University of Minnesota
Creative Writing Program
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MFA Program


The Department of English offers the Master of Fine Arts degree in Creative Writing for students committed to pursuing the writing life. This three-year degree provides advanced graduate-level coursework in writing, language, and literature, as well as study in a related field. The third year of the program focuses on the final development of a book-length manuscript suitable for publication, the MFA essay, and the MFA Thesis Defense. The deadline for admission to the program for Fall 2016 is December 1st, 2015.

Workshops in poetry, fiction, and literary nonfiction are at the heart of the Creative Writing Program, while courses in the Reading as Writers and Topics in Advanced Writing series enable writers to explore a variety of issues relating to contemporary themes in American and world literature. The program encourages experimentation across genres, fostering the discovery of new and varied forms for a developing voice.

Financial Support

The English Department at the University of Minnesota is committed to providing financial support to MFA students for three full years.

Support is given in the form of teaching assistantships and research or administrative fellowships. In addition, grants and fellowships from outside the department may be available, by nomination, to incoming students. All forms of support provide salary or stipend and include a full tuition waiver plus health benefits. Classroom appointments carry the added benefit of teacher training.

You do not need to apply for a teaching assistantship when you fill out your application on Apply Yourself.

Awards and Residencies

The Gesell Awards for Excellence in Creative Writing, given annually, honor and reward students' work in poetry, fiction, and literary nonfiction. Gesell Summer Writing Fellowships include sponsored writing retreats each summer at the Anderson Center for Interdisciplinary Studies in Red Wing, Minnesota. In addition, the Creative Writing Program annually sponsors both the Academy of American Poets James Wright Prize for Poetry and the Marcella DeBourg Fellowship. O'Rourke Fellowships are available to MFA students participating in writing conferences, seminars, retreats, and research work. We are also partnered with the Human Rights Program, offering an annual summer "Scribe for Human Rights Fellowship." The Michael Dennis Browne Fellowship in poetry is awarded annually to a poet in the second-year of the program.

  • Book Cover: Crying at the Movies
  • Book Cover: Our Sometime Sister
  • Book Cover: Freeing Vera