The Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing is a two year program offering a degree in either Poetry or Prose, and is a part of the English Department's Creative Writing Program. Founded in 1947 by Theodore Roethke, the Creative Writing Program's tradition of transformative workshops continues with our current faculty: David Bosworth, David Crouse, Rae Paris, and Maya Sonenberg (Prose), and Linda Bierds, Andrew Feld, Richard Kenney, and Pimone Triplett (Poetry). They include among their many honors fellowships from the MacArthur Foundation, the Guggenheim Foundation, and the National Endowment for the Arts. The list of our alumni publications represents a significant chapter in the history of American literature. The program has been ranked among the top ten in the country.
Students participate in writing workshops in prose and poetry, and undertake coursework in literary periods and types, and critical theory. MFA candidates also present a Creative Manuscript (minimum 30 poems,100 pages of 5 short stories and/or personal essays, or 150 pages of a novel or book-length essay), a Critical Essay (20-30 pages, addressing the student's relationship to his or her reading based on the student's own writerly concerns and studies), and an oral presentation (a discussion with and/or questions from the candidate's thesis committee on the creative manuscript, critical essay, and/or the writing process and which may include a reading from the candidate's Creative Manuscript).
The program admits only ten to twelve students each year. The relatively small size of our program (20-25 students) allows for close associations to develop among students and faculty. The first year is devoted to participation in workshops and literary seminars, and the second year allows for concentrated work on a creative manuscript and critical essay under the supervision of one of our regular faculty.
Students are funded through Teaching Assistantships, Fellowships, and a long-standing relationship with the Amazon Literary Partnership.
Students also enjoy Seattle's lively literary and arts scene. Seattle is home to numerous reading series, the Seattle International Film Festival, and many highly-acclaimed theater companies. Surrounded by spectacular scenery, Seattle is minutes away from hiking, skiing, and boating.
Learn more about UW's Creative Writing Program.
Application materials are due January 2 (or the first business day after January 1st). Initial offers of admission are usually made by mid-March.
We offer a funding package to all admitted MFA students for two academic years. Learn more about the funding package and other funding opportunities here: MFA Funding and Support.
MFA Degree Requirements & Program Guide
The Creative Writing Program acknowledges that the University of Washington, like all of our businesses, institutions and our lives, exists on Indigenous land. Such land acknowledgements are necessary as we push for justice and liberation in institutions and a broader society that continues to live out the settler colonial legacies of land theft, genocide, and enslavement. This Duwamish territory, and we are grateful to be here.
Departmental Commitment to Diversity, Equity and Justice
The UW English Department aims to help students become more incisive thinkers, effective communicators, and imaginative writers by acknowledging that language and its use are powerful and hold the potential to empower individuals and communities; to provide the means to engage in meaningful conversation and collaboration across differences and with those with whom we disagree; and to offer methods for exploring, understanding, problem solving, and responding to the many pressing collective issues we face in our world--skills that align with and support the University of Washington’s mission to educate “a diverse student body to become responsible global citizens and future leaders through a challenging learning environment informed by cutting-edge scholarship.”
As a department, we begin with the conviction that language and texts play crucial roles in the constitution of cultures and communities, past, present, and future. Our disciplinary commitments to the study of English (its history, multiplicity, and development; its literary and artistic uses; and its global role in shaping and changing cultures) require of us a willingness to engage openly and critically with questions of power and difference. As such, in our teaching, service, and scholarship we frequently initiate and encourage conversations about topics such as race and racism, immigration, gender, sexuality, class, indigeneity, and colonialisms. These topics are fundamental to the inquiry we pursue. We are proud of this fact, and we are committed to creating an environment in which our faculty and students can do so confidently and securely, knowing that they have the backing of the department.
Towards that aim, we value the inherent dignity and uniqueness of individuals and communities. We acknowledge that our university is located on the shared lands and waters of the Coast Salish peoples. We aspire to be a place where human rights are respected and where any of us can seek support. This includes people of all ethnicities, faiths, gender identities, national and indigenous origins, political views, and citizenship status; nontheists; LGBQTIA+; those with disabilities; veterans; and anyone who has been targeted, abused, or disenfranchised.
English Department Diversity Plan
The English department seeks to promote inclusion, diversity, and equity, especially racial equity, by recruiting, retaining, and supporting a diverse population of faculty, students, and staff in ways that counter ongoing legacies of systemic inequity and settler colonialism, and their organizing epistemologies.
The University of Washington acknowledges the Coast Salish people of this land, the land which touches the shared waters of all tribes and bands within the Suquamish, Tulalip, and Muckleshoot nations. The Department's promotion of diversity, equity, and inclusion values endeavors that build on this recognition as a means of transforming our research, pedagogy, and/or service.
Read more about the UW English Department's commitment to diversity, equity, and justice.