MFA in Creative Writing

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Who Are We?

About the Texas State MFA

A top ranked, funded mfa program in creative writing.


MFA faculty includes Tim O’Brien, Naomi Shihab Nye, Kali Fajardo-Anstine, and 9 full-time instructors who mentor students in completing book-length theses. Our student to faculty ratio is 6:1.


Student Accomplishments

Our Creative Writing MFA students come from a competitive international pool of applicants. Alumni have published countless books, won national awards, and secured teaching positions throughout the country.


Extensive Funding

Almost 90% of interested students receive funding in the form of graduate assistantships and scholarships. The cost of living in San Marcos is relatively low, though we're in the Austin Metro area.

Literary Community

Visiting Writers, Editors, and Agents

Our visiting writers series is one of the most robust in the country. Writers teach a master class, enjoy dinner with students, and host a craft Q&A, in addition to several readings.

Program News and Publications

Idza Luhumyo

MFA in Creative Writing

  • Program Outline
  • Alumni Books and Awards
  • TXST MFA Spotlights
  • Upcoming Events

Apply for Admission

  • Funding Details
  • Assistantships
  • International Applicants
  • Program and Financial Aid FAQ
  • Forms and Procedures
  • Financial-Support
  • Permanent Faculty
  • Endowed Chair
  • Adjunct Thesis Faculty
  • Visiting Professors —2022-2023
  • The Latest Issue
  • Submit to PHR
  • Current Students
  • Faculty & Staff
  • Family & Visitors

February 15, 2024  is the deadline for Fall admission applications. 

November 1, 2023  is the deadline for Spring admission applications. 

All applicants are automatically considered for Assistantships that begin the following academic year. 

Steps to Applying

1.) Complete an electronic application

  • Please apply through the  Graduate Application System, found here.

2.) Pay $55 application fee

  • Payment  is made at the conclusion of the application.
  • Fee Waivers: If the application fee is a serious financial burden, you may request a graduate application fee waiver by emailing The Graduate College at  [email protected]

3.) Submit copies of official transcripts from each college or university you have attended. Please see instructions within the electronic application. 

4.)   Submit three letters of recommendation  that should address (1) your academic qualifications, (2) your commitment to good citizenship in a collegial and diverse academic community, and (3) your potential as a teacher.

5.) Submit statement of purpose  (maximum 750 words) discussing your goals for your time in the three-year program:

  • How do you hope to use this time to grow as a writer? You might additionally choose to address scholarly goals, professional goals, and/or what you see as the benefits of living and working in a diverse community of writers.
  •   Discuss your experience and potential to be an effective teacher

6.) Submit a Resume or CV

7.) Upload a writing portfolio (via electronic application)

  • Fiction applicants should submit a maximum of 25 double-spaced pages of their work (short stories and/or a novel excerpts)
  • Poetry applicants should submit 12-15 poems
  • Fiction and Poetry applicants may, if they choose, also include one creative nonfiction essay or excerpt in their portfolio, subject to the same 25-page maximum for the manuscript in total
  • Please submit your portfolio as a single PDF file. The PDF must show your last name and your genre (e.g.,  Smith, Poetry ). The writing portfolio is the single most important factor in determining admission to the MFA program.   

Please note: All applicants are automatically considered for MFA scholarships and Assistantships. You can learn more about Assistantships here . MFA applicants DO NOT need to submit a separate application for an Assistantship. 

Have questions? We'd love to answer them.

For general admissions inquiries, please contact Bianca Alyssa   P érez , MFA Assistant Director, at  [email protected]

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Features • News

Apply to Study for an MFA in Creative Writing at Texas State University

by Chukwuebuka Ibeh

December 07, 2019

mfa creative writing texas state

The creative writing program at Texas State University, San Marcos, Texas is currently accepting applications for a Master’s in Fine Art (MFA) in Creative Writing, for Fall 2020. Graduates from the program have won National Endowment for the Arts Fellowships, Wallace Stegner Fellowships, an AWP Prize for Best Novel, and honorable mentions for the PEN/Faulkner Award, and have been awarded countless residencies.

In an email to Brittle Paper , Stanislav A. Rivkin, Coordinator and Assistant Director of the program, explains that theirs “offers talented writers the time and opportunity to develop skills as fiction writers or poets, network with renowned writers and agents from across the world, and attain valuable experience in the publishing industry. Throughout the program, students receive feedback on their creative work, and produce a book-length manuscript.”

The program is particularly interested in international applicants and underrepresented voices. The 2019/2020 academic year was the first time that up to three African writers were admitted: Nkiacha Atemnkeng from Cameroon, Caleb Ajinomoh from Nigeria, and Sylvia Karenzi from Rwanda. The other writers of color include the American Nigerian Chisom Ogoke and the African American Darrell Limuel. International students are advised, before applying, to send across a sample of their writing to enable the program coordinators decide if they are a good fit. This is to avoid them spending money before confirmation that the coordinators are interested in working with them.

An additional benefit is an Assistantship grant offered to about 90% of incoming students. Not only does this cover their tuition, it also affords them a modest stipend. Those receiving an Assistantship help teach university-level classes, gaining further valuable experience. And because an MFA is considered a terminal degree, their graduates who gain teaching experience are able to find jobs teaching English, Literature, and Creative Writing at many universities.

The   faculty to student ratio is 6.5. The faculty includes Tim O’Brien, Naomi Shihab Nye, Téa Obreht, Cyrus Cassells, Cecily Parks, Kathleen Peirce, Roger Jones, and Steve Wilson. Fiction and nonfiction instructors include Doug Dorst, Jennifer duBois, Tom Grimes, and Debra Monroe. Every Spring, a Poet/Instructor in Residence is hosted—in 2019, it will be Victoria Chang.

The program is located in the Greater Austin metropolitan area, which, according to Rivkin, “is a diverse, cosmopolitan, and progressive community, surrounded by natural beauty. The cost of living here is also relatively low for the U.S.”

The deadline for applications is 15 January 2020.

  • Caleb Ajinomoh
  • Chisom Ogoke
  • Darrell Limuel
  • MFA in Creative Writing
  • Nkiacha Atemnkeng
  • Stanislav A. Rivkin
  • Sylvia Karenzi
  • Texas State University

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Dotun Famoriyo January 04, 2020 01:47

Hello, sequel to this. I need the program coordinator's email so send works to him first before applying. I will appreciate your response. Thank you

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  • College of Liberal Arts
  • Creative Writing
  • Academic Programs

The University of Texas at El Paso is proud to offer a fully online Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing. Writers can complete the entire degree from anywhere in the world, as there is no residency requirement.

Our goal is to prepare serious writers for publishing and teaching careers. The degree plan consists of 48 hours of coursework - 42 hours of workshops and literature classes (14 courses), followed by 6 hours of thesis during which students complete a publishable manuscript in poetry or fiction.

We offer a workshop-heavy M.F.A., but we believe in the necessity of a background in theory and form. Our candidates enjoy a wide variety of graduate courses in literature, from the “Form of the Short Story” to “Asian American Poetry.”

We believe that the excellent reputation of our M.F.A. program is created by our faculty and the writers we graduate. Therefore, our primary goal is to connect our students with solid writers who will aid in their artistic and intellectual development.

The main criterion for admission is a writing sample in either fiction or poetry. We look for writers with distinctive or developing voices, a sense of cultural or social awareness, and a yearning to expand one’s use of the craft. It’s simple; if you’re good at what you do, we want you to study with us.

We encourage but do not favor undergraduate degrees in Creative Writing or English. Our students and graduates come from various fields, from physics to theater, and all of them enrich the writing experience. Some of our applicants are establishing themselves as writers, while some already have books published, but need the M.F.A. degree to advance in their teaching careers. Whatever level you find yourself at, we welcome your work.

Our classes and discussions are held in English, however if you feel more comfortable, or feel like exploring language, you may submit your creative assignments in Spanish.

We look forward to hearing from you.

No matter where you are in the world, write with us.

Sylvia Aguilar-Zéleny, Advisor for the Online MFA

For questions concerning the M.F.A. curriculum itself, please write us at [email protected]

For questions about the application process, please contact  [email protected]

Maestría en Escritura Creativa en Línea de UTEP

La Universidad de Texas en El Paso se enorgullece en ofrecer la Maestría en Escritura Creativa en línea completamente en español. Ahora también los escritores latinos podrán realizar sus estudios de posgrado con nosotros en tu idioma y desde cualquier lugar del mundo. 

El programa consta de 48 créditos académicos a completar en el curso de tres años. Nuestras materias cubren un amplio rango de tópicos como traducción literaria, guión, crónica, novela corta y prosa poética, entre otros. Además, si eres bilingüe puedes optar por llevar materias en inglés.

Nuestro objetivo es preparar a los escritores para que publiquen y emprendan una carrera como maestros a nivel licenciatura y posgrado. La tesis a desarrollar dentro del programa es un libro en los géneros de poesía, ficción, o no ficción. Así que al graduarte estarás listo para el mundo editorial.

Aceptamos postulantes de cualquier parte del mundo y de diversas carreras. Aunque la gran mayoría de ellos vienen del área de literatura, nuestros alumnos y graduados provienen también de áreas como física, comunicación, y teatro, consolidándose así un diálogo enriquecedor.

Buscamos escritores que tengan conciencia intercultural y social, así como un deseo por ampliar la técnica de su oficio. Todos nuestros profesores son escritores activos y destacados en la escena literaria de las Américas. Cada uno de ellos habrá de contribuir en tu desarrollo artístico e intelectual. Esta es tu oportunidad de discutir tu trabajo con voces experimentadas y consolidar tu progreso literario.

Nuestras clases son impartidas en inglés, sin embargo, nuestro profesorado es bilingüe, esto te permite escribir en el idioma que más te sientas cómodo, español o inglés, como prefieras.

Envíanos tu solicitud, queremos que estudies con nosotros, no importa en qué parte del mundo estés.

Sylvia Aguilar-Zéleny

Consejera del MFA en Línea

Universidad de Texas en El Paso. Para preguntas sobre el programa, por favor contactar a [email protected]

Preguntas sobre el proceso de admisión, por favor contactar a Samantharai Yrigoyen [email protected]

Program Information:

For prospective students, faq’s, step by step process, application check list, for current students, online mfa faculty, connect with us.

The University of Texas at El Paso Department of Creative Writing Education Building, Room 901 Additional Emails English: [email protected] Español: [email protected] MFA Online: [email protected] Undergrad: [email protected] 500 W University Ave El Paso, Texas 79968

E: [email protected] P: (915) 747-5237


Michener Center for Writers

Michener Center for Writers

Mfa in writing.

The Michener Center for Writers is the only Creative Writing M.F.A. program in the world that provides full and equal funding to every writer—yet it is our extraordinary faculty and sense of community that most distinguishes us. Our program is a three-year, fully-funded residency M.F.A. with a unique multi-disciplinary focus. Writers apply and are admitted in a primary genre—fiction, poetry, playwriting or screenwriting—and study in both their primary and a secondary genre(s). There are no teaching duties, a luxury that allows our Fellows to commit themselves fully to their writing. And because only twelve writers are admitted each year, our faculty can devote ample time and energy to every writer. With unparalleled support and the deeply held belief that literary art matters now more than ever, the Michener Center offers writers 3 years of unencumbered space to make the work that only they can make.

News & Events

Mcw fellow darius atefat-peckham is keene prize runner-up.

Michener Center Fellow Darius Atefat-Peckham has been named a runner-up for the 2024 UT Keene Prize for Literature, for an excerpt from his forthcoming book… Read more

Alumn Abe Koogler’s Play Opens to Positive Reviews

Michener Center Playwriting Alumnus Abe Koogler‘s play Staff Meal has opened to rave reviews, with recent coverage from The New York Times, Vulture, Observer, New York Theatre… Read more

Congratulations, Michener Center for Writers Class of 2024!

The Michener Center celebrated the Class of 2024 at graduation events this past Friday and Saturday, April 26th & 27th, 2024. This year’s Fiction graduates… Read more

Michener Alumn Frances Ya-Chu Cowhig Wins Whiting Award

We’re proud to announce that Michener Center Alumnus and playwright Frances Ya-Chu Cowhig (MCW 2009) is the recipient of a 2024 Whiting Award. The Whiting… Read more

The Michener Center aims to be a welcoming, inspiring, and invigorating community where writers feel safe and supported to take chances on the page. We are extremely proud that there is no hierarchy here—all students receive equal funding—and we firmly believe that our egalitarian approach fosters a higher level of work that more competitive environments suppress.

Our MFA candidates have come from places as varied as western India, South Korea, eastern Europe, and northern Idaho. Their backgrounds and experiences lend to the pages they produce, which are unique and uniquely vital. We aren’t seeking writers of any particular aesthetic, but rather we are looking for writers whose work is distinct, urgent, and arresting.

Each year, we receive hundreds of applications for twelve seats in the cohort. We accept only full-time, in-residence candidates for the three-year program. There is no low-residency or part-time option.

Applicants must meet the UT Graduate School’s minimum requirements for consideration, which include completion of a Bachelor’s Degree prior to enrollment. The Michener Center no longer requires GRE scores.

James Michener was the Pulitzer-Prize-winning author of over 40 books, including Texas , Hawaii , and Tales of the South Pacific . In his final years, he and his wife, Mari Yoriko Sabusawa, moved to Austin, TX, where they endowed the Texas Center for Writers, a three-year MFA in Creative Writing at the University of Texas. The first cohort of Michener Fellows graduated in 1996. After Mr. Michener’s death in 1997, the Center was renamed in his honor.

To ensure both continuity and fresh perspectives, the Michener Center faculty is built with fixed and moving parts. Writers from UT’s departments of English, Theatre and Dance, and Radio-Television-Film comprise our Resident Faculty, and each year we also welcome an exciting roster of distinguished Visiting Faculty. That our faculty members—resident and visiting—are as passionate about their teaching as they are their writing is of the utmost importance. Like our students, our faculty afford the program a wealth of varied experience, an abiding sense of shared enterprise, and deep commitment to the making of literary art. For more on our outstanding faculty in each genre, visit our Faculty page . logo

How to Become a Writer in Texas with a BFA, MFA or Similar Creative Writing Degree

mfa creative writing texas state

Written by Jennifer Williams

texas college

For centuries, Spanish and French explorers kept the territory’s history alive through their narrative accounts of the land and its people. They were the first writers of Texas. Since then, big names in literature have carried on the tradition of sharing the story of Texas – and the stories that simply take place here.

Today, this tradition continues as contemporary writers recount the state’s history from a new perspective and use its timeless expanse to set the scene of some of the most memorable works of fiction and nonfiction alike.

John Graves Isn’t Too Well Known Beyond State Lines, But in Texas, He’s a Legend

brazos river in texas

Graves always had a love of the land, and he feared that parts of the beautiful Brazos River would be forever altered because of the new dams. And so, he took a 3-week canoe trip down the Brazos River to enjoy it for the moment. He chronicled his trip and initially published it as a narrative piece in Holiday. Later, after adding some history and philosophy to the mix, he created Goodbye to a River: A Narrative. Its original style gained him praise, and today, the book is considered a classic. As a testament, the paddle that Graves used to navigate the Brazos River hangs as a relic at Texas State University in San Marcos.

One of Texas’ best-known writers of American history is H.W Brands. Though he was born in Oregon, he’s spent much of his life in Texas, from attending the University of Texas at Austin where he earned a Ph.D in history to teaching history at Austin Community College and Texas A&M University. He’s written more than 30 books about U.S. history and has twice been selected as a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize. He’s biographed some of history’s biggest giants, including Andrew Jackson, Ulysses Grant, and Theodore Roosevelt. However, it was his biography of Benjamin Franklin – The First American: The Life and Times of Benjamin Franklin – that made him a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in 2001. Even without having won a Pulitzer, though, Brands has certainly established himself as a literary giant and praiseworthy writer of American history.

Life in Texas has always offered an abundance of book-worthy material, more than enough to support a strong literary culture in the hot-spots for aspiring writers – Austin, Dallas, and Houston. If you’re interested in becoming a writer in Texas, you’ll find that networking within your local writing community will get you off to a good start. The most important piece to establishing a writing career, though, is the formal education that will hone your talent and discipline. For most that comes by way of an English degree with a creative writing emphasis. For others, it’s a bachelor’s or master’s with a major in creative writing, or even an esteemed BFA (Bachelor of Fine Arts) or MFA (Master of Fine Arts)  degree in creative writing .

Texas’ Creative Writing Classes, Courses, and Workshops Can Prepare You for a Creative Writing Degree

By now, you’ve probably realized that becoming a writer doesn’t follow a predetermined path. There’s no step-by-step outline that offers the assurance of success. A career in writing is simply not that prescriptive. Writing is, by its nature, an expression of one’s inner self – a glimpse into the writer’s mind. It’s something that comes from deep within. Your journey as a writer begins with getting to know yourself – reflecting on your feelings, examining your perceptions, and finding your vision. After all, the piece the keeps Larry McMurtry’s name alive, Lonesome Dove, was written from the perspective of the American West as he, himself, had lived it.

Honing your skills as a writer, then, means you’ll need to find an outlet for self-expression and inquiry – an environment where you can interact, challenge yourself, and find your voice. The best way to accomplish this is to get involved with your local writing community.

Luckily, large cities like Austin, Dallas, and Houston have tons of opportunity for the amateur writer to take advantage of. If you’re interested in poetry, you’ll want to check out the Austin Poetry Society. The group holds virtual meetings and hosts a bunch of events where you can get your stuff heard, like open mic nights and roundtable discussions. You can also submit to any of their special topic contests throughout the year and contend for a chance to win the top case prize of $200.

If you’re local to the Dallas area, be sure to check out DAWG, the Dallas Area Writers Group. This group is open to writers of all levels and all genres and is a wealth of opportunity for developing some much-needed connections. DAWG hosts author speaking events, open mic nights, and critique nights where you can read your work and get feedback from your peers and published authors, too. Attending one of their published author presentations is a great way to learn more about how to get published as well as how to strengthen your chances of getting published. You can also submit a manuscript for publication to the group’s local circular, Texas Shorts, which is an anthology of short stories written by Texas authors.

The Houston Writers Guild is a hot connection for writers in the Houston area. It doesn’t matter if you’re a hobby writer or a published pro, the Houston Writers Guild is open to you. This group is committed to providing an environment for writers to network, improve writing skills, and ultimately be successful. It hosts writing workshop events, critique groups, and round table discussions. Critique groups meet virtually on Tuesdays and Thursdays and in-person on Thursday evenings. Workshops are offered on Monday nights and Wednesday mornings.

It’s also important to stay in the know about the happenings in your local literary scene. Local circulars like the San Antonio Review and the Texas Review are top resources for information about local literary events and excellent opportunities to get your material published and out there for a massive audience. The San Antonio Review publishes mostly poetry, fiction, essays, and reviews but takes submissions of all kinds. The Texas Review publishes creative nonfiction, poetry, and fiction pieces twice a year and offers writing contests where you can win some serious money. Top prize is the X.J. Kennedy Poetry Prize, which not only pays our $10,000, but also gets the winner published.

Larry McMurtry, essayist, novelist, screenplay writer – and Texas native.

texas bluebonnet field

Writing Colleges in Texas Offering Bachelor’s and Master’s Degrees in Creative Writing Provide a Path to Becoming a Writer

In the end, a degree in creative writing is what you need to be successful as a writer . It’s the final puzzle piece that brings together what you’ve learned and lived in Texas, helping you make the most of your writing talent. Simply put, it’s what sets the professional apart from the novice. Don’t let your effort and energy be spent on a lifetime of hobby writing.

Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) and Other Bachelor’s Degrees in Creative Writing in Texas

Austin college.


Accreditation: SACSCOC

Degree: Bachelor – BA

Private School

austin college

  • English-Creative Writing

Houston Baptist University


Degree: Bachelor – BFA

houston baptist university

  • Creative Writing

Lubbock Christian University


lubbock christian university

  • English-Creative Writing emphasis

McMurry University


mcmurry university

  • English-Writing

Southern Methodist University


southern methodist university

  • English-Creative Writing specialization

Stephen F. Austin State University


Public School

stephen f austin state university

Texas State University


texas state university

  • English-Creative Writing concentration

Texas Wesleyan University


texas wesleyan university

  • English-Writing concentration

University of Houston


university of houston

University of Houston-Victoria

university of houston victoria

University of North Texas

university of north texas

University of Texas at Austin

university of texas austin

University of Texas at El Paso

university of texas el paso

University of Texas at San Antonio


university of texas at san antonio

University of Texas Rio Grande Valley

university of texas rio grande valley

Master of Fine Arts (MFA) and Other Master’s Degrees in Creative Writing in Texas

Degree:  Master – MFA

Sam Houston State University


sam houston state university

  • Creative Writing Editing and Publishing

Degree:  Master – MA

  • English-Creative Writing track
  • Creative Writing (option for PhD in English with a Creative Writing concentration)


UTS Wordmark SVG

Finish at ut home link, breadcrumbs, subsite page title, mfa in creative writing, main page content.

Degree Requirements    |   Getting Started   |   Institution and Advisor   |   FAQs  

The University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP) offers a bilingual, fully-online Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing program. The goal of this unique bilingual program is to prepare writers for the publishing marketplace and for teaching and editing careers, both in the United States and Latin America.

Degree Requirements

The degree plan consists of 42 credits of coursework, followed by 6 credits of thesis during which the student completes a publishable manuscript in poetry or fiction. Refer to the Online MFA Curriculum page for a listing of available courses and course descriptions. Spanish is not a requirement for admission.

Many online MFA in Creative Writing courses are open to cross-campus enrollment. Check with your program advisor prior to registering for any of cross-campus courses to ensure they apply toward your degree program, and non-UTEP students who want to take MFA courses must get permission from the MFA Advisor.

To view Online MFA in Creative Writing program courses currently open for cross-campus registration, go to the Student Portal Course Schedule and select Creative Writing-Bilingual (MFA) from the Finish@UT Program menu, or search for a specific course name/number. UTEP students should refer to the UTEP Course Schedule and register directly through your home campus.

Getting Started

Interested in applying? Be sure to review the Online MFA Application Process , Application Check List , and FAQs . If you have any questions regarding the application process after reviewing this information, please contact Coordinator of Graduate Enrollment, Sally Vasko .

Refer to the Student Support section of our website for additional information on cross-campus registration and course access.

Institution and Program Advisor

Degree Awarded: Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing

Program Advisor:

Sylvia Aguilar-Zéleny

Please send program-related questions to  [email protected] .

Frequently Asked Questions

Find answers to questions such as, "Do I need to know Spanish to be admitted into the program?" and, "Who do I contact about financial aid?" on the MFA Online website .

Are you seeking one-on-one college counseling and/or essay support? Limited spots are now available. Click here to learn more.

15 Best Creative Writing MFA Programs in 2024

May 15, 2024

mfa creative writing programs

Whether you studied at a top creative writing university or are a high school dropout who will one day become a bestselling author , you may be considering an MFA in Creative Writing. But is a writing MFA genuinely worth the time and potential costs? How do you know which program will best nurture your writing? If you’re considering an MFA, this article walks you through the best full-time, low residency, and online Creative Writing MFA programs in the United States.

What are the best Creative Writing MFA programs?

Before we get into the meat and potatoes of this article, let’s start with the basics. What is an MFA, anyway?

A Master of Fine Arts (MFA) is a graduate degree that usually takes from two to three years to complete. Applications typically require a sample portfolio, usually 10-20 pages (and sometimes up to 30-40) of your best writing. Moreover, you can receive an MFA in a particular genre, such as Fiction or Poetry, or more broadly in Creative Writing. However, if you take the latter approach, you often have the opportunity to specialize in a single genre.

Wondering what actually goes on in a creative writing MFA beyond inspiring award-winning books and internet memes ? You enroll in workshops where you get feedback on your creative writing from your peers and a faculty member. You enroll in seminars where you get a foundation of theory and techniques. Then, you finish the degree with a thesis project. Thesis projects are typically a body of polished, publishable-quality creative work in your genre—fiction, nonfiction, or poetry.

Why should I get an MFA in Creative Writing?

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

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

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

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

Fourth: resources. MFA programs are often staffed by brilliant, award-winning writers; offer lecture series, volunteer opportunities, and teaching positions; and run their own (usually prestigious) literary magazines. Such resources provide you with the knowledge and insight you’ll need to navigate the literary and publishing world on your own post-graduation.

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

Types of Creative Writing MFA Programs

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

Fully-Funded Full-Time Programs

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

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

Full-Time MFA Programs

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

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

Low-Residency MFA Programs

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

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

Online MFA Programs

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

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

The Top 15 Creative Writing MFA Programs Ranked by Category

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


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

This two-year program offers an incredibly generous funding package: $39,000 teaching fellowships each year. Not to mention, it offers that sweet, sweet health insurance, mind-boggling faculty, and the option to apply for a lecture position after graduation. Many grads publish their first book within three years (nice). No nonfiction MFA (boo).

  • Location: Baltimore, MD
  • Incoming class size: 8 students (4 per genre)
  • Admissions rate: 4-8%
  • Alumni: Chimamanda Adichie, Jeffrey Blitz, Wes Craven, Louise Erdrich, Porochista Khakpour, Phillis Levin, ZZ Packer, Tom Sleigh, Elizabeth Spires, Rosanna Warren

2) University of Texas, James Michener Center

The only MFA that offers full and equal funding for every writer. It’s three years long, offers a generous yearly stipend of $30k, and provides full tuition plus a health insurance stipend. Fiction, poetry, playwriting, and screenwriting concentrations are available. The Michener Center is also unique because you study a primary genre and a secondary genre, and also get $4,000 for the summer.

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

3) University of Iowa

The Iowa Writers’ Workshop is a 2-year program on a residency model for fiction and poetry. This means there are low requirements, and lots of time to write groundbreaking novels or play pool at the local bar. All students receive full funding, including tuition, a living stipend, and subsidized health insurance. The Translation MFA , co-founded by Gayatri Chakravorti Spivak, is also two years long but with more intensive coursework. The Nonfiction Writing Program is a prestigious three-year MFA program and is also intensive.

  • Incoming class size: 25 each for poetry and fiction; 10-12 for nonfiction and translation.
  • Acceptance rate: 2.7-3.7%
  • Fantastic Alumni: Raymond Carver, Flannery O’Connor, Sandra Cisneros, Joy Harjo, Garth Greenwell, Kiley Reid, Brandon Taylor, Eula Biss, Yiyun Li, Jennifer Croft

Best MFA Creative Writing Programs (Continued) 

4) university of michigan.

Anne Carson famously lives in Ann Arbor, as do the MFA students in UMichigan’s Helen Zell Writers’ Program. This is a big university town, which is less damaging to your social life. Plus, there’s lots to do when you have a $25,000 stipend, summer funding, and health care.

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

  • Location: Ann Arbor, MI
  • Incoming class size: 18 (9 in each genre)
  • Acceptance rate: 2%
  • Alumni: Brit Bennett, Vievee Francis, Airea D. Matthews, Celeste Ng, Chigozie Obioma, Jia Tolentino, Jesmyn Ward

5) Brown University

Brown offers an edgy, well-funded program in a place that only occasionally dips into arctic temperatures. All students are fully funded for 2 years, which includes tuition remission and a $32k yearly stipend. Students also get summer funding and—you guessed it—that sweet, sweet health insurance.

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

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

6) University of Arizona

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

This notoriously supportive program is fully funded. Moreover, teaching assistantships that provide a salary, health insurance, and tuition waiver are offered to all students. Tucson is home to a hopping literary scene, so it’s also possible to volunteer at multiple literary organizations and even do supported research at the US-Mexico Border.

  • Location: Tucson, AZ
  • Incoming class size: usually 6
  • Acceptance rate: 1.2% (a refreshingly specific number after Brown’s evasiveness)
  • Alumni: Francisco Cantú, Jos Charles, Tony Hoagland, Nancy Mairs, Richard Russo, Richard Siken, Aisha Sabatini Sloan, David Foster Wallace

7) Arizona State University 

With concentrations in fiction and poetry, Arizona State is a three-year funded program in arthritis-friendly dry heat. It offers small class sizes, individual mentorships, and one of the most impressive faculty rosters in the game. Moreover, it encourages cross-genre study.

Funding-wise, everyone has the option to take on a teaching assistantship position, which provides a tuition waiver, health insurance, and a yearly stipend of $25k. Other opportunities for financial support exist as well.

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


8) new york university.

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

  • Location: New York, NY
  • Incoming class size: ~60; 20-30 students accepted for each genre
  • Acceptance rate: 6-9%
  • Alumni: Nick Flynn, Nell Freudenberger, Aracelis Girmay, Mitchell S. Jackson, Tyehimba Jess, John Keene, Raven Leilani, Robin Coste Lewis, Ada Limón, Ocean Vuong

9) Columbia University

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

  • Incoming class size: 110
  • Acceptance rate: not publicized (boo)
  • Alumni: Alexandra Kleeman, Rachel Kushner, Claudia Rankine, Rick Moody, Sigrid Nunez, Tracy K. Smith, Emma Cline, Adam Wilson, Marie Howe, Mary Jo Bang

10) Sarah Lawrence 

Sarah Lawrence offers a concentration in speculative fiction in addition to the average fiction, poetry, and nonfiction choices. Moreover, they encourage cross-genre exploration. With intimate class sizes, this program is unique because it offers biweekly one-on-one conferences with its stunning faculty. It also has a notoriously supportive atmosphere, and many teaching and funding opportunities are available.

  • Location: Bronxville, NY
  • Incoming class size: 30-40
  • Acceptance rate: not publicized
  • Alumni: Cynthia Cruz, Melissa Febos, T Kira Madden, Alex Dimitrov, Moncho Alvarado


11) bennington college.

This two-year program boasts truly stellar faculty, and meets twice a year for ten days in January and June. It’s like a biannual vacation in beautiful Vermont, plus mentorship by a famous writer. The rest of the time, you’ll be spending approximately 25 hours per week on reading and writing assignments. Students have the option to concentrate in fiction, nonfiction, or poetry. Uniquely, they can also opt for a dual-genre focus.

The tuition is $23,468 per year, with scholarships available. Additionally, Bennington offers full-immersion teaching fellowships to MFA students, which are extremely rare in low-residency programs.

  • Location: Bennington, VT
  • Acceptance rate: 53%
  • Incoming class: 25-35
  • Alumni: Larissa Pham, Andrew Reiner, Lisa Johnson Mitchell, and others

12)  Institute for American Indian Arts

This two-year program emphasizes Native American and First Nations writing. With truly amazing faculty and visiting writers, they offer a wide range of genres, including screenwriting, poetry, fiction, and nonfiction. In addition, each student is matched with a faculty mentor who works with them one-on-one throughout the semester.

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

  • Location: Santa Fe, NM
  • Incoming class size : 21
  • Alumni: Tommy Orange, Dara Yen Elerath, Kathryn Wilder

13) Vermont College of Fine Arts

VCFA is the only graduate school on this list that focuses exclusively on the fine arts. Their MFA in Writing offers concentrations in fiction, poetry, and nonfiction; they also offer an MFA in Literary Translation and one of the few MFAs in Writing for Children and Young Adults . Students meet twice a year for nine days, in January and July, either in-person or online. Here, they receive one-on-one mentorship that continues for the rest of the semester. You can also do many travel residencies in exciting (and warm) places like Cozumel.

VCFA boasts amazing faculty and visiting writers, with individualized study options and plenty of one-on-one time. Tuition for the full two-year program is approximately $54k.

  • Location : Various; 2024/25 residencies are in Colorado and California
  • Incoming class size: 18-25
  • Acceptance rate: 63%
  • Alumnx: Lauren Markham, Mary-Kim Arnold, Cassie Beasley, Kate Beasley, Julie Berry, Bridget Birdsall, Gwenda Bond, Pablo Cartaya


14) university of texas at el paso.

UTEP is considered the best online MFA program, and features award-winning faculty from across the globe. Accordingly, this program is geared toward serious writers who want to pursue teaching and/or publishing. Intensive workshops allow submissions in Spanish and/or English, and genres include poetry and fiction.

No residencies are required, but an optional opportunity to connect in person is available every year. This three-year program costs about $25-30k total, depending on whether you are an in-state or out-of-state resident.

  • Location: El Paso, TX
  • Acceptance rate: “highly competitive”
  • Alumni: Watch alumni testimonies here

15) Bay Path University

This 2-year online, no-residency program is dedicated entirely to nonfiction. Featuring a supportive, diverse community, Bay Path offers small class sizes, close mentorship, and an optional yearly field trip to Ireland.

There are many tracks, including publishing, narrative medicine, and teaching creative writing. Moreover, core courses include memoir, narrative journalism, food/travel writing, and the personal essay. Tuition is approximately $31,000 for the entire program, with scholarships available.

  • Location: Longmeadow, MA
  • Incoming class size: 20
  • Alumni: Read alumni testimonies here

Best MFA Creative Writing Programs — Final Thoughts

Whether you’re aiming for a fully funded, low residency, or completely online MFA program, there are plenty of incredible options available—all of which will sharpen your craft while immersing you in the vibrant literary arts community.

Hoping to prepare for your MFA in advance? You might consider checking out the following:

  • Best English Programs
  • Best Colleges for Creative Writing
  • Writing Summer Programs
  • Best Writing Competitions for High School Students

Inspired to start writing? Get your pencil ready:

  • 100 Creative Writing Prompts 
  • 1 00 Tone Words to Express Mood in Your Writing
  • 60 Senior Project Ideas
  • Common App Essay Prompts

Best MFA Creative Writing Programs – References:

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

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Julia Conrad

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

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Tim O'Brien

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Voice Of Vietnam War To 'Carry' Out Reading At SHSU

“A thing may happen and be a total lie; another thing may not happen and be truer than the truth.”

It is a sentence, found in what many consider American novelist Tim O’Brien’s most well known book The Things They Carried , but it is also representative of his art as a whole.

Tim O'Brien reads for the MFA Creative Writing program

The National Book Award-winning author will give a reading of his work on Wednesday (April 3), at 6 p.m. in the James and Nancy Gaertner Performing Arts Center Concert Hall.

“It’s a particular privilege for us to be able to bring Mr. O’Brien to campus,” said Scott Kaukonen, director of the MFA program in creative writing. “He’s almost inarguably recognized as the most significant voice in American fiction to emerge from the Vietnam War.

“When we think of fiction and war, we often associate certain writers with certain wars, in particular their representation of the soldier’s experience of that war: Stephen Crane and the American Civil War; Ernest Hemingway and World War I; Norman Mailer, Joseph Heller and Kurt Vonnegut and World War II. For the Vietnam War, it’s Tim O’Brien.”

A native of Minnesota, O’Brien served in Vietnam, and then came home to write about it. He debuted with his 1973 memoir, If I Die in a Combat Zone, Box Me Up and Ship Me Home , but his writing soon shifted from memoir to fiction and, as scholars have noted, from the war itself to the soldiers’ experiences of war and all that it entails—the going, the coming, the waiting, the humping, the fear and the courage, the boredom and the routine, the returning home and the never really leaving, Kaukonen said.

O’Brien’s hallucinatory novel, Going After Cacciato , about a soldier who one day lays down his rifle and leaves the battlefield of Vietnam to walk the 8,600 miles to Paris for the peace talks and the unit charged with the task of pursuing him, won the 1979 National Book Award. But O’Brien’s most famous work may be the collection of autobiographical, linked short stories, The Things They Carried , which was a finalist for both the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Critics Circle Award. The title story is among the most widely anthologized short stories of the past 40 years and was selected by John Updike for The Best American Short Stories of the Century .

“O’Brien’s novels are not about the war in the sense of its politics or its military strategy, or even in the sense of an unfolding anticipation toward and then execution of battle,” Kaukonen said. “Rather, his novels anatomize the soldier’s experience, both internal and external, real and imagined, what was and what might have been and what could be. They’re full of horror and courage, yes, but also love and beauty and shame and guilt and cowardice and wonder and humanity.”

O’Brien has become noted in his writing of fiction for his distinction between factual truth and “story-truth.”

Though a character named Tim O’Brien appears throughout The Things They Carried , O’Brien isn’t as interested as a writer in pinning down the location of certain units and certain men at certain times and places of battle, but rather his work pursues the emotional truth of the men’s experiences with the war as an unavoidable context. As his narrator says in “How to Tell a True War Story,” “That’s a true story that never happened.”

Of The Things They Carried , Robert R. Harris of the New York Times wrote, “By moving beyond the horror of the fighting to examine with sensitivity and insight the nature of courage and fear, by questioning the role that imagination plays in helping to form our memories and our own versions of truth, he places The Things They Carried high up on the list of best fiction about any war. [. . .] The overall effect of these original tales is devastating.”

O’Brien’s novel In the Lake of the Woods won the James Fenimore Cooper Prize for Best Historical Fiction in 1995. His other novels include Northern Lights , Tomcat in Love , The Nuclear Age , and July, July . He currently teaches in the MFA program in creative writing at Texas State University in San Marcos.

Books will be available for purchase and for signing following the event.

For more information, contact Kaukonen at [email protected] or 936.294.1407.

Originally published by Today@SAM on March 18, 2013 SHSU Media Contact:  Jennifer Gauntt ,  Scott Kaukonen

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

mfa creative writing texas state

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100% online, 8-week courses

Transfer in up to 50% of the degree total

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

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

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

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

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Why Choose Liberty’s MFA in Creative Writing?

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

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

What Will You Study in Our MFA in Creative Writing?

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

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

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

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

Potential Career Opportunities

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

Featured Courses

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

Degree Information

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

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

Admission requirements.

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

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

Preliminary Acceptance

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

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

Dual Enrollment

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

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Unofficial college transcript policy.

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

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

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

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Frequently Asked Questions

What is an mfa in creative writing.

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

How will students work towards developing their writing skills?

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

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

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

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Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) Major in English (Creative Writing Concentration)

Minimum required: 120 semester credit hours, general requirements.

  • The general education core curriculum courses are listed in the degree plan below along with the statewide component code number. See the  General Education Core Curriculum  section of this catalog for the Texas State requirements and options in the core curriculum, including Honors courses.
  • In addition to the general education core curriculum requirements, the  Bachelor of Arts degree  (B.A.) requires three additional hours of English literature, three additional hours of math/science/logic/computer science courses, six hours of 2000-level modern language courses, and a minor. For this program, the additional literature course may be satisfied by selecting a sophomore literature course for the 040 component of the core curriculum.
  • Students must select a minor from the approved list of  Undergraduate Minors .
  • Students must complete a minimum of 36 advanced hours (3000 or 4000 level courses).
  • Nine hours of writing intensive (WI) courses are required for graduation.
  • This major requires 36 semester credit hours of English courses. Within the 36 hours, students are required to complete six hours of early literature, three hours of literature focused on the work of a single author, and three hours of 4000-level literature. To satisfy the group requirements, students must select one course from 4 of the 5 groups. ENG 1310  and  ENG 1320  or ENG 1321 are recommended prerequisites to all other English courses.
  • The minimum number of hours required for this degree program is 120. The number of free elective hours a student will complete depends on the number of hours a student may need to achieve the required 120 total or 36 advanced hours.

For transfer students, 12 semester credit hours in English (or equivalents) may be transferred from a Texas public institution of higher education for the English Language and Literature Field of Study and be applied to the Bachelor of Arts degree with a major in English at Texas State University. More information about the Field of Study is available in the Academic Policies section of this catalog. The transferable Texas Common Course Number (TCCN) is listed below the Texas State University course number in the following course list.

Course Requirements 

Students who earn a grade of “B” or higher in the first sophomore course may elect to take an advanced literature course in lieu of the second sophomore course. No more than six hours of sophomore literature may count toward the major.

ENG 3301 is required, and students should take it immediately after completing the sophomore literature requirement.

An ENG Literature course may be selected from the following:  ENG 2310  (TCCN ENGL 2322),  ENG 2320  (TCCN ENGL 2323),  ENG 2330  (TCCN ENGL 2332),  ENG 2340  (TCCN ENGL 2333),  ENG 2359  (TCCN ENGL 2327),  ENG 2360  (TCCN ENGL 2328),  ENG 2371

Advanced English Courses

Students are required to take ENG 3301 , preferably immediately after completing the sophomore literature requirement. Students must also take two courses focusing on early literature at either the sophomore or advanced level. In addition to ENG 3301 , students must complete seven advanced courses. Students must take at least one advanced course from three of the four non-writing groups listed below (A, B, C, or D), and three specified courses from Group E: ENG 3315 and either ENG 3348 and ENG 4348 (fiction track) or ENG 3349 and ENG 4349 (poetry track). They also select one three-hour elective from any group. One of the advanced courses must focus on the works of a single author and is recommended to be taken at the end of the major.

May fall into other groups depending on specific course content.

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mfa creative writing texas state

What You Won’t Learn in an MFA

An mfa can teach you skills, but will it prepare you for a writing career.

By 2018, I had written five books and decided to pursue an MFA in creative writing with a concentration in fiction. For me, earning an MFA gave me the time and space I needed to quit my day job and transition to writing full-time, but that was something I had been building toward for over a decade. Of course, I can’t speak to all MFA programs, but in many cases, they focus almost exclusively on writing skills and don’t give writers the concrete skills they need to make money writing and publishing. I often found myself answering questions for my classmates about what publishing was really like. It simply wasn’t being taught, sometimes because faculty themselves were struggling with how to navigate writing as a business.

An MFA program may be the right choice to help you become a better writer, or because you want the qualification to teach writing at a college; it may not give you insights into navigating the publishing landscape.

Here are some of the professional development skills you may need to gain outside of the classroom on your writing journey.

Getting published

Many MFA programs don’t talk to authors about the good, the bad, and the ugly in both traditional publishing and self-publishing. There is often an assumption that if you’re in an MFA program, you’ll be seeking a traditional publishing deal. But most programs also don’t teach writers the skills to query small presses or agents who can query large presses. Even as self-publishing has become an increasingly popular publishing choice, many MFA programs aren’t giving students a clear picture of what it involves.


My MFA program was great, but never once during my studies did I hear anyone talk about how to read, negotiate, or understand a contract. As an indie author, you’ll have fewer contracts to interact with than authors who choose to traditionally publish their work, but contracts will still come up—contracts with designers who are working on your books, contracts with podcasts or magazines publishing excerpts of your work. In my MFA program, students who were publishing were left to talk with each other to try to understand how contracts work. Most writers aren’t legal experts, and we benefit from having either a private attorney or an attorney through an organization such as the Author’s Guild review our contracts. I would love to see MFA programs better prepare writers to navigate these business interactions, to negotiate writing rates, and to understand what rights we may be signing away with a particular contract.

Writing to market

The culture of MFA programs often shames or diminishes the idea of writing to market, and instead prioritizes creating literary art for the sake of art. This is a completely valid way to approach your writing life. However, if your goal is to publish your work and sell books, understanding the market and how to write books that appeal to readers is important. There’s nothing wrong with writing books with mass-market appeal, but, depending on the program you attend, you may not hear that in classes. Especially for writers considering the self-publishing route, learning how to understand current trends and how to write books that connect to them is invaluable.

Writing is your passion, and seeing your name in print might be your dream, but when it happens, your writing also becomes a business. Understanding how to manage a writing business is something that most new writers won’t have a lot of experience with. For example, when you get paid from book sales, speaking arrangements, or most anything to do with your books, taxes aren’t going to be withheld. Instead, you’ll need to put money aside to pay your taxes. MFA programs generally don’t cover these details or highlight the importance of hiring an accountant or tax professional to help you with setting up your writing business. You may need to form an LLC for your self-publishing business, open a business bank account, and file taxes appropriately for your writing work. As a self-published author, you also may need to keep records tracking orders and inventory.

Most authors are not able to make a living from books alone. Many writers are balancing a variety of different content creation and income streams. This may include teaching at a college or university (for which a terminal degree such as an MFA is required), freelance writing, and independent teaching, to name a few possibilities. The more writing programs can give MFA students the tools they need to understand the business side of their work, the more successful they will be.

Sassafras Lowrey writes fiction and nonfiction and was the recipient of the 2013 Lambda Literary Award for emerging LGBTQ writers.

mfa creative writing texas state

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  1. MFA in Creative Writing : Texas State University

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  2. MFA in Creative Writing : Texas State University

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  3. Texas State MFA in Creative Writing: About Us

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  1. MFA in Creative Writing : Texas State University

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  3. Master of Fine Arts (M.F.A.) Major in Creative Writing (Fiction

    If the thesis research involves vertebrate animals, the proposal form must include the Texas State IACUC approval code. It is recommended that the thesis proposal form be submitted to the dean of The Graduate College by the end of the student's enrollment in 5399A. ... NOTE: MFA Creative Writing theses will have a permanent embargo and will ...

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  6. Apply to Study for an MFA in Creative Writing at Texas State University

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  7. Writing with Us The Online MFA in Creative Writing

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  8. Michener Center for Writers

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    Top prize is the X.J. Kennedy Poetry Prize, which not only pays our $10,000, but also gets the winner published. Larry McMurtry, essayist, novelist, screenplay writer - and Texas native. McMurtry's writing style was unique in that it countered the typical romanticized perception of frontier life in the American West.

  10. PDF Creative Writing Fiction

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  14. Master of Fine Arts (M.F.A.) Major in Communication Design

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  15. Tim O'Brien

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  16. Online Master of Fine Arts

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  17. Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) Major in English (Creative Writing

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