careers with an mfa in creative writing

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Best MFA Creative Writing Programs

Creative writing is a career chased by those who have a passion and talent for writing. Whether your medium is fictional stories, poetry, screenwriting, or non-fictional stories, creative writing allows you to express yourself through your work. If you think this is what you want to do with your life, you should pursue a Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing.

Entertainment is one of the most commonly overlooked necessities in life. Everyone you speak to throughout your day will be looking forward to some form of entertainment. Most often, people go home at night to watch movies, TV shows, or read books. As a creative writer, you could help provide a steady stream of entertainment, making your job surprisingly vital to society. For anyone wanting a creative job, creative writing is a fantastic option.

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Before we get to the best MFA in Creative Writing programs, let’s explore the difference between an MFA and Master’s Degree in Creative Writing.

MFA vs Master’s in Creative Writing

Chances are you have already completed an undergraduate degree in creative writing or a similar field. Assuming this is the case, you’re likely trying to decide your next step. With the two most common paths at this point being so similar, choosing MFA or a master’s degree can be a difficult decision. So what sets them apart and which one should you choose?

An MFA is often considered to be the highest-level academic degree you can earn for certain fine arts specializations, including creative writing. In a master’s of fine arts program , there is more of a focus on writing and preparing you to become a writer. It does require more credit hours than a master’s degree program, but if you want to be a writer, this path gives you the best education and preparation.

A Master’s Degree in Creative Writing, on the other hand, most often allows for a concentration in creative writing instead of a specialization. With a master’s degree, you would receive an education more focused on analyzing and studying literature rather than writing and composing. While a master’s degree is the quicker option, due to fewer required credit hours, it may not be the best if you plan to become a writer.

In either degree program, there are options for concentrations within creative writing. The most common are fiction, literary nonfiction, poetry, genre fiction, and at some schools, screenwriting. These are pretty self-explanatory; fiction focuses on writing fictional works, nonfiction focuses on nonfictional writing, poetry focuses on writing poems, genre fiction allows you to focus on one genre of fiction like romance or horror, and screenwriting focuses on writing scripts for movies, plays, and TV shows.

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Attending a school with a great MFA in Creative Writing program is essential to receiving the best education. While many schools offer these programs, you will want to be fully prepared for your career as a writer upon graduating, and not every school can promise you will be. Applying to one of the following 11 schools, which are ranked as some of the absolute best for MFA in Creative Writing programs, is a great way to secure your future writing career.

University of Nebraska-Omaha

In Omaha, Nebraska, you can enroll in the University of Nebraska’s MFA in Creative Writing program. Students of this program will complete 60 credit hours of coursework in various genres while focusing on one genre based on the student’s specialization. The program is made up of four 16-week long writing seminars and five 10-day long residency workshops. Both the seminars and the workshops are designed to help prepare you as a writer.

To enroll in this program, applicants will need to provide their official transcripts, a resume, two letters of recommendation, a statement of purpose, and a writing sample that consists of 15 to 40 pages in their genre. As with all MFA programs, you will also need to have completed a Master’s Degree in Creative Writing or a similar subject.

Queens University of Charlotte

The Queens University of Charlotte in Charlotte, North Carolina, offers a low-residency MFA in Creative Writing. This program ensures there are never more than four students per teacher, which helps students get the quality education they need. Students of this program will have opportunities to write for the school’s literary journal or start an internship to help get their work published.

Requirements to apply to this program include submitting a resume, official transcripts, two letters of recommendation, and a 25-page writing portfolio. There is no requirement as to the genre the writing portfolio must be in, though you should focus on the genre you wish to pursue in your career.

Lindenwood University

At Lindenwood University in Saint Charles, Missouri, students can enroll in an MFA in Creative Writing. This program consists of 48 required credit hours that can be completed entirely online or on-campus. For both paths, no residency is required. Students of this program can take courses designed for both creative writers and those interested in journalism and editing. Most of the courses are taught by experienced authors and journalists, giving students a unique perspective.

Many opportunities are available to you at Lindenwood University, including being an editorial assistant for the school’s literary journal. To enroll in this program, you will need to submit a sample of your reactive writing as well as your official transcripts.

National University-San Diego

For those who wish to complete an online master’s degree , National University in San Diego, California, offers a completely online MFA in Creative Writing with no residency required. This program offers online workshops and seminars to provide students with an interactive online learning experience.

Students of this program will be required to complete elective courses. Many of these courses are unique and can help customize your degree, like film and directing courses or literary studies courses.

University of Texas-El Paso

In El Paso, Texas, students can enroll in a unique bilingual MFA in Creative Writing at the University of Texas. In fact, this is the only bilingual MFA program available in the world, providing students with a classroom experience in which English and Spanish coexist. While this program is on-campus, the university also offers an online MFA in Creative Writing program that can be completed from anywhere in the world.

The programs at this university require students to complete 48 credit hours made up of 42 credit hours of workshops and six for thesis work. To enroll, students must provide official undergraduate transcripts, three letters of recommendation, a statement of purpose and either eight to 10 pages of poetry or 20 pages of fictional writing.

Eastern Kentucky University

At the Eastern Kentucky University in Richmond, Kentucky, students can enroll in a low-residency MFA in Creative Writing program that is primarily online. The program requires students to attend at least 12 credit hours of residencies which are available in the winter in Lexington, Kentucky and in the summer in Lisbon, Portugal. Students can choose which residencies to attend, providing freedom of scheduling and the ability to travel.

To apply to the program at Eastern Kentucky University, students will need to provide GRE scores, undergraduate transcripts, a well-written resume , multiple letters of recommendation, and a writing portfolio. Students must also have completed an undergraduate degree with a GPA of 3.0 or higher.

Oregon State University

Oregon State University offers an on-campus MFA in Creative Writing program at its Corvallis, Oregon, location as well as an online MFA in Creative Writing through its campus in Bend, Oregon. This university is known for having many successful graduates from the MFA program and currently has the highest cumulative GPA of any college in the state of Oregon.

These programs consist of many different focuses, from spiritual writing to physical geography writing, and take around two years to complete. After completion, students will be considered for external GTA positions by the school, helping students find employment right away. To enroll, you will need to submit a resume highlighting achievements and awards, a writing portfolio, transcripts, and a statement of objectives.

Bay Path University

Bay Path University in Longmeadow, Massachusetts, offers a fully online MFA in Nonfiction Writing with no required residencies. There is also an option for students to study abroad in Ireland through this program. This is a great option for anyone who is unable to attend residencies and other on-campus activities but still wishes to earn a degree. The program here consists of 39 required credit hours and is designed for students at all levels of their writing careers.

To be accepted into this program, you will need to have maintained a GPA of 3.0 or higher and submit official transcripts with a 250-word essay, 10 pages of writing samples, and two letters of recommendation.

University of Arkansas-Monticello

In Monticello, Arkansas, you can enroll in the University of Arkansas’ non-residency MFA in Creative Writing program. This program consists of 48 required credit hours in one of three genres: poetry, fiction, or creative nonfiction. Students of this program will be able to learn at their own pace, with allowances of anywhere between three and 12 credit hours per semester.

To apply to the University of Arkansas at Monticello’s MFA in Creative Writing, you will need to apply with official transcripts showing a GPA of 3.0 or higher, a manuscript, a personal essay, a critical writing analysis, and three letters of recommendation.

University of New Orleans

The University of New Orleans in New Orleans, Louisiana, offers both online and on-campus versions of their MFA in Creative Writing program. Both programs take students around three years to complete and allow for focuses in poetry, fiction, or creative nonfiction. Students of these programs will also have the opportunity to study abroad in Ireland or Italy over the summers.

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To enroll in one of these programs, students need to apply with GRE scores, official transcripts, and other documentation such as a resume and writing portfolio. Students do need to maintain at least a B in all classes to stay in the program once accepted.

Emerson College

In Boston, Massachusetts, you can attend Emerson College and enroll in its MFA in Popular Fiction Writing. This program is taught by award-winning faculty members and offers a concentration in all sorts of genres. Some of the more popular choices include mystery, horror, and young adult writing. The program requires students to complete 36 credit hours, 16 of which are workshops and four of which must be spent on a thesis.

Emerson College focuses on teaching students that writing is both a professional career and a form of art. They strive to help students learn about the history of their chosen genre, and help them to develop their own unique voice as a writer.

Creative writing is a great way to express yourself and your own interests in a way that benefits your career. Whether you wish to be a fiction writer, poet, or journalist, creative writing is a great skill to have. Being able to write unique works ensures an interested audience, which helps you become more successful.

While it is possible to land creative jobs without a degree , earning an MFA in Creative Writing is one of the best ways to turn your passion into a career. With plenty of job opportunities and a societal demand for constant entertainment, you are sure to make a decent living. 

Attending one of the best 11 schools listed above is the best way to make sure your education is tailored to your needs. With options for online and on-campus degrees, you can’t go wrong with any of the best MFA in Creative Writing programs mentioned above.

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7 Creative Writing Careers You Can Get With an MFA Degree

MSMU Blog: 7 Creative Writing Careers You Can Get With an MFA Degree

Creative minds gift beauty to the world around them. Artists in every field give people the opportunity to appreciate the thoughts, emotions and stories that connect people across the globe. However, the field of fine arts is traditionally regarded as highly competitive, which can be discouraging to some aspiring artists.

But despite the competitive reputation of the field, an MFA in Creative Writing is one of the most versatile fine arts degrees in the field, offering those who are passionate about writing plenty of opportunities in countless industries. Because the world will always need talented writers, an MFA in Creative Writing can be put to use almost anywhere.

Download our guide, The Art of Storytelling: A Guide to Creative Writing Careers with an MFA Degree, to learn more about becoming a professional writer.

Are you a wordsmith searching for where to best use your creative skills? Keep reading to find out more about the various ways you can make a career out of your love for the written word.

Why Think About an MFA in Creative Writing?

Across languages, the history of human experience lives on through words. 

Words always have been and always will be one of the most important means of connecting people intellectually and emotionally. The passion to unite people through the written word is a unique one that deserves to be honed.

Vintage Newspapers

Writing is everywhere we look.  

On billboards, at the store, in our mailboxes, throughout our entertainment mediums — because of the importance of words in everyday life, nearly every job industry imaginable requires passionate, skillful writers. 

In other words, the world needs storytellers; if you long to tell stories, whether in the form of a novel or a newspaper, consider joining a community of storytellers in an MFA program. An MFA in Creative Writing will prepare you to use your creative writing abilities for any career you might pursue.

What Can You Do With an MFA in Creative Writing?  

So you like writing, and creative writing is needed in a variety of fields. But what can you actually do with an MFA in Creative Writing ? Explore just seven of the many options for a creative writer below.

Ever dreamed of seeing your novel on a shelf at the local bookstore? An advanced creative writing degree can help you fulfill your dreams of becoming a published author . Be a novelist or a poet, of fiction or of nonfiction, and share the words you craft inside your head with the world around you. 

2. Screenwrite

Bring your stories to life on screen. Whether you like creating plot, characters or script, you can use your creative writing skills as a screenwriter. Screenwriters create content for shows and movies and imaginatively translate the written word into a visual piece of art.

Is structure your forte? Do you enjoy digging into the details of grammar and style in writing? Help other writers better their writing by being an editor. Editors surround themselves with pieces of writing in all forms, readying them for publication . 

Want to help other people accomplish their goals of being a published author? Look into a career as a literary agent . Literary agents help aspiring authors navigate the overwhelming world of publishing.

Some creative minds find their strength in the world of nonfiction. Those with a natural curiosity for the real, current world and a gift for research can go for a career as a journalist. Newspapers, magazines and various online publications need people who want to gather information and report on world events.

6. Speak out

If you like sharing your opinions, providing perspective and having your voice heard, a job as a columnist might suit you. Columnists can write for all kinds of media, specializing in writing articles on a specific topic or interest .

In the age of rapidly advancing technological communication, skills in writing might lead you to be a social media specialist. As a social media specialist, you can help brands build community with the public through creating and managing a brand’s online presence.

A Quick Look at the Job Outlook for Writers

Jobs for writers and authors nationally have a stable market . Across the country, creative writing job openings grow at a steady rate of 4 percent per year with about 142,800 positions available at any time. The job growth rate increases for writers working in marketing ( at 10 percent ), technical writers ( at 6 percent ) and those working in broadcast media ( at 10 percent ).

Los Angeles Downtown

In the Los Angeles area alone, writers can find careers among thousands of job options . The versatile, secure market for writing jobs gives creative writers space to grow in their talents and passions.

Why Earn a Creative Writing MFA at MSMU? 

Los Angeles, California is a hub of creative minds. Home to the film hotspot of Hollywood and nationally famous papers like The Los Angeles Times, writers who find their passion in anything from screenwriting to journalism find themselves in a community of creative writers in Los Angeles. 

Doheny LA Skyline

And, Mount Saint Mary’s University Los Angeles sits right at the heart of it all.

A MFA in Creative Writing gives students a broad education on the craft. The Mount gives students the opportunity to deepen their knowledge in a specific area of study within the creative writing field by offering two certificate options in its MFA in Creative Writing program:

Latin American/Latinx Creative Studies Certificate (LALCS): Dive deep into the heritage of Latin American and Latinx cultures. With an LALCS Certificate, students study the rich artistic traditions of Latin American and Latinx cultures from the Caribbean and Southern, Central and Northern Latin America, especially across different genres of writing. Students will learn from faculty with expertise in a variety of literary and writing backgrounds and be able to immerse themselves in Latinx culture through studying abroad in Cuzco, Peru. This certificate prepares writers to think critically about and be engaged with the world around them

Writing for Media Certificate: Learn about how essential diversity is in all forms of writing. In MSMU’s Writing for Media Certificate program, students take courses in screenwriting, podcasting, cinema studies and more, to gain well-rounded knowledge of the writing field. Students also understand the value of appreciating and representing voices from all ethnic and cultural backgrounds in media. A diverse set of teachers and classes help students produce robust portfolios of work over the course of the program that they can carry with them as they enter their careers.

Pursue Your Creative Writing Career at the Mount!

The world wants to hear your stories.

At Mount Saint Mary’s University, students can pursue their Creative Writing MFA on campus, online or a mixture of both. Over the course of this interdisciplinary program, all candidates will complete fifteen credit hours in writing workshops, several electives in literary theory, the humanities and film and create an original creative writing manuscript in a selected genre. Students will graduate prepared to write in all fields and qualified to teach writing at the college level.

If you want to dedicate your life to telling stories of any kind – fiction or nonfiction, in sentence or verse, in print or online – a Creative Writing MFA could be your next step in sharing your voice with the world.

Write your career story starting at the Mount. If you are interested in MSMU’s Creative Writing MFA, apply now , request more information , or attend an info session .

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What Can I Do with a Creative Writing MFA?

Traditional Creative Writing MFA programs were elite, exclusive clubs where writers were trained to publish and teach writing. Today, though, a changed world of publishing and content have made online MFA creative writing programs a choice for thousands of aspiring writers, journalists, poets, and more . A Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing is an advanced degree that focuses on the practice of writing in all its art forms. What is a Creative Writing MFA worth in the 21st century?

What Jobs Can You Get with MFA in Creative Writing?

There are many MFA in creative writing jobs, including a marketing director , creative director, executive director, assistant professor, editor, and more. Jobs for MFA creative writing graduates vary based on where the person is located and the type of work they want to do. It’s always important to weigh the pros and cons of getting any degree, but if writing or working in that world is a passion, it’s important to pursue it. Here are a few things to consider if you are searching for MFA creative writing job opportunities:

What’s the end goal? It’s always important to figure out why you want a creative writing MFA and what you wish to do with it. Although this goal should be clear before getting the degree, it’s never too late to figure it out.

Where will your writing style fit? Do you write to teach others? Are you a novelist? Does editing make you smile? All of these are factors to consider when having the creative writing MFA. Your writing style makes all the difference in the type of job being pursued.

What is the risk? There is a chance creative writing MFA jobs aren’t necessarily what someone imagined. It’s important to know and understand how to pivot when things don’t work out as planned. Is the individual willing to risk their training to step out on their own and do something different? The program may not be the type of preparation the student is looking for. These are considerations to think about.

How Long is a Creative Writing MFA Program?

This depends on the school and area of concentration the student chooses. In most cases, this degree can be completed in two to three years. This program is designed to demonstrate to students how to be critical in their reading, experiment with different types of stories and languages, hone their craft, use their imagination, understand the publishing industry and receive feedback on the styles and types of writing that interest the student.

Writing as a Profession

You’ll find a number of students with creative writing MFAs working in writer’s rooms and other areas. While this degree may be seen as one that helps students attain their dreams of becoming an author, the jobs for MFA in creative writing people seek may not be as available as others. The MFA in creative writing is just a foundational tool for individuals who want to take up space in the literary industry in some capacity.

The great thing is, there are a number of roles that aren’t in the literary industry where this degree can be beneficial. Consider working in a technical capacity where individuals write manuals and other things for governmental agencies. Additionally, copywriters work for all industries – this is a great segway into doing that in a professional capacity. Copywriters also have flexibility and variety in what they do.

One of the greatest things about writing as a profession is that words are EVERYWHERE. No matter what industry it is, there is a position that needs someone who has a creative flair and a way with words. From advertisements to blogs and other articles, someone with a creative writing MFA would fit in. There are also opportunities for these degree holders to work as advisors on what to write, how it should be written, and the way the audience should be reacting.

Is an MFA in Creative Writing Worth It?

For individuals who want to work in publishing or have a desire to become full-time writers, the MFA in Creative Writing is a good path. Many individuals with this degree also become instructors at the college level. There are pros and cons to having any degree, but individuals who want to remain in the writing profession or literary field in some capacity can’t go wrong.

There is never a shortage of opportunity for individuals who have a creative writing MFA. While many people don’t understand the types of opportunities available, this can be a very lucrative career path that utilizes the skills learned from being in a creative writing MFA program. Foundation is the first step in being successful, and this degree provides the concepts to critically think and help position organizations to do things differently.

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MFA in Creative Writing Program Guide

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Whether focusing on poetry, fiction, or nonfiction, a creative writing degree prepares students for a multitude of career options. Spanning two years, a master of fine arts (MFA) program trains you to become a skilled writer, communicator, and editor who can receive and apply feedback effectively. This adaptable skill set enables you to work in industries like education, publishing, and journalism. Professionals in these fields flourish in business, where they can apply their skills to promote products, reach consumers, and maintain a company's brand. A creative writing degree can also bolster a student's chances of obtaining a publishing deal.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects growth for master's in writing careers through 2026, including an 8% increase for writers and authors , a 9% increase for public relation specialists , and an 11% increase for technical writers . This guide provides prospective students with the academic and career information necessary to find the MFA program that best suits their needs.

What are the best MFA programs? Here are our top 5:

  • #1 Arizona State University Campus Immersion $10,710 / $28,800
  • #2 East Carolina University $4,452 / $20,729
  • #3 Texas Tech University $8,683 / $20,953
  • #4 The University of West Florida $3,735 / $16,004
  • #5 University of Louisiana at Monroe $5,788 / $17,888

Popular Online Master's in Writing Programs

Learn about start dates, transferring credits, availability of financial aid, and more by contacting the universities below.

Should I Get an MFA in Creative Writing?

Creative writing degrees are highly versatile. Students of all academic and professional backgrounds may enroll in an MFA program to strengthen their writing, develop editing skills, and cultivate professional relationships. In addition to gaining in-depth knowledge of literary genres, students benefit from classes in technical, journalistic, and business-oriented writing. Regardless of what areas they specialize in, writers learn to articulate complex and artistic ideas persuasively, which enables them to pursue occupations with nearly any company or organization.

Master's in writing programs also incorporate experiential learning and professional development opportunities into their curricula. Students attend writing conferences, writers' retreats, and guest speaker sessions. These events allow them to meet other writers and professionals in the field. It also exposes them to career opportunities. Additionally, MFA candidates benefit from university fellowships and internships, which typically center on editing, publishing, and teaching.

Creative writing degrees represent one of the fastest growing university programs in the U.S. According to the Association of Writers and Writing Programs (AWP) 2015 report, 30% of MFA full-residency programs enjoyed an enrollment increase. Distance education represents a viable option for students, especially low-residency programs that allow working professionals to earn their degrees while maintaining career and family responsibilities.

On the other hand, campus-based options offer opportunities for students to directly collaborate with a community of artists. This camaraderie empowers students and cultivates creative and professional relationships that last long after graduation. Traditional MFA programs especially suit learners who transition into graduate-level academics immediately after earning their bachelor's.

What Can I Do With an MFA in Creative Writing?

Through MFA programs, students develop creative writing, editing, critical-thinking, and professional leadership skills. Though common perceptions of writers paint them as loners, creative writing degrees necessitate collaboration. Students discuss famous literary works and each other's writing in workshops that help them become better orators and listeners. Even the thesis process requires communication because candidates must work with their advisers to revise their projects and prepare them for publication. Therefore, MFA graduates become exceptional team members, who give, take, and apply criticism effectively. These writers also possess strong grammatical and rhetorical skills, which they apply to diverse genres, including poetry, memoir, search engine optimization, and grant writing.

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These writers create content for blogs, journals, magazines, films, video games, and television series. They can also sell their own fiction, nonfiction, and poetry through either a publishing firm or a self-publishing platform. Depending on their specific position, authors can work independently or in project teams with technicians, designers, and managers. Median Annual Salary: $61,820*

Technical Writer

Also referred to as technical communicators , these writers craft how-to manuals and instruction guides for companies and organizations. Technical writers ensure that these materials are standardized and dispersed across all of a company's channels. Though students can pursue this career with a bachelor's, an MFA opens more doors through advanced skill and leadership training. Median Annual Salary: $70,930*

Postsecondary Teacher

As a terminal degree, the MFA prepares students for work as college and university instructors . Professors teach courses in their own genre, such as conventional literature classes or writing-intensive workshops. They also pursue creative projects, research, and publication. Like other educators, postsecondary teachers develop curricula, assess testing standards, and support university administration. Median Annual Salary: $76,000*

Public Relations Specialist

These professionals work in teams to cultivate and maintain a positive public image for their business or organization. Their work involves creating and implementing promotional and social media branding campaigns. Public relations specialists also handle press releases, field requests from news outlets, and write speeches for the company's top executives. MFA graduates typically need additional training to obtain this position, either through on-the-job experience or a certificate program. Median Annual Salary: $59,300*

Marketing Manager

These leaders work with teams of writers , graphic designers, sales agents, and advertisers to create and actualize promotional campaigns. They also negotiate marketing contracts, maintain budgets, and train employees. Additionally, marketing managers analyze brand effectiveness using data-analytical methods. As a high-level career, these professionals need a graduate degree, extensive continuing education, and at least five years of relevant work experience. Median Annual Salary: $129,380*

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics

How to Choose an MFA in Creative Writing Program

When researching prospective master's in writing programs, students need to consider cost, length, and location. In general, graduate students can secure substantial funding through scholarships, grants, and fellowships. The most competitive MFA programs boast full tuition coverage and stipends. However, students should look at their financial situation practically, discerning how much they can afford without resorting to loans. They should also seek out private scholarships through local companies and professional organizations.

Most universities follow a two-year timeline as established by the Iowa Writers' Workshop, the first accredited MFA program in the U.S. However, creative writing represents a highly malleable field with different pedagogical philosophies and curricular design choices. Certain programs last three years, while others last up to five. Relatedly, prospective students should consider whether they want to enroll part or full time. Online and low-residency MFA programs often facilitate part-time enrollment, while traditional programs often require full-time participation.

Distance learners should note that remote creative writing degrees typically use a hybrid format, requiring them to attend conferences and summer retreats. Coursework and specializations reflect other important considerations. These factors fluctuate based on faculty interests and the school's overall direction. Some master's in writing programs highlight the American literary canon, while others focus on works from writers who occupy marginalized identities. And still others break with tradition altogether, emphasizing experimental writing styles and multimedia forms.

Finally, MFA applicants need to factor in location. For traditional students, this includes heightened tuition prices due to out-of-state residency status. Learners should also look into job prospects and cost of living. Many of the most popular programs are located in cities where rent is high and employment is competitive.

Programmatic Accreditation for MFA in Creative Writing Programs

To confer valid degrees, colleges and universities need to earn accreditation at the national, regional, and/or programmatic level. Schools with a religious or vocational focus typically seek out national accreditation. Schools may also earn the more prestigious regional accreditation from one of six organizations depending on their location. Students should look for nonprofit higher education institutions with national or regional accreditation. Students should confirm a school's accreditation status before starting the admission process.

In addition to national and regional backing, colleges and universities may also receive programmatic accreditation. For example, teaching programs usually need to earn the support of the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation if they want to uphold state licensure standards. Creative writing degrees stand out because they do not subscribe to formal programmatic accreditation. However, many MFA programs are AWP institutional members . Students who enroll at participating schools benefit from scholarship opportunities, writer-to-writer membership programs, and conference discounts.

MFA in Creative Writing Program Admissions

Creative writing degrees generally require standard admission materials. These comprise academic transcripts, resume/CV, recommendation letters, personal statement, and standardized test scores. Candidates should consult their prospective schools' websites for details, including the admissions deadline.

Conventional requirements aside, the most important part of an MFA candidate's application is their writing sample. Programs typically require students to declare genre specialization in fiction, poetry, or creative nonfiction. A student's choice dictates the bulk of classes they take and their thesis requirement. Specifics vary by program, but poets can expect to submit around 10-15 pages worth of poetry. Fiction and nonfiction writers usually turn in 25-30 pages of prose. Crafting an effective writing sample requires time, so students should plan accordingly. They should also look into the program's guiding aesthetic. Some MFA programs prefer traditional works, while others find experimental narratives more engaging and indicative of a writer's potential.


Bachelor's degree, professional experience, minimum gpa, admission materials, application:, transcripts:, letters of recommendation:, test scores:, application fee:, what else can i expect from an mfa in creative writing program.

Graduate creative writing degrees center on three specializations: poetry, fiction, and creative nonfiction. However, MFA programs aim for a holistic approach to the writing craft. This means that a poet must also take fiction and nonfiction classes, whether they be literature seminars or intensive writing workshops. Students also pursue coursework outside the three genres. Beyond some core classes, topics vary greatly based on faculty specializations.

Courses in an MFA in Creative Writing Program

While coursework differs based on the individual program, an MFA degree plan typically breaks down into four parts: literature courses, writing workshops, independent study, and thesis hours. Students can expect literature classes to encompass both classic and modern works. Independent study allows students to take classes outside the three main genres. Possible topics include journalism, gender studies, technical writing, and grant writing.

Reading Across Genres

MFA programs operate under the philosophy that experimenting across genres builds better writers. In this class, students learn how to effectively interact with works in fiction, poetry, and creative nonfiction. Learners also develop the skills to analyze how such fundamental ideas, like plot, character, and point of view, operate in each genre to achieve desired effects.

Poetic Forms

This class provides students who already write poetry with the knowledge and practice to advance their art. Unlike the workshop, this craft class emphasizes literary analysis that enables writers to break down a poem into component parts. Topics include meter, rhyme, rhythm, stanza pattern, and lineation. Students also delve into traditional and experimental poetic forms.

As one of the most popular creative nonfiction forms, the memoir tells the personal story of an individual or a community. In this course, writers learn the art of memoir through ideas like tone, voice, structure, and subtext. They also develop knowledge of subgenres, including the autobiographical memoir and those that deal with food, travel, family, addiction, and grief.

The Short Story

This narrative form represents the premier learning tool for MFA fiction students due to its relative brevity and popularity with literary magazines. This course provides writers with an in-depth study of the short story form, focusing on narrative arc, pacing, characterization, and internal/external action. Students also learn about short story history by reading the works of famous authors, such as Donald Barthelme, Alice Munro, and Octavia E. Butler.

Writing Workshop

While the structure of the workshop varies by MFA program and individual professors, this course always focuses on providing students with the feedback needed to improve their writing. Workshops also help students develop skills as editors and book reviewers. In addition to submitting creative work, students need to turn in written analyses of other students' writing.

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

Like other master's programs, creative writing degrees typically take two years, or 36 credits. Some schools follow a three-year curriculum. A student's enrollment status affects the timeline. Online and low-residency MFA programs provide more flexibility, allowing students to accommodate busy schedules by taking courses part-time. They may also offer accelerated degree plans that let students finish seminars and workshops in as few as 12 months.

Full-residency programs prefer a structured approach, similar to cohort learning, in which all students in the program take the same classes every semester, advancing through their degree work at a communal pace. Relatedly, MFA candidates who receive fellowships may not take more than the standard course allotment each term due to how university tuition waivers work.

Finally, the nature of a student's capstone project also affects their degree timeline. Many writers want their MFA thesis to be publishable manuscript, so they often take additional semesters to polish their work before submission and defense.

How Much Is an MFA in Creative Writing?

According to Peterson's , a higher education organization, graduate students who attend a public university pay $30,000 in average annual tuition, while those who attend private institutions pay $40,000 each year. However, prices vary with individual schools. The University of New Orleans and Columbia University offer two popular creative writing degrees. UNO's yearly graduate tuition is $8,892 for Louisiana residents and $13,462 for non-residents. Columbia charges $28,230 per semester.

MFA programs operate under the jurisdiction of the college of liberal arts or arts and sciences. This means they usually charge rates that match other graduate programs in that area. The most renowned and competitive creative writing degrees offer every student a full tuition waiver and monthly stipends. Other MFA programs provide institutional and departmental scholarships. Students should also seek out awards from professional organizations and businesses.

Beyond tuition and related fees, students need to consider cost of living, particularly housing. Websites like Payscale and Numbeo allow students to calculate living expenses using city-specific data. They can also compare prices between locations. MFA students should set aside money from conference attendance because these events represent important professional development opportunities for new writers. Research and technology costs also warrant consideration. Fortunately for writers, their field does not require expensive machinery or software. However, they should prepare to face high printing costs.

Certifications and Licenses an MFA in Creative Writing Prepares For

American grant writers' association (agwa) certified grant writer.

Organizations highly value grant writing, making it one of the most lucrative professions for freelancers. AGWA's certification series offers courses on proposal writing, program development, and review. Candidates take the exam in person, which comprises handwritten and computer-based sections. Candidates must hold a bachelor's degree to qualify for the program.

American Medical Writers Association (AMWA) Medical Writer Certified

AMWA operates an intensive, exam-based certification program that enables writers to demonstrate their knowledge and improve their marketability. The in-person test consists of 125 multiple-choice questions and takes 2.5 hours. To be eligible, applicants need to possess at least a bachelor's degree in any field and two years of paid medical communication experience.

Society for Technical Communication (STC) Certified Professional Technical Communicator

Operated by STC, this program offers technical writers three certification levels: foundation, practitioner, and expert. The foundation certification exam covers such topics as project planning, analysis, content management, organizational design, and written and visual communication. The exam costs $250 for STC members and $495 for nonmembers.

American Writers & Artists Inc. (AWAI) Copywriting Certifications

AWAI offers multiple training and certification options for copywriters. These include an accelerated foundation program, a master's program, and an advanced training program for seasoned professionals. Copywriters can also pursue training in specialized topics, such as web/online content, business-to-business copywriting, grant writing, resume writing, and event travel writing. Furthermore, AWAI offers membership that comes with benefits like discounts and a career database.

American Copy Editors Society (ACES) Certificate in Editing

Through ACES , writers can enroll in fundamental and advanced certification programs. Fundamental level classes cover topics like clarity, accuracy, and search engine optimization. The advanced program comprises courses in copyright/fair use, fact-checking, and numeracy. To obtain the certificate, students need to pass individual assessments that come after every module.

Resources for MFA in Creative Writing Students

Duotrope provides the tools writers need to locate agents and publishers. The website also operates a massive database of literary magazines and journals, which writers use to submit and track work for publication.

Poets & Writers

Poets & Writers offers the resources writers need to publish, promote, and develop their art. The organization also operates writing contests, workshops, networking events, and a database of MFA programs.

Writer's Digest

This organization regularly publishes articles on writing tips, literary discussions, and new books. Writer's Digest also operates numerous writing competitions, including those for poetry, fiction, and self-published books. Writers can strengthen their craft through free webinars and paid workshops.

Literary Hub

Literary Hub provides an interactive platform for writers to discuss craft, design, and literary criticism. The website also highlights relevant pop culture and political issues. Additional resources include book reviews, daily fiction, and podcasts.

Literary Marketplace

Facilitated by Information Today Inc., Literary Marketplace operates the world's largest searchable database of publishers, literary agents, and industry events. Users benefit from 180 search terms, enabling them to find publishers by size, location, and genre.

Professional Organizations for MFA in Creative Writing Students

MFA programs offer valuable academic training and networking opportunities, which new writers can bolster through engagement with professional organizations. These organizations facilitate literary databases, award competitions, topical webinars, and in-person writing workshops. Furthermore, students can take advantage of insider information and first-hand accounts to find the master's in writing programs that best suit them. Perhaps the greatest benefit of writer's organizations is their networking and community-building events. These include readings, guest speaker series, and annual conferences, like the AWP Conference and Bookfair which draws over 12,000 attendees each year.

Association of Writers and Writing Programs

Individual membership provides access to the writer's calendar, job list, and the writer to writer mentorship program. Members also enjoy career guidance and discounts on literature and conference attendance. Students can take advantage of the organization's comprehensive guide to writing programs.

Academy of American Poets

As the largest professional organization for poets, the academy offers up-to-date publishing news, award programs, and job opportunities. Members also benefit from a variety of creative networking events.

National Writers Union

Established in 1981, the NWU advocates for the rights and economic advancements of its members, who work in diverse writing and education fields. Operating 12 regional chapters, the union provides members with legal advice and promotional support. Emerging writers benefit from a searchable talent database.

The Authors Guild

As the oldest and largest professional organization for writers, the Authors Guild offers legal assistance, online seminars, media liability insurance, and an expansive resource library. Members also gain access to discounts, conferences, and awards.

Freelancers Union

The organization supports independent workers through government policy advocacy and community engagement programming. Members benefit from health, dental, and life insurance assistance. Freelancers Union also provides retirement support. Membership is free.

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Creative Writing, MFA

On this page:, at a glance: program details.

  • Location: Tempe campus
  • Second Language Requirement: No

Program Description

Degree Awarded: MFA Creative Writing

The MFA in creative writing at ASU has always been an unswervingly student-first program. Through small classes, intimate workshops or one-to-one mentoring, the centuries-old apprenticeship model thrives within the New American University. Poets and fiction writers work with outstanding faculty who have published more than 80 books and garnered national and international attention through awards and honors that include:

  • Guggenheim, Howard Foundation, Lannan Foundation, MacArthur Foundation, National Endowment for the Arts, and United Artists fellowships
  • International Griffin Poetry Prize and Whiting Award
  • Multiple Pulitzer Prizes
  • Two Medals of Achievement from the National Society of Arts and Letters
  • Two Chancellors of the Academy of American Poets
  • Walt Whitman Award from the Academy of American Poets

Additionally, in concert with the Master of Fine Arts program, several campus entities contribute to the MFA experience: the Virginia G. Piper Center for Creative Writing offers students a wide range of support and opportunities, travel scholarships, professional development support, and other teaching and leadership opportunities; the Center for Imagination in the Borderlands brings writers and other artists for intensive workshops, classes, and public events, and it offers an Artistic Development and Teaching Assistant Fellowship. The program also hosts a newly inaugurated series of craft lectures and an alumni reading series.

Furthermore, students have access to a variety of additional professional development opportunities, including serving on the editorial board of an international literary journal, Hayden's Ferry Review translation experience through the Thousand Languages Project, and internships with award-winning independent literary press Four Way Books.

Sally Ball , Director of Creative Writing, Professor

Justin Petropoulos , Program Manager

Faculty in Creative Writing

The ASU MFA in Creative Writing is and has always been an unswervingly student-first program. Through small classes, intimate workshops, and one-to-one mentoring, the centuries-old apprenticeship model thrives within the New American University. Creative writing has been a part of the department of English since the 1930s. With the inception of the MFA degree in 1985, creative writing became an ascendant unit; the program was ranked within the top 20 MFA programs in the nation by U.S. News and World Report.

ASU Creative Writing is distinguished by an outstanding faculty that has garnered national and international attention: Guggenheim and NEA fellowships, a Pulitzer Prize and several Pulitzer nominations, two Flannery O’Connor Awards, the Western States Book Award, PEN/Faulkner finalist recognition, the Walt Whitman Award from the Academy of American Poets, a Lannan Literary Fellowship, the International Griffin Poetry Prize, the Western Literature Association Distinguished Achievement Award, and two Medals of Achievement from the National Society of Arts and Letters.

The program's alumni are equally impressive, having won the Iowa Short Fiction Award, the Pen Southwest Book Award, the Prairie Schooner Book Prize, the May Swenson Poetry Award, the Hurston/Wright Foundation Legacy Award, and numerous Pushcart Prizes. They are the recipients of grants from the NEA and Fulbright and Stegner Fellowships.

Currently, all students admitted to the MFA program who submit a complete and approved teaching assistantship application are awarded a TA by the Department of English. Each assistantship carries a three course per year load and includes a tuition waiver and health insurance in addition to the TA stipend ($24,586 per year) . Graduate students with assistantships must enroll in a minimum of six credit hours each semester.

In addition, students have diverse opportunities for additional financial and professional support via The Virginia G. Piper Center for Creative Writing, including:

  • Graduate Assistantships in arts education and community programming (providing stipends and tuition remission)
  • Creative Research Fellowships and other funding and scholarship opportunities
  • Travel Funding to support tabling and presenting during the annual AWP Conference
  • A robust visiting writer event series , with exclusive opportunities to learn from and engage with highly acclaimed authors
  • Free admission to the annual Desert Nights, Rising Stars Writers Conference
  • Opportunities to moderate author panels and read creative work during the Desert Nights, Rising Stars Writers Conference and other events
  • A professional development program series for creative writing students, with a focus on creative lives, careers, and opportunities during and after graduation

The program requirements include 48 hours of study evenly divided between writing courses and literature courses designed to inform that writing. While students are expected to satisfy these requirements in the genre in which they were accepted, the program encourages cross-genre study, and electives can include courses taken outside of the creative writing program, even outside the English department. Courses such as “Creative Writing and the Professions” and “Internship for Community Outreach” encourage students to envision life beyond graduation. The Creative Writing Program at ASU has been able consistently to offer MFA students among the best funding packages in the nation through teaching and research assistantships, which are renewable for each of the program's three years. Additionally, in concert with the CWP, the Virginia G. Piper Center for Creative Writing offers a variety of graduate assistantships, international writing and teaching scholarships, and thesis fellowships to continuing students. Students who accept the TA offer are required to take the TA seminar, a pedagogy and training course designed to assist graduate students during their first year. TA seminar is credited as a literature elective. Successful TAs have the opportunity to teach introductory creative writing to undergraduates, under the supervision of one of the program faculty. In the second year students assemble their thesis committees and identify a committee chair. The second year is also when one-on-one mentorship begins. In the spring of the third year, students typically focus on completing the thesis manuscript with their committee chair.

Degree Requirements

Coursework (39 credit hours)

Other Requirement (6 credit hours) ENG 592 Research (6)

Culminating Experience (3 credit hours) ENG 593 Applied Project (3)

Additional Curriculum Information The creative writing program requires 48 credit hours of study evenly divided between writing courses and literature courses designed to inform that writing.

While students are expected to satisfy these requirements in the genre in which they were accepted, the program encourages cross-genre study and electives can include courses taken outside of the creative writing program, even outside the English department.

A written comprehensive exam and an applied project are required.

48 credit hours including a written comprehensive exam and the required applied project course (ENG 593)

Admission Requirements

Applicants must fulfill the requirements of both the Graduate College and The College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.

Applicants are eligible to apply to the program if they have earned a bachelor's or master's degree from a regionally accredited institution. Applicants should have an undergraduate major in English or creative writing; however, exceptional students who do not have either of these undergraduate majors may be admitted on the basis of writing excellence.

Applicants must have a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.00 (scale is 4.00= "A") in the last 60 hours of their first bachelor's degree program, or applicants must have a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.00 (scale is 4.00 = "A") in an applicable master's degree program.

All applicants must submit:

  • graduate admission application and application fee
  • official transcripts
  • statement of purpose
  • resume or curriculum vitae
  • three letters of recommendation
  • creative manuscript
  • proof of English proficiency

Additional Application Information An applicant whose native language is not English must provide proof of English proficiency regardless of their current residency.

Students applying for a teaching assistantship must submit a statement of teaching philosophy and an academic writing sample.

The personal statement should include the applicant's writing background, intended area of specialization, and a brief self-evaluation of recent work (double spaced, up to three pages or 750 words.

The creative manuscript should be up to 20 pages of poetry or up to 30 pages of prose (prose should be double-spaced).

Applicants should see the Department of English website for details.

Courses and Electives

Mfa course requirements - fiction.

A 48-hour Program of Study

For additional information please contact Justin Petropoulos , Program Manager of Creative Writing


Students are expected to satisfy the degree requirements in the genre in which they are accepted. Exceptions must be approved by the director of creative writing, the chair of the student’s supervisory committee, the dean of the Graduate College, and the instructor. Electives may be taken out of genre, with the permission of the instructor.

Required (15 hours)

  • ENG 592 Research (Fiction) (6 hours)*
  • ENG 593 Applied Project (Fiction) (3 hours)
  • ENG 594 Conference and Workshop (Fiction) (3 hours)
  • ENG 563 Forms of Fiction (3 hours)

*Research Hours are dedicated the development of a student's creative thesis with the support of their committee.

Electives (choose 9 hours)

  • ENG 505 Writing Workshops (Special Topics)(3 hours)
  • ENG 591 Seminar, Selected Topics* (3 hours)
  • ENG 594 Conference and Workshop (Fiction) (3-6 hours)
  • ENG 663 Fiction Genres* (3 hours)
  • ENG 680 First Book Seminar (3 hours)


Required (9 hours).

  • ENG 538 Studies in Modern and Contemporary American Literature (3 hours)
  • ENG 539 Studies in Modernist and Postmodern Literature and Theory (fiction topics, 3 hours)
  • ENG 665 Creative Methods, Fiction (3 hours)

Electives (choose 15 hours)

Any 400, 500, or 600 level English course relevant to the student’s program of study, and up to six hours of credit in class work outside the department of English (for example, courses at the 400, 500, or 600 level in theater, music, dance, photography, fine printing and bookbinding, papermaking, or editing and publishing), subject to the approval of the director of creative writing, the chair of the student’s supervisory committee (if designated), and the dean of the Graduate College.   Possible English courses include:

  • ENG 537 Studies in Modern and Contemporary British Literature (3 hours)
  • ENG 543 Studies in Anglophone Literatures (3 hours)
  • ENG 545 Studies in Women’s Literature (3 hours)
  • ENG 550 Translation (3 hours)
  • ENG 584 Internship* (3-6 hours)
  • ENG 591 Seminar (Selected Topics, 3 hours)
  • ENG 593 Pedagogy (3 hours)
  • ENG 594 Conference and Workshop (TA Seminar) (4 hours)
  • ENG 598 Special Topics* (3 hours)
  • ENG 667 Writing for the Professions (3 hours)

 *May be repeated for credit if topics are distinct.


For information about the program please contact Justin Petropoulos , Program Manager of Creative Writing

  • ENG 592 Research Hours (6hours)*
  • ENG 593 Applied Project (3 hours)
  • ENG 594 Graduate Poetry Workshop (3 hours)
  • ENG 562 Forms of Poetry (3 hours)

 *Research Hours are dedicated the development of a student's creative thesis with the support of their committee.

  • ENG 505 Writing Workshop (3 hours)
  • ENG 594 Conference and Workshop (Poetry) (3-6 hours)
  • ENG 662 Poetic Genres* (3 hours)
  • ENG 539 Studies in Modernist and Postmodern Literature and Theory (poetry topics, 3 hours)
  • ENG 665 Creative Methods, Poetry (3 hours)

Any 400, 500, or 600 level English course relevant to the student’s program of study, and up to six hours of credit in class work outside the department of English (for example, courses at the 400, 500, or 600 level in theater, music, dance, photography, fine printing and bookbinding, papermaking, or editing and publishing), subject to the approval of the director of creative writing, the chair of the student’s supervisory committee (if designated), and the dean of the Graduate College.   Possible English courses might include:

Next Steps to attend ASU

Learn about our programs, apply to a program, visit our campus, application deadlines, learning outcomes.

  • Analyze and critique the writing of other creative writers.
  • Explicate their creative works articulately.
  • Create original fiction or poetry that incorporates theoretical and foundational literary knowledge.

Career Opportunities

A Master of Fine Arts in creative writing graduate is prepared primarily for the professional creation of new art, including fiction, poetry and other written forms. In addition to working as novelists, poets and short story writers, graduates go on to careers in education, arts administration, media and entertainment, and in political and community organizations.

Career examples include:

  • book designer or marketer
  • book or magazine editor
  • creative writing professor
  • essayist or journalist
  • literary events coordinator
  • screenwriter
  • secondary education teacher

Global Opportunities

Global experience.

With over 250 programs in more than 65 countries (ranging from one week to one year), study abroad is possible for all ASU students wishing to gain global skills and knowledge in preparation for a 21st-century career. Students earn ASU credit for completed courses, while staying on track for graduation, and may apply financial aid and scholarships toward program costs.

Program Contact Information

If you have questions related to admission, please click here to request information and an admission specialist will reach out to you directly. For questions regarding faculty or courses, please use the contact information below.


Career Opportunities with an MFA in Creative Writing

Most poets who receive a Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing in the United States usually pursue one of two interconnected fields: publishing or academia. While these careers are related, the paths are different in the skills they require. To be a great professor, you need a passion for learning and mentoring students, a desire to create lesson plans, and a  comfort with public speaking. To work as an editor, you need a passion for reading and proofreading and a desire to develop professional relationships with writers and poets. 

I received my master’s degree from the creative writing program at Florida International University , and I’ve seen the different journeys many of my peers have traveled since graduating. While some returned to fields that aren’t for creatives, many pursued careers in the publishing industry or academia. Below are three common careers for poets interested in receiving a creative writing degree. 


Some creative writing programs in the United States are interdisciplinary , which means that you can study the three main genres: poetry, fiction, and non-fiction. My interdisciplinary program required students to develop their creativity and writing skills in both poetry and fiction, but I took classes in all three genres. This was a smart requirement for several reasons: First off, students who want to learn how to teach creative writing should gain knowledge in all three genres; Secondly, by immersing themselves in different genres, students discover their true passion; And thirdly, by requiring poets to take fiction classes, they learn about plot and storytelling (great for novellas in verse), and by requiring fiction writers to take poetry classes, they examine literary devices such as metaphors and similes, and they understand how to compress language. 

Many programs also offer students the opportunity to learn how to teach creative writing classes. This enables them to know if they are interested in continuing to teach as an adjunct instructor once they graduate, and it also gives them teaching experience . And if students enter the program with an assistantship or fellowship, they are usually required to teach undergraduate classes, allowing them to discover if teaching is their true vocation. 

To become a professor at a university level , graduates of MFA programs usually need to have published at least one book and have plenty of teaching experience. In the world of academia, self-publishing is not recognized as a credible form of publishing, so these books have to be published by either a commercial press or a literary press . After graduating, poets also have to dedicate time to submit their work to literary magazines in order to win prestigious awards and build their curriculum vitae . Becoming a professor is a long-term journey that involves receiving an associate professor position and then teaching for many years until receiving a promotion.  

If after spending many years of your life in school, you can’t see yourself taking anymore classes—let alone teaching them—then the world of academia isn’t for you. But if you like reading, writing, and working with poets, then a job as an editor at a publishing house, press, or organization could be the right choice for you. For example, working as a book editor offers you the opportunity to produce a book and learn about the publishing industry, which in turn gives you knowledge about publishing your poetry. 

As an editor, opportunities include working at magazines such as Poetry magazine , PEN America , or Poets & Writers . When I worked as editor-in-chief for Gulf Stream Literary Magazine , I learned so much about the editorial process, from selecting literary work, to running a magazine, to handling administrative work and understanding how literary magazines are funded. Most graduates I know received editing jobs at places that aren’t necessarily targeted at an audience of creative writers, but these jobs still involve proofreading and editing. Working as an editor is a job that is needed in many organizations as communication is essential in our world: It’s an in-demand transferrable skill. 


An alternative to these two popular careers is to work as a publicist for a book festival or literary organization. For example, here in Florida, we have the Miami Book Fair International , which is a huge literary festival that attracts hundreds of thousands of readers, writers, and poets. Working as a book fair publicist will enable you to speak to authors you admire, coordinate interviews with journalists, and allow you to network with poets and writers. Not only will this type of work enhance your career, it will also make you aware of many publishing opportunities. This is a busy job for people who are good at multitasking and can handle the pressure and responsibility of coordinating a large event. 

There are many book festivals in the country that need creative writing graduates, such as the Association of Writers and Writing Programs , which hosts the AWP Conference & Bookfair . This is the largest literary conference in North America. Look for the nearest book festival or conference in your city and volunteer to see if this is the right career for you. 

Creative writing teaches you how to develop your imagination and writing skills, and those are skills that are necessary in almost every job. Receiving a Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing is a unique experience that enables you to finally carve some time to work on your book and receive feedback from a professor. While researching careers is important, the best way of knowing what you naturally enjoy is to gain experience by pursuing an internship. There are so many career opportunities in the publishing industry and in academia that you’re bound to find what you’re looking for if you have patience, perseverance, and persistence.


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The 10 Best MFA Creative Writing Programs [2023]


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 .

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Online MFA in Creative Writing Master of Fine Arts

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Earn an MFA in Creative Writing Online

  • $637/credit (48 credits total)
  • Transfer up to 12 graduate credits
  • 100% online – no residency required
  • Four fiction genres to choose from
  • Career-focused certificate included
  • No application fee or GRE/GMAT scores required

Online MFA in Creative Writing Program Overview

Share your story with the world and let the power of storytelling take your career to new heights with an online Master of Fine Arts (MFA) in Creative Writing . As one of the only programs available that encourages a focus on genre fiction, our online MFA lets you hone your craft in an area specific to your strengths and interests. You'll also learn about the business side of creative writing, preparing you to market your work in the real world.

While most MFA programs require a residency, Southern New Hampshire University's online MFA in Creative Writing can be completed entirely online, with no travel necessary.

“Traditional MFA programs, whether full-time or low residency, are out of reach for many writers,” said Paul Witcover , associate dean of creative writing. “The SNHU online MFA was designed to make the MFA experience accessible to all fiction writers, opening the door to diverse voices excluded for too long from the literary conversation. Our program is dedicated to giving writers the tools to succeed on the page and beyond it.”

Graduates leave the program with a completed and revised novel in one of our four offered genres: Contemporary, Young Adult, Romance and Speculative. With the included certificates in either online teaching of writing or professional writing , you'll have the skills to support your writing career, no matter where it takes you.

.st0{fill:#21386D;} What You'll Learn

  • The business and technical sides of professional writing
  • How to navigate the publishing ecosystem, identify agents and editors, and market your work to appeal to decision-makers
  • Using social media to gain a following and build your brand
  • How to teach writing in a classroom setting

.cls-1 { fill: #21386d; } How You'll Learn

At SNHU, you'll get support from day 1 to graduation and beyond. And with no set class times, 24/7 access to the online classroom and helpful learning resources along the way, you'll have everything you need to reach your goals.

The Value of an Online MFA

Emily Jones ’20 embraced a transformational experience through the online MFA in Creative Writing program, which supported her in taking her writing career to the next level. “I can now say, without even a hint of imposter syndrome, that I am a writer,” said Jones. “And that is because of Southern New Hampshire University.”

Career Outlook

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, writers and authors made a median annual salary of $69,510 in 2021, while editors made $63,350. 1

Paul Witcover with the text Paul Witcover

“Our mission is to give students a degree and associated practical skills they can use to forge successful pathways in academia, business, or by blazing their own career trail,” said Paul Witcover , associate dean of creative writing.

Earning one of the included certificates in online teaching of writing or professional writing will also be an invaluable addition to your resume for part-time, full-time and freelance jobs in a variety of fields, including:

  • Higher education. Instruct writing courses in higher education settings. In 2021, postsecondary teachers made a median annual wage of $79,640, and you can expect to see a 12% growth in available positions through 2031, according to the BLS. 1
  • Advertising. Use your storytelling skills in a way that influences consumer action. As a copywriter, you could find yourself doing any number of writing projects from crafting emails and ads to writing entire commercials.
  • Marketing. If you're more comfortable with long-form prose, many businesses have invested in content writers who create quality content such as blog posts, ebooks and podcasts to attract and retain customers.
  • Entertainment. Good at building suspense or setting up punchlines? From movies and plays to comedy and podcasts, being a good storyteller and writer is important to finding success in the entertainment industry.
  • History. Every person's life has a plot, but it takes writers like you to tell their stories in a compelling way. Help readers relive the experiences of historic figures and pop culture icons as a biographer.

Higher Education

Instruct writing courses in higher education at a college or university, either in-person or online.


Influence consumer action through copywriting, from print ads to digital advertising and broadcast commercials.

Create written content such as blog posts, ebooks and podcasts to attract and retain customers.


From movies and plays to comedy and podcasts, writers often find success in the entertainment industry.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) predicts favorable job growth in postsecondary education. And while statistics are not available for all job settings mentioned above, the BLS reports the following:

.cls-1 { fill: #21386d; } Job Growth

You can expect to see a 12% growth in available postsecondary teaching positions through 2031, according to the BLS. 1

.cls-1 { fill: #21386d; } Potential Salary

Writers and authors made a median annual salary of $69,510 in 2021, while editors made $63,350 and postsecondary teachers made $79,640. 1

Understanding the numbers When reviewing job growth and salary information, it’s important to remember that actual numbers can vary due to many different factors—like years of experience in the role, industry of employment, geographic location, worker skill and economic conditions. Cited projections do not guarantee actual salary or job growth.

Start Your Journey Toward an Online MFA in Creative Writing

If you're looking to earn your Master of Fine Arts online, you've found the right program. Even though there are no residency requirements, you'll still interact frequently with other students and faculty members in asynchronous discussions, critique workshops and within our online writer’s community, where students come together to share industry news, extend writing tips and develop critique partnerships.

Jamilla Geter with the text Jamilla Geter

"I liked MFA-514 (Advanced Studies in Genre Literature) best," said student Jamilla Geter . "It was a great look into the different genres. It really helped me narrow down what genre I wanted to write in."

Felicia Warden with the text Felicia Warden

"Though it was not writing exactly, its connection to it – especially in our digital world – was made clear almost immediately," she said. "Writing is not just providing content of value to your readers, but also creating avenues of access so those readers can find your content. This course helped me to understand that and to learn how I can create those avenues."

Besides allowing you to focus on your own creative interests, part of our 48-credit online MFA curriculum requires you to choose from 2 certificate offerings designed to round out your education and better prepare you for a multitude of writing-related careers.

The first choice is a Graduate Certificate in Online Teaching of Writing , which is tailored to those who see themselves teaching in an online classroom setting as a supplement to their writing careers. Students practice approaches to editing and coaching, learning how to establish a virtual instructor presence and cultivate methods for supporting and engaging students within online writing communities.

Learn more about the online teaching of writing graduate certificate .

Students can also choose the Graduate Certificate in Professional Writing , which highlights the technical and business opportunities available to writers. Students will develop a range of skills, such as copywriting, social media, marketing principles and/or content generation, learning many of the freelancing skills integral to today’s project-driven economy.

Learn more about the professional writing graduate certificate .

All of our courses are taught by accomplished authors and industry professionals who know both the craft and business of creative writing. They will work closely with you to develop both your creative and professional skill set.

"All instructors within my program were extremely knowledgeable and helpful," Warden said. "I learned a lot about the different career paths my instructors chose. ... The course instruction, along with their anecdotal experiences, helped in offering knowledge in different areas of our field.

MFA Program Thesis

The thesis for the Online MFA in Creative Writing is required to be a novel of at least 50,000 words in one of the four genres the program offers: Contemporary, Young Adult, Romance, and Speculative.

Every Southern New Hampshire University online MFA student who graduates from the program will do so with a revised novel manuscript in their chosen genre, which is completed in a three-course thesis series. Throughout your tenure in the program, you can either work on a singular idea that you will develop during the three thesis courses, or you can begin a new project for your thesis. You can also combine elements of the four genres offered in the program for your thesis. For example, your thesis might be a YA Speculative Fiction novel.

Kathleen Harris with the text Kathleen Harris

"My three thesis classes for the MFA degree were the most helpful," said Kathleen Harris '21 . "I was actually writing a book as my thesis, so it was both enjoyable and advantageous for the degree. And it was the end of a very long milestone of accomplishments."

Minimum Hardware Requirements Component Type   PC (Windows OS)   Apple (Mac OS)   Operating System  Currently supported operating system from Microsoft.   Currently supported operating system from Apple.  Memory (RAM)  8GB or higher  8GB or higher  Hard Drive  100GB or higher  100GB or higher  Antivirus Software  Required for campus students. Strongly recommended for online students.  Required for campus students. Strongly recommended for online students.  SNHU Purchase Programs  Visit Dell   Visit Apple   Internet/ Bandwidth  5 Mbps Download, 1 Mbps Upload and less than 100 ms Latency  5 Mbps Download, 1 Mbps Upload and less than 100 ms Latency  Notes:   Laptop or desktop?   Whichever you choose depends on your personal preference and work style, though laptops tend to offer more flexibility.  Note:   Chromebooks (Chrome OS) and iPads (iOS) do not meet the minimum requirements for coursework at SNHU. These offer limited functionality and do not work with some course technologies. They are not acceptable as the only device you use for coursework. While these devices are convenient and may be used for some course functions, they cannot be your primary device. SNHU does, however, have an affordable laptop option that it recommends: Dell Latitude 3301 with Windows 10.  Office 365 Pro Plus  is available free of charge to all SNHU students and faculty. The Office suite will remain free while you are a student at SNHU. Upon graduation you may convert to a paid subscription if you wish. Terms subject to change at Microsoft's discretion. Review system requirements for  Microsoft 365 plans  for business, education and government.  Antivirus software:  Check with your ISP as they may offer antivirus software free of charge to subscribers.  if (typeof accordionGroup === "undefined") { window.accordionGroup = new accordion(); } accordionGroup.init(document.getElementById('f756dce5bd874c61855f6f6e92d88470')); University Accreditation

New England Commission of Higher Education

Tuition & Fees

Tuition rates for SNHU's online degree programs are among the lowest in the nation. We offer a 25% tuition discount for U.S. service members, both full and part time, and the spouses of those on active duty.

Tuition rates are subject to change and are reviewed annually. *Note: students receiving this rate are not eligible for additional discounts.

Additional Costs: Course Materials ($ varies by course). Foundational courses may be required based on your undergraduate course history, which may result in additional cost.

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Related programs.

Alma College

ALMA — Beginning in summer 2024, Alma College will host a series of conferences designed to identify, train, and support emergent preachers, in partnership with the Synod of the Covenant

Your Journey Starts Here

careers with an mfa in creative writing

MFA in Creative Writing

Writing for the 21st century..

The Alma College Master of Fine Arts degree in Creative Writing offers the opportunity to enter an artistic community in which you’ll read deeply, study and hone your writing craft, and participate in energetic discussions that will help you see your poems, stories, essays, and memoirs in the context of current issues and events. Alma’s vigorous literature-based curriculum will serve you well, both as a writer and a teacher.

Your Voice Matters

You know you have contributions to make because the question always at the forefront of your work is, “How can I as an artist, as a writer, participate in and influence the important conversations of our times?” At Alma you’ll find the encouragement to lean into writing what you love and care about most. This program fosters a more expansive way of writing, and of being human. Our focus on relevance encourages you to persevere and to have your own answer whenever you find yourself asking, “Why am I writing?” You’ll know your voice matters, and that you have something to say.

At A Glance

  • 12:1 Student-to-faculty ratio
  • 2 Residencies, in Michigan and internationally

Possible Careers

About the program.

The Alma College MFA features a strong literature-based curriculum designed to develop your ability to read and think critically and to write with a high level of artistic proficiency. The program has a low residency format and offers study in the genres of fiction, creative nonfiction, and poetry. Over the course of the two-year program students are required to complete five 10-day intensive residencies (or six residencies for a dual genre concentration) and four terms of one-on-one study with a faculty mentor (five terms for a dual genre concentration).

After the residency and over the course of the term the primary focus will be each student’s own creative writing. Students submit five monthly packets of work to their mentors. Each packet includes approximately 25 pages of creative work as well as craft papers, three to four pages each, on a technique or techniques gleaned from assigned reading.

Each term’s reading and writing activities require a minimum of 25 hours per week. It may also, at the faculty mentor’s discretion, include conferencing with other students.

Student & Alumni Spotlights

No one describes the Alma experience better than those living it. Explore their stories, in their own words, below.

  • Seny Gonzalez Guardado, `25

careers with an mfa in creative writing

I give a lot of credit to the director of the MFA program, Sophfronia Scott. She has built a program and a group of people who are so talented and welcoming — eager to offer you a seat at the table and make you feel like you belong.

Get to Know MFA in Creative Writing

Who is it for?

The Alma MFA is for students who want to make a serious commitment to the craft of writing. Our students come from all walks of life and varying levels of experience. There will be those who are published and those who are not. There will be students who have been in workshop before and those for whom this will be their first. But what everyone will have in common is a passion for writing and reading and a willingness to learn. They long to be around other creatives who care about writing as much as they do and want to talk about the work — a lot! They wish to pursue a degree and a literary life in a way that allows them to maintain their work and family lives. The best and most efficient way to do this is with the low residency MFA in Creative Writing. The program provides ongoing focus and the deep dive students need to understand their craft and to learn how they want to show up in the world as writers. For complete details of the program, view the MFA Student Handbook.

Admissions & Aid

Not sure where to begin we’re here to help you every step of the way..

Our team is glad to answer your questions and walk you through the application and financial aid process. If you’re not sure if the program is right for you, contact the program director, check out our FAQ, or download Your MFA Decision Journal to help you better understand your motivations and goals.

Application Requirements

  • College transcripts for each college or university attended
  • Curriculum vitae (CV) or resume
  • Length: A maximum of 25 pages for fiction or creative nonfiction, a maximum of 10 pages for poetry — no more than one poem per page.
  • Discuss your specific interest in the Alma College MFA and your preparation for pursuing a formal study of creative writing.
  • Your strengths and weaknesses as a writer.
  • Goals for your two years in the program.
  • Additional experience including what you can bring to our artistic community.
  • Literature essay; 3-4 pages. In this essay please discuss the books and writers that have influenced you.
  • Two letters of recommendation.

There is no application fee.

Application Deadlines

  • Summer Residency –  May 1
  • Winter Residency –  November 30

You will receive an admission decision in two weeks.

Tuition and Fees

Current tuition and fee rates can be found below. The annual fee covers housing and meal at the two residency sites: the Alma campus and the Ralph A. MacMullan Conference Center. Additional expenses include books and travel to and from Michigan twice a year for residencies or, optionally, to Oxford, England once.

Per Term Costs   (There are two terms per year) Tuition:  $9,734 Housing & Meals:  $1,352

Annual Cost  – attending two terms Tuition:  $19,468 Housing & Meals:  $2,704

Other Fees Graduating Residency Fee:  $1,352 (per term) Single Room Fee  (Winter Only): $200 Enrollment Deposit:  $300

Tuition Policy

All applicable fees and charges are payable in advance of enrollment. Tuition is due on a term basis. Each term begins with residency so tuition is due before the first day of each new residency. Tuition and fees are subject to change without notice. All MFA students will be billed for the term (tuition; room and board for students staying on campus; the single-room fee for students who request a single room, if available), with the exception of graduating students who are charged room and board (if staying on campus) and the graduation residency fee.

Financial Aid

Our students take advantage of the program’s low residency format to continue with their current employment and finance their education from their own resources. Students are encouraged to complete the  f ree application for federal student aid (FAFSA) .

If you need additional assistance or have other questions, contact the Financial Aid Office at (989) 463-7347.

Enrollment Deposit Fee

Accepted applicants are required to pay an enrollment deposit of $300. $100 of this fee is applied as a credit to the student’s account for the first term. Another $100 serves as a security deposit from which the college may recover expenses incurred by the student for damages to college property. The final $100 is a processing fee. Any unexpended portion of the security deposit can be gifted back to the college upon graduation or is refunded to the student after graduation.

Academic Calendar

Summer Residency June 15-25, 2023 (Graduating Residency for first cohort)

Mentored Studies Term July-November

End of Term, Final Grades Due: December 19, 2023

Winter Residency – Veneto Region of Italy January 4-13, 2024

Mentored Studies Term January-May

End of Term. Final Grades Due: May 15, 2024

Residencies, it’s the heart of the mfa experience. students, faculty, visiting writers, and guest speakers from the publishing industry come together to form a diverse and dynamic artistic community teeming with the energy of a shared commitment to writing..

The community lives both inside and outside the classroom as you and your fellow students share experiences, support each other, and form new bonds. During each 10-day residency, you’ll attend lectures and readings by faculty and visiting writers, participate in workshops, and hear from guest speakers to learn the ins and outs of the publishing industry. You’ll also meet with your faculty mentor to design a reading list and study plan for the forthcoming term.

At Home in Michigan

Residency is also about engaging with our surroundings. A sense of place, in terms of writing about place and respecting place is a hallmark of the program. We are proud to be the first and only low residency MFA in Michigan, and we take full advantage of the natural beauties the state affords. The summer residencies are held on our lovely campus located in Alma and based in the historic Wright Leppien Opera House. The Opera House features apartment-style accommodations for students and an airy light-filled ballroom for lectures and readings. Local retailer  Ballyhoo Books serves as another location for readings as well as the place to purchase books for your term’s reading list and the work of our faculty and visiting writers.

We’ll convene for our winter residencies at the  Ralph A. MacMullan Conference Center on the shore of Higgins Lake in Michigan’s gorgeous northern woods. The center, known for its modern facilities with rustic décor, has a legacy of conservation education. We’ll be able to appreciate Michigan’s abundant natural resources and sparkling winters with activities such as ice fishing, sledding, snowshoeing, cross-country skiing and downhill skiing. Guests have access to miles and miles of groomed cross-country ski trails located across the main road of the facility.

International Residencies

Alma is excited to offer our MFA cohorts the opportunity to spend residency in international locations.

Venice, Italy

In the spirit of powerful authors such as Lord Byron, Henry James, and Daphne du Maurier, the Alma College MFA in Creative Writing is going to Italy for a residency in the Veneto region of Italy, including the historic city of Venice and its surrounding countryside. We will explore art, food, historical villas, and visit with local writers and artists. The site will pique all the senses, from the scent of perfect risotto to the colors of the buildings of Burano. Students will write from this well of experience for years to come. Excursions may include the historic center of Venice including St. Mark’s Square; touring the Lagoon of Venice by private boat with visits to Torcello, Burano, and San Giorgio; and travel to the foothills of the Alps to the towns of Padova, Asolo, and Trieste.

Oxford, England

Beginning in July 2025 students spend a summer residency at the University of Oxford in England, the school that has for hundreds of years produced luminaries such as Oscar Wilde, J.R.R. Tolkien, C.S. Lewis, Indira Gandhi, and Stephen Hawking. The program includes tours of the iconic institution and town and lectures from university guest speakers.

Your MFA Decision Journal

Use this helpful tool, “Your MFA Decision Journal,” to guide your MFA exploration.

Refer a Writer

Know a writer who would be a perfect fit for the program? Refer them to the Alma College MFA in Creative Writing and they’ll receive a $2,000 scholarship.

  • Your Former Last Name
  • Your Relationship to Alma Select One Alumni Alma Faculty/Staff Current Stuent Friend of the College Other
  • If relationship to Alma is Alumni, please specify your class year Please enter 4 digit class year
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Have any questions?

Contact us today for more information on this program and more.

Director of the Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing Program

Sophfronia Scott (989) 463-7394 [email protected]

Admissions Office 800-321-ALMA [email protected]

  • College of Liberal Arts
  • Creative Writing
  • Academic Programs
  • undergraduate

| The MFA | Overview  | Planning and Research | Assembling Your Application | Creating Your Timeline | Additional Tips | Additional Resources |

The MFA in Creative Writing

Many writers interested in continuing their study of Creative Writing beyond their bachelor's degree  pursue a Master of Fine Arts degree (MFA) in Creative Writing. MFA programs are designed to provide writers with theoretical framework, practical skills, and critical community support to help them further hone their craft and develop the expertise needed to become published writers.   

MFA programs, however, are very competitive, with only a small percentage of applicants getting into the programs of their choice each year. As such, putting together a successful application takes considerable planning, research, focus, and time. From conducting research on which program is right for you, to preparing the materials you need, to perfecting your creative writing sample and statement of purpose, to obtaining letters of recommendation from your favorite professors, to actually sending in your applications: all this can take from six months to a year from start to finish.

If gaining a Master of Fine Arts degree is of interest to you, then this guide is a great place to start.  Below are some tips on how to succeed in that process. 

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In total, you can expect to do the following as part of the process of applying to MFA programs:

  • Plan the overall process and create a timeline
  • Research MFA programs / Decide where to apply
  • Creative Writing sample (10-20 pages of fiction, poetry, creative nonfiction, etc.)
  • Statement of Purpose
  • Letters of Recommendation from current or past professors (3 total)
  • Undergraduate transcripts
  • Curriculum Vitae or Resumé
  • GRE test scores (if required by any of the programs to which you plan to apply)
  • Application fees
  • Submit your applications and required materials by the appropriate deadlines (see above)

Planning and Research

Your Application Timeline.  The very first thing you'll want to do is create a timeline for your application process. (See " Creating Your Timeline " below for some more specific info.) Knowing that most application deadlines are between December 1st and February 1st (for students who want to begin in the fall semester), you will want to get started on everything AT LEAST six months prior to the earliest deadlines: i.e. you'll want to start the process in the spring of your Junior year (assuming you plan to start an MFA in the fall after graduating. If you think you might take a year off after graduation then you can begin in the spring of your Senior year.)

As part of your timeline, figure out when you need to start the various pieces of your completed application packet, and when you want to have them completed. For instance, knowing that it will take time to revise the stories or poems you want to include as your Creative Writing Sample, and that as part of this process you'll want to get feedback toward revision from a trusted friend and/or a willing (and generous) professor, you should plan to complete your first drafts of these no later than September, and possibly earlier. (Your friend or professor will need time to read and provide feedback for you. And then you will need time to revise, etc.) Similarly, knowing that your professors will need time to write your letters of recommendation, and that there's no guarantee that every professor you ask will agree to do this, you should start asking your favorite professors for letters early in your process, perhaps in the spring semester of your Junior year.

All this is to say: make yourself a timeline, give yourself deadlines, and do your best to stick to these deadlines!

Research. After completing your timeline, your next step in some ways is the most difficult: doing research to decide where you want to apply. Maybe you already have a program or two in mind. If so, that's great. If not, our best advice is to start with a resource right here at UTEP: Your Creative Writing professors.

Who are your favorite current or past Creative Writing professors ? Send each an email, or drop by their office hours. Simply let them know that you're interested in applying to MFA programs, and that you would like their advice. All of your professors here will have great advice, and can point you to programs that they admire, and/or in which they think you would be a good fit. 

Of course there are other factors you should think about aside from your professors' recommendations. Here are a few things to consider as you're looking at various MFA programs:

  • Genres.  Does the program offer courses in all genres, or specialize in a limited number of genres (poetry, fiction, cre ative non-fiction, children's lit, screenwriting , gaming, etc)? Does it offer a variety of courses in the genre you're interested in? Does the program have faculty who specialize in and/or publish in the genre(s) you want to study?
  • Faculty.  Are you interested in writing by one or more members of the faculty in the program? (You may need to do some research to find and read some work by the program's faculty. Each Faculty member's bio or Faculty page will list their most prominent or most recent work.) If you're really intrigued, a sk t o be connected  with faculty, if possible, to sit in on a class or for a one-on-one conversation about the program.  Conversely, are there writers (perhaps that you've encountered through your Creative Writing classes, or by reading contemporary poetry/fiction journals) that you really admire? Look them up and find out where they teach! 
  • Location.  Consider where the school is located . Is it somewhere you'd like to live?  Is it affordable to live there? Is there a literary arts scene (or music scene, or performance scene, or visual arts scene)? Do you have connections to anyone in this location, or will you need to form new community upon joining the program? (Keep in mind that an MFA program is a great and easy place to form a new community!)  Is the program online or in person?  Do you want to move to a new city and start over, or would you like to be close to family and friends?
  • Finances.  Does the program offer Teaching Assistantships or Fellowships (or some other kind of yearly stipend) to its MFA students? (It should.) Does the program (and/or the University) offer grants/scholarships/tuition wavers to help defer the costs of graduate school? How much is not covered by all the above, and what is the remaining amount, considering tuition, fees, and cost of living, that you would have to cover out of pocket? Are you willing to take out loans to cover the rest? How much aid will you receive from FAFSA? Contact the school’s Financial Aid office for more information and to learn about additional resources.
  • Program Specifics. Every student will have their own unique wants and needs from an MFA program, so consider what you value and are looking for.  Some of the things you might consider: the reputation of the university and/or the program; the size of the program; the culture of the program and the competitiveness among classmates; what the graduates of the program do after completing the program; access to faculty; class size; opportunities to take part in reading series or in the production of a literary magazine; etc.     
  • Get in Touch.  Talk to MFA students currently in that program to get a sense of what their experience has been, the strengths and weaknesses of the program, what they like and don't like about the program and/or the location, about the camaraderie among fellow students, why they chose that program, etc. (To get in touch with current students, you can usually e-mail the program, tell them you're considering applying, and that you'd like to be put in touch with current students.) 
  • Visit.  If you have the time and resources, visit the programs you're most interested in (in person or virtually) to get a feel for the campus, the people, the program, and the town/city where it's located. If visiting in person, let the program know ahead of time that you're coming, make sure it's a good time to visit (you don't want to visit while they're on break!), and ask if you can sit in on a class and/or meet with current students etc. This is a great way to get a sense of whether or not you would fit in and feel comfortable there.

In the end you'll want to apply to at least three, and up to eight programs, depending on your resources. (The more MFA programs you apply to, the greater chance you have of being admitted to one. At the same time, the more MFA programs you apply to, the more you'll be paying in application fees, which can be quite expensive.)

Recent alumni from UTEP's Creative Writing Department have had success getting into a number of MFA programs that you might want to consider as well: University of Arizona, University of New Mexico, the New School, the Art Institute of Chicago, University of Pittsburgh, Emerson College, Simmons University, NMSU.

Assembling Your Application

Once you've made your selections and you know where you want to apply, you'll need to start assembling your application materials. The following is a list of materials commonly requested as part of an application to an MFA program in Creative Wriitng.

  • Three Letters of Recommendation.   I t is best to  ask for  letters of recommendation from current/previous professors who can speak to your writing abilities, your growth as a student, your participation and contributions to the classroom, and why they believe you are the right candidate for an MFA program .  It is important to ask professors whom you know and in whose classes you did well.  Also, consider your audience. Since you're applying to Creative Writing programs, you'll want letters primarily from Creative Writing professors. (One letter from a professor in a related field, such as Literature, would be okay, as long as the others are in the field you're applying to.) If you've done a special project with a professor, like an Honors Thesis, or If you've taken multiple classes with a particular professor you like and admire, and whose classes have been important to you, then she or he or they should be on the top of your list. Think ahead. C onnecting with professors during your experience as an undergraduate Creative Writing major--through class participation ,  attending office  hours , and staying in touch even after your class with them ends--will help you build relationships with them and thus provide your recommenders with a deeper understanding of you and your writing as they  prepare their letters.   Always ask for letters at least two to three months prior to your earliest application deadline.  (It never hurts to ask earlier rather than later.) Your professors are very busy, and while they always want to help if they can, good letters of recommendation require a lot of time and effort to prepare. You do not want to rush them. Make sure you provide for them the names of each school/program you're applying to and the deadlines for each. 
  • Statement of Purpose (or Statement of Intent). Precisely what any particular program asks for here can   vary, but  most programs   request  a  writer’s  statement and/or a statement of purpose (of approximately 500-1000 words) that speaks  about  your  writing  influences  and goals ; what makes you distinctive as a writer; your academic and literary interests ; why you think their program is right for you; and your further professional goals beyond the MFA program . While the Creative Writing Sample (see below) is often the most important document you submit as part of your MFA application, the Statement of Purpose is still crucial, as it can often sway an admissions committee (who are weighing your application against many others), who may realize from your statement that you are truly interested in their program and what their program has to offer, and that you will therefore be a good fit there. What this means, however, is that you shouldn't simply send the exact same Statement of Purpose to each program you're applying to. Rather, you should tailor each Statement of Purpose to the program you're sending it to. Make sure you address the topics the program asks you to address, of course, but also make sure you talk about the specific aspects of their program that excite you: particular courses that are offered; faculty members you're excited to work with and why; specialty tracks or sub-programs within the program (such as screenwriting, literary translation, children's literature, etc.). All this is to say that you want to let the admissions committee know that you know something about their program, and that you know why you want to be there.
  • Creative Writing Sample. A Creative Writing Sample will be 10-20 pages of your best poems, short stories, excerpts from novels, etc. In an MFA application, this is often the most important document you submit , and an admissions committee will often start by looking at this sample of your work. If they like it, they'll move you forward and look at the rest of your application. If they don't, that'll be the end. As such: do not simply dust off the work that got you an "A" in your recent Creative Writing classes and send it in. You'll want to work on these, revise, and work on them some more. Get feedback from a trusted friend or CRW classmate, or from a professor (who has agreed ahead of time to give you feedback). Take their constructive criticism seriously (they're trying to help! They want you to succeed!) and revise, revise, revise. Make your creative writing sample the absolute best you can.  Once you've decided on the stories or poems you want to submit, have revised it all to the point where you (and your trusted readers) think it's ready, and you're ready to put the sample together, you'll want to think about how to order the work you've chosen for your writing sample. It's often best to lead with the strongest works first,  the next strongest samples last, and the least strong samples in the middle.  Finally, keep in mind that quality is more important than quantity (as long as you provide the minimum number of pages they request).
  • Transcripts.  Official Transcripts are official legal documents listing among other things the courses you took at the University and the grades you received, and these  are  issued by the university or college where you completed your undergraduate coursework, usually by the University Registrar's office.  Unofficial transcripts show the same information, but do not have official legal standing. Most programs you're applying to will require official transcripts. To request your official transcripts from UTEP, contact the Division of Student Affairs Office of Registration and Records . 
  • Application Fees. Most programs charge an application fee to apply to their program. These fees cover the time and effort needed to process and review applications. These are typically between $50-$100 per application, and sometimes more. So, the more programs you apply to, the more you'll be spending on application fees. You'll need to think about this ahead of time, and start saving if necessary.

  Some less commonly requested materials :  

  • Curriculum Vitae or Resume. A curriculum Vitae (CV) is a complete list of education, jobs, volunteer work, professional experiences, publications, public performances, awards, etc. Whereas a resume is usually a brief, one-page snapshot of all the above, highlighting your skills and past job responsibilities. You can find examples of both online.
  • Critical Writing Samples.  A 10-20 page sample of critical/analytical/research writing. Such a writing sample would be more commonly requested for applications to MA or PhD programs in more traditionally academic programs, like Literature, History, Communications, or Sociology. But, you never know. If you happen to be applying to a PhD program in Creative Writing, however, you will likely be asked for both a creative writing sample AND a critical writing sample.
  • GRE Test Scores. The Graduate Record Exam (GRE) is similar to the SAT test (which you may have taken in preparation to apply to college), but is for those who want to study at the masters level or beyond after finishing their bachelor's degree. The "general" GRE test is supposed to measure your aptitude for graduate-level study, while specific GRE tests for specific disciplines (such as Literature or History) measure your preparation for advanced study in that discipline. In either case, though, one can dramatically improve their performance on these tests by studying for them with a test-prep book or app. Important to note is that few MFA programs require GRE scores, but some do. Best to do your research ahead of time here and figure out if any of the programs you're interested in require the GRE. If they do, and if you still want to apply to them, you'll need to schedule a GRE test time far in advance of those application deadlines. You can get more info on taking the GRE at the GRE website: On the other hand, you may decide that you don't want to apply to any programs requiring the GRE, and therefore eliminate programs that require it from your list.

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Creating Your Timeline

Below is a general guideline for putting together your own application timeline. Make sure you check with the programs you're applying to for specific dates for everything below.

  • 12 months before  applying (winter of Junior year)  – Begin  researching MFA programs    
  • 2 months before  applying  – Ask  for Letters of Recommendation    
  • September 1 st  - May 15 th  –  Applications Due  (see MFA programs for exact deadline e s)
  • Many programs have deadlines the first few weeks of January (for students intending to begin in the fall of that year). However, some of the most competitive programs have deadlines as early as September, and others have deadlines as late as May. Start researching early so that you don’t miss these crucial deadlines.  
  • October 1 st  – June 30 th  – FAFSA   (Free Application for Federal Student Aid– see schools for exact deadlines) FASFA opens for applications October 1 st  and closes June 30 th .  Submit your FAFSA as soon as possible – some  schools have priority deadlines or hard deadlines before  June 30 th , or  give a wards until funds are depleted. Check with your school to see when their deadlines are.  A pply  for FAFSA   HERE .   
  • Rolling – Applying  for scholarships   Scholarships have deadlines throughout the year. It is recommended to  start  research ing  and applying for scholarships in the fall  prior  to the year  you are seeking funding.  Check with the programs you are applying to  to  learn of additional scholarships and funding they may have. Contact the UTEP Office of Fellowships and Awards for assistance.
  • March – July – Accept Offer   (see schools for exact deadlines) You will get letters of acceptance or rejection anytime between March and July. Hopefully you'll have received an acceptance or two (or more). Review offer letters and notify  program s of decisions.  Some  programs require a non-refundable deposit upon acceptance, while others do not.    (If you are not successful in getting into the programs you applied to, it is okay to call and ask to speak to (or email) the chair of the admissions committee simply to thank them for their time and consideration, and to (politely) ask what was lacking in your application. This can help should you decide to try again next year.)
  • Remember to say "Thank You" Send a follow up “thank you” card to the professors who wrote you letters of recommendation. And, don't forget to keep your recommenders in the loop as you make decisions – share with them when you are accepted into programs, and what your ultimate decisions are so that they can celebrate with you or provide support if you decide to apply to additional programs in the future.  

Additional Application Tips

  • Build time into your application timeline to h ave  all of  your materials reviewed by  trusted  classmates, fellow writers,  and/or  UTEP's  University W riting  C enter .  Receiving feedback on (and then revising!)  your  creative/ critical  writing  samples and statement of purpose  is  crucial to the process of assembling quality application materials.
  • Carefully proofread  everything you submit. You are applying to a writing program, after all. You don't want to send writing that is riddled with typos and grammatical errors.
  • Apply to multiple programs. While you may have an ideal program in mind, it is   good   to have several options  available in case you are not admitted into your first choice;  circumstances change your priorities; or  so that you can compare the various offers in the event you are accepted to multiple programs. 

Additional Online Resources

  • MFA Programs Database (Poets & Writers):  
  • Guide to Writing Programs (AWP):  
  • UTEP University Writing Center:  
  • 6 Tips for Getting Successfully Accepted into an MFA Program (UTEP):  
  • " So You're Thinking About Applying to Grad School in Creative Writing " -- from the University of Arizona MFA in Creative Writing Program.
  • Spanish:  [email protected]
  • English:  [email protected]

Thanks to UTEP Creative Writing MFA candidate Sarah Hobin for assembling, organizing, and writing most of the material on this page! 

Connect With Us

The University of Texas at El Paso Department of Creative Writing University Towers, Room 520 Additional Emails English: [email protected] Español: [email protected] MFA Online: [email protected] Undergrad: [email protected] 500 W University Ave El Paso, Texas 79968

E: [email protected] P: (915) 747-5713


Case Western Reserve University

  • assistant professor tenure track creative writing fiction department english

Assistant Professor (tenure-track) in Creative Writing (Fiction) - Department of English

The English Department at Case Western Reserve University seeks an assistant professor of creative writing (fiction). Qualified candidates will have published one book of fiction or have a substantial record of publication in fiction. Responsibilities include teaching  beginning and advanced undergraduate fiction workshops and graduate seminars, directing undergraduate senior projects in fiction  writing and graduate creative writing theses, and teaching undergraduate and graduate literature courses. We seek a colleague who champions an inclusive, diverse, and transformative university and who is excited to join our energetic and collegial department. 

Responsibilities & Duties: Teaching load is two courses a semester. Other responsibilities include active creative writing publication; and service at the departmental, college, and university levels.

About Case Western Reserve and the English Department: CWRU is an independent research university located in  Cleveland's University Circle , a square mile urban district of cultural, medical, educational, religious, and social service institutions. We enroll over 12,000 undergraduate and graduate/professional students in both liberal arts and professional/technical disciplines. The English department includes undergraduate and graduate offerings in literature, creative writing, and rhetoric that complement our undergraduate offerings in film, linguistics, and journalism. It also includes the Writing Program, which oversees the university's first-year academic writing curriculum and includes a substantial Writing Resource Center that serves all CWRU writers, including undergraduate and graduate students, faculty, and staff. The department is also home to Writers House, a gathering place for writers that supports community programming, craft workshops, and the New Gutenberg Annex, which is a moveable type print lab and book arts workshop.

Minimum Qualifications: MFA or PhD in English or Creative Writing.

How to Apply: Apply to this position at: . The deadline for applications is December 22, 2023. Candidates should submit:

1) Cover Letter 2) Curriculum Vitae 3) Research Statement (2 pp max) 4) Teaching Statement (2 pp max) 5) Service Statement (1 p max) 6) Diversity Statement (2 pp max) - The diversity statement should describe how the candidate's research, teaching, and/or service might contribute to diversity, equity and inclusion within their scholarly field(s) and/or how the candidate's individual and/or collaborative efforts may promote structural justice inside and outside institutions of higher learning. This statement should also reflect on the ways in which the candidate’s continued efforts will foster a culture of diversity, pluralism, and individual difference at Case Western Reserve University into the future. 7) Names of 3 Recommenders

Case Western Reserve University strives to maintain a diverse and inclusive work environment. All applicants are protected under Federal law from discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, national origin, disability, age and genetics.

Case Western Reserve provides reasonable accommodations to applicants with disabilities. Applicants requiring a reasonable accommodation for any part of the application and hiring process should contact the Office of Equity by phone at 216.368.3066 or by email at  [email protected] . Determinations as to granting reasonable accommodations for any applicant will be made on a case-by-case basis.

College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences    > Department of English    > Creative Writing, MFA

Admission Requirements

In addition to meeting the college graduate admission requirements   , applicants to the MFA in Creative Writing program must meet the following minimum requirements for admission to the program and for the degree:

  • The applicant should have completed 12 hours of advanced English with an average of 3.0 or better grade point average.
  • The applicant should have two years of college-level study in one foreign language or otherwise demonstrate, with a passing score on the GSFLT, a reading knowledge of a foreign language.
  • Three letters of recommendation.
  • Submission of a manuscript consisting of a maximum of 10 pages of poetry or 20-25 pages of fiction.
  • A statement of intent (1,000 or fewer words): reasons for pursuing graduate study in creative writing, which writers in the applicant’s genre the applicant is reading, and comments on those writers.
  • On a separate sheet of paper, list awards and publications of the applicant.
  • Two official copies of transcripts from each school attended.

The GRE Advanced Subject (Code 64) score is not required for MFA applicants.

  • an overall undergraduate or graduate grade point average of 3.00 or higher (on a 4‐ point scale) from an institution accredited by one of the six regional accrediting associations as specified in the UH Minimum Qualifications for Admission to Masters and Doctoral Programs ( General Admission Policy   ), or
  • a grade point average in the top 80% on other GPA scales and a combined IELTS score above 7 or TOEFL score above 79 or a DUOLINGO score above 105.

Consult the Creative Writing Program for additional information and more specific requirements.

Degree Requirements

Students must complete a minimum of 36 hours of approved graduate courses. these courses must be distributed over creative writing workshops and courses in literary studies. Specific requirements are as follows:

  • 15 hours in creative writing, including 9 hours in the primary genre, 3 hours of Master Workshop, and 3 hours of Poetic Forms and Techniques for poetry students, Fiction Forms and Techniques for fiction students, or Nonfiction Forms and Techniques for nonfiction students. Students are strongly encouraged to take the course in Forms and Techniques early in the MFA program.
  • 3 hours of Writers on Literature
  • 12 hours in English or American literature or other literary studies (Students should divide their courses between early and later literatures. Early British literature is defined as British literature before 1800 and early American literature is defined as American literature before 1865.)
  • 6 hours of elective courses (literature or other literary studies, workshop in the primary genre, workshop in a crossover genre, Writers on Literature, or coursework in another department that complements the student’s program). In addition, MFA students must complete a creative thesis for 6 credit hours.

In addition, MFA students must complete a creative thesis for 6 credit hours.

Enter a Search Term

"an mfa is an investment in your writing life".

Lauren Markham

How would you sum up your classroom dynamic or teaching style? I strive to create a warm environment that is rooted in participatory practices and activities. I don't want to just talk at folks; I want folks to talk, inquire, engage and ponder among themselves.

How can pursuing an MFA support your writing process/journey now and later? An MFA is an investment in your writing life. It supports you to generate new work, to take creative risks, to read beyond your natural inclinations. It supports you to become a better writer but, above all, to become a sharper reader — which ultimately serves your writing life.

What do you find most special about the MFA writing education/experience? I grew up in San Francisco and find it to be a place of vibrant, progressive, visionary literary community. USF is in the heart of the city, and our program values literary citizenship and participation beyond the school walls.

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English Department

MFA in Creative Writing: Graduation Deadlines

If you have questions about graduation requirements or deadlines, email the Creative Writing Director, John Beer, at  cw-dire[email protected]  or the Graduate Coordinator at  [email protected] .


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    12 Jobs You Can Do With a Degree in Creative Writing Indeed Editorial Team Updated March 30, 2023 Finding out what you can do with a degree in creative writing is often surprising, as there are many available options.

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    Editor: Pursue a career as an editor for a magazine or book publishing company. Your knowledge of creative writing can help you identify works that can sustain the interest of readers, and you can deliver helpful feedback to the writers whose pieces you're editing.

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    Although 73% of creative writers only have bachelor's degrees, the 9% who hold MFA in creative writing programs are often compensated higher, with master's degree holders earning around $74,619 each year compared to the $72,948 of bachelor's degree holders (Zippia, 2022).

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    The PhD A PhD in creative writing is a popular option. You get three to five more years to hone your craft, immerse yourself in a community of writers, and gain additional teaching experience and opportunities. For many of us, it's a natural choice.

  5. Best MFA Creative Writing Programs

    Updated January 30, 2023 Creative writing is a career chased by those who have a passion and talent for writing. Whether your medium is fictional stories, poetry, screenwriting, or non-fictional stories, creative writing allows you to express yourself through your work.

  6. 7 Creative Writing Careers You Can Get With an MFA Degree

    An MFA in Creative Writing will prepare you to use your creative writing abilities for any career you might pursue. What Can You Do With an MFA in Creative Writing? So you like writing, and creative writing is needed in a variety of fields. But what can you actually do with an MFA in Creative Writing?

  7. What Can I Do with a Creative Writing MFA?

    There are many MFA in creative writing jobs, including a marketing director, creative director, executive director, assistant professor, editor, and more. Jobs for MFA creative writing graduates vary based on where the person is located and the type of work they want to do.

  8. Mfa Creative Writing Jobs, Employment

    Mfa Creative Writing jobs. Sort by: relevance - date. 331 jobs. Assistant Professor, Department of English - Creative Writing (Poetry) ... Minimum qualifications include a MFA or PhD in creative writing at the time of appointment, and distinguished publications in creative nonfiction.

  9. Can an MFA in Creative Writing Help You Get a Job?

    An MFA in Creative Writing is preferred or required for a variety of careers. If you want to teach creative writing at any level, from elementary school through higher education, a master's degree will be required, and a Master's of Fine Arts in Creative Writing sets you apart from the competition.

  10. MFA in Creative Writing Programs Guide

    Spanning two years, a master of fine arts (MFA) program trains you to become a skilled writer, communicator, and editor who can receive and apply feedback effectively. This adaptable skill set enables you to work in industries like education, publishing, and journalism.

  11. Creative Writing, MFA

    ASU Creative Writing is distinguished by an outstanding faculty that has garnered national and international attention: Guggenheim and NEA fellowships, a Pulitzer Prize and several Pulitzer nominations, two Flannery O'Connor Awards, the Western States Book Award, PEN/Faulkner finalist recognition, the Walt Whitman Award from the Academy of Ameri...

  12. 13 Jobs You Can Do With a Creative Writing Master's Degree

    There are various careers you can pursue after earning a master's degree in creative writing. While many graduates of these programs pursue creative writing careers as published authors or poets, some candidates with this credential also find roles in fields like education, publishing, journalism, marketing, communications and academia.

  13. Career Opportunities with an MFA in Creative Writing

    Career Opportunities with an MFA in Creative Writing By Veronica Suarez September 14, 2020 Most poets who receive a Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing in the United States usually pursue one of two interconnected fields: publishing or academia. While these careers are related, the paths are different in the skills they require.

  14. Creative Writing Mfa Degree Jobs, Employment

    267 Creative Writing Mfa Degree jobs available on Apply to Assistant Professor, English Teacher, Faculty and more!

  15. The 10 Best MFA Creative Writing Programs [2023]

    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).

  16. What are jobs that prefer or require MFAs in Creative Writing?

    3. An MFA would come in handy when working in the publishing world. A lot of editors for publishing houses have MFAs and even owners of publishing houses occasionally have them. I know at least one of the editors at the primary house I work for has one and I'll be pursuing an MFA myself.

  17. 141 Mfa Creative Writing Jobs in United States (3 new)

    Fine Art Teacher jobs. Migration Consultant jobs. Assistant Quality Assurance Manager jobs. More searches. Today's top 141 Mfa Creative Writing jobs in United States. Leverage your professional ...

  18. creative writing mfa degree required jobs

    235 Creative Writing Mfa Degree Required jobs available on Apply to Assistant Professor, Faculty, Adjunct Professor and more!

  19. Online MFA in Creative Writing Program

    Share your story with the world and let the power of storytelling take your career to new heights with an online Master of Fine Arts (MFA) in Creative Writing. As one of the only programs available that encourages a focus on genre fiction, our online MFA lets you hone your craft in an area specific to your strengths and interests.

  20. MFA in Creative Writing

    The Alma College MFA features a strong literature-based curriculum designed to develop your ability to read and think critically and to write with a high level of artistic proficiency. The program has a low residency format and offers study in the genres of fiction, creative nonfiction, and poetry. Over the course of the two-year program ...

  21. How to Apply to MFA Programs in Creative Writing

    In total, you can expect to do the following as part of the process of applying to MFA programs: Plan the overall process and create a timeline. Research MFA programs / Decide where to apply. Assemble your application materials, including: Creative Writing sample (10-20 pages of fiction, poetry, creative nonfiction, etc.) Statement of Purpose.

  22. Careers & Jobs with a Master of Fine Arts (MFA)

    Careers Careers & Jobs with a Master of Fine Arts (MFA) Careers & Jobs with a Master of Fine Arts (MFA) MFA Jobs and Career Opportunities Every artist in graduate school wants to know what type of MFA jobs are available after earning your degree.

  23. $44k-$77k Creative Writing Mfa Jobs (NOW HIRING) Nov 2023

    Honolulu, HI MFA, PhD, or equivalent degree in English, Creative Writing (Fiction), or a closely related field from a college or university of recognized standing. All requirements for the degree must be ... Creative Writing Pro Tem Instructor - Open Pool University Of Oregon Eugene, OR

  24. Your Guide To A Master's Creative Writing

    Postsecondary Creative Writing Teacher. Median Annual Salary: $74,280. Minimum Required Education: Ph.D. or another doctoral degree; master's degree may be accepted at some schools and community ...

  25. Assistant Professor (tenure-track) in Creative Writing (Fiction

    Other responsibilities include active creative writing publication; and service at the departmental, college, and university levels. About Case Western Reserve and the English Department: CWRU is an independent research university located in Cleveland's University Circle , a square mile urban district of cultural, medical, educational ...

  26. Program: Creative Writing, MFA

    College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences > Department of English > Creative Writing, MFA. Admission Requirements. In addition to meeting the college graduate admission requirements , applicants to the MFA in Creative Writing program must meet the following minimum requirements for admission to the program and for the degree:. The applicant should have completed 12 hours of advanced English ...

  27. "An MFA is an investment in your writing life"

    An MFA is an investment in your writing life. It supports you to generate new work, to take creative risks, to read beyond your natural inclinations. It supports you to become a better writer but, above all, to become a sharper reader — which ultimately serves your writing life. What do you find most special about the MFA writing education ...

  28. MFA in Creative Writing: Graduation Deadlines

    Graduate Coordinator. Application to Graduate. 1st Friday of your graduation term. 09/29/23. 01/12/24. 04/05/24. Graduate School. Thesis Copy. 2 weeks prior to oral defense.