University in St. Louis (WashU) University of Washington (Seattle)

Colorado State

Hofstra University

Hey Guys, ( I think I posted on the wrong forum but if not, apologies for the double post!)

Washington University in St. Louis (WashU)

University of Washington (Seattle)

Latte Macchiato

On 5/31/2021 at 12:52 AM, mrvisser said: After getting rejected this year I was finally able to put MFAs out of my mind. I didn't feel at all motivated for this next application cycle, even though I explicitly had the intentions of applying again. Well, now I'm finally sucked back into thinking about it every day.

After being rejected on the first round, I didn't think about my next round of MFA applications until mid July. The urge to apply came, went, then came back again. It's one of the things that stuck in my mind, much like writing, and there wasn't a way to get rid of it completely.

Hi, lenagator1997 .  Where did you hear that you should show "depth"? It just sounds impossible to do with the word caps. 

2 hours ago, molly s said: Hi, lenagator1997 .  Where did you hear that you should show "depth"? It just sounds impossible to do with the word caps. 

This might not be for all MFA programs, but I've observed if the page limits for the portfolios are 30+ or 20+ pages on certain applications, they like to see the different types of skills you have as a writer. (Unless you want to submit 20+ pages of a fiction novel. I'm nonfiction so I am less well versed in what you would do for that.) I made a very diverse portfolio which showed my range of style and thus depth. Even if the page limit was 10 pages, I would submit two very different essays in the two contrasting forms I was strongest in. (I think I had at least four different essays in my portfolio if the page limit was 30+ pages).

" different types of skills." - lenagator1997

Can you list these skills? All them, if possible because I don't really understand. 

11 hours ago, zacv said: " different types of skills." - lenagator1997 Can you list these skills? All them, if possible because I don't really understand. 

By skills I mean anything in your writing that would make you stand out as an applicant. Pick stories, poems, essays ect that best represents your strengths/uniqueness and thus skills as a writer. For example, my strongest skills (and uniqueness) as a nonfiction writer include weaving external research or information into longer personal narratives and playing with form. In contrast my weakest skills are writing shorter essays that require a lot of poetic imagery. So in my portfolio I didn't include any essays that didn't represent the best of what I can do. There isn't any list I can give because the skills you have as a writer are so individual and different for everyone. I think it's important to understand your own work inside and out, especially in what you are submitting in the portfolio know what your writing shows about you as the applicant.

  • 4 weeks later...

Just wanted to wish all who are applying or re-applying for Fall 2022 admission this round luck! For those just coming into this world, do your research while making your school spreadsheet! I have seen many a post from people who didn't get in anywhere because they only applied to the top 3 in the whole country. Cast a wide net everyone. Getting into full residency MFA programs are competitive. I personally had no idea. Selectivity percentage should not deter anyone from applying, but to be aware of it is helpful, and these numbers usually fluctuates from year to year. At the end of the day, apply to the places that are the best fit for you and I would hate to see anyone become devastated. Below is information paraphrased (not directly quoted) from "The Insiders Guide to Graduate Degrees in Creative Writing" by Seth Abramson. I believe he is a sound source on this topic.

The heavy hitting schools we have all heard about like; Vanderbilt, University of Iowa, NYU,  Washington University in St. Louis, University of Texas Austin, Boston University, University of Wyoming, UMass Amherst, Brown, Cornell, Johns Hopkins ect. all have an acceptance rate less than 5%. These also happen to be in the "very selective" category and tend to have a smaller group of students. The schools in the "selective" category like; University of Maryland, University of North Carolina Wilmington, New Mexico State, and University of New Hampshire (UNH) fall around (8-15%). If you want to find out more, check out the book:

mr. specific

Hey so I applied last year to 5 places (in poetry) and wound up being waitlisted at Michener and Wisconsin. Not a total loss, but I'm finding it hard not to be discouraged and go through the whole thing again, even though I do think my writing is better than this time last year. So who knows. I'm wondering if I should cast a wider net, or if there is some way to improve my application. 

On 7/6/2021 at 8:40 AM, mr. specific said: Hey so I applied last year to 5 places (in poetry) and wound up being waitlisted at Michener and Wisconsin. Not a total loss, but I'm finding it hard not to be discouraged and go through the whole thing again, even though I do think my writing is better than this time last year. So who knows. I'm wondering if I should cast a wider net, or if there is some way to improve my application.     

MFA CW programs are selective at the best of times so casting a wider net may be beneficial! I applied to 13 places in 2020. It was difficult to discern which ones were more selective than others, but I focused more on if I liked their curriculum, faculty, and if I thought my writing style meshed with their programs.

On 7/6/2021 at 11:40 AM, mr. specific said: Hey so I applied last year to 5 places (in poetry) and wound up being waitlisted at Michener and Wisconsin. Not a total loss, but I'm finding it hard not to be discouraged and go through the whole thing again, even though I do think my writing is better than this time last year. So who knows. I'm wondering if I should cast a wider net, or if there is some way to improve my application.     

I tend to be suspicious of casting a wide net for grad apps. That strategy can make it harder to research each program thoroughly, which can lead you to attend one that's a poor fit. For example, there have been a few people in my program that ended up disappointed because they actually wanted cohort with a more conservative, literary aesthetic (in other words, they probably didn't do any research aside from reading the website...).

I know the feeling: you're itching to get in and want to ensure success. But I think you can save yourself a lot of trouble by looking for a handful of programs that are truly what you want -- because those are also the programs most likely to accept you. They're the programs that will get your most inspired personal statements, and they're more likely to have adcoms with similar aesthetics to yours.

If you don't have many specific ideas about what you want, I'd really recommend starting there (e.g. Do you want teaching experience? Do you want to take classes outside your genre? Will it piss you off if you're required to take a lot of literature courses?). I highly, highly advise talking to current students/alums before you even start on your application to a program. Last year, I talked to a student who helped me decide that her program was a bad fit for me. This saved me hours of work and 75 dollars.

Also, keep in mind that 10+ applications is a LOT of work. As you probably know, many programs have different requirements. Moreover, tailoring your personal statement to each school will take twice as long as you expect (at least, this was my experience in my 2 rounds of apps).

The wide net approach can certainly work, as it did for lenagator. But personally, I believe in quality over quantity. And anyway, if you got waitlisted at Michener, you certainly don't need to worry about being "good enough" ;-)

Thanks feralgrad. That makes a lot of sense. 

I guess the first time around I used one metric only—how much was the fellowship, and didn't do any more research. This still seems like the critical question, like can i afford to live on this without debt or taking on another fulltime job outside the program. And I only came up with five that seemed like they promised that—Brown, Cornell, Michener, Wisconsin, Umass, (and Michigan and Florida, but I didn't remember to do these apps). So I'd be interested in other schools people know of that 1) promise funding upwards of ~25,000 a year and 2) guarantee funding (more or less equally) to all their students.  

Not to single any one school out, but I just looked at Hollins' page, which up front claims that they are "extremely well-funded," but after clicking through a few more pages saw that the first year stipend was $7000!    

12 hours ago, mr. specific said: Not to single any one school out, but I just looked at Hollins' page, which up front claims that they are "extremely well-funded," but after clicking through a few more pages saw that the first year stipend was $7000!    

I also had been considering Hollins, but laughed out loud at the stipend. It's nice to offer some funding, but for that you'll have to take out loans, which I am totally unwilling to do for an MFA.

Has everyone decided where they're applying to? So far, I've decided on Alabama, Brown, Chatham, Cornell, Emerson, Hollins, UMich, Vanderbilt, and WashU.

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university of pittsburgh mfa creative writing acceptance rate

Brooklyn College

Creative Writing, M.F.A

School of humanities and social sciences, program overview.

This small, highly personal two-year program confers Master of Fine Arts degrees in fiction, playwriting, and poetry. It offers single-discipline and inter-genre workshops, literature seminars, small-group reading tutorials, and one-on-one tutorials, all of which emphasize relationships between students and eminent faculty. Additionally, students have the opportunity to work on our literary journal, The Brooklyn Review , and give public readings and performances in Brooklyn and Manhattan. The program offers fellowships and prizes. Students may also teach undergraduate courses for the English Department.

Creative Writing, M.F.A

Where You'll Go

Our graduates have had their work published widely and have won competitions sponsored by the Iowa Review , the Colorado Review , the Mississippi Review , and Zoetrope, among many others. They have had books published, received major prizes, founded presses and literary journals, and been included in numerous anthologies, including The Best New Young Poets , Best American Short Stories , Best American Nonrequired Reading , O. Henry , and Pushcart . Our playwrights have won Obie Awards, Guggenheim Fellowships, and the Pulitzer Prize; started theater companies; and had their plays produced in the United States and abroad.

Program Details

The program information listed here reflects the approved curriculum for the 2023–24 academic year per the Brooklyn College Bulletin. Bulletins from past academic years can be found here .

Program Description

Our small, highly personal two-year program confers a Master of Fine Arts degree in creative writing in fiction, poetry, or playwriting. The program offers single-discipline and inter-genre workshops, literature seminars, small-group reading tutorials, and one-on-one tutorials, which all emphasize relationships between eminent faculty members and students. Additionally, students have the opportunity to work on The Brooklyn Review and give public readings/performances in Brooklyn and Manhattan. The program offers some fellowships as well as prizes and a winter writing residency at the Espy Foundation in Oysterville, Washington. Students may also teach undergraduate courses for the English Department.

Our graduates have had their work published widely and have won competitions sponsored by the Iowa Review, the Colorado Review, the Mississippi Review , and Zoetrope. They have been included in The Best New Young Poets anthology and The Best American Short Stories . Our playwrights have won Obies, started theater companies, and had their plays produced here and abroad.

Matriculation Requirements

Fiction and Poetry: Applicants must offer at least 12 credits in advanced courses in English. Thirty pages of original fiction or 20 pages of original poetry must be submitted for evaluation.

Playwriting: Applicants must offer at least 12 credits in advanced courses in English or theater. One original full-length play or two or more original one-act plays must be submitted for evaluation.

Applicants who do not meet course requirements but whose manuscripts show unusual talent are considered for admission. Manuscripts should be submitted directly to the deputy chair in the English Department at the time of application. Applications are not considered for spring semester admission.

Foreign applicants for whom English is a second language are required to pass the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) with a score of 650 on the paper-based test or 280 on the computer-based test or 114 on the internet-based test before being considered for admission.

General matriculation and admission requirements of Graduate Studies are in the chapter “Admission.”

Program Requirements (36 Credits)

Thirty-six credits are required for the degree: 24 credits in the respective creative writing specialization, plus 12 credits in literature courses.

Students may substitute for no more than two such courses any two 7000-level courses from the departments of Art; History; Modern Languages and Literatures; Philosophy; Speech; Television, Radio and Emerging Media; or Theater, or the Conservatory of Music, or another department with the approval of the deputy chair for graduate studies (these courses may also be taken through e-permits at other CUNY branches, including the Graduate Center, or through individual or small group tutorials). Students may substitute one writing workshop or tutorial outside of their major writing specialization for one literature course.

Permission to register for any of these substitute courses may be required from the graduate deputy chair of the appropriate department.

A substantial manuscript must be submitted and filed according to instructions available from the deputy chairperson. Students specializing in fiction or poetry must submit original creative writing, in publishable form, such as a novel or collection of stories or poems. Students specializing in playwriting must submit a full-length play or a number of one-act plays, in producible form, that would constitute a theatrical production. In cooperation with the Theater Department, efforts are made to produce the student’s major work.

Students choose a specialization in one of the following:



Students are urged to take one workshop, one tutorial, and one literature course each semester in order to complete the program in four semesters. A reading knowledge of a foreign language is strongly recommended.

Student Learning Outcomes

Department goal 1: read and think critically..

Program Objective 1: Learn to read literature with a focus on the ways in which form serves content.

Program Objective 2: Use close reading effectively to identify literary techniques, styles, and themes.

Program Objective 3: Learn to read and comment constructively and critically on the creative writing of peers in the workshop context.

Department Goal 2: Understand how language operates.

Program Objective 1: Demonstrate knowledge of literary tropes and techniques (for example: metaphor, simile, metonymy, synecdoche, word play, and sonic effects such as alliteration, assonance, consonance, and rhythm, etc.)

Department Goal 3: Express ideas–both orally and in writing–correctly, cogently, persuasively, and in conformity with the conventions of the discipline.

Program Objective 1: Create original examples of creative writing that demonstrate complexity through attention to rhetoric, syntax and tone.

Program Objective 2: Comment and write cogently and persuasively about classmates’ writing in the workshop context.

Program Objective 3: Demonstrate the ability to respond to constructive criticism from instructor and peers by effectively revising writing assignments.

Program Objective 4: Demonstrate the ability to use the currently accepted conventions of standard English mechanics and grammar, with an eye toward how those standards can be stretched in order to achieve innovative modes of expression.

Department Goal 4: Conduct research.

Program Objective 1: Learn how to research and seek out historical and contemporary literary voices relevant to their individual voice.

Program Objective 2: Make use of the opportunities that Brooklyn College and New York City afford by attending readings, plays, literary panel discussions, and submitting to literary magazines.

Outcomes for demonstrating achievement of objectives

Written work (including poems/stories/plays, in-class writing exercises, short written reflections on literary techniques used by published writers, workshop responses for peers, revised writing samples, etc.)

Contributions to class discussions and workshops

Attendance at readings, panels, performances or a related research project (such as researching literary magazines/submitting one’s work); documented via written summary of the activity handed into instructor

Admissions Requirements

  • Fall Application Deadline—January 15
  • Spring Application Deadline—The program does not accept applications for spring

Supporting Documents for Matriculation

Submit the following documents to the Office of Graduate Admissions:

  • Transcripts from all colleges and universities attended. Applicants who earned a bachelor’s degree outside the United States need to submit a Course by Course International Transcript Evaluation. See Graduate Admissions for more information.
  • Two letters of recommendation.
  •  A manuscript of original work in your intended genre (for fiction, about 30 pages; for poetry, about 20 pages; for playwriting, one full-length play, or two or more one-act plays).
  • A personal statement (one–two pages).

Required Tests

  • F-1 or J-1 international students must submit English Proficiency Exam. TOEFL- 79, IELTS- 6.5, PTE- 58-63, Duolingo 105-160.

Refer to the instructions at Graduate Admissions .

Geoffrey Minter

3149 Boylan Hall E: [email protected] P: 718.951.5000, ext. 3651

Or contact:

Office of Graduate Admissions

222 West Quad Center 2900 Bedford Avenue, Brooklyn, NY 11210 E:  [email protected] P: 718.951.4536

Office Hours

Mondays–Fridays, 9 a.m.–5 p.m.

To make an appointment with a graduate admissions counselor, visit:

BC Admissions Appointment Tool


English  7910X  to be taken in the first semester. English  7912X  to be taken four times, but not more than once in any semester; English  7911X  once in the second semester; English  7913X  to be taken two times in the second year, but not more than once in any semester.

Joshua Henkin, Coordinator

The M.F.A. fiction specialization at Brooklyn College is a two-year course that maintains an enrollment of 30 students. While every member of the ongoing and visiting faculty works according to their methods, we are united in our conviction that newer writers need a balance of encouragement and serious, thoroughly considered feedback.

The curriculum is designed sequentially. Students take a workshop every semester. The specialization typically offers two traditional short fiction workshops and one novel-writing workshop in the fall and three short fiction  workshops in the spring. The novel-writing workshop is meant to address the particular needs of students who are writing novels and who would prefer to receive input on longer sections than a traditional workshop allows.

First-year students take a craft course in the short story in the fall and a reading seminar in the spring. The reading seminars, led by faculty members, discuss classic and contemporary literature from a writer’s point of view. If a traditional literature course is devoted, for instance, to understanding why Faulkner and García Márquez are considered great writers, the reading seminars are more concerned with how writers like Faulkner and García Márquez achieved their effects.

Second-year students take, along with their workshops, a one-on-one revisions/thesis tutorial in the fall and in the spring. The first is devoted to helping students with work that has already been discussed in their workshops, the second to helping them look over what they’ve done during their time at Brooklyn College, toward the completion of their theses. Both represent the specialization’s desire to give each student individual attention outside of the workshops.

We who teach in the fiction-writing specialization do so in part because we want not only to be useful to younger writers but to know them. We care about each student we admit. We are trying, to the best of our abilities, to maintain the M.F.A. program we wish had been available to us.

Over the course of the last decade, our graduates have published more than 50 books, including Helen Phillips’s The Need  (Longlisted for the National Book Award); R.O. Kwon’s  The Incendaries  (National Bestseller and finalist for the National Book Critics Circle John Leonard Award for Best First Book and finalist for the  Los Angeles Times  Best First Book Prize); Garrard Conley’s  Boy Erased  ( New York Times  Bestseller; adapted for film starring Russell Crowe, Nicole Kidman, and Lucas Hedges); Jai Chakrabarti’s  A Play for the End of the World  (Longlisted for the PEN Faulkner Award, winner of the National Jewish Book Award); Thomas Grattan’s  The Recent East (Longlisted for the PEN Hemingway Award) and Robert Jones Jr.’s  The Prophets  (National Book Award Finalist and  New   York Times Bestseller).

English  7932X  to be taken four times, but not more than once in any semester; English  7933X  to be taken four times, but not more than once in any semester.

The playwriting specialization at Brooklyn College was started over 30 years ago by Jack Gelber, one of America’s most important experimental writers. Mac Wellman and Erin Courtney continued that tradition for a 20 year period, while seeking to embrace the widest definition of that concept. Now, Dennis A. Allen II and Sibyl Kempson are serving as interim leaders of this innovative course of study.

The playwriting specialization is dedicated to the proposition that writing for the theater is not a business of finished thought and dead rules. Rather, we endeavor to pursue kinds of writing that involve an ongoing conversation with theater of the past and (hopefully) the future. To this end, we encourage our M.F.A. playwrights to become students of the theater in every sense: to follow the current scene as well as study the classics from as many traditions as possible; to study the techniques of making theater as well as theory; and lastly, to become as well-read as possible in all the written arts, with special emphasis on what is most contemporary, most challenging, most alive. It is our conviction that each generation must reinvent a theater appropriate to the time; a theater the time deserves; a theater that refuses to settle for the merely tendentious, and the dreary dead hand of the already known.

We are looking for aspiring writers who follow the theater because they love theater and all that pertains to theatricality. Theatricality diversely considered, rotated in four-dimensional space. We are looking for writers unwilling to settle for less. We believe the gathering of diverse people, ideas, and cultures strengthens both our insights into the work we present on stage and our relationships with each other.

Talk to a Playwright

If you have questions you would like to ask students in the specialization, feel free to contact the following:

  • Frank Boudreaux
  • Leslie Gauthier

English  7922X  to be taken four times, but not more than once in any semester; English  7923X  to be taken four times, but not more than once in any semester.

Julie Agoos, Coordinator

Since its inception, the Brooklyn College Master of Fine Arts specialization in poetry has balanced a firm grounding in the history and tradition of the craft with cutting-edge experimental writing. Moderately priced and highly selective, this two-year specialization offers intensive workshops (limited to 10 students), private tutorials, and courses in the history and craft of the genre.

Attracting a diverse student body from all across the country, it has graduated such writers as John Yau, Sapphire, Paul Beatty, David Trinidad, Star Black, Karen Kelley, Tom Devaney, and Anselm Berrigan. Brooklyn’s “experimental tradition” is best exemplified by the late-modernist masters John Ashbery and Allen Ginsberg, both of whom taught in the specialization. Other teachers have included Mark Strand, William Matthews, Ann Lauterbach, Douglas Crase, David Shapiro, C. K. Williams, Susan Fromberg Schaeffer, Joan Larkin, and, more recently, Ron Padgett Joshua Clover, Marjorie Welish, and LaTasha N. Diggs.

At present, the permanent staff includes Julie Agoos, author of  Echo Systems  (2015),  Property  (2008),  Calendar Year  (1996), and  Above the Land  (1987), for which she won the Yale Series of Younger Poets Award; Ben Lerner, author of  The Lichtenberg Figures  (winner of the Hayden Carruth Award from Copper Canyon Press, a Lannan Literary Selection, and one of 2004’s best books of poetry, according to  Library Journal ),  Angle of Yaw  (Copper Canyon, 2006, and a finalist for the National Book Award and the Northern California Book Award), and  Mean Free Path  (Copper Canyon, 2010); and Mónica de la Torre, author of  Repetition Nineteen  (Nightboat, 2020),  The Happy End/All Welcome (Ugly Duckling Presse, 2017),  Public Domain (Roof Books, 2009), and  Talk Shows  (Switchback Books, 2006).

Recent alumni of the M.F.A. poetry specialization have received such major recognitions as selection for The National Poetry Prize Series ( Courtney Bush , i love information , selected by Brian Teare, NY:  Milkweeds, 2023), the Donald Hall Prize for Poetry ( Sahar Muradi , OCTOBERS , selected by Naomi Shahib Nye, Pittsburgh, University of Pittsburgh Press, 2023), and the 2022 APR/Honickman First Book Prize ( Chelsea Harlan , Bright Shade , selected by Jericho Brown, Philadelphia: The American Poetry Review, 2022). Others have received international honors for poetry and journalism ( Mohammed El-Kurd,  RIFQA , Haymarket Books, 2022, Winner of The Calgary Peace Prize); for translation  (Matthew Reeck , winner of the 2020 Albertine Prize for “Muslim”: A Novel , by Zahia Rehmani, Deep Vellum, 2019); for YA fiction ( Victoria Bond , winner of the 2020 John Steptoe/Coretta Scott King New Talent Author Award for Zora and Me (trilogy), with illustrator TR Simon, MA:  Candlewick Press, 2020, 2018, 2011); and for books on art (John Yau, Please Wait by the Coatroom:  Reconsidering Race and Identity in American Art , Black Sparrow Press, 2023, deemed a “revelatory volume” by Publishers Weekly, among other ravishing reviews). Our alumni currently occupy major Fellowships at the New York Public Library (Alexandra Kamerling, 2023 NYPL Dance Research Fellow), and the Library of America (Susana Plotts-Pineda, 2023 Latino Fellow), and have written, directed, and premiered feature film documentaries ( Jodie Childers , with Dan Messina, director and cinematographer of Down by the Riverside , 2023 World Premiere, Woodstock Film Festival;  Tom Devaney ,  Bicentennial City , Green House Media, 2020). Recent and forthcoming publications include Claire DeVoogd , VIA (Winter Editions, 2023), Anselm Berrigan , Pregrets (Black Square Editions, 2021), Katherine Duckworth , Slow Violence (NY:  Beautiful Days Press, 2023), Marcella Durand, To Husband Is to Tender (Black Square Editions, 2021), Tom Devaney , Getting to Philadelphia (Hanging Loose Press, 2020), Tom Haviv , Flag of No Nation (Jewish Currents, 2019), Gracie Leavitt , Livingry (Nightboat, 2018), Kennia Lopez , The Exodus (Tolson Books, 2020), Chime Lama , Sphinxlike (Finishing Line, 2023), Sharon Mesmer , Greetings from My Girlies Leisure Place (Bloof Books, 2015),  Jed Muson , Commentary on the Birds (Rescue Press, 2023), Joshua Wilkerson , Meadowlands/Xanadu/American Dream, Beautiful Days Press, 2022),  John Yau , Tell It Slant , Omnidawn, 2023);  Charles Theonia , Gay Heaven Is a Dance Floor but I Can’t Relax , Archway Editions (March, 2024), and Zohra Saed  with  Sahara Muradi , eds., One Story, Thirty Stories: An Anthology of Contemporary Afghan American Literature (AR: University of Arkansas Press, 2022).

Talk to a Student

If you have questions you would like to ask students in the specialization, feel free to contact any of the following, all of whom are currently or recently enrolled:

  • Jackie Braje
  • Melina Casados
  • Anneysa Gaille
  • Monique Ngozi Nri
  • Suchi Pritchard

Departmental Information

Application process, how do i apply.

For comprehensive application information and the link to the online application, visit the  Admissions page .

What is your rate of acceptance?

In recent years, we have received approximately 500 applications for 15 spots in fiction, approximately 120 applications for 10 spots in poetry, and approximately 70 applications for five spots in playwriting.

When will I find out if I was accepted?

Though it varies year to year, we plan to notify applicants in March and early April. We appreciate your patience.

Do you require the GRE?

I’m not sure if i have the 12 credits of advanced english requested on your admissions page. what should i do.

As per our Admissions page, “Applicants who do not meet course requirements but whose manuscripts show unusual talent are considered for admission.”

May the 30-page fiction manuscript consist of multiple works?

Yes, your 30-page fiction manuscript may come in any form you wish (short stories, excerpt(s) from a novel, flash fiction, or any combination of the above, up to 30 pages). We simply recommend that you send in whatever you think is your very strongest work.

How should the 20-page poetry manuscript be formatted?

You may format your poetry as you see fit. Please do not exceed 20 pages.

What should be in the personal statement?

Your one- to two-page personal statement should serve as a way for us to get to know you and come to understand why you want to pursue an M.F.A. at Brooklyn College.

Who should write my recommendation letters?

Your two recommendation letters should come from people familiar with your writing, such as professors, mentors, and/or employers.

How should recommendation letters be submitted?

They should be submitted online (this will be an option when you’re completing the online application). For more information, refer to the  Supporting Documents  page.

Do I need to send in transcripts from all of the institutions where I took undergraduate classes?

We require transcripts from all colleges and universities that you attended.

What is an official transcript?

Transcripts must arrive in envelopes sealed by the institution’s registrar office. Your college institution should mail transcripts to the Brooklyn College Office of Admissions.

I am an international student. Is it true that I have to have my international transcripts evaluated before my application will be complete?

Yes (though please note that students who received degrees from universities in Australia, Canada, and the United Kingdom are exempt from this requirement). For all other international applicants, see more information about the required international transcript evaluation.

Do international students with undergraduate degrees from U.S. universities need to take the TOEFL?

Once you have received a B.A. from a U.S. university, you no longer need to submit your TOEFL scores to apply to the M.F.A. program.

May I apply to two different genres?

No, you may only apply to one genre per year.

What are the program codes for Fiction, Playwriting, and Poetry?

  • Fiction—324
  • Playwriting—325

Is there any way I can check my application status online?

Yes. Once you’ve completed your application, you may  check online for status updates .

I was not accepted to your program. Can you provide feedback on my application?

Because of the large number of qualified applicants, we may not be able to accept very strong candidates, nor can we offer specific feedback on individual applications. Note that the manuscript is by far the most important element of the application. We encourage interested applicants to reapply in the future.

How do I reapply?

As per the  Graduate Admissions Office website , “To reapply, you need to complete and submit a new  graduate degree application  online. You do not need to resubmit any supporting documents (i.e. transcripts, letters of recommendation) if you applied within the last two years.” The $125 application fee is waived for re-applicants for up to one year. (If you applied for fall 2014 entry, for instance, you may reapply for fall 2015 without paying an additional fee.) You must send a new personal statement and manuscript to the Department of English each time you reapply.

Getting to Know the Program

Do you hold an open house.

Yes. Information will be available soon.

May I speak to a current or recent student?

Yes. Please see the student and alumni lists within each specialization.

May I come and visit an M.F.A. class?

In most cases, prospective students are permitted to visit classes once they’ve been accepted into the program.

Can you send me printed materials about the M.F.A. program?

Comprehensive information about our program, including the online application, is available on our website and on the more general Brooklyn College website under “Graduate Programs” and “Admissions.”

May I take a class in the Brooklyn College M.F.A. program as a nonmatriculated student?

Because of the small size of our program, only students matriculated in our M.F.A. program may take our graduate creative writing classes.

Where can I obtain information pertaining to international students?

The  Brooklyn College Office of International Student Services  will assist you with immigration issues, financial aid, and housing.

Financial Information

What is the cost of tuition.

Up-to-date tuition information is available on the  Bursar’s website .

How many credits are required for the M.F.A. program?

Unlike other masters students, M.F.A. students take a nine-credit-per-semester load. Tuition should be calculated based on nine credits per semester.

Do you offer funding?

Yes. In addition to the salary for teaching undergraduate composition, our graduate students are eligible to receive some departmental funding. There is no special application for this funding; all admitted students will be considered automatically. The Office of Financial Aid primarily helps students obtain federal student loans and, if they are eligible, Work-Study funding. All students must complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) , which can be submitted online.

Do you offer teaching opportunities?

Yes. Students who wish to teach while they are enrolled in the M.F.A. program, but who don’t have prior composition teaching experience at the college level, are required to take English 7506, Practicum in Teaching College-Level Composition (which counts toward the M.F.A. degree requirements as an elective). The course includes a tutor-internship in an instructor’s classroom. After completing 7506, students may be assigned to teach their own section of a composition course, English 1010 or English 1012. The salary for one section of English 1010 or English 1012 is $6,875. Students may teach for up to three years, starting while they are students in the program and continuing after they graduate. There are also teaching opportunities at other CUNY schools.

I am an international student. How would this affect my employment opportunities at the university?

International students on F-1 Student Visas are permitted to work or teach up to 20 hours per week while they are in the program, and eligible to continue doing so, full-time, for one year after graduation, if the work is in the field for which they received the degree.

Do you offer a part-time, low-residency, or online option?

Do you offer a health insurance plan.

Health insurance is available via the  New York State of Health Insurance Exchange , as per the Affordable Care Act, where you can search for insurance plans.

  • Brooklyn College students are profiled in  Poets & Writers ‘ “MFA Nation” feature .
  • Fiction student Jai Chakrabarti talks about his M.F.A. experience in  Litbridge’s  “Interview with Brooklyn College.”
  • Fiction director Josh Henkin discusses the Brooklyn College M.F.A. as part of  The Coffin Factory ‘s “MFA Corner.”
  • Flavorwire’ s list of  “The 25 Most Literary Colleges in America”  ranks Brooklyn College at #3.
  • The  Masters Review Blog   profiles the Brooklyn College M.F.A. program .
  • The New York Times  profiles playwriting director Mac Wellman in two articles:  “Mac Wellman, a Playwriting Mentor Whose Only Mantra Is Oddity”  and  “At Brooklyn College, Learning From Mac Wellman.”
  • Brooklyn Magazine ‘s list of  “The 100 Most Influential People in Brooklyn Culture”  features M.F.A. fiction alumni Halimah Marcus and Ben Samuel, playwriting alumnus Scott Adkins, and faculty members Ben Lerner (poetry) and Erin Courtney (playwriting).
  • Ploughshares  explores the Brooklyn writing scene in its  “Literary Boroughs” feature .

From the Literary Scene:

  • The Brooklyn Review
  • Recommended Reading
  • Poets & Writers Daily News

Program Awards

2019–20 program awards.

Zoya Haroon received the 2020 Ross Feld Award.

Chelsea Baumgarten received the 2020 Carole and Irwin Lainoff Prize.

The 2020 Himan Brown Awards in Creative Writing went to: Taylor Clarke, DJ Kim, and Sally Helm (fiction, first year); David Olesky, Elizabeth Robau, and Jessica Shabin  (fiction, second year); Noelle Viñas (playwriting, first year); Michael Shayan (playwriting, second year); Chime Lama and Peter Soucy (poetry, first year); and Alexandra Kamerling and Kennia Lopez (poetry, second year).

2018–19 Program Awards

Nalea Ko received the 2019 Ross Feld Award.

Jill Winsby-Fein received the 2019 Carole and Irwin Lainoff Prize.

The 2019 Himan Brown Awards in Creative Writing went to: Chelsea Baumgarten, Avi Cummings, and Adrienne Wong (fiction, first year); Drew Pham, Erica Recordon, and Wesley Straton  (fiction, second year); Nazareth Hassan (playwriting, first year); Arika Larson (playwriting, second year); Kennia Lopez and Charles Theonia (poetry, first year); and Adam Bangser and Henry Peterson (poetry, second year).

2017–18 Program Awards

Sameet Dhillon received the 2018 Ross Feld Award.

Jenzo Duque received the 2018 Carole and Irwin Lainoff Prize.

The 2018 Himan Brown Awards in Creative Writing went to: Jivin Misra, Erica Schecter, and Wesley Straton (fiction, first year); Sam Baldassari, Maddie Crum, and Alyssa Northrop  (fiction, second year); Eri Borlaug (playwriting, first year); Jerry Lieblich (playwriting, second year); AJ Stoughton and Oscar Vargas (poetry, first year); and Laura Amelio and Marko Gluhaich (poetry, second year).

2016–17 Program Awards

Alexander Celia received the 2018 Ross Feld Award.

Alexandra Kessler received the 2017 Carole and Irwin Lainoff Prize.

The 2017 Himan Brown Awards in Creative Writing went to: Sandra Hong, Jess Silfa, and Stephen Snyder (fiction, first year); Joyce Li, Anna Marschalk-Burns, and Jon Sands (fiction, second year); Jerry Lieblich (playwriting, first year); Zach Rufa (playwriting, second year); Erika Kielsgard and Amanda Killian (poetry, first year); and Jenny Stella and Mike Smith (poetry, second year).

2015–16 Program Awards

Alexander Kessler received the 2017 Ross Feld Award.

Jane Pek received the 2017 Carole and Irwin Lainoff Prize.

The 2016 Himan Brown Awards in Creative Writing went to: Isabella Moschen, Kristen Olds, and Kelly Suprenant (fiction, first year); Nate Bethea, Casey Gonzalez, and Eric Boehling Lewis (fiction, second year); Corinne Donly (playwriting, first year); Paul Hufker (playwriting, second year); Rami Karim and Leah Williams (poetry, first year); and Courtney Bush and Stacy Skolnik (poetry, second year).

2014–15 Program Awards

Jacob Kaplan received the 2015 Ross Feld Award.

Lindsay Whalen received the 2015 Carole and Irwin Lainoff Prize.

The 2015 Himan Brown Awards in Creative Writing went to: Heloise Cormier and Paul Hufker (playwriting); Tom Haviv, Emily Heilker, James Loop, and Sahar Muradi (poetry); and Ben Cake, Molly Dektar, Eve Gleichman, Jacob Kaplan, Ilana Papir, and Jane Pek (fiction).

Courtney Bush received the 2015 Creative Writing Scholarship for Poetry. Mike Mikos received the 2015 Creative Writing Scholarship for Playwriting. Lisa Skapinker Metrikin received the 2015 Creative Writing Scholarship for Fiction.

2013–14 Program Awards

Marie Avetria received the 2014 Ross Feld Award.

Amanda DeMatto received the 2014 Carole and Irwin Lainoff Prize.

The 2014 Himan Brown Awards in Creative Writing went to: Heloise Cormier and Frances Koncan (playwriting); Georgia Faust, Sahar Muradi, Liz Roberts, and Ryan Schaefer (poetry); and Alice Broussard, Eve Gleichman, Laura Horley, Laura Macomber, Matthue Roth, and Joshua Sperling (fiction).

James Loop received the 2014 Creative Writing Scholarship for Poetry. Mike Mikos received the 2014 Creative Writing Scholarship for Playwriting. Molly Dektar received the 2014 Creative Writing Scholarship for Fiction.

Selected Student Publications

Greg ames, m.f.a. fiction 2002.

  • Buffalo Lockjaw , 2009

Mark Ari, M.F.A. Fiction 1985

  • The Shoemaker’s Tale , 2000

Rilla Askew, M.F.A. Fiction 1989

  • Strange Business , 1992
  • The Mercy Seat , 1997
  • Fire in Beulah , 2001
  • Harpsong (Stories and Storytellers Series), 2007
  • Kind of Kin , 2013

Paul Beatty, M.F.A. Poetry 1989

  • Big Bank Take Little Bank , 1991
  • Joker Joker Deuce , 1994
  • The White Boy Shuffle , 1996
  • Tuff , 2001
  • Slumberland , 2008
  • The Sellout , 2015

Lauren Belski, M.F.A. Fiction 2010

  • Whatever Used to Grow Around Here , 2012

Adam Berlin, M.F.A. Fiction 1991

  • Headlock , 2000
  • Belmondo Style , 2004
  • Both Members of the Club , 2013
  • The Number of Missing , 2013

Anselm Berrigan, M.F.A. Poetry 1998

  • They Beat Me over the Head With a Sack , 1998
  • Integrity & Dramatic Life , 1999
  • Zero Star Hotel , 2002
  • Some Notes on My Programming , 2006
  • To Hell With Sleep , 2009
  • Free Cell , 2009
  • Notes from Irrelevance , 2001
  • Loading , 2013
  • Primitive State , 2015
  • Come in Alone , 2016

Marie-Helene Bertino, M.F.A. Fiction 2007

  • Short story: ‘North Of’, 2008
  • Safe As Houses , 2012
  • 2 A.M. at The Cat’s Pajamas , 2014

Star Black, M.F.A. Poetry 1984

  • October for Idas , 1997
  • Double Time , 1997
  • Balefire , 1999
  • Ghostwood , 2003
  • Velleity’s Shade , 2010

Victoria Bond, M.F.A. Poetry 2005

  • Zora and Me (co-author), 2010

Thomas Bradshaw, M.F.A. Playwriting 2004

  • Play: ‘Strom Thurman is Not a Racist’, 1985
  • Play: ‘Cleansed’, 1985
  • Play: ‘Phophet’, 2006
  • Play: ‘Purity’, 2007
  • A new play for the anthology , 2008
  • Play: ‘Southern Promises’, 2008
  • Play: ‘The Bereaved/Mary’, 2009
  • Play: ‘Intimacy’, 2014
  • Play: ‘Dawn’, 2010

Joanna Cantor, M.F.A. Fiction 2011

  • Alternative Remedies for Loss , 2018

Maisy Card, M.F.A. Fiction 2010

  • These Ghosts Are Family , 2020

Bryan Charles, M.F.A. Fiction 2003

  • Grab On To Me As Tightly As If I Knew The Way , 2006
  • Pavement’s Wowee Zowee (33 1/3) , 2010
  • There’s a Road to Everywhere Except Where You Came From: A Memoir , 2010

Erin Courtney, M.F.A. Playwriting 2003

  • Play: ‘Demon Baby’, 2006
  • Play included in anthology of 7 edgy works, 2008

Amanda Davis, M.F.A. Fiction 1998

  • Circling the Drain , 2000
  • Wonder When You’ll Miss Me , 2003

Molly Dektar, M.F.A. Fiction 2015

  • The Ash Family , 2019

Tom Devaney, M.F.A. Poetry 1998

  • The American Pragmatist Fell In Love , 1999

Heidi Diehl, M.F.A. Fiction 2011

  • Lifelines , 2019

Marcella Durand, M.F.A. Poetry 1995

  • Western Capital Rhapsodies , 2001
  • Traffic & Weather , 2008
  • Area , 2008

Juliet Escoria, M.F.A. Fiction 2011

  • Black Cloud , 2014
  • Witch Hunt , 2016
  • Juliet the Maniac , 2019

Amy Fox, M.F.A. 2005

  • Screenplay: ‘Heights’, 2005
  • Screenplay: ‘Equity’, 2016

James Franco, M.F.A. Fiction 2010

  • Palo Alto: Stories , 2010
  • Strongest of the Litter : (The Hollyridge Press Chapbook Series), 2012
  • 113 Crickets: Summer 2012 , 2012
  • Actors Anonymous , 2013
  • Directing Herbert White : Poems, 2014
  • A California Childhood , 2014
  • Straight James / Gay James , 2016

Elizabeth Gaffney, M.F.A. Fiction 1997

  • Metropolis: A Novel , 2005
  • When The World Was Young , 2015

Sean Garritty, M.F.A. Poetry 2006

  • Lie Nearest Truth , 2011

Thea Goodman, M.F.A. Fiction 1995

  • The Sunshine When She’s Gone , 2013

CJ Hauser, M.F.A. Fiction 2009

  • The From-Aways , 2014

Elliott Holt, M.F.A. Fiction 2006

  • Short story: ‘Fem Care’, 2011
  • You Are One of Them , 2013

Andy Hunter and Scott Lindenbaum, M.F.A. Fiction 2008

  • Electric Literature (Founders) , 2009

Tanwi Nandini Islam, M.F.A. Fiction 2009

  • Bright Lines , 2015

Amelia Kahaney, M.F.A. Fiction 2006

  • The Brokenhearted , 2013

Andrew Kaufman, M.F.A. Poetry 1986

  • Earth’s Ends , 2004
  • Both Sides of the Niger , 2013

John M. Keller, M.F.A. Fiction 2004

  • A Bald Man With No Hair and Other Stories , 2012
  • Know Your Baker , 2013
  • The Box and the Briefcase, the Moleque and the Old Man and the First Coming of the Second Son of God , 2014
  • Abracadabrantesque , 2015
  • Johnny Allan , 2019

Stellar Kim, M.F.A. Fiction 2005

  • Short story: ‘Findings and Impressions’, 2007

Suki Kim, M.F.A. Fiction 1997

  • The Interpreter , 2003
  • Without You, There Is No Us: My Time with the Sons of North Korea’s Elite , 2014

Amy King, M.F.A. Poetry 2000

  • Antidotes for an Alibi , 2006
  • I’m The Man Who Loves You , 2007
  • Slaves to Do These Things , 2009
  • I Want to Make You Safe , 2011

Kristen Kosmas, M.F.A. Playwriting 2011

  • The Mayor of Baltimore and Anthem , 2013

R.O. Kwon, M.F.A. Fiction 2008

  • The Incendiaries , 2018

Gracie Leavitt, M.F.A. Poetry 2011

  • Monkeys, Minor Planet, Average Star , 2014

Marlene Lee, M.F.A. Fiction 2010

  • The Absent Woman , 2013

Halimah Marcus, M.F.A. Fiction 2012

  • Short story: ‘Swimming’, 2010

Sharon Mesmer, M.F.A. Poetry 1990

  • The Empty Quarter , 2000
  • Half Angel Half Lunch , 2002
  • In Ordinary Time , 2005
  • The Virgin Formica , 2008

Emily Mitchell, M.F.A. Fiction 2005

  • The Last Summer of the World , 2007
  • Viral: Stories , 2015

Cristina Moracho, M.F.A. Fiction 2008

  • Althea & Oliver , 2014

Stephen Motika, M.F.A. Poetry 2010

  • Western Practice , 2012

Christina Olivares, M.F.A. Poetry 2010

  • No Map of the Earth Includes Stars , 2015

Jeffrey Oliver, M.F.A. Fiction 2002

  • Failure to Thrive , 2011

Helen Phillips, M.F.A. Fiction 2007

  • Short story: ‘Twenty Tales of Natural Disaster’, 2010
  • And Yet They Were Happy , 2011
  • Here Where the Sunbeams Are Green , 2012
  • The Beautiful Bureaucrat , 2015
  • Some Possible Solutions , 2016
  • The Need , 2019

Sapphire, M.F.A. Poetry 1995

  • American Dreams , 1996
  • Push , 1997
  • Black Wings & Blind Angels , 2000
  • The Kid: A Novel , 2012

Sara Shepard, M.F.A. Fiction 2005

  • The Visibles , 2009
  • Everything We Ever Wanted , 2011
  • The Perfectionists Series , 2014-2015
  • Pretty Little Liars Series , 2006-2014
  • The Lying Game Series , 2010-2013
  • The Heiresses , 2014
  • The Amateurs , 2016

Mohan Sikka, M.F.A. Fiction 2006

  • Short story: ‘Uncle Musto Takes A Mistress’, 2007
  • Short story: ‘The Railway Aunty’, 2009

Lysette Simmons, M.F.A. Poetry 2013

  • Dear Robert , 2013

David Trinidad, M.F.A. Poetry 1990

  • Monday, Monday , 1985
  • November , 1986
  • Hand Over Heart , 1994
  • Three Stories , 1998
  • Plasticville , 2000
  • Phoebe 2002: An Essay in Verse , 2003
  • The Late Show , 2007
  • Saints of Hysteria: A Half-Century of Collaborative American Poetry , 2007
  • By Myself, An Autobiography , 2009
  • Dear Prudence: New and Selected Poems , 2011
  • Peyton Place: A Haiku Soap Opera , 2013
  • Notes of a Past Life , 2016

Jenny Williams, M.F.A. Fiction 2011

  • Short story in Battle Runes: Writings on War , 2011
  • The Atlas of Forgotten Places , 2017

John Yau, M.F.A. Poetry 1978

  • Radiant Silhouette: New and Selected Work , 1974-1988, 1989
  • Forbidden Entries , 1992
  • Edificio Sayonara , 1992
  • A.R. Penck , 1993
  • In the Realm of Appearances: The Art of Andy Warhol , 1993
  • Hawaiian Cowboys , 1994
  • Berlin Diptychon: Poems , 1995
  • The United States of Jasper Johns , 1997
  • My Symptoms , 1998
  • Randy Hayes: The World Reveiled , 2000
  • Borrowed Love Poems , 2002
  • My Heart Is That Eternal Rose Tattoo , 2002
  • Ing Grish , 2005
  • Paradiso Diaspora , 2006
  • The Passionate Spectator: Essays on Art and Poetry , 2006
  • A Thing Among Things: The Art of Jasper Johns , 2008
  • Further Adventures in Monochrome , 2012

Young Jean Lee, M.F.A. Playwriting 2005

  • Play: ‘The Appeal’, 2006

Julie Agoos

Julie Agoos is professor and coordinator of the Poetry specialization. Agoos, who received her M.A. from Johns Hopkins University, publishes widely in journals and is the author of three collections of poems,  Property  (Ausable/Copper Canyon, 2008),  Calendar Year  (Sheep Meadow, 1996), and  Above the Land  (Yale University Press, 1987), for which she won the Yale Series of Younger Poets Award. Her latest book  Echo System  was published in 2015.

Anselm Berrigan

Anselm Berrigan ’98 M.F.A. is the author of five books of poetry, most recently the book-length poem  Notes from Irrelevance  (Wave Books, 2011). Other titles include  Free Cell  (City Lights, 2009),  Some Notes on My Programming  (Edge, 2006), and  Zero Star Hotel  (Edge, 2002).  Skasers , a book jointly written with poet John Coletti, was be published in 2012 by Flowers & Cream Press. He is the current poetry editor for  The Brooklyn Rail  and a member of the subpress publishing collective. From 1998 to 2007 he worked for The Poetry Project at St. Mark’s Church in various capacities, including a stint as artistic director from 2003 to 2007. Berrigan is also co-chair of Writing at the Milton Avery Graduate School for the Arts, Bard College’s interdisciplinary summer M.F.A. program.

Erin Courtney

Erin Courtney’s play  I Will Be Gone , directed by Kip Fagan, premiered at Actors Theater of Louisville, Humana Festival in 2015. Her play  A Map of Virtue,  produced by 13P and directed by Ken Rus Schmoll, won a special citation OBIE in 2012. She has written two operas with Elizabeth Swados,  The Nomad  and  Kaspar Hauser : Both were commissioned and produced by The Flea Theater. Her play  Honey Drop  was developed at The Atlantic Theater, the Clubbed Thumb/Playwrights Horizons Superlab, and New Georges. Her other plays include  Alice the Magnet, Demon Baby, Quiver and Twitch , and  Black Cat Lost . She is an affiliated artist with Clubbed Thumb, a member of the Obie Award–winning playwright collective 13P, and the co-founder of the Brooklyn Writer’s Space. Courtney teaches playwriting at Brooklyn College, where she earned her M.F.A. with Mac Wellman. She earned B.A. from Brown University, where she studied with Paula Vogel. She has been a member of New Dramatists since 2012 and is a 2013 Guggenheim Fellow.

LaTasha Diggs

A writer, vocalist and performance/sound artist, LaTasha N. Nevada Diggs is the author of  TwERK  (Belladonna, 2013). Diggs has presented and performed at California Institute of the Arts, El Museo del Barrio, The Museum of Modern Art, and Walker Art Center and at festivals including: Explore the North Festival, Leeuwarden, Netherlands; Hekayeh Festival, Abu Dhabi; International Poetry Festival of Copenhagen; Ocean Space, Venice; Poesiefestival, Berlin; and the 2015 Venice Biennale. As an independent curator, artistic director, and producer, Diggs has presented events for BAMCafé, Black Rock Coalition, El Museo del Barrio, Lincoln Center Out of Doors, and the David Rubenstein Atrium. Diggs has received a 2020 C.D. Wright Award for Poetry from the Foundation of Contemporary Art, a Whiting Award (2016) and a National Endowment for the Arts Literature Fellowship (2015), as well as grants and fellowships from Cave Canem, Creative Capital, New York Foundation for the Arts, and the U.S.-Japan Friendship Commission, among others. She lives in Harlem.

Myla Goldberg

Myla Goldberg is the best-selling author of  Bee Season ,  Wickett’s Remedy , and  The False Friend . Her short stories have appeared in  Harper’s,  and she is an occasional contributor to NPR. She teaches at various M.F.A. programs and leads writing workshops in and around New York City.

David Grubbs

David Grubbs, associate professor in the Conservatory of Music at Brooklyn College, has released 11 solo albums and appeared on more than 150 commercially released recordings. He is known for his cross-disciplinary collaborations with writers such as Susan Howe and Rick Moody, and with visual artists such as Anthony McCall, Angela Bulloch, Cosima von Bonin, and Stephen Prina. His work has been presented at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, MoMA, the Tate Modern, and the Centre Pompidou. Grubbs was a founding member of the groups Gastr del Sol, Bastro, and Squirrel Bait, and directs the Blue Chopsticks record label. He is currently completing the book  Records Ruin the Landscape: John Cage, The Sixties, and Sound Recording  for Duke University Press. Grubbs was a 2005–06 grant recipient from the Foundation for Contemporary Arts and has been called one of two “Best Teachers for an Indie-Rocker to Admire” in the  Village Voice  and “le plus Français des Américains” in  Libération.  He holds a Ph.D. in English from the University of Chicago.

Joshua Henkin

Joshua Henkin , professor and coordinator of the fiction specialization, is the author of the novels Swimming Across the Hudson , a  Los Angeles Times  Notable Book;  Matrimony , a  New York Times  Notable Book; and  The World Without You , which was named an Editors’ Choice Book by  The New York Times  and  The Chicago Tribune  and was the winner of the 2012 Edward Lewis Wallant Award for Jewish American Fiction and a finalist for the 2012 National Jewish Book Award. His short stories have been published widely, cited for distinction in  Best American Short Stories , and broadcast on NPR’s “Selected Shorts.” His reviews and essays have appeared in  The New York Times , the  Los Angeles Times ,  The Wall Street Journal ,  The Boston Globe , the  Chicago Tribune , the  San Francisco Chronicle , and elsewhere.

Lisa Jarnot

Lisa Jarnot is the author of four books of poetry and a biography,  Robert Duncan, The Ambassador from Venus  (University of California Press). Her  Joie de Vivre: Selected Poems 1992–2012  was published by City Lights in 2013.

Associate Professor Ben Lerner is the author of three books of poetry:  The Lichtenberg Figures  (2004),  Angle of Yaw  (2006), and  Mean Free Path  (2010), all published by Copper Canyon Press. He has been a finalist for the National Book Award in poetry and the Northern California Book Award, a Fulbright Scholar in Spain, and a Howard Foundation Fellow. In 2011 he became the first American to win the Preis der Stadt Münster für Internationale Poesie for the German translation of  The Lichtenberg Figures . His first novel,  Leaving the Atocha Station  (Coffee House, 2011) won  The Believer  Book Award and was a finalist for the  Los Angeles Times  Book Award for First Fiction and the New York Public Library’s Young Lions Award. It was named one of the best books of the year by  The New Yorker ,  The Guardian ,  The New Statesman ,  The Boston Globe ,  The Wall Street Journal ,  The New Republic , and  New York Magazine , among many others. His recent criticism can be found in  Art in America ,  boundary 2 , and  Critical Quarterly , where he also serves as poetry editor.

Fiona Maazel

Fiona Maazel is the author of the novels  Last Last Chance . (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2008) and  Woke Up Lonely  (Graywolf, 2013). She is a 2008 National Book Foundation “5 Under 35” honoree and winner of the Bard Prize for fiction in 2009. Her work has appeared in  Anthem, Bomb, Book Forum, Boston Book Review, The Common, Conjunctions, Fence, Glamour, The Millions, Mississippi Review, N+1, The New York Times, The NY Times Sunday Book Review, Salon, Selected Shorts, This American Life, Tin House, The Village Voice, The Yale Review , and elsewhere. She lives in Brooklyn.

Ernesto Mestre

Ernesto Mestre is the author of two novels,  The Lazarus Rhumba  and  The Second Death of Unica Aveyano . His fiction has been collected in various anthologies, including  Best American Gay Fiction 1996 ,  A Whistler in the Nightworld: Short Fiction from the Latin Americas , and  Cubanisimo!: The Vintage Book of Contemporary Cuban Literature .

Meera Nair’s debut collection,  Video , received the Asian-American Literary Award for Fiction in 2003. She has published fiction in  The Threepenny Review  and  Calyx , and in the anthology  Charlie Chan Is Dead . She is at work on her first novel, which will be published by Pantheon.

Sigrid Nunez

Sigrid Nunez has published six novels, including  A Feather on the Breath of God ,  The Last of Her Kind , and, most recently,  Salvation City . She is also the author of  Sempr e  Susan: A Memoir of Susan Sontag.  Among the journals to which she has contributed are  The New York Times ,  Threepenny Review, Harper’s ,  McSweeney’s ,  Tin House, The Believer , and  Conjunctions.  Her honors and awards include four Pushcart Prizes, a Whiting Writer’s Award, a Berlin Prize Fellowship, and two awards from the American Academy of Arts and Letters: the Rosenthal Foundation Award and the Rome Prize in Literature. She has taught at Amherst College, Smith College, Columbia University, and the New School, and has been a visiting writer or writer in residence at Baruch College, Vassar College, Boston University, and the University of California at Irvine, among others. She has also been on the faculty of the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference and of several other writers’ conferences across the country.

Jenny Offill

Jenny Offill’s novel,  Last Things , was chosen as a notable or best book of the year by  The New York Times , the  Village Voice,  and the  Guardian  (U.K.), and was a finalist for the  Los Angeles Times  First Book Award. She is also the editor, along with Elissa Schappell, of two anthologies,  The Friend Who Got Away  and  Money Changes Everything . She has written one children’s book,  17 Things I’m Not Allowed to Do Anymore , and has two more forthcoming from Random House. She received a NYFA fellowship in fiction in 2008 and was a Stegner Fellow at Stanford University from 1991 to 1993. Her flash fiction is featured in the anthology  Long Story Short  (UNC-Press, 2009).

Julie Orringer

Julie Orringer is the author of a novel,  The Invisible Bridge,  and an award-winning story collection,  How to Breathe Underwater,  which was a  New York Times  notable book and was named Book of the Year by the  LA Times  and the  San Francisco Chronicle.  Her stories have appeared in  The Paris Review, The Yale Review,  and  The Washington Post,  and have been widely anthologized; she has received fellowships from the New York Public Library, Stanford University, The MacDowell Colony, Yaddo, and the National Endowment for the Arts. She lives in Brooklyn, where she is working on a new novel.

Helen Phillips

Helen Phillips is the author of the novel-in-fables  And Yet They Were Happy  (Leapfrog Press, 2011), which was a semifinalist for the VCU Cabell First Novelist Award, a finalist for the McLaughlin-Esstman-Stearns First Novel Prize, and declared a notable collection of 2011 by The Story Prize. Her second book,  Here Where the Sunbeams Are Green  (Random House Children’s Division/Delacorte Press, 2012), is a children’s adventure novel, and has been published internationally as  Upside Down in the Jungle  (Chicken House UK, 2012; Chicken House Germany, 2013). She is the recipient of a Rona Jaffe Foundation Writer’s Award, the Italo Calvino Prize in Fabulist Fiction,  The Iowa Review  Nonfiction Award, the  DIAGRAM  Innovative Fiction Award, the  Meridian  Editors’ Prize, and a Ucross Foundation residency. Her work has twice been nominated for a Pushcart Prize and was featured on NPR’s Selected Shorts in fall 2012. She has been published in  Tin House, BOMB ,  Mississippi Review,  and  PEN America , among many others. A graduate of Yale and the Brooklyn College M.F.A. program, she is an assistant professor of creative writing at Brooklyn College. Named one of the Breakout Brooklyn Book People of 2011 by  The L Magazine , Helen (born and raised in Colorado) now lives in Brooklyn with her husband, artist Adam Douglas Thompson, and their baby girl.

Madeleine Thien

Madeleine Thien is the author of four books, including  Dogs at the Perimeter , and a story collection,  Simple Recipes . Her most recent novel,  Do Not Say We Have Nothing , was shortlisted for the 2016 Man Booker Prize, the Women’s Prize for Fiction, and The Folio Prize; and won the Scotiabank Giller Prize and the Governor-General’s Literary Award for Fiction. The novel was named a  New York Times  Critics’ Top Book of 2016 and longlisted for a Carnegie Medal. Madeleine’s books have been translated into twenty-seven languages and her essays and stories have appeared in  The New York Times ,  The Guardian ,  Brick ,  The Sunday Times ,  frieze ,  Granta , and elsewhere. Her first libretto will premiere with Vancouver City Opera in 2021.

Mónica de la Torre

Mónica de la Torre ’s is the author, most recently, of  Repetition Nineteen , a book of poems and prose (Nightboat, 2020). Her other poetry books include  The Happy End/All Welcome  (Ugly Duckling Presse, 2017)  Public Domain  (Roof Books, 2009) and  Talk Shows  (Switchback Books, 2006). Two Spanish-language collections of poems,  Acúfenos  (Taller Ditoria, 2006) and  Sociedad Anónima  (UNAM/Bonobos, 2010), were published in Mexico. She is a member of the women’s collective whose eponymous book,  Taller de Mecanografía , appeared in 2011 from Tumbona Ediciones. She has translated an array of poets from the Spanish including Gerardo Deniz, Lila Zemborain, and Amanda Berenguer. Her latest translation is  Defense of the Idol  by Chilean modernist Omar Cáceres (Ugly Duckling Presse, 2018). Born and raised in Mexico City, she has lived in New York City since the 1990s, where she frequently writes about art and collaborates with other writers and artists. She served as  BOMB Magazine ’s senior editor from 2007–16, and has taught poetry and translation at Columbia, Brown, and Bard’s M.F.A. programs.

Ellen Tremper

Ellen Tremper , professor and chair of the English Department, received her Ph.D. from Harvard University. Specializing in 19th- and 20th-century British poetry and fiction, she has published many articles on Henry James, Virginia Woolf, and children’s literature, and is the author of  “Who Lived at Alfoxton?”: Virginia Woolf and English Romanticism  (Bucknell University Press) and  I’m No Angel: The Blonde in Film and Fiction , which was published by the University of Virginia Press in 2006.

Mac Wellman

Mac Wellman, professor and coordinator of the playwriting specialization, received his M.A. from the University of Wisconsin. His recent work includes The Difficulty of Crossing a Field  (Montclair, 2006) and  1965 UU  (Chocolate Factory, 2008). His most recent collection of plays is  The Difficulty of Crossing a Field  (University of Minnesota Press, 2008). Four other collections of his plays have been published:  The Bad Infinity  and  Cellophane  (PAJ/Johns Hopkins University Press), and  Two Plays  and  The Land Beyond the Forest  (Sun & Moon). He has written a volume of stories,  A Chronicle of the Madness of Small Worlds  (Trip Street Press, 2008), as well as three novels:  Q’s Q  (Green Integer, 2006),  Annie Salem  (Sun & Moon 1996), and  The Fortuneteller  (Sun & Moon, 1991). His recent books of poetry are  Miniature  (Roof Books, 2002),  Strange Elegies  (Roof Books, 2006), and  A Shelf in Woop’s Clothing  (Sun & Moon, 1990). In 1997 he received the Lila Wallace-Reader’s Digest Writers’ Award. In 2003 he received his third Obie, for lifetime Achievement ( Antigone, Jennie Richee  and  Bitter Bierce  all cited). In 1990 he received an Obie (Best New American Play) for  Bad Penny ,  Terminal Hip  and  Crowbar . In 1991 he received another Obie for  Sincerity Forever . He has received numerous honors, including both NEA and Guggenheim Fellowships. In 2004 he received an award from the Foundation for Contemporary Performance Arts. He is the Donald I. Fine Professor of Playwriting at Brooklyn College. Currently, he is working on two plays for chorus:  The Invention of Tragedy  (Classic Stage Company) and  Nine Days Falling  (Stuck Pigs Company, Melbourne, Australia).

The Support You’ll Find

Brooklyn College is an integral part of the cultural and artistic energy of New York City. Our faculty members in English offer incomparable expertise and tremendous talent, and each brings a unique perspective to their teaching and mentoring in and out of the classroom.

Eric Alterman

Eric Alterman

Sophia Bamert

Sophia Bamert

Matthew Burgess

Matthew Burgess

Monica De La Torre

Monica De La Torre

Joseph Entin

Joseph Entin

Nicola Masciandaro

Nicola Masciandaro

Simanique Moody

Simanique Moody

Roni Natov

Jonathan Nissenbaum

Helen Phillips

Tanya L. Pollard

Karl T. Steel

Karl T. Steel

Dorell Thomas

Dorell Thomas

Ellen Tremper

Internships and Employers

Brooklyn College creative writing alumni have found employment with many organizations, including:

  • BRIC (Arts and Media in Brooklyn)
  • Central Casting
  • New York City Department of Education
  • New York University

Student Resources

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Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing

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Program Overview

The Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing is a two year program offering a degree in either Poetry or Prose, and is a part of the English Department's Creative Writing Program. Founded in 1947 by Theodore Roethke, the Creative Writing Program's tradition of transformative workshops continues with our current faculty: David Bosworth , David Crouse , Rae Paris , and Maya Sonenberg (Prose), and Linda Bierds , Andrew Feld , Richard Kenney, and Pimone Triplett (Poetry). They include among their many honors fellowships from the MacArthur Foundation, the Guggenheim Foundation, and the National Endowment for the Arts. The list of our alumni publications represents a significant chapter in the history of American literature. The program has been ranked among the top ten in the country.

Students participate in writing workshops in prose and poetry, and undertake coursework in literary periods and types, and critical theory. MFA candidates also present a Creative Manuscript (minimum 30 poems,100 pages of 5 short stories and/or personal essays, or 150 pages of a novel or book-length essay), a Critical Essay (20-30 pages, addressing the student's relationship to his or her reading based on the student's own writerly concerns and studies), and an oral presentation (a discussion with and/or questions from the candidate's thesis committee on the creative manuscript, critical essay, and/or the writing process and which may include a reading from the candidate's Creative Manuscript).

The program admits only ten to twelve students each year. The relatively small size of our program (20-25 students) allows for close associations to develop among students and faculty. The first year is devoted to participation in workshops and literary seminars, and the second year allows for concentrated work on a creative manuscript and critical essay under the supervision of one of our regular faculty.

Students are funded through Teaching Assistantships, Fellowships, and a long-standing relationship with the Amazon Literary Partnership.

Students also enjoy Seattle's lively literary and arts scene. Seattle is home to numerous reading series, the Seattle International Film Festival, and many highly-acclaimed theater companies. Surrounded by spectacular scenery, Seattle is minutes away from hiking, skiing, and boating.

Learn more about UW's Creative Writing Program .

Application Information

Application materials are due January 2 (or the first business day after January 1 st ). Initial offers of admission are usually made by mid-March.

  • How to Apply
  • Application Checklist

Funding Opportunities

We offer a funding package to all admitted MFA students for two academic years. Learn more about the funding package and other funding opportunities here: MFA Funding and Support .

MFA Degree Requirements & Program Guide

The MFA is designed to be completed within six full-time quarters (two academic years). MFA students can refer to the MFA Degree Requirements and MFA Program Guide .

Land Acknowledgement

The Creative Writing Program acknowledges that the University of Washington, like all of our businesses, institutions and our lives, exists on Indigenous land.  Such land acknowledgements are necessary as we push for justice and liberation in institutions and a broader society that continues to live out the settler colonial legacies of land theft, genocide, and enslavement.  This is Duwamish territory, and we are grateful to be here.

Departmental Commitment to Diversity, Equity and Justice

The UW English Department aims to help students become more incisive thinkers, effective communicators, and imaginative writers by acknowledging that language and its use are powerful and hold the potential to empower individuals and communities; to provide the means to engage in meaningful conversation and collaboration across differences and with those with whom we disagree; and to offer methods for exploring, understanding, problem solving, and responding to the many pressing collective issues we face in our world--skills that align with and support the University of Washington’s mission to educate “a diverse student body to become responsible global citizens and future leaders through a challenging learning environment informed by cutting-edge scholarship.”

As a department, we begin with the conviction that language and texts play crucial roles in the constitution of cultures and communities, past, present, and future.  Our disciplinary commitments to the study of   English (its history, multiplicity, and development; its literary and artistic uses; and its global role in shaping and changing cultures)  require of us a willingness to engage openly and critically with questions of power and difference. As such, in our teaching, service, and scholarship we frequently initiate and encourage conversations about topics such as race and racism, immigration, gender, sexuality, class, indigeneity, and colonialisms. These topics are fundamental to the inquiry we pursue.  We are proud of this fact, and we are committed to creating an environment in which our faculty and students can do so confidently and securely, knowing that they have the backing of the department.

Towards that aim, we value the inherent dignity and uniqueness of individuals and communities. We acknowledge that our university is located on the shared lands and waters of the Coast Salish peoples. We aspire to be a place where human rights are respected and where any of us can seek support. This includes people of all ethnicities, faiths, gender identities, national and indigenous origins, political views, and citizenship status; nontheists; LGBQTIA+; those with disabilities; veterans; and anyone who has been targeted, abused, or disenfranchised.

English Department Diversity Plan

The English department seeks to promote inclusion, diversity, and equity, especially racial equity, by recruiting, retaining, and supporting a diverse population of faculty, students, and staff in ways that counter ongoing legacies of systemic inequity and settler colonialism, and their organizing epistemologies.

The University of Washington acknowledges the Coast Salish people of this land, the land which touches the shared waters of all tribes and bands within the Suquamish, Tulalip, and Muckleshoot nations. The Department's promotion of diversity, equity, and inclusion values endeavors that build on this recognition as a means of transforming our research, pedagogy, and/or service.

Read more about the   UW English Department's commitment to diversity, equity, and justice . 

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  • For questions about the MFA program, please contact  [email protected]
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Graduate Admissions

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Creative Writing (MFA in English)

The MFA in English with a focus in Creative Writing is awarded by the Graduate College. The Creative Writing Program, also known as the Iowa Writers' Workshop, also offers  Nondegree Course Work . For the MFA in English with a focus in nonfiction writing, apply to the  Nonfiction Writing Program .

Applicants must meet the  Admission Requirements of the Graduate College  and the department offering the degree program (review the department's web site or the General Catalog for departmental requirements).

Tuition and fees vary by degree program and the type of student you are.

  • Fall semester—Dec. 15
  • Spring semester—not offered

The graduate application process has two steps

  • You must first submit the online application to the Graduate College and pay the $60 application fee by credit card ($100 for international applicants).
  • Once you have submitted your application, you will receive an email instructing you on how to upload your supporting documents and submit letters of recommendation. A few programs require materials be sent directly to them. However, almost all supplemental material can and should be uploaded from your Admissions Profile in MyUI , our online service center for applicants and students. You can only access this AFTER you have submitted your application.

Degree Program Supplemental Materials

  • Mail manuscript of your best work, with a  Manuscript Cover Sheet (PDF) - address listed below Receipt of your manuscript will be noted on your Admissions Profile.
  • A Statement of Purpose
  • Application for Graduate Awards
  • Your General GRE test scores (optional but recommended)
  • Supplemental Financial Aid


The application requirement section of your Profile includes an electronic letter of recommendation feature. If your program of study requires letters of recommendation, you will be asked to give the contact information of your recommenders including their email on your Admissions Profile. The recommender will then get an email giving them instructions on how to upload the recommendation letter and/or form.

  • Three letters of recommendation

Materials to send to Admissions

  • A set of your unofficial academic records/transcripts uploaded on your Admissions Profile. If you are admitted, official transcripts will be required before your enrollment. For international records, all records should bear the original stamp or seal of the institution and the signature of a school official.  Documents not in English must be accompanied by a complete, literal, English translation, certified by the issuing institution.
  • Your official GRE scores are not required for admission to this program. However, applications that include GRE scores may be more competitive for a greater range of financial assistance (the University's institutional code is 6681).
  • International students may also be required to submit TOEFL, IELTS, or DuoLingo scores to comply with the university's English Language Proficiency Requirements .
  • Once recommended for admission, international students must send a  Financial Statement .

Apply Online , the $60 application fee ($100 for international students) is payable by Discover, MasterCard, or Visa.

Creative Writing Program The University of Iowa 102 Dey House Iowa City, IA 52242-1000 [email protected] 1-319-335-0416

Enrollment Management The University of Iowa 2900 University Capitol Centre 201 S. Clinton St. Iowa City, IA 52242 [email protected] 1-319-335-1523

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  • Acceptance Rates

Iowa Writers’ Workshop – Acceptance Rate, Alumni, Overview, and More

The Iowa Writers’ Workshop stands as the defining presence among American writing programs. Founded in 1936, some of the biggest names in American literature have been faculty, students, or both.

Located at the University of Iowa in a grandmotherly Victorian home, the Workshop introduced the model that would launch a boom of creative writing MFA programs across the country. By 1967, enough writing programs existed in the United States to merit the forming of the Associated Writing Programs, the professional organization that unites the numerous writing programs today.

The Iowa Workshop brings together writers of talent for support rather than for education. The two-year program, or “residency,” consists primarily of writing time for a thesis to be delivered at graduation. MFA students enroll in workshops in either poetry or fiction, where they meet in groups of 10 to 15 students for weekly critiques.

A few seminars in craft are available each semester, mostly as Form of Fiction or Form of Poetry. Some students take courses in other University of Iowa departments, particularly theater arts and world languages.

Workshop students often take courses at the university’s Center for the Book, a book arts program with its own graduate programs , but with some ties to the Workshop.

Summer programs at the Workshop offer graduate-level coursework for writers, whether or not they are in a degree program. Manuscript review still governs admission for these classes.

Graduates of the program note the advantages of access to giants of the literary and publishing worlds, not so much for artistic guidance but for help navigating the publishing and critical terrain of American letters.

The Workshop maintains that writing can be cultivated, more than taught, and attributes the success of its alumni to their initial talent , seen by the Workshop during the admissions process itself. The role of the Workshop, as they see it, continues to provide a crucible for the development of American literature among the Workshop’s students and faculty.

Iowa Writers’ Workshop Acceptance Rate

Iowa Writers' Workshop

In 2017, LitHub, a website devoted to writing culture, published numbers ascribed to a “University of Iowa representative” that would indicate about a 3.7% rate of acceptance. 

That number seems generous, given data from the years 2013-2017 , which places the acceptance rate even lower. It’s safe to assume that Iowa usually gets many applications, over a thousand each year, for 25 slots in Fiction and 25 slots in Poetry.

Harvard Law School has an acceptance rate of 12.9% , and Juilliard accepts around 7% of its applicants . Despite the proliferation of MFA programs, the best-known remains extraordinarily selective, most under 5%, as this data from 2013 shows .

Iowa Writers’ Workshop Alumni

As for accepted students who took courses and graduated from the MFA program, short story master Flannery O’Connor may be the most lauded graduate; she earned her MFA in 1947 and won the National Book Award in 1972. She may be the only Iowa alumna featured on a United States postage stamp.

John Irving is an award-winning writer producing novels, nonfiction, and screenplays; he attended from 1965 to 1967. 

Michael Chabon’s Master’s thesis for the program became his first novel, The Mysteries of Pittsburgh .

United States Poet Laureates Rita Dove and Joy Harjo graduated in 1977 and 1978, respectively. Award-winning poets James Tate, Robert Bly, and Charles Wright, authors Andre Dubus and Raymond Carver earned MFAs.

Denis Johnson and Gish Jen, groundbreaking novelists, and experimental poets Antler and Barrett Watten, and the unclassifiable Joy Williams attended. Williams graduated in 1965; in 2021, she won the Library of Congress Prize for American Fiction.

Recent alumni like Alexander Chee continue to redefine genre and adopt new ways of delivering literature through media and technology. Chee was one of five program graduates to win Guggenheim fellowships in 2021.

How to Get Accepted to Iowa Writers’ Workshop

The short answer for how to get accepted to the Iowa Writers’ Conference: be insanely, irresistibly good at writing. Applicants should find the best parts of the best things they’ve ever written, and submit those.

The more nuanced answer: for Fiction applicants, the Workshop asks for two stories, not to exceed 80 pages. 

More work does not help an application. Submitting the most successful passages, whether it’s a chapter from a novel and a work of micro-fiction, two short stories, or two separate chapters from a novel in progress, presents the best picture of a writer ready to develop their craft.

Writers should include parts of stories, if parts of stories demonstrate their best work. Every page submitted should convey urgency and commitment to the narrative. 

Admissions readers look for a singular, undefinable experience when reading applicant submissions; applicants should make every effort to place themselves in the room with readers through their manuscripts.

The poetry submission process parallels the fiction process. Readers look for energy, focus, and commitment to art.

A manuscript of 10-12 poems should include only the work that best features the candidate. It’s far better to have a manuscript that comes in a little short on quantity than to fill in gaps with mediocre work.

No style or genre holds precedence in fiction or poetry; admissions readers seek to bring diverse perspectives to the community.

The Workshop readers emphasize that successful candidates’ work shows spark, originality, and promise, rather than polish or perfection. A successful portfolio submission to the program demonstrates the candidate’s irresistible desire to write.

The application’s statement of purpose can echo the sense of urgency demonstrated in the manuscript, underscoring the applicant’s temperament and dedication to developing their artistic voice. This part of the application won’t help a lackluster manuscript.

No creative writing prerequisites are necessary, and GRE scores are not required. Three letters of recommendation, transcripts, and a CV round out the application materials.

Who Are the Faculty at Iowa Writers’ Workshop?

Given the Workshop’s reputation and profile, the department draws writers from the highest levels of the fiction and poetry worlds , prize-winners and best-sellers. Alumni make up some of the faculty, though nearly any writer might be part of the Workshop for a time.

The current resident faculty include fiction authors like Ethan Canin, Jamel Brinkley, Charles D’Ambrosio, and Margot Livesey, award-winning writers whose work appears in prestigious publications like The New Yorker and The Atlantic .

Poets include Mark Levine, Elizabeth Willis, Tracie Morris, and James Galvin, winners of Guggenheim and NEA fellowships. 

Visiting faculty include Kevin Brockmeier, Jenny Zhang, Charles Baxter, Allan Gurganus, Karen Russell, D.A. Powell, Z.Z. Packer, and many other writers representing the vanguard of American literature. Many visiting faculty members spend a semester on campus; some stay a full school year, and many return to campus for additional terms.

Visiting and resident faculty members teach in the summer and online workshops offered by the Iowa Writers’ Workshop. The Eleventh Hour podcast archives recordings of craft talks from writers who have lectured in the Iowa Writers’ Workshop Summer Festival lecture series.

Similar Schools

The Iowa Writers’ Workshop may be the Harvard, Juilliard, and Mayo Clinic of writing, all rolled into one, but the program doesn’t provide the right fit for every writer. Some students find the blank slate of the Iowa prairie as an oasis, a perfect place to create, while others just don’t want to live in Iowa for two years and find the environment at odds with their writing.

Many students do well with Iowa’s workshop, read-around-the-table model. This model dominates writing programs. But many other MFA writing programs offer a host of other options.

Poets & Writers updates its comprehensive guide regularly , and writers’ resource Read the Workshop organizes lists based on the availability of funding , a crucial element for making an MFA program a sensible choice. For the widest vista , Associated Writing Programs’ searchable guide can take you to any of the over 300 writing programs in the United States.

For writers who want a broader program than a summer workshop or conference, but whose lives don’t allow relocation to another part of the country, Low-Residency MFAs can be the best of all worlds. These programs have expanded since the days of snail-mailing manuscripts to faculty mentors; online tools have made them much more immediate and vibrant.

Low-Residency programs often feature excellent faculty, for the same reason they attract serious students: less time on campus means many people in the program have other life commitments. Warren Wilson College and Vermont College of Fine Arts have Low-Residency MFA programs dating back to the days of shipping paper manuscripts to your classmates.

From traditional, high-ranking programs like Columbia and Florida State, to Saint Mary’s College in California with its Writer in the World courses and craft components , every MFA in writing offers different teaching approaches. Climbing in the rankings are schools like North Carolina State and the small, selective program at the University of New Hampshire.

Many schools now offer technical writing, screenwriting, or nonfiction concentrations. Some MFA programs allow students to work in multiple genres, or in new media and performance contexts.

Is Iowa Writers’ Workshop Worth It?

Two chief benefits to attending the Iowa Writers’ Workshop emerge among alumni stories. First, a residency at Iowa sets aside two full years dedicated to actual writing. Students write every day, and they can access critiques and editing formally and informally among the faculty and their cohorts.

And maybe more importantly, the Iowa Writers’ Workshop provides a kind of exclusive guild or club: members have access to a world of critical reception and publisher attention. Selection for the Iowa Writers’ Workshop conveys credibility. That feature can’t easily be quantified, but it’s very real.

Affording the Workshop might be as big an obstacle as the admissions process. In addition to tuition and fees, students will need to live in Iowa those two years. Tuition remission, teaching fellowships, and other aid can help make the program financially accessible.

Not every student will leave with a book contract and a major advance, though the stories of these successes inspire new candidates. Determining whether or not the program delivers value in a practical way depends on access to funding and on the student’s ability to convert those two years into a career post-graduation.

There’s one more benefit, but this one dodges definition even more than claims of credibility and craft. As an art form, writing belongs to the group of solitary activities. Writers almost universally work in private, and audiences read books alone (with some exceptions).

Yet the compulsion to write derives from a longing for human connection, and almost all writers benefit from a community, no matter how small or specialized. Writing programs can provide that community, cracking the isolation for a couple of years, or even a lifetime, as the bonds created in a writing program sustain long after the degree.

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Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing The Write Stuff for Writers

university of pittsburgh mfa creative writing acceptance rate

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100% online, 8-week courses

Transfer in up to 50% of the degree total

Grow Your Writing Passion into a Career with Liberty’s Online MFA in Creative Writing

Many people write creatively, but few hone their skills to develop their writing craft to its highest form. Even fewer learn the other skills it takes to become a successful writer, such as the steps needed to get a book published and into the hands of readers. Liberty’s 100% online Master of Fine Arts (MFA) in Creative Writing can help you develop your writing passion into a career so you can set your works free to impact culture and the world.

Employers in every industry need professionals who have strong writing skills, so you can be confident that your ability to write effectively can also help set you apart in your current career. With in-demand writing expertise and the ability to customize your degree with electives in literature or writing practice, Liberty’s online MFA in Creative Writing can help you achieve your professional writing goals.

Our online MFA in Creative Writing is designed to help you build on your writing skills with specific workshops dedicated to the craft of fiction, poetry, creative nonfiction, or screenwriting. With a work-in-progress approach to writing practice and mentorship from our faculty of experienced writers and scholars, you can learn the specific skills you need to make your writing stand out.

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  • Private Nonprofit University
  • 600+ Online Degrees
  • No Standardized Testing for Admission
  • Transfer in up to 75% of an Undergrad Degree
  • Transfer in up to 50% of a Grad/Doctoral Degree

Why Choose Liberty’s MFA in Creative Writing?

Our online MFA in Creative Writing is mainly offered in an 8-week course format, and our tuition rate for graduate programs hasn’t increased in 9 years. Through our program, you can study the writing process and develop your creative skills through workshops with experienced writing professionals. With our flexible format, you can grow in your creative writing while continuing to do what is important to you.

As a terminal degree, the online MFA in Creative Writing can also help you pursue opportunities to teach writing at the K-12 or college level. You will gain comprehensive and in-depth exposure to writing, literature, publishing, and many other professional writing skills that you can pass on to students. Partner with the Liberty family and learn under faculty who have spent years in the field you love. Your career in professional writing starts here.

What Will You Study in Our MFA in Creative Writing?

The MFA in Creative Writing program is designed to help you become an excellent creative writer across the genres of creative fiction, nonfiction, screenwriting, and poetry. You can learn how to produce aesthetically and culturally engaged creative works while gaining professional knowledge and practice. You will also study foundational contemporary literature so that you have a background in studying important works to draw on for your writing.

To help you in your professional writing, you will also study many essential skills in editing, layout, and the business of publishing so that you can best position yourself for success in the market. Through your creative writing courses and workshops, you can develop your craft so that you will be ready for your thesis project.

Here are a few examples of the skills Liberty’s MFA in Creative Writing can help you master:

  • Marketing your projects and pursuing new writing opportunities
  • Organizing writing and adapting it to different types of writing
  • Tailoring writing to specific audiences and markets
  • Understanding what makes art effective, compelling, and impactful
  • Writing compelling stories that engage readers

Potential Career Opportunities

  • Book and magazine writer
  • Business communications specialist
  • Creative writing instructor
  • Publications editor
  • Screenwriter
  • Website copy editor and writer
  • Writing manager

Featured Courses

  • ENGL 600 – Editing, Layout, and Publishing
  • ENGL 601 – Writing as Cultural Engagement
  • ENGL 603 – Literary Theory and Practice
  • WRIT 610 – Writing Fiction

Degree Information

  • This program falls under the College of Arts and Sciences .
  • View the Graduate Arts and Sciences Course Guides (login required).
  • Download and review the Graduate Manual for MFA .

Degree Completion Plan (PDF)

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Admission Information for the Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing (MFA)

Admission requirements.

  • A non-refundable, non-transferable $50 application fee will be posted on the current application upon enrollment (waived for qualifying service members, veterans, and military spouses – documentation verifying military status is required) .
  • Unofficial transcripts can be used for acceptance purposes with the submission of a Transcript Request Form .
  • Creative Writing Sample – A creative writing sample of one creative writing work of at least 2,500 words or a culmination of creative writing samples totaling 2,500 words.*
  • Applicants whose native language is other than English must submit official scores for the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or an approved alternative assessment. For information on alternative assessments or TOEFL waivers, please call Admissions or view the official International Admissions policy .

*A sample of one or more poems totaling a minimum of 750 words may also be submitted. Song lyrics are not accepted at this time as writing samples.

Preliminary Acceptance

If you are sending in a preliminary transcript for acceptance, you must:

  • Be in your final term and planning to start your master’s degree after the last day of class for your bachelor’s degree.
  • Complete a Bachelor’s Self-Certification Form confirming your completion date. You may download the form from the Forms and Downloads page or contact an admissions counselor to submit the form on your behalf.
  • Submit an official/unofficial transcript to confirm that you are in your final term. The preliminary transcript must show a minimum of 105 completed credit hours.
  • If you are a current Liberty University student completing your undergraduate degree, you will need to submit a Degree/Certificate Completion Application .
  • Send in an additional, final official transcript with a conferral date on it by the end of your first semester of enrollment in the new master’s degree.

Dual Enrollment

Please see the Online Dual Enrollment page for information about starting graduate courses while finishing your bachelor’s degree.

Transcript Policies

Unofficial college transcript policy.

Unofficial transcripts combined with a Transcript Request Form can be used for admission. Official transcripts are required within 60 days of the admissions decision or before non-attendance drops for the first set of matriculated classes, whichever comes first, and will prevent enrollment into future terms until all official transcripts have been received.

Before sending unofficial college transcripts, please make sure they include the following:

  • Your previous school’s name or logo printed on the document
  • Cumulative GPA
  • A list of completed courses and earned credit broken down by semester
  • Degree and date conferred (if applicable)

Official College Transcript Policy

An acceptable official college transcript is one that has been issued directly from the institution and is in a sealed envelope. If you have one in your possession, it must meet the same requirements. If your previous institution offers electronic official transcript processing, they can send the document directly to [email protected] .

If the student uses unofficial transcripts with a Transcript Request Form to gain acceptance, all official transcripts must be received within 60 days of the admissions decision or before non-attendance drops for the first set of matriculated classes, whichever comes first. Failure to send all official transcripts within the 60-day period will prevent enrollment into future terms until all official transcripts have been received.

Admissions Office Contact Information

(800) 424-9596

(888) 301-3577

Email for Questions

[email protected]

Email for Documents

[email protected]

Liberty University Online Admissions Verification

1971 University Blvd.

Lynchburg, VA 24515

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Submit your application online or over the phone.

Apply by phone: (800) 424-9595

Liberty University is dedicated to providing world-class educational experiences to military students across the globe.

Who May Qualify?

  • Active Duty
  • Reserve/National Guard
  • Veterans/Retirees
  • Spouses of Service Members and Veterans/Retirees
  • Current Department of Defense Employees

Available Benefits:

  • Tuition discounts – $275 per credit hour for graduate courses
  • Additional discount for veterans who service in a civilian capacity as a First Responder (less than $625 per course) *
  • 8-week courses, 8 different start dates each year, and no set login times (may exclude certain courses such as practicums, internships, or field experiences)

*Not applicable to certificates.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is an mfa in creative writing.

A Master of Fine Arts degree, or MFA, is a terminal degree in an artistic craft that demonstrates that you have achieved the highest level of training and skill in your discipline. Like a doctorate, an MFA often allows you to teach courses at the graduate level while also providing many opportunities for scholarship and leadership in education. If you want to grow your creative writing skills to become the best writer you can be, then the Master of Fine Arts can help you get there.

How will students work towards developing their writing skills?

With creative writing workshops and a thesis project, you will receive support and guidance to help you become the best writer you can be.

How long will it take to complete the MFA in Creative Writing?

You can complete the MFA in Creative Writing in just 48 credit hours!

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  1. Creative Writing Mfa Acceptance Rates : Creative writing mfa

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