MFA in Creative Writing

Our selective and academically rigorous forty-eight credit, three-year program is designed to provide talented writers with the opportunity to work closely with both outstanding faculty and gifted peers to strengthen their craft, develop their literary aesthetics, enrich their understanding of existing traditions and compositional possibilities, and to participate actively in the life of the literary community at large.

poster design by Patrick Scott Vickers

design by Patrick Scott Vickers


The primary tracks are poetry and fiction, and admission is highly competitive. In addition to the poetry and fiction workshops, there are courses available that focus on writing drama, nonfiction, and screenplays, as well as courses that provide practical experience in editing.

The basic requirements to complete the MFA degree program are simple and straightforward, and include twelve semester hours of writing workshops, twelve hours graduate literature courses, and six to twelve hours of thesis work. Thesis hours enable students to produce a substantial creative writing thesis, a requirement of graduation.

 

Just a few years ago, Virginia Commonwealth University’s Master of Fine Arts program in creative writing celebrated its 30th anniversary this year!

And there was much to celebrate:

  • Expanded creative nonfiction/CNF work and created a “Dual Genre” track allowing our MFA students to formally add CNF to their academic concentrations.
  • Small MFA workshop size. Excellent 4 to 1 student to faculty ratio.  Currently: 8 full-time MFA faculty, approximately 32 graduate students.
  • Every one of the eight full-time faculty members has a new or forthcoming book publication.
  • Graduate assistantship stipends have greatly increased, and now range from $14,000 up to $22,000 a year (plus tuition waiver).  All full-time students funded.
  • Assistantships not only offer teaching opportunities in writing and rhetoric coursework, but also undergraduate creative writing classes as well.
  • Assistantship assignments also include opportunity to coordinate VCU’s national literary awards, including the Cabell First Novelist, Levis Reading Prize, and Tarumoto Prize in short fiction.
  • Offered new coursework in collaborative comic/graphic novelist pairing up MFA students with artists from VCU’s acclaimed School of the Arts.
  • Additional and regular offerings in screenwriting, form and theory coursework, and literary editing/publishing seminars.
  • Newly established travel stipends for MFA students for summer writing conference and study abroad travel, as well as yearly travel funding and registration waivers for students attending the annual AWP conference.
  • Three-year course requirements that enable MFA students to design up to 6 credits of independent study and 6 credits of professional internships, including opportunities to work in electronic publishing (editorial, web design, digital sound editing, and more) via the program’s nationally prominent online literary journal, Blackbird.

 

Kathleen Graber, Director of Creative Writing
Thom Didato, Graduate Programs Advisor