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Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing

What You’ll Study

Take your passion to the next level. Hone your craft without uprooting your life. A Master of Fine Arts (MFA) in Creative Writing, like master’s degrees in other creative arts, is a studio arts degree that focuses on practice and craft and provides an immersion in the discipline of writing. We bring together graduate students for intensive residencies with their award-winning instructors and fellow writers.

Professor teaching a class

Then, we connect students and teachers online through the rest of the year as they work on their writing from wherever they live. Here are a few aspects of the MFA program that set us apart. 

  • Experience teaching from instructors who are both acclaimed writers and experienced mentors.  Over 50 of America’s top literary talents, with well-established teaching experience. 
  • Receive focused attention with our 4:1 student-to-faculty ratio. It’s true, we hire an instructor for every four students we enroll. You’ll also have the chance for 1:1 tutorials directly with our expert faculty.
  • Gain support beyond graduation. Annual professional development events for writers and continuing staff support. 
  • Immersive travel experiences. Every year in July we travel with a group of students and instructors to one of three South American cities: Buenos Aires, Argentina; Santiago, Chile; Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Plus, we’ve taken groups on visits here in the United States as well, including a recent trip to meet with top literary agents and editors at the New Yorker – at the publication’s invitation.

Program Overview

Duration: 2 years, with options to accelerate or lengthen

Credit Hours: 52

Modalities: Low Residency, Asynchronous with 2 weeks in-person per year

Concentrations: Fiction, including Young Adult; Nonfiction; Poetry; Writing for Stage & Screen

In the distance learning segments on either side of the residencies, students make monthly submissions of their creative writing and read and write in preparation for live seminars on elements of craft.

How Can You Use This Degree?

In the last five years… 

  • our alumni have published over 100 books
  • 70% of alumni have been published in magazines or journals
  • 64% of alumni have gone on to teach
  • 48% of alumni have gone on to hold MFA-relevant professional positions

Notable Works by Recent Alumni

  • Maria, Maria (W.W. Norton 2022), by Marytza Rubio ’16. Long-listed for the 2022 National Book Award. 
  • Perpetual West (Algonquin 2022), by Mesha Maren ’14. Made the 2022 “most anticipated books” lists of at least 6 publications including Oprah Daily, LitHub, and The Millions. Her debut novel, Sugar Run, was a New York Times Editor’s Choice. She joined the Creative Writing faculty at Duke in 2019. 
  • Ghost in a Black Girl’s Throat (Red Hen Press 2021) by Khalisa Rae ’16, featured in Publisher’s Weekly, Book Riot, and The Root. 

Program Contact

Samantha Willingham

Program Coordinator, MFA

Meet Your Professors

Our program has more than 30 highly acclaimed writers as instructors, including Ada Limón, the Poet Laureate of the United States.

Ada Limón

In 2022, Ada Limón joined the select list of 24 distinguished poets who have been named the Poet Laureate of the United States by the Library of Congress. Limón has taught in the Queens MFA program since 2014.

Learn More
Ada Limón

Stay Active Outside of the Classroom

  • Southern Review of Books Sponsored by the Queens MFA program, this online literary review and event series is staffed predominantly by Queens MFA alumni. 
  • Qu: A Literary Magazine A national print and online publication staffed entirely by MFA students. 
  • Annual Professional Development Weekend for Writers An event that offers MFA students and alumni an opportunity to reconnect with their fellow writers in social events and seminars on the craft and the business of creative writing.  We also offer the opportunity to participate in small workshops and individual conferences with influential agents, editors, and professional writers. 
  • Presence at the Association of Writers and Writing Programs Annual Conference An informal gathering of Queens MFA students, alumni, and faculty attending the AWP conference, attended by more than 10,000 writers every year. 

Message from the Director

At Queens, you will find dedicated professionals committed to helping you take your work to the next level. This is a program designed to help you to pursue your passion, write what you most want to write, and bring your work to its highest artistic achievement.

A benefit of the Queens workshop model is you have more writers looking at your work during your time with us, you have more opportunity to advance your own critical skills, and you have every chance to build a writing community for yourself that extends well beyond your degree.

But Queens is not only a workshop program; it’s also full of individual, personalized mentoring. Students choose between the workshop model or a one-to-one tutorial model each and every term. All students, regardless of their choice, will have time to discuss with their instructor (a different one each semester) their literary development and aspirations. Join us on campus or travel with us internationally. Or both! Get real editorial experience working on our literary magazine and contributing to the Southern Review of Books. 

Beyond graduation, we bring editors and agents from New York and California to meet with our alumni in five-person groups. Our staff will help you access jobs in teaching and writing, should that be something you’re interested in exploring.

Consider what makes Queens so distinctive: our low student-to-faculty ratio, our pioneering model that utilizes mentoring and workshop approaches, our alumni curriculum, and more than fifty wonderful and illustrious instructors who teach in our program.

We look forward to hearing from you!

All the best,

Fred Leebron
MFA Program Director

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