Creative Writing and Literature Master’s Degree Program

Online Courses

11 out of 12 total courses

On-Campus Experience

One 1- or 3-week residency in summer

$3,220 per course

Unlock your creative potential and hone your unique voice.

Build a strong foundation in literary criticism and writing across multiple genres — including fiction, nonfiction, and drama — in our live online writing and literature program with an in-person writer’s residency at Harvard.

Program Overview

Through the master’s degree in creative writing and literature, you’ll hone your skills as a storyteller — crafting publishable original scripts, novels, and stories.

In small, workshop-style classes, you’ll master key elements of narrative craft, including characterization, story and plot structure, point of view, dialogue, and description. And you’ll learn to approach literary works as both a writer and scholar by developing skills in critical analysis.

Program Benefits

Instructors who are published authors of drama, fiction, and nonfiction

A community of writers who support your growth in live online classes

Writer's residency with agent & editor networking opportunities

Personalized academic and career advising

Thesis or capstone options that lead to publishable creative work

Harvard Alumni Association membership upon graduation

Customizable Course Curriculum

As you work through the program’s courses, you’ll enhance your creative writing skills and knowledge of literary concepts and strategies. You’ll practice the art of revision to hone your voice as a writer in courses like Writing the Short Personal Essay and Writing Flash Fiction.

Within the creative writing and literature program, you will choose between a thesis or capstone track. You’ll also experience the convenience of online learning and the immersive benefits of learning in person.

11 Online Courses

  • Primarily synchronous
  • Fall, spring, January, and summer options

Writer’s Residency

A 1- or 3-week summer master class taught by a notable instructor, followed by an agents-and-editors weekend

Thesis or Capstone Track

  • Thesis: features a 9-month independent creative project with a faculty advisor
  • Capstone: includes crafting a fiction or nonfiction manuscript in a classroom community

The path to your degree begins before you apply to the program.

First, you’ll register for and complete 2 required courses, earning at least a B in each. These foundational courses are investments in your studies and count toward your degree, helping ensure success in the program.

Getting Started

We invite you to explore degree requirements, confirm your initial eligibility, and learn more about our unique “earn your way in” admissions process.

A Faculty of Creative Writing Experts

Studying at Harvard Extension School means learning from the world’s best. Our instructors are renowned academics in literary analysis, storytelling, manuscript writing, and more. They bring a genuine passion for teaching, with students giving our faculty an average rating of 4.7 out of 5.

Bryan Delaney

Playwright and Screenwriter

Talaya Adrienne Delaney

Lecturer in Extension, Harvard University

Elisabeth Sharp McKetta

Our community at a glance.

80% of our creative writing and literature students are enrolled in our master’s degree program for either personal enrichment or to make a career change. Most (74%) are employed full time while pursuing their degree and work across a variety of industries.

Download: Creative Writing & Literature Master's Degree Fact Sheet

Average Age

Course Taken Each Semester

Work Full Time

Would Recommend the Program

Professional Experience in the Field

Pursued for Personal Enrichment

Career Opportunities & Alumni Outcomes

Graduates of our Creative Writing and Literature Master’s Program have writing, research, and communication jobs in the fields of publishing, advertising/marketing, fundraising, secondary and higher education, and more.

Some alumni continue their educational journeys and pursue further studies in other nationally ranked degree programs, including those at Boston University, Brandeis University, University of Pennsylvania, and Cambridge University.

Our alumni hold titles as:

  • Marketing Manager
  • Director of Publishing
  • Senior Research Writer

Our alumni work at a variety of leading organizations, including:

  • Little, Brown & Company
  • New York University (NYU)
  • Bentley Publishers

Career Advising and Mentorship

Whatever your career goals, we’re here to support you. Harvard’s Mignone Center for Career Success offers career advising, employment opportunities, Harvard alumni mentor connections, and career fairs like the annual on-campus Harvard Humanities, Media, Marketing, and Creative Careers Expo.

Your Harvard University Degree

Upon successful completion of the required curriculum, you will earn the Master of Liberal Arts (ALM) in Extension Studies, Field: Creative Writing and Literature.

Expand Your Connections: the Harvard Alumni Network

As a graduate, you’ll become a member of the worldwide Harvard Alumni Association (400,000+ members) and Harvard Extension Alumni Association (29,000+ members).

Harvard is closer than one might think. You can be anywhere and still be part of this world.

Tuition & Financial Aid

Affordability is core to our mission. When compared to our continuing education peers, it’s a fraction of the cost.

After admission, you may qualify for financial aid . Typically, eligible students receive grant funds to cover a portion of tuition costs each term, in addition to federal financial aid options.

What can you do with a master’s degree in creative writing and literature?

A master’s degree in creative writing and literature prepares you for a variety of career paths in writing, literature, and communication — it’s up to you to decide where your interests will take you.

You could become a professional writer, editor, literary agent, marketing copywriter, or communications specialist.

You could also go the academic route and bring your knowledge to the classroom to teach creative writing or literature courses.

Is a degree in creative writing and literature worth it?

The value you find in our Creative Writing and Literature Master’s Degree Program will depend on your unique goals, interests, and circumstances.

The curriculum provides a range of courses that allow you to graduate with knowledge and skills transferable to various industries and careers.

How long does completing the creative writing and literature graduate program take?

Program length is ordinarily anywhere between 2 and 5 years. It depends on your preferred pace and the number of courses you want to take each semester.

For an accelerated journey, we offer year round study, where you can take courses in fall, January, spring, and summer.

While we don’t require you to register for a certain number of courses each semester, you cannot take longer than 5 years to complete the degree.

What skills do you need prior to applying for the creative writing and literature degree program?

Harvard Extension School does not require any specific skills prior to applying, but in general, it’s helpful to have solid reading, writing, communication, and critical thinking skills if you are considering a creative writing and literature master’s degree.

Initial eligibility requirements can be found on our creative writing and literature master’s degree requirements page .

Harvard Division of Continuing Education

The Division of Continuing Education (DCE) at Harvard University is dedicated to bringing rigorous academics and innovative teaching capabilities to those seeking to improve their lives through education. We make Harvard education accessible to lifelong learners from high school to retirement.

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masters in fiction writing

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MFA in Creative Writing

Founded in 2003, the Graduate Program in Creative Writing offers a two-year Master of Fine Arts Degree in the areas of fiction and poetry. Though small—we typically admit six new students each year—the MFA is just one part of a vibrant writing community including five or six post-graduate fellows , former fellows and alums, PhD candidates in contemporary literature, and a host of other artists and writers living and working in Madison. Our MFA is unique in that we have an “alternating genre” admissions policy: we accept fiction applications in the fall/early winter of odd-numbered years, and poetry applications in the fall/early winter of even-numbered years. This allows us to provide an almost unrivaled 2-to-1 student/teacher ratio that gives each class of students the full attention of the faculty in their genre for two solid years.

All of our MFA candidates receive  generous financial aid ,  the opportunity to teach  courses both in Creative Writing and English Composition, and a semester of teacher-training and support. Our MFAs also have the opportunity to take workshops in other genres, including fiction, poetry, creative nonfiction, playwriting, and comics. While cross-genre writing certainly isn’t mandatory, many of our students report that taking workshops outside their primary area not only improves their writing in multiple genres, but also leads to even greater camaraderie among all the writers in the program.

Our MFAs have access to a truly multi-generational community of writers at every stage of their careers. MFAs interact frequently with our Wisconsin Institute for Creative Writing fellows, who are some of the best recent MFA recipients in the country, and both the fellows and faculty are always on-hand to provide advice about publishing, teaching, and pursuing a career in writing.

To get some sense of the scope of the Madison writing community, and the diversity of nationally acclaimed poets and fiction writers who cycle regularly through town, we encourage you to take a look at our  events  and  friends pages. Our MFAs have sat down for meals and conversation with visiting writers such as Michael Cunningham , Ayana Mathis ,  Eileen Myles ,  Mark Doty ,  Jonathan Franzen , Terrance Hayes ,  Adam Haslett , Alice Notley ,  Tommy Orange ,  Solmaz Sharif , Tiana Clark , Claire Vaye Watkins , and Lauren Groff , as well as regular visiting editors and agents on the lookout for the next generation of American literature.

Meet Our MFAs

masters in fiction writing

MFA Alumni Spotlight: Lydia Conklin

Lydia Conklin graduated from the UW-Madison MFA Program in 2012, recently served as the Helen Zell Visiting Professor in Fiction at the University of Michigan, and in Fall 2022 began as Assistant Professor of English and Creative Writing at Vanderbilt University. They’ve received a Stegner Fellowship, a Rona Jaffe Foundation Writer’s Award, three Pushcart Prizes, a Creative Writing Fulbright in Poland, a grant from the Elizabeth George Foundation, a Creative Writing Fellowship from Emory University, work-study and tuition scholarships from Bread Loaf, and fellowships from MacDowell, Yaddo, Hedgebrook, Djerassi, the James Merrill House, and elsewhere. Their fiction has appeared in Tin House, American Short Fiction, The Southern Review, and The Paris Review and is forthcoming in One Story and VQR. They have drawn cartoons for The New Yorker and Narrative Magazine, and graphic fiction for The Believer, Lenny Letter, and the Steppenwolf Theater in Chicago. Their story collection, Rainbow Rainbow, was published in May 2022 by Catapult in North America and Scribner in the UK.

MFA Administrator  Sean Bishop Program in Creative Writing Department of English

MFA Course of Study

The two-year MFA course of study is designed to provide as much time as possible for independent writing and reading. The degree requires 42 credits as follows:

  • 9 credits of writing workshops  in the student’s primary genre (fiction or poetry). These workshops are held in the first, second, and third semesters.
  • 3 credits of pedagogy , during the first semester.
  • 15 thesis credits . Students take 3 credits in each of the first, second and third semesters, then 6 thesis credits in the fourth semester. These are not courses—rather, they’re the means by which the University gives MFAs credit for their independent writing.
  • 15 credits of electives  drawn from appropriate courses across the curriculum. While students are expected to focus on and produce book-length theses by the end of their two years here, they are also encouraged to pursue other intellectual interests via these electives. In the past, MFA students have fulfilled their elective requirements by enrolling in literature courses, studying foreign languages, pursuing other artistic interests such as dance, book-making, and classical guitar, augmenting research for historical novels by taking appropriate history classes. MFA students may also hone their writing skills in other genres by taking intermediate and advanced undergraduate workshops and graduate level workshops in genres outside the one for which they were admitted, as electives with the permission of the instructor. Students may also take up to 6 elective credits in the form of additional thesis hours in the second and third semesters.

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Master of Arts (MA) in Writing | Northwestern SPS - Northwestern School of Professional Studies

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Program Overview

Master’s in Writing

MA in Writing

Northwestern’s part-time Master of Arts in Writing program provides students the opportunity to grow as artists within the specializations of fiction, nonfiction, popular fiction, and poetry. A dual-genre specialization is also offered, as well as a publishing and professional development track that combines publishing industry-related instruction with the creative coursework of the writing workshops. The small-group workshop format allows for individual attention from published, award-winning faculty . Students also have the opportunity to learn the ropes in teaching writing, publishing, and editing. Flexible scheduling — with courses offered evenings and weekends on Northwestern’s Chicago and Evanston campuses as well as online and in hybrid format — gives students the opportunity to balance their professional, personal and writing lives. While earning their degrees, students connect with other writers at readings and other events in an artistic community that extends beyond the University into Chicagoʼs vibrant literary scene.

About the MA in Writing

Writing program goals, ma in writing courses, curriculum for ma in writing, writing faculty, master's in writing admission, tuition and financial aid for writing, registration information for writing, careers in writing.

Juan Martinez

Some of the bravest, most interesting writers I've encountered come from this program. They've lived, they've been out in the world, and they're willing to find ways to transmute that experience into compelling, transformative work.”

Students form lasting bonds with each other and with their professors. The years students have spent in the SPS creative writing program, some have told me, are the most creatively rewarding ones they've experienced.”

Christine Sneed

Teaching in Northwestern's part-time writing program has been a career highlight for me. The program is enriched by its students who come from various backgrounds and careers. The diversity of passions, insights and life experiences helps to create a truly unique and rewarding learning experience.”

  • To help students determine the strengths and weaknesses of their writing, and learn how to evaluate criticism of their work
  • To teach students how to take their writing apart, re-think and revise it
  • To show students how to experiment with different styles and forms
  • To guide students in creating a publishable manuscript or portion of one
  • To teach students how to read literature as a writer and a critic
  • To train students to teach creative writing, informed by current pedagogy and classroom experience
  • To give students the opportunity to edit an international literary magazine with their peers
  • To provide students with the tools to create strong applications for jobs in teaching, publishing, and editing

Core Courses

  • 3-4 workshops in a chosen genre: poetry, fiction, nonfiction, or popular fiction (number of workshops depends on specialization)
  • 2 graduate-level literature courses


  • Courses drawn from MCW special topics courses, internships in teaching, publishing, and arts administration, literature courses or liberal studies courses. Students may also take an independent study courses as an elective.


  • MCW 590 Capstone Writing and Revision

Electives are chosen from the graduate course offerings in the Master of Arts in Literature program, creative writing special topics courses (MCW 490) and the seminars and internships (practica) in teaching and publishing. Since good writers also need to be good readers, students must take electives in literary studies. Recent electives include courses on reading poetry; the narrator in fiction, nonfiction and poetry; and writing humor. Independent studies round out the program and provide an opportunity to strengthen writing portfolios.

The final project of both the MA and MFA programs is a creative thesis, an original work of high literary merit (judged on the basis of art as well as craft). The creative thesis is structured and revised under the supervision of a faculty member (or faculty mentor) and a second reader. The project may be one long piece or a series of shorter pieces. It may include or be an expansion of work written during the student's course of study as long as it represents a culminating effort to shape stories, prose pieces, a long piece, or a group of poems into a coherent, self-sufficient work. This large-scale project supplements the smaller-scale study of craft with the invaluable experience of creating a larger work. And for students who plan to pursue book-length publication after graduation, the master's creative thesis may be the first version of a work in progress.

Northwestern also offers a part-time MFA program in Prose and Poetry .

Explore MA in Writing Courses . You can narrow your course search by day, location or instructor.

Learn from a faculty of esteemed writers in small-group workshops where instructors facilitate discussions that help students examine and address strengths and weaknesses in their writing as well as open up possibilities for re-thinking and revising. Get to know the instructors on our MA in Writing Faculty page.

Candidates for admission to the MA in Writing program must hold a bachelor's degree from a regionally accredited institution or its foreign equivalent and possess a strong academic record, preferably in English, writing or related fields. For a complete list of requirements, see the Admission page for SPS graduate programs.

Tuition for the MA in Writing program at Northwestern is comparable to similar US programs. Financial aid opportunities exist for students at Northwestern. Complete details can be found on the MA in Writing Tuition and Financial Aid pages.

Already accepted into the Master's in Writing program? Get ahead and register for your classes as soon as possible to ensure maximum efficiency in your progress. 


Northwestern University’s MA in Writing is an art degree. Students pursue the degrees in order to become better writers, able to create prose and poetry that draw on a full range of the craft. On a more practical level, MA students become better writers, which prepares them for a variety of careers. For details visit the  Writing Career Options page.

Find out more about Northwestern's MA in Writing

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MSt in Creative Writing

  • Entry requirements
  • Funding and Costs

College preference

  • How to Apply

About the course

The MSt in Creative Writing is a two-year, part-time master's degree course offering a unique combination of high contact hours, genre specialisation, and critical and creative breadth.

The emphasis of the course is cross-cultural and cross-genre, pointing up the needs and challenges of the contemporary writer who produces their creative work in the context of a global writerly and critical community.

The MSt offers a clustered learning format of five residences, two guided retreats and one research placement over two years. The research placement, a distinguishing feature of the course, provides between one and two weeks' in-house experience of writing in the real world.

The first year concentrates equally on prose fiction, poetry, dramatic writing and narrative non-fiction. There is a significant critical reading and analysis component, which is linked to the writerly considerations explored in each of the genres. In your second year you will specialise in one of the following:

  • short fiction
  • radio drama
  • screenwriting
  • stage drama
  • narrative non-fiction.

The residences in particular offer an intensive workshop- and seminar-based forum for ideas exchange and for the opening up of creative and critical frameworks within which to develop writerly and analytical skills. There is a strong element of one-to-one tutorial teaching. Tutorials take place within residences and retreats, and relate to the on-going work produced for the course.

You will be assigned a supervisor who will work closely with you throughout the development of the year two final project and extended essay. All assessed work throughout the two years of the course is subject to one-to-one feedback and discussion with a tutor. This intensive, one-to-one input, combined with the highly interactive workshop and seminar sessions, is a distinguishing feature of the course.


The allocation of graduate supervision for this course is the responsibility of the Department for Continuing Education and this role will usually be performed by the Course Director.

You will be allocated a supervisor to guide and advise you on your creative and critical work throughout the second year.

It is not always possible to accommodate the preferences of incoming graduate students to work with a particular member of staff. Under exceptional circumstances a supervisor may be found outside the Department for Continuing Education.

The MSt is assessed by coursework. In the first year, four assignments (two creative, two critical), one creative writing portfolio and one critical essay are submitted. Work is set during each residence and handed in for assessment before the next meeting. Feedback on work submitted is given during tutorials within the residence or retreat. In the second year, submissions comprise one research placement report, one extended critical essay, and a final project – a substantial body of creative work in the genre of choice. 

You will be set specific creative and critical work to be completed between residences and handed in to set deadlines. Creative submissions in the first year must be in more than one genre. In the second year, submitted work focuses around the genre of your choice.

Graduate destinations

Graduate destinations have included publishing creative work in a chosen field, careers in arts/media, and doctoral programmes in creative writing.

Changes to this course and your supervision

The University will seek to deliver this course in accordance with the description set out in this course page. However, there may be situations in which it is desirable or necessary for the University to make changes in course provision, either before or after registration. The safety of students, staff and visitors is paramount and major changes to delivery or services may have to be made in circumstances of a pandemic, epidemic or local health emergency. In addition, in certain circumstances, for example due to visa difficulties or because the health needs of students cannot be met, it may be necessary to make adjustments to course requirements for international study.

Where possible your academic supervisor will not change for the duration of your course. However, it may be necessary to assign a new academic supervisor during the course of study or before registration for reasons which might include illness, sabbatical leave, parental leave or change in employment.

For further information please see our page on changes to courses and the provisions of the student contract regarding changes to courses.

Entry requirements for entry in 2024-25

Proven and potential academic excellence.

The requirements described below are specific to this course and apply only in the year of entry that is shown. You can use our interactive tool to help you  evaluate whether your application is likely to be competitive .

Please be aware that any studentships that are linked to this course may have different or additional requirements and you should read any studentship information carefully before applying. 

Degree-level qualifications

As a minimum, applicants should hold or be predicted to achieve the following UK qualifications or their equivalent:

  • a first-class or upper second-class undergraduate degree with honours  in a related field.

For applicants with a degree from the USA, the minimum GPA normally sought is 3.6 out of 4.0.

If your degree is not from the UK or another country specified above, visit our International Qualifications page for guidance on the qualifications and grades that would usually be considered to meet the University’s minimum entry requirements.

GRE General Test scores

No Graduate Record Examination (GRE) or GMAT scores are sought.

Other qualifications, evidence of excellence and relevant experience 

  • Assessors are looking for writers with a proven record of commitment to their craft, whose work demonstrates significant creative promise. You should be a keen reader, and bring an open-minded, questioning approach to both reading and writing. You will not necessarily have yet achieved publication, but you will have written regularly and read widely over a sustained period. You will be keen to dedicate time and energy and staying-power to harnessing your talent, enlarging your skills, and aiming your writerly production at consistently professional standards. It is likely you will have a first degree, or equivalent, although in some cases other evidence of suitability may be acceptable.
  • Applicants do not need to be previously published, but the MSt is unlikely to be suitable for those who are just starting out on their writerly and critical development.

English language proficiency

This course requires proficiency in English at the University's  higher level . If your first language is not English, you may need to provide evidence that you meet this requirement. The minimum scores required to meet the University's higher level are detailed in the table below.

*Previously known as the Cambridge Certificate of Advanced English or Cambridge English: Advanced (CAE) † Previously known as the Cambridge Certificate of Proficiency in English or Cambridge English: Proficiency (CPE)

Your test must have been taken no more than two years before the start date of your course. Our Application Guide provides  further information about the English language test requirement .

Declaring extenuating circumstances

If your ability to meet the entry requirements has been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic (eg you were awarded an unclassified/ungraded degree) or any other exceptional personal circumstance (eg other illness or bereavement), please refer to the guidance on extenuating circumstances in the Application Guide for information about how to declare this so that your application can be considered appropriately.

You will need to register three referees who can give an informed view of your academic ability and suitability for the course. The  How to apply  section of this page provides details of the types of reference that are required in support of your application for this course and how these will be assessed.

Supporting documents

You will be required to supply supporting documents with your application. The  How to apply  section of this page provides details of the supporting documents that are required as part of your application for this course and how these will be assessed.

Performance at interview

Interviews are normally held as part of the admissions process.  

For those applying by the January deadline, interviews are generally held in February and March. For March applicants, interviews are generally held in March and April.

The decision to call an applicant for interview is based on the University Admission Board's assessment of your portfolio, statement of purpose, academic and professional track record and references. Interviews will be conducted in person or by telephone. All applicants whose paper submissions indicate they are qualified for entry will generally be interviewed, either in person or by telephone/Skype. There are always two interviewers. Interviews usually last up to approximately 30 minutes and provide an opportunity for the candidate to discuss his/her application and to explore the course in more detail.

The interview is designed to ascertain, through a range of questions, the shape and emphasis of the candidate's writing and reading, and general suitability for the demands of the MSt. 

How your application is assessed

Your application will be assessed purely on your proven and potential academic excellence and other entry requirements described under that heading.

References  and  supporting documents  submitted as part of your application, and your performance at interview (if interviews are held) will be considered as part of the assessment process. Whether or not you have secured funding will not be taken into consideration when your application is assessed.

An overview of the shortlisting and selection process is provided below. Our ' After you apply ' pages provide  more information about how applications are assessed . 

Shortlisting and selection

Students are considered for shortlisting and selected for admission without regard to age, disability, gender reassignment, marital or civil partnership status, pregnancy and maternity, race (including colour, nationality and ethnic or national origins), religion or belief (including lack of belief), sex, sexual orientation, as well as other relevant circumstances including parental or caring responsibilities or social background. However, please note the following:

  • socio-economic information may be taken into account in the selection of applicants and award of scholarships for courses that are part of  the University’s pilot selection procedure  and for  scholarships aimed at under-represented groups ;
  • country of ordinary residence may be taken into account in the awarding of certain scholarships; and
  • protected characteristics may be taken into account during shortlisting for interview or the award of scholarships where the University has approved a positive action case under the Equality Act 2010.

Processing your data for shortlisting and selection

Information about  processing special category data for the purposes of positive action  and  using your data to assess your eligibility for funding , can be found in our Postgraduate Applicant Privacy Policy.

Admissions panels and assessors

All recommendations to admit a student involve the judgement of at least two members of the academic staff with relevant experience and expertise, and must also be approved by the Director of Graduate Studies or Admissions Committee (or equivalent within the department).

Admissions panels or committees will always include at least one member of academic staff who has undertaken appropriate training.

Other factors governing whether places can be offered

The following factors will also govern whether candidates can be offered places:

  • the ability of the University to provide the appropriate supervision for your studies, as outlined under the 'Supervision' heading in the  About  section of this page;
  • the ability of the University to provide appropriate support for your studies (eg through the provision of facilities, resources, teaching and/or research opportunities); and
  • minimum and maximum limits to the numbers of students who may be admitted to the University's taught and research programmes.

Offer conditions for successful applications

If you receive an offer of a place at Oxford, your offer will outline any conditions that you need to satisfy and any actions you need to take, together with any associated deadlines. These may include academic conditions, such as achieving a specific final grade in your current degree course. These conditions will usually depend on your individual academic circumstances and may vary between applicants. Our ' After you apply ' pages provide more information about offers and conditions . 

In addition to any academic conditions which are set, you will also be required to meet the following requirements:

Financial Declaration

If you are offered a place, you will be required to complete a  Financial Declaration  in order to meet your financial condition of admission.

Disclosure of criminal convictions

In accordance with the University’s obligations towards students and staff, we will ask you to declare any  relevant, unspent criminal convictions  before you can take up a place at Oxford.

The department is committed to supporting you to pursue your academic goals. 

The Rewley House Continuing Education Library , one of the Bodleian Libraries, is situated in Rewley House. The department aims to support the wide variety of subjects covered by departmental courses at many academic levels. The department also has a collection of around 73,000 books together with periodicals. PCs in the library give access to the internet and the full range of electronic resources subscribed to by the University of Oxford. Wi-Fi is also available. The Jessop Reading Room adjoining the library is available for study. You will have access to the Central Bodleian and other Bodleian Libraries.

The department's Graduate School provides a stimulating and enriching learning and research environment for the department's graduate students, fostering intellectual and social interaction between graduates of different disciplines and professions from the UK and around the globe. The Graduate School will help you make the most of the wealth of resources and opportunities available, paying particular regard to the support and guidance needed if you are following a part-time graduate programme. The department’s graduate community comprises over 600 members following taught programmes and more than 70 undertaking doctoral research.

The department provides various IT facilities , including the Student Computing Facility which provides individual PCs for your use. Many of the department's courses are delivered through blended learning or have a website to support face-to-face study. In most cases, online support is delivered through a virtual learning environment. 

Depending on the programme you are taking with the department, you may require accommodation at some point in your student career. Rewley House is ideally located in central Oxford; the city's historic sites, colleges, museums, shops and restaurants are only a few minutes’ walk away. The department has 35 en-suite study bedrooms, all with high quality amenities, including internet access.

The Rewley House dining room has seating for up to 132 people. A full meal service is available daily. The department operates a Common Room with bar for students. 

Department for Continuing Education

The need for new learning opportunities throughout life is now recognised throughout society. An intensive, initial period of higher education is not always enough in times of rapid social, economic and technological change. The Department for Continuing Education is known worldwide as a leading provider of extended learning for professional and personal development.

The department provides high-quality, flexible, part-time graduate education, tailored for adults. Students can undertake graduate-level certificates, diplomas and taught master’s degrees in a wide range of subjects. Increasing numbers of courses are delivered in mixed mode, combining intensive periods of residence in Oxford with tutored online study.

The department recruits adult students of all ages on a regional, national and international level. Many courses are offered jointly with other academic departments around the University. Courses are offered in the following areas:

  • Mathematical, physical and life sciences
  • Medical and health sciences
  • Social sciences .

All postgraduate students on the department's courses are members of its Graduate School. The Graduate School aims to provide a stimulating and enriching environment for learning and research. It also fosters intellectual and social interaction between students coming from different disciplines and professions. Interdisciplinary research seminars, training opportunities and other events are offered by the Graduate School in support of this goal.

All masters' and DPhil applicants are considered for Clarendon Scholarships . The department is committed to seeking scholarship support for other students wherever possible.

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The University expects to be able to offer over 1,000 full or partial graduate scholarships across the collegiate University in 2024-25. You will be automatically considered for the majority of Oxford scholarships , if you fulfil the eligibility criteria and submit your graduate application by the relevant December or January deadline. Most scholarships are awarded on the basis of academic merit and/or potential. 

For further details about searching for funding as a graduate student visit our dedicated Funding pages, which contain information about how to apply for Oxford scholarships requiring an additional application, details of external funding, loan schemes and other funding sources.

Please ensure that you visit individual college websites for details of any college-specific funding opportunities using the links provided on our college pages or below:

Please note that not all the colleges listed above may accept students on this course. For details of those which do, please refer to the College preference section of this page.

Further information about funding opportunities for this course can be found on the department's website.

Annual fees for entry in 2024-25

Further details about fee status eligibility can be found on the fee status webpage.

Information about course fees

Course fees are payable each year, for the duration of your fee liability (your fee liability is the length of time for which you are required to pay course fees). For courses lasting longer than one year, please be aware that fees will usually increase annually. For details, please see our guidance on changes to fees and charges .

Course fees cover your teaching as well as other academic services and facilities provided to support your studies. Unless specified in the additional information section below, course fees do not cover your accommodation, residential costs or other living costs. They also don’t cover any additional costs and charges that are outlined in the additional information below.

Where can I find further information about fees?

The Fees and Funding  section of this website provides further information about course fees , including information about fee status and eligibility  and your length of fee liability .

Additional information

This course has residential sessions (residences and retreats) in Oxford. You will need to meet your travel costs in attending these sessions. The tuition fee includes the cost of board and lodging during the residences and retreats (eg for a four day residence, three nights accommodation will be provided). Further, as part of your course requirements, you will need to complete a research placement in the second year. For this placement you will need to meet your travel and accommodation costs, and any other incidental expenses. You may be able to apply for small grants from your department and/or college to help you cover some of these expenses. Further information about departmental funding can be found on the department's website. Please check with your specific college for bursary or other funding possibilities.

Living costs

In addition to your course fees, you will need to ensure that you have adequate funds to support your living costs for the duration of your course.

For the 2024-25 academic year, the range of likely living costs for full-time study is between c. £1,345 and £1,955 for each month spent in Oxford. Full information, including a breakdown of likely living costs in Oxford for items such as food, accommodation and study costs, is available on our living costs page. The current economic climate and high national rate of inflation make it very hard to estimate potential changes to the cost of living over the next few years. When planning your finances for any future years of study in Oxford beyond 2024-25, it is suggested that you allow for potential increases in living expenses of around 5% each year – although this rate may vary depending on the national economic situation. UK inflationary increases will be kept under review and this page updated.

If you are studying part-time your living costs may vary depending on your personal circumstances but you must still ensure that you will have sufficient funding to meet these costs for the duration of your course.

Students enrolled on this course will belong to both a department/faculty and a college. Please note that ‘college’ and ‘colleges’ refers to all 43 of the University’s colleges, including those designated as societies and permanent private halls (PPHs). 

If you apply for a place on this course you will have the option to express a preference for one of the colleges listed below, or you can ask us to find a college for you. Before deciding, we suggest that you read our brief  introduction to the college system at Oxford  and our  advice about expressing a college preference . For some courses, the department may have provided some additional advice below to help you decide.

The following colleges accept students on the MSt in Creative Writing:

  • Blackfriars
  • Brasenose College
  • Campion Hall
  • Harris Manchester College
  • Keble College
  • Kellogg College
  • Lady Margaret Hall
  • Oriel College
  • Regent's Park College
  • St Catherine's College
  • Somerville College
  • Wadham College
  • Wycliffe Hall

Before you apply

Our  guide to getting started  provides general advice on how to prepare for and start your application. You can use our interactive tool to help you  evaluate whether your application is likely to be competitive .

If it's important for you to have your application considered under a particular deadline – eg under a December or January deadline in order to be considered for Oxford scholarships – we recommend that you aim to complete and submit your application at least two weeks in advance . Check the deadlines on this page and the  information about deadlines  in our Application Guide.

Application fee waivers

An application fee of £75 is payable per course application. Application fee waivers are available for the following applicants who meet the eligibility criteria:

  • applicants from low-income countries;
  • refugees and displaced persons; 
  • UK applicants from low-income backgrounds; and 
  • applicants who applied for our Graduate Access Programmes in the past two years and met the eligibility criteria.

You are encouraged to  check whether you're eligible for an application fee waiver  before you apply.

Do I need to contact anyone before I apply?

You do not need to make contact with the department before you apply but you are encouraged to visit the relevant departmental webpages to read any further information about your chosen course.

If you have any questions about the course, these should be directed to the course administrator via the contact details provided on this page.

Completing your application

You should refer to the information below when completing the application form, paying attention to the specific requirements for the supporting documents . 

If any document does not meet the specification, including the stipulated word count, your application may be considered incomplete and not assessed by the academic department. Expand each section to show further details.

Referees: Three overall, academic and/or professional

Whilst you must register three referees, the department may start the assessment of your application if two of the three references are submitted by the course deadline and your application is otherwise complete. Please note that you may still be required to ensure your third referee supplies a reference for consideration.

Your references will support your commitment to creative writing and suitability to pursue a course of this nature at graduate level. Both professional and academic references are acceptable.

Official transcript(s)

Your transcripts should give detailed information of the individual grades received in your university-level qualifications to date. You should only upload official documents issued by your institution and any transcript not in English should be accompanied by a certified translation.

More information about the transcript requirement is available in the Application Guide.

A CV/résumé is compulsory for all applications. Most applicants choose to submit a document of one to two pages highlighting their academic and writerly achievements and any relevant professional experience.

Statement of purpose: A maximum of 750 words

The statement of purpose should contain sufficient detail to allow it to be assessed against the indicated criteria.

Your statement should be written in English and explain your motivation for applying for the course at Oxford, your relevant experience and education, and the specific areas that interest you and/or in which you intend to specialise.

If possible, please ensure that the word count is clearly displayed on the document.

This will be assessed for:

  • your reasons for applying
  • evidence of motivation for and understanding of the proposed area of study
  • the ability to present a reasoned case in English
  • commitment to the subject, beyond the requirements of the degree course
  • capacity for sustained and intense work
  • reasoning ability and quality of written expression
  • capacity to address issues of writerly and critical significance.

Written work: A maximum of 2,000 words of prose fiction or narrative non-fiction or 10 short poems or 15 minutes of dramatic writing (stage, screen, radio or TV)

Your portfolio of creative writing for assessment can be in any of the four genres, or in more than one. It should be clearly indicative of your ability in creative writing.

This will be assessed for excellence in creative writing.

Start or continue your application

You can start or return to an application using the relevant link below. As you complete the form, please  refer to the requirements above  and  consult our Application Guide for advice . You'll find the answers to most common queries in our FAQs.

Application Guide   Apply


Open to applications for entry in 2024-25

12:00 midday UK time on:

Friday 19 January 2024 Latest deadline for most Oxford scholarships

Friday 1 March 2024 Applications may remain open after this deadline if places are still available - see below

A later deadline shown under 'Admission status' If places are still available,  applications may be accepted after 1 March . The 'Admissions status' (above) will provide notice of any later deadline.

*Three-year average (applications for entry in 2021-22 to 2023-24)

Further information and enquiries

This course is offered by the Department for Continuing Education

  • Course page  and blog on  department website
  • Funding information from the department
  • Academic staff
  • Departmental research
  • Continuing Education Graduate School
  • Postgraduate applicant privacy policy

Course-related enquiries

Advice about contacting the department can be found in the How to apply section of this page

[email protected] ☎ +44 (0)1865 280145

Application-process enquiries

See the application guide

Visa eligibility for part-time study

We are unable to sponsor student visas for part-time study on this course. Part-time students may be able to attend on a visitor visa for short blocks of time only (and leave after each visit) and will need to remain based outside the UK.

Brooklyn College

Creative Writing, M.F.A

School of humanities and social sciences, program overview.

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

Creative Writing, M.F.A

Where You'll Go

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

Program Details

The program information listed here reflects the approved curriculum for the 2023-2024 academic year per the Brooklyn College Bulletin. Bulletins from past academic years can be found here .

Program Description

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

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

Matriculation Requirements

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

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

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

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

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

Program Requirements (36 Credits)

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

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

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

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

Students choose a specialization in one of the following:



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

Student Learning Outcomes

Department goal 1: read and think critically..

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

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

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

Department Goal 2: Understand how language operates.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Department Goal 4: Conduct research.

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

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

Outcomes for demonstrating achievement of objectives

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

Contributions to class discussions and workshops

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

Admissions Requirements

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

Supporting Documents for Matriculation

Submit the following documents to the Office of Graduate Admissions:

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

Required Tests

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

Refer to the instructions at Graduate Admissions .

Geoffrey Minter

[email protected] 718.951.5000 x3651 3149 Boylan Hall

Or contact:

Office of Graduate Admissions

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

Office Hours

Mondays–Fridays, 9 a.m.–5 p.m.

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

BC Admissions Appointment Tool


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

Joshua Henkin, Coordinator

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Talk to a Playwright

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

  • Frank Boudreaux
  • Leslie Gauthier

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

Julie Agoos, Coordinator

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

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

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

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

Talk to a Student

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

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

Departmental Information

Application process, how do i apply.

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

What is your rate of acceptance?

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

When will I find out if I was accepted?

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

Do you require the GRE?

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

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

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

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

How should the 20-page poetry manuscript be formatted?

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

What should be in the personal statement?

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

Who should write my recommendation letters?

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

How should recommendation letters be submitted?

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

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

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

What is an official transcript?

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

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

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

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

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

May I apply to two different genres?

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

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

  • Fiction—324
  • Playwriting—325

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

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

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

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

How do I reapply?

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

Getting to Know the Program

Do you hold an open house.

Yes. Information will be available soon.

May I speak to a current or recent student?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Where can I obtain information pertaining to international students?

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

Financial Information

What is the cost of tuition.

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

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

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

Do you offer funding?

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

Do you offer teaching opportunities?

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

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

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

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

Do you offer a health insurance plan.

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

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

From the Literary Scene:

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

Program Awards

2019–20 program awards.

Zoya Haroon received the 2020 Ross Feld Award.

Chelsea Baumgarten received the 2020 Carole and Irwin Lainoff Prize.

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

2018–19 Program Awards

Nalea Ko received the 2019 Ross Feld Award.

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

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

2017–18 Program Awards

Sameet Dhillon received the 2018 Ross Feld Award.

Jenzo Duque received the 2018 Carole and Irwin Lainoff Prize.

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

2016–17 Program Awards

Alexander Celia received the 2018 Ross Feld Award.

Alexandra Kessler received the 2017 Carole and Irwin Lainoff Prize.

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

2015–16 Program Awards

Alexander Kessler received the 2017 Ross Feld Award.

Jane Pek received the 2017 Carole and Irwin Lainoff Prize.

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

2014–15 Program Awards

Jacob Kaplan received the 2015 Ross Feld Award.

Lindsay Whalen received the 2015 Carole and Irwin Lainoff Prize.

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

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

2013–14 Program Awards

Marie Avetria received the 2014 Ross Feld Award.

Amanda DeMatto received the 2014 Carole and Irwin Lainoff Prize.

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

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

Selected Student Publications

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

  • Buffalo Lockjaw , 2009

Mark Ari, M.F.A. Fiction 1985

  • The Shoemaker’s Tale , 2000

Rilla Askew, M.F.A. Fiction 1989

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

Paul Beatty, M.F.A. Poetry 1989

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

Lauren Belski, M.F.A. Fiction 2010

  • Whatever Used to Grow Around Here , 2012

Adam Berlin, M.F.A. Fiction 1991

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

Anselm Berrigan, M.F.A. Poetry 1998

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

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

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

Star Black, M.F.A. Poetry 1984

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

Victoria Bond, M.F.A. Poetry 2005

  • Zora and Me (co-author), 2010

Thomas Bradshaw, M.F.A. Playwriting 2004

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

Joanna Cantor, M.F.A. Fiction 2011

  • Alternative Remedies for Loss , 2018

Maisy Card, M.F.A. Fiction 2010

  • These Ghosts Are Family , 2020

Bryan Charles, M.F.A. Fiction 2003

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

Erin Courtney, M.F.A. Playwriting 2003

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

Amanda Davis, M.F.A. Fiction 1998

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

Molly Dektar, M.F.A. Fiction 2015

  • The Ash Family , 2019

Tom Devaney, M.F.A. Poetry 1998

  • The American Pragmatist Fell In Love , 1999

Heidi Diehl, M.F.A. Fiction 2011

  • Lifelines , 2019

Marcella Durand, M.F.A. Poetry 1995

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

Juliet Escoria, M.F.A. Fiction 2011

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

Amy Fox, M.F.A. 2005

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

James Franco, M.F.A. Fiction 2010

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

Elizabeth Gaffney, M.F.A. Fiction 1997

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

Sean Garritty, M.F.A. Poetry 2006

  • Lie Nearest Truth , 2011

Thea Goodman, M.F.A. Fiction 1995

  • The Sunshine When She’s Gone , 2013

CJ Hauser, M.F.A. Fiction 2009

  • The From-Aways , 2014

Elliott Holt, M.F.A. Fiction 2006

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

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

  • Electric Literature (Founders) , 2009

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

  • Bright Lines , 2015

Amelia Kahaney, M.F.A. Fiction 2006

  • The Brokenhearted , 2013

Andrew Kaufman, M.F.A. Poetry 1986

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

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

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

Stellar Kim, M.F.A. Fiction 2005

  • Short story: ‘Findings and Impressions’, 2007

Suki Kim, M.F.A. Fiction 1997

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

Amy King, M.F.A. Poetry 2000

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

Kristen Kosmas, M.F.A. Playwriting 2011

  • The Mayor of Baltimore and Anthem , 2013

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

  • The Incendiaries , 2018

Gracie Leavitt, M.F.A. Poetry 2011

  • Monkeys, Minor Planet, Average Star , 2014

Marlene Lee, M.F.A. Fiction 2010

  • The Absent Woman , 2013

Halimah Marcus, M.F.A. Fiction 2012

  • Short story: ‘Swimming’, 2010

Sharon Mesmer, M.F.A. Poetry 1990

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

Emily Mitchell, M.F.A. Fiction 2005

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

Cristina Moracho, M.F.A. Fiction 2008

  • Althea & Oliver , 2014

Stephen Motika, M.F.A. Poetry 2010

  • Western Practice , 2012

Christina Olivares, M.F.A. Poetry 2010

  • No Map of the Earth Includes Stars , 2015

Jeffrey Oliver, M.F.A. Fiction 2002

  • Failure to Thrive , 2011

Helen Phillips, M.F.A. Fiction 2007

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

Sapphire, M.F.A. Poetry 1995

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

Sara Shepard, M.F.A. Fiction 2005

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

Mohan Sikka, M.F.A. Fiction 2006

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

Lysette Simmons, M.F.A. Poetry 2013

  • Dear Robert , 2013

David Trinidad, M.F.A. Poetry 1990

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

Jenny Williams, M.F.A. Fiction 2011

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

John Yau, M.F.A. Poetry 1978

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

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

  • Play: ‘The Appeal’, 2006

Julie Agoos

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

Anselm Berrigan

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

Erin Courtney

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

LaTasha Diggs

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

Myla Goldberg

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

David Grubbs

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

Joshua Henkin

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

Lisa Jarnot

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

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

Fiona Maazel

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

Ernesto Mestre

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

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

Sigrid Nunez

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

Jenny Offill

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

Julie Orringer

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

Helen Phillips

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

Madeleine Thien

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

Mónica de la Torre

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

Ellen Tremper

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

Mac Wellman

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

The Support You’ll Find

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

Eric Alterman

Eric Alterman

Eric Alterman is a CUNY Distinguished Professor of English and Journalism. He was the “The ...

Sophia Bamert

Sophia Bamert

Matthew  Burgess

Matthew Burgess

Matthew Burgess began teaching at Brooklyn College in 1999 while pursuing his M.F.A. in Poetry. H...

Monica De La Torre

Monica De La Torre

Joseph Entin

Joseph Entin

Joseph Entin teaches in the English Department and the American Studies program at Brooklyn Colle...

Nicola Masciandaro

Nicola Masciandaro

The Whim (blog) Current Projects: Appalling Melodrama, ...

Simanique Moody

Simanique Moody

Roni Natov

Roni Natov has lived her entire life (almost) at Brooklyn College, where she was a student and ha...

Jonathan Nissenbaum

Jonathan Nissenbaum

Jon Nissenbaum earned his Ph.D. under the supervision of Noam Chomsky and David Pesetsky. Before ...

Helen Phillips

Helen Phillips is the author of six books, including the novel THE NEED (Simon & Schuster, 20...

Tanya L. Pollard

Tanya L. Pollard

Tanya Pollard trained in Classics, English, and Comparative literature, at Oxford and Yale. She t...

Karl T. Steel

Karl T. Steel

For Karl Steel’s CV, see

Dorell Thomas

Dorell Thomas

Dorell Thomas earned master’s degrees in both English Adolescent Literature, Grade 7-12 and...

Ellen Tremper

Native New Yorker Ellen Tremper has taught at New York University and joined the Brooklyn College...

Internships and Employers

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

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Online MFA in Creative Writing Master of Fine Arts

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Earn an MFA in Creative Writing Online

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

.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 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

The BLS predicts an 8% growth in available postsecondary teaching positions through 2032. 1

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

Writers and authors made a median annual salary of $73,150 in 2022, while editors made $73,080 and postsecondary teachers made $80,840. 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.

Frequently Asked Questions

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Student Spotlight: Hassan Seales, AA in Liberal Arts Grad

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5 Major Misconceptions About the Romance Genre

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Best Master's in Creative Writing (MFA) Online

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Best Master's in Creative Writing Online

Master's in creative writing programs are ideal for students who love writing and aspire to make a living through the craft.Creative writers build worlds, develop stories, and create characters that engage and entertain readers. Writers often choose genres and stories that relate to their own interests. For instance, a traveler may write creative nonfiction pieces about tourist locations, and writers who are interested in the American West often write western novels.

Creative writing graduates can also pursue careers in other fields. For example, they may write marketing advertisements, political speeches, or technical pieces for instructional manuals. Over half of writers and authors are self-employed.

These careers require editing, writing, and research skills. Editors must also have an understanding of genre fundamentals. To gain the necessary knowledge, students can earn a master's in creative writing online.

The following guide provides information about the top online writing programs in the country and what you can do with a creative writing degree after graduation.

Featured MFA Programs

Best master’s in creative writing programs online.

We use datasets from sources like the National Center for Education Statistics to inform the data for these schools. is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site. from our partners appear among these rankings and are indicated as such. All data is current as of the date this article was published. Program-specific information may vary.

#1 Best Master’s in Creative Writing (MFA) Online

The University of Texas at El Paso

The University of Texas at El Paso hosts a top-ranked creative writing program. The MFA in creative writing builds specialized skills for advanced practice, preparing graduates for leadership positions with increased salary potential. After earning a master's degree, candidates can also pursue careers in new industries.

The master's curriculum explores theoretical and practical perspectives in the field. Learners take electives and other specialized courses to gain career-specific training. Applicants without a background in creative writing may need to complete prerequisite courses before enrolling in the master's program.

Online enrollees add to their resume by pursuing internship opportunities at approved locations in their local area. Graduate students also participate in networking events to expand their professional connections.

The University of Texas at El Paso at a Glance:

Type of School: Public, four-year

Admission Rate: 100%

Total Online Master's Programs: 14

Program Name: MFA in creative writing

Graduate Tuition In State: $5,497

Graduate Tuition Out of State: $14,766

#2 Best Master’s in Creative Writing (MFA) Online

University of Nebraska at Omaha

The University of Nebraska at Omaha offers an online creative writing program. Individuals prepare for advanced roles in the field during the rigorous master of fine arts in writing program. After completing a master's degree, candidates often advance in their current field or pursue new opportunities.

The master's curriculum emphasizes research methods and analytical skills. Learners focus the program with electives or a concentration. The master's program builds on undergraduate training or professional experience in writing.

Online enrollees gain real-world experience through internships offered in their local area. Experiential learning opportunities and networking events help graduate students expand their professional network.

University of Nebraska at Omaha at a Glance:

Admission Rate: 83%

Total Online Master's Programs: 6

Program Name: Master of fine arts in writing

Graduate Tuition In State: $5,558

Graduate Tuition Out of State: $14,440

#3 Best Master’s in Creative Writing (MFA) Online

Saint Leo University

The online master's in creative writing program, offered by Saint Leo University, ranks as a top program in the field. The creative writing master's program helps graduates move into leadership roles and increase their earning potential. Earning a master's degree can also help candidates pursue new career opportunities.

The master's curriculum emphasizes practical and theoretical approaches to creative writing. Learners take electives and other specialized courses to gain career-specific training. The master's program recommends a background in creative writing for applicants.

Online enrollees participate in internship programs at approved locations in their local area. Graduate students also attend networking events to expand their professional connections.

Saint Leo University at a Glance:

Type of School: Private, not-for-profit, four-year

Admission Rate: 72%

Total Online Master's Programs: 27

Program Name: Master's in creative writing

Graduate Tuition In State: $7,296

Graduate Tuition Out of State: $7,296

#4 Best Master’s in Creative Writing (MFA) Online

Central Washington University

Central Washington University, located in Ellensburg, enrolls master's students in its online creative writing program. The MA in professional and creative writing builds specialized skills for advanced practice, preparing graduates for leadership positions with increased salary potential. After completing a master's degree, candidates often pursue career advancement in their current field or a new one.

The master's curriculum emphasizes the best practices in creative writing. Learners choose electives and concentrations to prepare for focused career paths. The master's program recommends that applicants have a background in creative writing.

Online enrollees complete internship requirements at approved sites in their own community. Graduate students expand their professional networks through internships and online events.

Central Washington University at a Glance:

Admission Rate: 85%

Total Online Master's Programs: 17

Program Name: MA in professional and creative writing

Graduate Tuition In State: $9,582

Graduate Tuition Out of State: $22,449

What Is an Online Master's in Creative Writing Degree?

A master's in writing develops research, writing, and editing skills and explores story elements in different genres. For example, poetry learners study rhyme and meter, while children's writers explore child psychology and common writing techniques. Required courses often cover character development, setting research, and publishing.

Creative writing programs often include literature courses in which learners analyze famous works for writing insights. Students also create new pieces and critique classmates' work in writing workshops. These workshops hone writing, editing, and proofreading skills and increase students' professional networks. Additional requirements may include a thesis, portfolio, or internship.

Admission requirements often include writing samples and personal statements. Ideal applicants have previous writing experience.

Choosing an Online Program

Prospective students should consider program quality and flexibility when choosing a master's in writing. Learners may prefer departments with published authors as faculty, or they may prefer a program that offers the flexibility of asynchronous courses. They should also consider concentration options, completion times, and tuition costs.

The following guide provides more tips on finding the right program.

What Else Can I Expect From a Master's in Creative Writing Program?

Online MFA in creative writing programs usually offer concentrations in poetry, fiction writing, and creative nonfiction. Most programs include workshops and lectures on writing concepts like character building and plot development. These programs also introduce learners to different genres and often require a thesis.

Below are three common courses in online writing programs.

Master's in Creative Writing Curriculum

Literary genres for writers.

This course covers fiction and related subgenres, such as fantasy, romance, and historical fiction. Students explore the structures and general expectations of these genres. The course may also focus on a single type of writing, such as poetry, memoir, or nonfiction.

Character Development

This course trains students to create effective, believable characters. Coursework may prioritize character realism, consistency, and psychology within the story's context. Students examine the necessary traits of major and minor characters and build a portfolio of several character outlines.

Writing a Short Story

Learners in this course study short stories and analyze elements of writing styles. Additional topics may include syntax and short story structures. Students create a short story and undergo peer review to receive feedback. Programs may offer similar classes focused on other forms of writing, like nonfiction, poetry, or television writing.

Association of Writers and Writing Programs

AWP provides an online tool that allows users to search for writing programs by location, genre, and degree. The association connects website visitors with writing contests, funding, job opportunities, and avenues to publication. Professionals can also attend the annual AWP book fair and conference or browse the online database to find other meetings.

The Authors Guild

The Authors Guild supports writers by offering panels, book launches, and book expos. Website visitors can browse contests in fiction, poetry, and translations, or they can seek out fellowships and workshops. Members receive legal assistance for book contracts, access to writing resources, and insurance against copyright disputes.

The Writer's Center

The Writer's Center offers writing workshops for specific age groups, including adults, teenagers, and children. Members can also attend book launches and an annual poetry reading. This organization offers editing and project advising and maintains a blog that covers industry topics like publication practices, genre word counts, beta readers, and author experiences.

Careers in Creative Writing

Earning a master's in creative writing online prepares students to craft creative messages for books, articles, advertisements, speeches, scripts, and social media posts. Graduates can pursue any field that involves message creation and delivery.

The best candidates for writing careers are creative and have a strong grasp on writing structure and effective communication. Creative writers should also understand research methods, work well within deadlines, and be able to accept constructive criticism from editors. Below are a few creative writing jobs that graduates can pursue.

Writers and Authors

Writers and Authors research and write pieces for magazines, websites, publishing houses, and blogs, and may also create scripts for television, movies, or plays. They may write books for traditional or self-publishing in genres like fantasy, romance, mystery, and nonfiction.

Authors often polish their works based on editor critiques and may need to market their work as well. Companies usually expect writers to have a college degree and writing experience.

Median Annual Salary

Projected Growth Rate

make publication decisions for companies and help writers develop stories into polished products. These professionals may review small writing issues, like spelling and grammar, or larger issues, like structure, factual accuracy, continuity, and clarity.

Specific job titles include copy editor, publication assistant, and executive editor. Editors often work at newspaper and book publishing companies, or they work freelance.

Earning a master's in creative writing online gives prospective editors an advantage when competing for jobs.

Public Relations Specialists

help organizations create and uphold a positive image for the public, affecting their relationship with customers and investors. These professionals create press releases, write speeches, and research consumer preferences through social media. Public relations specialists may also review advertisements and communicate with media outlets about publicity opportunities.

These professionals can find work at advertising, educational, business, and government organizations. They need a bachelor's in a field like English, journalism, or communication. Employers may also require a portfolio and field experience.

Frequently Asked Questions

How long does it take to complete a master's in creative writing program.

Most students can earn a master's in writing in around two years.

What Can I Do With a Master's in Creative Writing?

This degree prepares students for careers as authors, editors, reporters, and public relations specialists. Graduates can also teach creative writing at colleges.

Is a Master's in Creative Writing Worth It?

Many writing careers do not require a master's degree. However, online writing programs help students polish writing skills, which can improve their salary and career prospects.

Can I Teach English With a Creative Writing Degree?

Earning a master's in writing online qualifies graduates to teach English courses at many colleges, as an MFA is often the minimum qualification for these roles. However, some schools require a doctorate for teaching positions.

What Is a Master's in Creative Writing?

Online MFA in creative writing programs explore brainstorming, writing, and editing practices for different genres. These programs often culminate in a thesis or portfolio.

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Writing, Master of Arts

Zanvyl krieger school of arts and sciences, ma in writing.

The MA in Writing program offers students the option of a fiction or nonfiction concentration to study the practice of writing in a series of workshops and reading courses. Students on the fiction track work on short stories, novellas, or novels. Students on the nonfiction track pursue long-form, literary journalism or personal essays, and memoir. 

Students in the MA in Writing program learn primarily through the practice of writing and the study of reading with a focus on craft. Depending on student goals, the program offers a broad foundation in fine arts/creative writing, in journalism, or in both fields. Some students cultivate skills to prepare for a career; others are seasoned writers who want to change focus; still others favor artistic exploration over professional ambition. Within the realm of literary writing, students have the flexibility to develop individual styles and pursue specialized subjects. The program’s goal is to create a nurturing yet demanding environment where writers work toward publication at the highest artistic and professional levels.

Admissions Criteria for all Advanced Academic Programs

Program-specific requirements.

In addition to the materials and credentials required for all programs, the Master of Arts in Writing requires:

The program’s admissions committees offer the following additional suggestions for writing samples for each concentration:

Fiction: Short stories or novel chapters in prose fiction, demonstrating literary content or themes. Any style, vision, or approach is permitted—traditional, experimental, hybrid, etc.

Nonfiction: Up to five separate works of prose nonfiction about any subject. Any nonfiction form or combination of forms, including feature article, commentary/blogs, memoir, travel, essay, profile, biography, book chapters and creative nonfiction, is permitted. Academic assignments, term papers, government reports, or scholarly criticism are not acceptable nonfiction writing samples.

Dual-Concentration Applicants

Applicants may seek formal degree candidacy in both fiction and nonfiction by submitting full writing samples in each proposed area. Such applicants should explain their multiple interest and reading in a single statement of purpose. The program makes individual admission decisions for each concentration in a dual-concentration application. Dual-concentration students must complete four more courses than the 10 required for a single-concentration degree.

Program Requirements

Students must complete ten courses:

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Master of Fine Arts in Writing, MFA

Elevate Your Writing Craft

Hone your writing skills in an area of your choice through the online Master of Fine Arts in Writing program from Lindenwood University. The Lindenwood MFA in Writing allows you to customize your degree to suite your interest by declaring an emphasis or taking courses in multiple genres. We offer a flexible, extensive curriculum with a remarkable range of courses. Focus on fiction, creative nonfiction, poetry or young adult & middle grade writing.

You have a story to tell — perhaps in a poem, article or even a novel — and Lindenwood’s online MFA creative writing program is here to help you fully express yourself as you share it. If you want to advance your writing abilities, our online Master of Poetry, Fiction or Creative Nonfiction program offers the tools and flexibility you need to succeed.

Program at a Glance

Credit Hours

Cost Per Credit

100% Online

Awards & recognitions.

masters in fiction writing

Ranked #4 Best Online Master’s in Creative Writing Degree Programs of 2024

masters in fiction writing

Ranked #5 Most Affordable Online MFA Program

masters in fiction writing

Ranked #6 Best Online Master’s Degrees in Creative Writing

masters in fiction writing

Course Spotlight

Your online MFA writing degree coursework can prepare you to leverage your passion for written expression as a platform for inspiration, information, persuasion, connectivity, and much more within the broad field of writing communications. The online MFA in writing degree explores written expression through the three primary literary lenses, covering foundational focuses such as the following:

Career Outlook

Our online MFA program in creative writing, poetry or creative nonfiction helps prepare graduates for opportunities within creative writing and other areas across writing communications. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the median annual salary for a writer is $69,510. For those interested in pursuing a role as a technical writer, the pay is even more lucrative, with BLS reporting an annual salary of $78,060.

Admissions Requirements

For admission to your program, you will need to complete your online application and submit the following documents:

Tuition Details

The cost per credit hour for this program is $561. Besides affordable tuition, we offer a generous transfer policy of up to 90 credits toward your degree completion to further offset tuition costs—to save you time and money on your education!

Frequently Asked Questions

We do not charge any fees in addition to tuition for any of our online graduate degree programs, including this online MFA writing program.

The online MFA creative writing, nonfiction writing or poetry writing program at Lindenwood allows you to transfer up to 9 credits. Learn more about our transfer policy.

Yes, there are scholarships available. Learn more about our scholarship policy by reaching out to an admissions advisor.


Explore creative writing alongside published authors with the online MFA Creative Nonfiction master’s program from Lindenwood University. The MFA creative nonfiction degree track examines the practice of writing as a creative art form—from many angles—from its history to its contemporary expression. This creative nonfiction MFA covers creative nonfiction expressed in a number of formats, including novels, short stories and essays, along with supportive topics in editing, publishing, literary analysis, and writing critiques. A master’s in creative nonfiction can help further develop your writing proficiency and style as a professional writer, or prepare you for more advanced studies in this field.

Hone your creative writing skills as you design your own curriculum across a range of courses – workshops, craft and literature classes – in the Fiction concentration of the online MFA in Writing program. The MFA in fiction writing can help you further develop your approach to composition, creative dissertation, narrative, imagery in your writing and more specialized writing tools such as metaphor. A fiction writing program can help you earn your fiction writing degree credential for career paths in areas such as communications, your MFA studies can help you commit more fully to a professional creative writing path.

Considering pursuing an online MFA poetry program? This is your chance to pursue your MFA poetry online. Enhance your poetry capabilities as you design your own curriculum and take advantage of workshops, craft classes, and literature classes in the online MFA Poetry Writing program from Lindenwood University. The MFA in Poetry online track offers an opportunity to advance your approach to your poetry writing practice, through an exploration of key areas such as structure, form, figurative language, rhyme, mood, tone and syntax. This master’s degree in poetry track prepares you to take your writing practice to the next level through publishing or continued study in this field.

Why Choose Lindenwood University Online?

Since 1832, Lindenwood University has served students worldwide with affordable, high-quality academic programs providing real experience and real success. After nearly 200 years of academic excellence, Lindenwood is committed to a set of core values, including integrity, dedication, excellence, creativity, and community.

We evolve our online degree programs to reflect the latest in academic research and innovation and to meet the top standards of higher education.



We are committed to offering our students studying online low tuition rates on top of multiple ways to save on your education.


Our programs align curriculum to industry realities from experienced instructors who share real-world insights.

We employ experts who are dedicated to helping our students with financial aid planning, enrollment counseling, tutoring services, and more.

We are committed to helping you succeed.

Throughout each step of your online degree program, you will receive support. From enrollment and tuition planning to staying on the right track, your support team is there to ensure your success.

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Writing & Publishing

Master of fine arts in fiction, imagine your book—with us.

Where is your imagination taking you? Whether the story you want to tell is a mystery or thriller, science fiction or fantasy, romance or historical, or a more current tale, King’s MFA in Fiction will help you bring your imagined world to life on the page. Bring us your idea for a fictional book, and we’ll work with you to turn it into a manuscript that’s on the road to publication.

You’ll learn the craft and practice of being an author as you hone your fiction skills under the mentorship of award-winning writers and editors. With the additional help of top publishing professionals in Canada, the United States and beyond, you’ll do all this and more in just two years. The bonus: you’ll earn a prestigious MFA degree along the way.

Come to one of our Meet & Greet sessions in person or online

The MFA in Fiction is a two-year limited-residency program. During annual June residencies on the campus at the University of King’s College in Halifax, Nova Scotia, students deepen their understanding of the art and craft of fiction writing through lectures, seminars, panels, workshops and readings, while working intensively on their own projects with their mentors. During two six-day online January residencies, one featuring guests primarily from New York and one featuring guests from the Canadian publishing industry (most based in Toronto), students learn about the latest trends in the publishing industry and discuss their writing projects with editors, agents, and publishers based in North America’s main publishing hubs. During the fall and winter semesters, students take part in occasional online webinars and readings and continue to work off-campus on their book manuscript with the support and guidance of their mentors. This limited-residency feature and the exclusive focus on fiction make the King’s MFA in Fiction unique in Canada.

We invite you to take the challenge to turn your great idea into an equally great book!

Offered in partnership with Dalhousie University.

The MFA in Fiction is a limited-residency program, with one nine-day June residency and a six-day January residency each year. Students will pursue independent writing and research in the interim, in collaboration with a project mentor. Students are free to live anywhere in these interim periods.

The nine-day June residencies are focused on the crafts of structure, research and writing. They aim to develop a strong narrative focus and scope for your work. The residency is an intensive learning experience comprised of morning sessions with mentors; afternoon lectures, Q&As and guest lectures; and evening sessions featuring student, faculty and guest readings.

The six-day January residencies are focused on the business of writing and developing the skills necessary to be a working writer in nonfiction. Students will meet with literary agents, editors and publishers, and learn crucial skills such as developing marketing plans for their book. In addition, they will meet with their mentors to continue development of their book manuscript.

During the fall and winter semesters, students work with a mentor to make progress on their book manuscript. They will establish a contract of deliverables with their mentors to be reviewed and updated each fall and winter session. Students will have a variety of mentors over the course of the program. Mentors are assigned to help students develop specific skills vital to the progress of their project.

Explore courses

Summer/fall, fiction writing craft i, wpub6300.03, fiction mentorship i, wpub6301.06, fiction publishing i, wpub6302.03, fiction mentorship ii, wpub6303.06, fiction writing craft ii, wpub6400.03, fiction mentorship iii, wpub6401.06, fiction publishing ii, wpub6402.03, fiction mentorship iv, wpub6403.06, find out more.

Students cover travel, meal and accommodation costs themselves for the summer residencies. These expenses are not covered by tuition. If you are in need of accommodation during the summer residency, contact King’s Conference Services by emailing [email protected] .

Get more information about graduate-level writing and publishing programs

Faculty & staff, gillian turnbull, director of writing & publishing, stephen kimber, inglis professor, cohort director, mfa in fiction, dido devlin, administrative support, writing & publishing, francesca ekwuyasi, mfa mentor, fiction, david huebert, genevieve scott, wanda taylor, mfa mentor, fiction & instructor (part-time), related news & blogs, september 28, 2023, peter mansbridge creates award for investigative journalism and writing at king’s.

The Peter Mansbridge Investigative Writing Award will benefit students in King’s Master of Journalism and Master of Fine Arts in Creative Nonfiction A $100,000 gift from esteemed Canadian journalist Peter Mansbridge will endow a new scholarship, the Peter Mansbridge Investigative Writing Award, to be awarded annually to a student in the second year of the…

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May 23, 2023, class of 2023 profiles: mfa graduands find the push they need to succeed.

Deb Dundas Deb Dundas says her “pandemic project” was to get a master’s and write a book. She accomplished both through the King’s MFA in Creative Nonfiction—her first book was published on May 9, and she’s already signed a deal with a major publishing house for the next one. These may seem like lofty goals,…

Tags: Alumni Campus & Community Current Students Student Profiles

May 16, 2023, writing for 'the girl in mississauga...'.

‘It felt like I wasn’t doing something insane on my own’ An interview with Sheima Benembarek “Who am I writing this for? What is the point of this? What’s the reading experience that I want people to have?” Those are the central questions Sheima Benembarek (2020) asked herself as she began writing her manuscript as…

Lana Hall MFA'2023

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Related Events

Alex fountain memorial lecture - emily wilson: "re-translating homer: why it matters", march 06, 2024, alumni hall - new academic building, 6350 coburg rd., halifax, ns.

Emily Wilson, the first woman to publish an English translation of Homer’s Odyssey in 2018 to huge acclaim, and who recently released her translation of The…

Tags: Special Lectures

Humanities today lecture series, march 11, 2024, halifax central library, 5440 spring garden rd., halifax.

Join us for the inaugural lecture of the new Humanities Today Lecture Series hosted by the Halifax Humanities Society. Dr. Roosevelt Montás of Columbia University…

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March mfa book club: kings of their own ocean, march 21, 2024, 7:00 pm - 8:30 pm, bmo room, halifax central library, 5440 spring garden road, halifax.

Join us March 21 for our March MFA Book Club - Karen Pinchin in conversation with RC Shaw Karen Pinchin is a Kjipuktuk/Halifax-based science journalist…

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Queens University Open House | March 16, 2024 | Explore campus, connect with faculty, and experience life as a Royal. | Register now!

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Helpful links, mfa in creative writing faculty.

Hal Ackerman

Instructor, Writing for Stage & Screen [email protected]

Khris Baxter

Instructor, Writing for Stage & Screen [email protected]

Peter Behrens

Instructor, Writing for Stage & Screen [email protected]

Cathy Smith Bowers

Instructor, Poetry [email protected]

Morri Creech

Associate Professor, Poetry Writer in Residence, Queens University of Charlotte [email protected]

David Christensen

Instructor, Writing for Stage & Screen [email protected]

Ann Cummins

Instructor, Fiction [email protected]

Jonathan Dee

Instructor, Fiction [email protected]

Kristin Dombek

Instructor, Nonfiction [email protected]

Shelley Evans

Instructor, Writing for Stage & Screen [email protected]

Elizabeth Gaffney

Instructor, Fiction [email protected]

Myla Goldberg

Instructor, Fiction [email protected]

Emily Fox Gordon

Instructor, Nonfiction [email protected]

Trish Harnetiaux

Instructor, Writing for Stage & Screen [email protected]

Marcus Jackson

Instructor, Poetry [email protected]

Fred Leebron

Program Director, Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing Instructor, Fiction [email protected]

Instructor, Poetry

Rebecca Lindenberg

Instructor, Poetry [email protected]

Rebecca McClanahan

Instructor, Poetry and Nonfiction [email protected]

James McKean

Instructor, Poetry and Nonfiction [email protected]

Orlando Menes

Instructor, Poetry [email protected]

Daniel Mueller

Instructor, Fiction [email protected]

Brighde Mullins

Instructor, Writing for Stage & Screen [email protected]

Instructor, Fiction [email protected]

Jenny Offill

Instructor, Fiction [email protected]

David Payne

Instructor, Fiction [email protected]

Susan Perabo

Instructor, Fiction [email protected]

Instructor, Nonfiction and Poetry [email protected]

Robert Polito

Instructor, Poetry and Nonfiction [email protected]

Patricia Powell

Instructor, Fiction [email protected]

Steven Rinehart

Instructor, Fiction [email protected]

Instructor, Fiction [email protected]

Elissa Schappell

Instructor, Fiction [email protected]

Dana Spiotta

Instructor, Fiction [email protected]

Maxine Swann

Instructor, Fiction [email protected]

Héctor Tobar

Instructor, Fiction and Nonfiction [email protected]

Ashley Warlick

Instructor, Fiction [email protected]

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Courses & Schedule

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Waitlist/course, withdrawals and refunds, more resources you may be looking for:, professional creative nonfiction writing: master’s degree.

Capture the attention of your audience with creative nonfiction writing that sparks interest and inspires action. From personal essay to memoir, literary journalism to travel writing, find your voice and tell your story. You’ll progress toward mastering the fundamentals of narrative nonfiction that connects with an audience while discovering and cultivating behavior to sustain your creative efforts.

At a Glance

Classes Begin January 8

Term Length 10 Weeks

Master's Degree Tuition $38,688

Format Asynchronous and Hybrid Online

Duration As few as 18 months

Top-Ranked University

U.S. News & World Report Rankings

Talk to an Enrollment Manager

Chris Heriza 303-871-4785 Email me

Free Application

University College is committed to educational access, and given the difficult circumstances currently impacting millions of people, we are waiving application fees.

Skills You’ll Learn

Identify and analyze key elements of creative nonfiction writing

Define your audiences and write in ways that move and entertain them

Assess your own writing and learn how to enhance its strengths and eliminate its weaknesses

Annual Schedule 5

Master of Arts in  Professional Creative Writing with a concentration in Professional Creative Nonfiction Writing  requires completion of 48 credit hours (12 courses).

Core Courses

Concentration courses, elective courses.

Learn the scope of activity, historical development, and future direction of the industry. These courses provide a foundation that you'll draw on throughout your concentration and elective courses. The capstone serves as the culminating academic experience in which you'll explore a problem of practice in your field of study.

Focus on a specific professional area within the larger industry sector and master the skills needed to excel in that area.

Elective courses may be chosen from among non core and concentration courses in the Professional Creative Writing program, and you may also select courses in other University College graduate programs.

Your academic advisor will help you select electives that align with your career and personal goals.

More Electives 5

Featured Instructors

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Patricia Dubrava Keuning

Joseph hutchison, jonah bornstein, jenn zukowski, jeff schwartz, erica hoffmeister, cindy skaggs, brian laidlaw, annie dawid, sample schedule.

Plan out your schedule and determine your preferred timeline for completing your master's degree—finish in as few as 18 months or take up to five years.

Interested in a graduate certificate?

Explore our four and six course graduate certificates in Professional Creative Nonfiction Writing .

Take a Course Before You Apply

We know how important it is to get started when you’re ready and that’s why you can enroll in a course before you officially apply.

Career Outcomes

Predicted outcomes for graduates of professional creative nonfiction writing.

Nonfiction writing is on the rise and consumers are even willing to spend more on nonfiction titles, according to a Smashwords survey. According to Publishers Weekly, adult nonfiction had the largest gains in sales compared to other genres.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that employment for writers and authors is projected to grow 9% through 2030. Writers and authors who adjust their work for online content and social media may have an advantage.

Writer and Author Salary: National Average

(u.s. bureau of labor statistics), get ahead with career services.

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Theme: job satisfaction.

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Professional Creative Writing

Flexible online classes.

We understand the demands of balancing work, friends and family, and school can be challenging. That's why at University College, you can complete your program entirely online. Our online learning platform makes it easy to work anywhere at any time.

Online Experience 5


masters in fiction writing

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The Emerson Grad Life Blog

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Why I Pursued a Popular Fiction MFA instead of an MS in Psychology

Savannah Montoya standing in a forest wearing a yellow zip-up hoodie and white t-shirt. Her hair is long and brown.

If you’re looking for a career in writing or publishing with a focus on genre fiction, Emerson’s Popular Fiction Writing and Publishing MFA may be for you. Today we’re interviewing Savannah Montoya, a current student in the program. She’ll share what led her to graduate school and what her experience has been in the Popular Fiction Writing and Publishing MFA. 

What led you to graduate school?

“In undergrad, I double-majored in English and Psychology,” Savannah says. During college, Savannah also gained leadership experience through teaching, tutoring, and working at a mental health organization. Based on her academic and professional experiences, Savannah knew that she wanted to become a professional therapist. A year after graduating from college, Savannah applied to multiple psychology and counseling graduate programs. 

However, as she applied to these programs, she had a change of heart. “I kind of had a crisis when I realized that I didn’t want to go into psychology quite yet. I really wanted to continue writing and pursue that first.” 

While she knew she could pursue writing independently, Savannah wanted the accountability and community of a graduate writing program. “I wanted to meet other people who were as passionate as I am about writing and genre fiction,” she explains. 

Savannah decided to pursue a writing MFA because she hopes to use writing as a tool when she becomes a therapist. “I would really love to create group therapy sessions that involve nonfiction and fiction writing as a method of coping, healing, and connecting with other trauma survivors,” she adds.  

Ultimately Savannah changed direction and started applying to creative writing graduate programs with the intention of circling back to psychology later on. 

Why Emerson’s Popular Fiction MFA?

Savannah looked at many graduate writing programs, but she ultimately decided on Emerson for a few key reasons. When visiting Emerson’s websites and looking through their social media accounts, Savannah says that Emerson’s commitment to equity and inclusivity impressed her.

The program’s online format was also a major deciding factor for Savannah. Because the Popular Fiction Writing and Publishing program is online and asynchronous, Savannah could enroll from her home in California without having to move to Boston. She also notes that the asynchronous format of the program was appealing to her because she could complete her coursework according to her own schedule.

“I also liked that this was a relatively new program,” Savannah adds. “It was new enough to be malleable and fit my personal needs, but it’s also offered at an established, respected college.” This flexibility within a well-recognized institution attracted Savannah. 

What is your thesis about?

In the Popular Fiction Writing and Publishing program, students complete a thesis manuscript of at least 100 pages in length. The manuscript needs to be of near-publishable quality and is intended to be the start of a novel in the student’s preferred genre. 

For her thesis, Savannah is writing a young adult fantasy novel about a 14-year-old boy named Turk, who stutters. Turk is a blacksmith’s apprentice and stumbles upon a murder that has the potential to shatter both the Human and Mage realms. 

As Turk learns more about his own powers, he finds himself accused of murder and stealing artifacts that power life in both the Human and Mage realms. “The artifacts are the source of power for life and nature in both realms. This draws on Indigenous respect for the natural world and desire to honor it by protecting it,” Savannah says. “As an Indigenous person, I wanted to incorporate Indigenous themes into the book.” 

A pile of yellowed manuscript papers

As the realms begin to fall apart without their artifacts, Turk learns that he has unique powers that could help save the realms. Reluctantly at first, Turk begins learning how to use his powers to help save the realms.  

How do you stay connected with students in the Popular Fiction MFA?

To help students in the program stay connected, Savannah started a couple of clubs and events. With help from Katie Williams , the Graduate Program Director for the popular fiction program, Savannah started a monthly virtual happy hour. During the monthly Zoom meeting, students and professors in the Popular Fiction program chat over coffee, tea, or a cocktail. This event is a chance for students and faculty to build relationships and connect outside of the classroom. Be sure to follow the popular fiction program on Instagram for more information.

In addition to the monthly happy hour, Savannah started a Graduate Student Organization for the Popular Fiction Writing and Publishing program. This club is intended to create a more robust community for students in the program. The organization plans to host writing events, social events with current students and alumni, a mentorship program, and professional events for pitching work. 

How do you balance school, work, and your personal life?

“I rely on Google Calendars a lot,” Savannah says. At the start of the semester, she enters all her school deadlines into her calendar, as well as her work schedule. “I work two jobs, so it can get quite busy. Having my schedule laid out for me is really helpful.”

Additionally, Savannah has a registered emotional support dog named Koda. “His name is inspired from the character Koda in Brother Bear , and ‘Koda’ also means ‘friend’ in Sioux,” she explains. Taking care of Koda is helpful for Savannah to make sure she takes breaks and makes time for herself.  

A potted plant in a white pot is in focus. Out of focus is a laptop showing a group of people meeting on Zoom

Do you like the online format of the Popular Fiction MFA program?

“I do!” Savannah says. One of her favorite aspects of the online, asynchronous format is the workshops. “Instead of having limited class time to workshop someone’s piece, you get the whole week to think about the piece and provide thoughtful feedback.” By having workshops via discussion boards, Savannah says that she receives more in-depth feedback from her classmates, which she appreciates. 

What’s next for you?

Savannah has multiple plans for after she graduates in December of 2024. In terms of writing, she hopes to continue publishing her work and giving back with the proceeds. Savannah has already published one poetry collection, Began with a Rose , and donates some of the sales profits to mental health organizations. Savannah shares, “The reason I titled my book this was in honor of the people online who supported my writing by commenting red roses everywhere.” She hopes to continue giving back with her first novel.

In addition to writing, Savannah hopes to teach at the college level. She currently teaches middle and high school students in a specialized school, and Savannah would like to continue teaching. 

Long-term, she would also love to get her PhD in clinical psychology so that she can work as a therapist. Savannah plans to work part or full-time as a therapist and continue writing on the side.

How can people keep up with you and your work?

To read more of Savannah’s work, be sure to follow her on Instagram and check out her website , where you can buy her poetry collection, art, and merch. 

If the Popular Fiction MFA program had a trope, what would it be?

“I think we would be the Training Sequence trope,” Savannah says. In this story type, a reluctant hero learns an important skill and then uses the skill to solve a larger problem. Savannah says that, like in the training sequence trope, popular fiction students learn valuable writing and publishing skills in graduate school. With this professional training, students have the skills they need to publish important stories.  Hopefully, this spotlight has given you a sense of what it’s like to study in Emerson’s Popular Fiction Writing and Publishing MFA program. For more information about Emerson’s writing programs, check out our Q&A blog or schedule a call with an admissions counselor today.

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Olivia Wachtel

Writing Assistant

Olivia is a second-year student in Emerson's Communication Disorders MS program. Originally from Ohio, she is loving Emerson and city life. When she's not writing for the Grad Life blog, she loves to read, bake, and crochet.

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    Northwestern's part-time Master of Arts in Writing program provides students the opportunity to grow as artists within the specializations of fiction, nonfiction, popular fiction, and poetry. A dual-genre specialization is also offered, as well as a publishing and professional development track that combines publishing industry-related ...

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