UMass Boston

Creative Writing MFA

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Further your commitment to writing as the center of your professional life.

Intensive study and practice of fiction and poetry writing with award-winning and nationally renowned faculty at the most diverse university in New England.

UMass Boston's Creative Writing MFA offers you an intense, 3-year program and focused opportunity to further your commitment to writing as the center of your professional life. Through a combination of mentoring by accomplished faculty in a series of creative writing workshops, courses focused on the study of literature offered through the English MA Program, and electives that include the practice of literary editing, the teaching of creative writing, documentary poetics, the art of memoir, and more—you will have the guidance to develop and shape your work to the full extent of your talent.

All accepted students receive funding. Graduate assistantships offer the opportunity to work with students as teaching assistants and fellows, or in editorial positions with one of our sponsors, including 826 Boston, Hanging Loose Press, Write on the Dot, Consequence Magazine, Breakwater Review, and Arrowsmith Press.

Career Possibilities

Pursue a career as a professional writer, publishing your work in literary journals, magazines. Work as an editor and collaborate with writers to refine their work and shape the final product for publication. These are just a few of the possibilities.

Become a(n):

  • Writer/Author
  • Editor
  • Literary Agent
  • Writing Instructor/Professor

Start Your Application

Plan Your Education

How to Apply

Applicants must meet general graduate admission requirements in addition to the following program-specific requirements:

  • A 3.0 GPA overall and in the student’s major
  • Three substantive and detailed letters of recommendation, from former teachers familiar with the applicant’s most recent academic and creative work
  • A 3-5 page personal statement focusing on the role of the candidate’s reading life in his or her development as a writer. (Note: The general Graduate Admissions application refers to this as a statement of interests and intent. They are one and the same.)
  • Applicants must indicate whether they are applying in FICTION or POETRY in their Statement of Purpose. If you want to apply in both genres, include one writing sample in FICTION and one in POETRY and indicate in the Statement of Purpose that the application is for both.
  • A writing sample of 10 manuscript pages of poetry or 20 manuscript pages of fiction

Start Your Application

Deadlines & Cost

Deadlines: January 15 (priority) for fall. While rare, if space is available, we’ll happily consider applications until June 1 (final deadline).

Application Fee: The nonrefundable application fee is $75. UMass Boston alumni and current students that plan to complete degree requirements prior to graduate enrollment can submit the application without paying the application fee.

Program Cost Information: Bursar's website


Writing Workshops (24 Credits)

Complete one from below four times.

  • CW 601 - MFA Poetry Workshop 6 Credit(s) or
  • CW 602 - MFA Fiction Workshop 6 Credit(s)

Literature Courses (9 Credits)

Complete three graduate literature courses.

Electives (9 Credits)

Complete three from below.

  • CW 605 - Memoir Workshop 3 Credit(s)
  • CW 606 - Literary Editing and Publishing 3 Credit(s)
  • CW 614 - The Teaching of Creative Writing 3 Credit(s)
  • CW 675 - Creative Writing Internship 3 Credit(s)
  • CW 697 - Special Topics in Creative Writing 1-6 Credit(s)

Students may elect courses offered by other graduate programs with approval from the graduate program director.

  • ENGL 459 Seminar for Tutors may be taken for graduate credit (see Undergraduate Catalog)
  • ENGL 675 - Reading and Writing Poetry 3 Credit(s)
  • ENGL 676 - Reading and Writing Fiction 3 Credit(s)
  • ENGL 681 - Advanced Workshop in Poetry 3 Credit(s)
  • ENGL 682 - Advanced Workshop in Fiction 3 Credit(s)

Thesis Courses (6 Credits)

Complete the course below both semesters of the third year.

  • CW 699 - MFA Thesis 3 Credit(s)

Graduation Criteria

Complete 48 credits from twelve courses including four writing workshops, three literature courses, three electives, and two semesters of thesis workshops.

The MFA degree requires six semesters of full-time study, with 9 credits required in each of the first four semesters, and 6 credits in the final two semesters, during which students will concentrate on completing a thesis in fiction or poetry under the direction of a faculty member. MFA workshops are limited to 12 students, and seminars are limited to 15. Students have the opportunity to interact with writers in our Global Voices Visiting Writer series (recent visitors have been Raquel Salas Rivera and Carole Maso), and work with visiting prose writers - recently these have included Jane Unrue, ZZ Packer, and Fanny Howe.

Capstone: Completion of an MFA thesis of 48 to 64 pages of poetry or 100 to 200 pages of fiction written under the supervision of a thesis advisor, reviewed by a thesis committee, and subject to a public defense.

Statute of limitations: Five years.

Contact & Faculty

Graduate Program Director John Fulton
john.fulton [at]
(617) 287-6700

English & Creative Writing MFA Department
englishmfaprogram [at]
(617) 287-6702

Fiction Faculty

John Fulton, Program Director & Associate Professor
Askold Melnyczuk, Professor
Eileen Pollack, Visiting Assistant Professor

Poetry Faculty

Jill McDonough, Professor
Shangyang Fang, Associate Lecturer

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