MFA Creative Writing

ASU's creative writing program is distinguished by an outstanding faculty that has garnered national and international attention and is consistently ranked among top-tier programs in poetry and fiction. The program's curricular strengths, community outreach and close mentorship combine to define pragmatic, successful outcomes for students, new-century 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 or one-to-one mentoring, the centuries-old apprenticeship model thrives within the New American University. Poets and fiction writers work with outstanding faculty who have published more than 80 books and garnered national and international attention through awards and honors that include:

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

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

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

At a Glance: program details

Degree Requirements

Coursework (39 credit hours)

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

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

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

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

A written comprehensive exam and an applied project are required.

Admission Requirements

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

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

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

All applicants must submit:

  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 must provide proof of English proficiency regardless of current residency.

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

The personal statement should include the applicant's writing background, intended area of specialization, and a brief self-evaluation of recent work (double spaced, up to 3 pages or 750 words.

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

Applicants should see the Department of English website for details.

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Program Contact Information

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