CSU's CREATIVE WRITING MFA

POETRY, FICTION & NONFICTION

Three years, infinite possibilities

CSU's CREATIVE WRITING MFA

POETRY, FICTION & NONFICTION

Over 25 years of guiding writers to unexpected heights

The Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing is for students with advanced abilities in the writing of fiction, poetry, and creative nonfiction. Our three-year program offers a balance of intimate and intensive writing workshops with courses in literature, form and technique, and related electives both in and out of the English Department. Writers work closely with a distinguished faculty of publishing writers that includes winners of prestigious national awards and fellowships. Coursework culminates in a thesis—a collection of poetry, short stories, or essays; or a novel or memoir—and the completion of a comprehensive portfolio. A dual-genre thesis option is available to students with exceptional promise in a second genre of writing.

Applicants should familiarize themselves with the program and the department, including course offerings and degree requirements. A complete application includes a one-page statement of purpose; a writing sample (12-20 pages of poems; two short stories or a chapter or two of a novel; two short essays or a chapter or two of a memoir); three letters of reference; and transcripts. Those applying for a Graduate Teaching Assistantship must also complete a separate GTA application.

The application deadline is January 1.

The MFA Program at CSU is a WICHE Western Regional Graduate Program. Residents of Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oregon, South Dakota, Utah, Washington, and Wyoming are eligible for in-state tuition.

For information about the application process click here.

To apply now, click here.

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MFA Program Information

Program requirements image

PROGRAM REQUIREMENTS

  • Completion of forty-eight (48) semester credits
  • Completion of the following courses:
    • E640—Graduate Writing Workshop: Fiction, Creative Nonfiction, or Poetry (12 credits)
    • E513—Form & Technique in Modern Literature: Fiction, Creative Nonfiction, or Poetry (3 credits)
    • One pre-20th Century literature course at the 500-level or above (3 credits)
    • One course (300-level or above) outside the English Department (waived if your undergraduate degree is not in English or Creative Writing—3 credits)
    • E699—Thesis (12 credits)
  • Completion of portfolio
  • Additional requirements for dual-genre thesis option
  • For more details, consult the Guide to CSU’s MFA Program.
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TEACHING ASSISTANTSHIPS

Graduate Teaching Assistantships (GTA) are available on a competitive basis, as are the positions of Assistant to the Director of Creative Writing and Assistant to the Director of the Creative Writing Reading Series. A required orientation and pedagogy seminar provide extensive training in teaching college-level English.

If you are applying for a GTA, please provide a written statement that speaks to your qualifications and enthusiasm for college teaching. Most GTAs will teach college composition. In your application, emphasize any formal or informal teaching experience, such as tutoring, writing center counseling, or even coaching or outdoor recreation. In addition, remind those who are writing your letters of reference to speak to your potential for college teaching.

Most MFA students, regardless of whether they hold a GTA, are given the opportunity to teach a (paid) section of Beginning Creative Writing during their third year in the program.

Other options for financial support are detailed in the Guide to CSU’s MFA Program.

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INTERNSHIP OPPORTUNITIES

We offer a variety of for-credit internships (some paid) in such areas as college teaching, public education, arts administration in literature, and literary editing – including the Center for Literary Publishing and the Colorado Review. A paid internship as editor of Greyrock Review, a literary magazine staffed by CSU undergraduates, is also available to a first-year student selected by the faculty.

Click here for Colorado Review internship information.

"If there's a book that you want to read but it hasn't been written yet then you must write it"

- Toni Morrison

"If there's a book that you want to read but it hasn't been written yet then you must write it"

- Toni Morrison

Creative Writing MFA Faculty

Creative Writing Reading Series

Each semester at Colorado State University, the Department of English welcomes major literary voices to the Lory Student Center to share their work live and to engage with the local community. Visiting writers hold audience question and answer sessions, book signings, class visits and other outreach activities.

The series features Pulitzer Prize winners, U.S. poets laureate, National Book Critics Circle Award winners, Kingsley Tufts Poetry Award winners, NAACP Image Award nominees, Oprah’s Book Club selections, National Book Award finalists and recognized voices in young adult literature among others.

Recent visitors include: Dorothy Allison, Julie Carr, Ross Gay, Eduardo C. Corral, Jennifer Egan, Robert Hass, Brenda Hillman, Pam Houston, Yusef Komunyakaa, Dinty W. Moore, Gregory Pardlo, Khadijah Queen, Susan Steinberg, Cheryl Strayed, Ira Sukrungruang, Mary Szybist, and Brian Turner.

Click in the events calendar for author information and details about upcoming readings.

Recent Books

Below is a selection of recent books by Creative Writing MFA Faculty in the Department of English at Colorado State University. Click on the book cover for more information about each selection.

Gatherest by Sasha Steensen
Awayland by Ramona Ausubel
Variations on Dawn and Dusk by Dan Beachy-Quick
The Sincere Cafe: Stories by Leslee Becker
Trophic Cascade by Camille T. Dungy
NOS (disorder, not otherwise specified) by Aby Kaupang and Matthew Cooperman
Presentimiento by Harrison Candelaria Fletcher
Last Panther by Todd Mitchell
The Gringa by Andrew Altschul
Guidebook to Relative Strangers by Camille T. Dungy
Love, in Theory by E.J. Levy

Creative Writing MFA Blog

The Creative Writing MFA blog is written by graduate students at various stages of degree completion and features posts by writers of poetry, fiction, and creative nonfiction about their lives as writers and members of the CSU community. Scroll through the carousel of entries below or click the button for a full listing of blog submissions.

I Came to Grad School to Quarantine Myself by Hannah Barnhart

April 2, 2020

…Excluding those who are working the front lines in health care, essential service employees, or parents who are taking on extra responsibilities, the majority of us who are sheltering-in-place, staying-at-home, and waiting out this pandemic, life is a little less busy…

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Serendipity between Omaha and Fort Collins by Annmarie Delfino

March 18, 2020

I’m not sure how much stock to put in coincidences… but what are the odds that the one apartment tour I was at home for would bring people who were moving from not only the city, but the school I was soon heading toward?

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A Scattered and Uncomprehensive Guide to Writing About Trauma by Julia Oshiki

March 3, 2020

I’m a creative nonfiction writer – which is to say that I write personal essays about family relationships and dynamics. Which is to say that, for me, writing involves a lot of hunching over my laptop…

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Reflecting on a sick-day by Jack Berning

February 27, 2020

I’d stayed home from school one day in second grade with a ravenous cold. As I attempted to sleep the day away, our home phone continued to ring (remember landlines? those were kinda dope) bringing me out of my slumber. I’d curse the thing—salesman!— they’d never quit calling.

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I’ve Got a Question by Tyler Toy

December 18, 2019

It has become a weird thing, to me, to read and write toward a theme, some assertion about human nature. It’s something I’ve been thinking about a lot lately. Is the job of the writer to parse all of their […]

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New Future, by Mike Moening

November 15, 2019

I’ve never been much of a blogger, so when I realized I had to opportunity to write a blog post, I obviously reacted with nothing but excitement. Excitement, that is, until I realized that these blog posts seem to have […]

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Here, by Lucia Sabo

November 1, 2019

The reservoir was lapping and lapping at my chest and my hair was silky wet. I closed my eyes to the sun and I let her warm me like a baking croissant. Ahhhhhhhhhhhhh, I thought. Ahhhhhhhhh. I am nervous I’m […]

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Back to Basics, by Grace Loveland

October 16, 2019

I was seven, I think. I had lined up several dolls at the end of my bed and was attempting to show them how to do long subtraction. They were an unruly class, constantly pushing each other down, never remembering […]

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Welcome Back!, by Elena Brousard-Norcross

October 4, 2019

Welcome back to the blog! After a good full month of getting back into step with the Creative Writing dance here at CSU, it’s time to start broadcasting the voices of the incredible folks that make up our MFA program. […]

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Accessing Reality, by Luke Eldredge

October 4, 2019

A Masters in the Fine Arts is not a one-way ticket to an illustrious career path of lucrative success. No one is of the illusion that we write for the money. For most of us, we write because we have […]

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