MFA in Creative Writing


Program Description

Why Emerson College?

The MFA in Creative Writing program at Emerson College fosters a community of poets, fiction and creative nonfiction writers, editors, publishers and teachers. We are based in the heart of downtown Boston, historically a center of intellectual inquiry, creative endeavor, and innovation in education. MFA students at Emerson College engage with one another not only in the classroom but also in the greater cultural environment of Boston itself.

Learn more about Program Requirements and Curriculum »

The MFA at a Glance

As one of the longest-running creative writing MFA programs in the country, Emerson’s Department of Writing, Literature, and Publishing has attracted a faculty that is diverse in their capacities and adept in their fields. Nonfiction faculty members practice and teach the literary essay, memoir, biography, long-form narrative journalism, and opinion and arts commentary, making Emerson one of the most varied and challenging nonfiction programs nationwide. The fiction faculty is distinguished in all forms—the novel, novella, short story, and the short-short story. Our poetry faculty includes formalists as well as free-verse poets, with courses in the forms of poetry, translation, and the poetic sequence. A distinguishing feature of our MFA is the opportunity for students to have a translation/global engagement focus on their degree. MFA students can count on the mentoring of our faculty members during and after completing the program.

Graduate Student Opportunities

Our students are offered opportunities to teach writing through the First Year Writing program, edit literary journals including Ploughshares and Redivider, work as interns at Boston publishing houses and magazines, and teach creative writing to high school students from the greater Boston community through emersonWRITES. Students participate in Emerson’s Graduate Reading Series and the inter-MFA program Breakwater Reading Series to showcase their own work. A close relationship with the MA in publishing program allows students to improve their professional skills (copyediting, book publicity, etc.) and develop lasting connections with the publishing and editorial world. Emerson offers everything aspiring writers need to hone their talents and refine their craft in a world-class city brimming with professional and artistic opportunities.

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Program Requirements

The Creative Writing MFA program requires 48 credit hours, including:

  • A minimum of 20 credits of writing workshop courses (16 credits of which must be in the chosen thesis-genre)
  • 12 credits of literature courses
  • 12 credits of department electives
  • 4-credit master’s thesis

Students are admitted into the program in a particular genre: poetry, nonfiction, or fiction. Students may explore other genres by using their remaining 4-credit required a workshop and elective credits. Students can take courses in any of the following areas: poetry, fiction or nonfiction.

At the conclusion of their coursework, students submit and defend a manuscript in one genre to be approved by a thesis committee. MFA students must complete at least 16 credits (four courses) of their required 20 credits of workshops in the genre of the thesis. Students are expected to complete the degree requirements within seven years.

Last updated Mar 2018

About the School

Emerson College is internationally recognized as the nation’s premier institution of higher learning devoted to communication and the arts.

Emerson College is internationally recognized as the nation’s premier institution of higher learning devoted to communication and the arts. Read less