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Creative Writing, MFA

Creative Writing, MFA

Academic programs / Graduate degrees / Creative Writing, MFA

english, literature, poetry, prose, story

ASU's creative writing program, distinguished by an outstanding faculty whose works have received major national and international recognition, is consistently ranked among top-tier programs in poetry and fiction. The program's curricular strengths, community outreach and close mentorship combine to advance pragmatic, effective outcomes for students, graduates and artist-citizens.

Program description
Degree awarded: MFA  Creative Writing

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

  • Guggenheim, Howard Foundation, Lannan Foundation, MacArthur Foundation, National Endowment for the Arts, and United Artists fellowships
  • international Griffin Poetry Prize and Whiting Award
  • multiple Pulitzer Prizes
  • two medals of achievement from the National Society of Arts and Letters
  • two Chancellors of the Academy of American Poets
  • Walt Whitman Award from the Academy of American Poets

Additionally, in concert with the Master of Fine Arts program, several campus entities contribute to the MFA experience: the Virginia G. Piper Center for Creative Writing offers students a wide range of fellowships, support for professional development, and other teaching and leadership opportunities including a Community Outreach Graduate Assistantship. The Center for Imagination in the Borderlands brings writers and other artists for intensive workshops, classes and public events, and offers an artistic development and teaching assistant fellowship and two research assistantships. The Master of Fine Arts program also hosts a newly inaugurated series of craft lectures and an alumni reading series.

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

At a glance
Degree requirements

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

Coursework (39 credit hours)

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

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

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

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

A written comprehensive exam and an applied project are required.

Admission requirements

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

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

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

All applicants must submit:

  1. graduate admission application and application fee
  2. official transcripts
  3. statement of purpose
  4. resume or curriculum vitae
  5. three letters of recommendation
  6. creative manuscript
  7. proof of English proficiency

Additional Application Information
An applicant whose native language is not English (regardless of current residency) and has not graduated from an institution of higher learning in the United States must provide proof of English proficiency. Applications will not be processed without valid proof of English proficiency. Please note that official scores must be sent to ASU in order for the application to be processed.

The personal statement should include the applicant's writing background, intended area of specialization and a brief self-evaluation of recent work (double-spaced, up to three pages or 750 words). The creative manuscript should be up to 20 pages of poetry or up to 30 pages of prose (prose should be double-spaced). Students applying for a teaching assistantship must submit a statement of teaching philosophy and an academic writing sample.

Tuition information
When it comes to paying for higher education, everyone’s situation is different. Students can learn about ASU tuition and financial aid options to find out which will work best for them.
Application deadlines
Session A/CIn Person 01/01Final
Program learning outcomes

Program learning outcomes identify what a student will learn or be able to do upon completion of their program. This program has the following program outcomes:

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

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

  • book designer or marketer
  • book or magazine editor
  • creative writing professor
  • essayist or journalist
  • grant writer and developer
  • literary or events coordinator
  • nonprofit administrator
  • novelist
  • poet
  • public relations and communications manager
  • screenwriter
  • secondary education teacher
Contact information
What are accelerated programs?
Accelerated programs allow students the opportunity to expedite the completion of their degree.

3 year programs

These programs allow students to fast-track their studies after admission and earn a bachelor's degree in three years or fewer while participating in the same high-quality educational experience of a 4-year option. Students should talk to their academic advisor to get started.

Accelerated master's

These programs allow students to accelerate their studies to earn a bachelor's plus a master's degree in as few as five years (for some programs).

Each program has requirements students must meet to be eligible for consideration. Acceptance to the graduate program requires a separate application. Students typically receive approval to pursue the accelerated master’s during the junior year of their bachelor's degree program. Interested students can learn about eligibility requirements and how to apply.
What are concurrent programs?
Concurrent degrees allow students to pursue their own personal or professional interests, earn two distinct degrees and receive two diplomas. To add a concurrent degree to your existing degree, work with your academic advisor.
What are joint programs?
Joint programs, or jointly conferred degrees, are offered by more than one college and provide opportunities for students to take advantage of the academic strengths of two academic units. Upon graduation, students are awarded one degree and one diploma conferred by two colleges.

What constitutes a new program?
ASU adds new programs to Degree Search frequently. Come back often and look for the “New Programs” option.
What are online programs?
ASU Online offers programs in an entirely online format with multiple enrollment sessions throughout the year. See for more information.
What is WRGP (Western Regional Graduate Program)?
The Western Regional Graduate Program (WRGP) provides a reduced tuition rate to non-resident graduate students who qualify. Visit the WRGP/WICHE webpage for more information:

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