Creative Writing

Program Type
Master’s Program
Master of Fine Arts (MFA)
Mode of Study

Tuition & fees

Costs include tuition & fees, charged by the semester. All students receive the same rate. See cost details

Credit hours

60 required credit hours. Browse course list

Financial aid

Over 150 graduate assistantships available with stipend & tuition assistance, plus scholarship, fellowship & research opportunities. Explore aid


Apply by March 1 for summer residency & fall term; Sept 1 for winter residency & spring term. View application process & deadlines

Program highlights

  • Earn your MFA in 2 years through our low-residency program: Complete independent writing projects from wherever you are, and join us for two separate 10-day residencies.
  • Sharpen your craft and explore creative nonfiction, fiction, poetry, popular fiction, or scriptwriting, with the freedom to write across multiple genres.
  • Prepare for a professional writing career through an MFA program that is deeply rooted in social justice, inclusivity, and equity.
  • Receive one-on-one instruction from award-winning faculty, including recipients of the Kingsley Tufts Poetry Award, the Kate Tufts Discovery Award, the Yale Younger Poets Prize, Guggenheim Fellowships, and finalists for the National Book Award and Pulitzer Prize.
  • Join a thriving and supportive alumni network of published and award-winning writers, poets, academics, and valued members of the literary community.
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Learn the rules of craft — and break them

Be the storyteller, poet, world-builder, truth-teller, scene-maker, or activist you’ve always wanted to be. Explore a vibrant curriculum, delve into the roots of craft, and bring your voice to life — while sharpening the direction of your career.

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The residency experience

Twice each year, we meet on the Maine coast for ten days of writing workshops, faculty seminars, student presentations, and public readings. You’ll workshop your own pieces, experiment in a variety of genres, and learn from writers at the height of their craft.

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Program requirements

We alternate between six-month independent writing projects you can complete from anywhere, and 10-day residencies. For writing projects, a faculty mentor provides extensive, in-depth critiques of your work. You’ll benefit from a network of support as you complete a critical essay and creative thesis.

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Prepare for professional writing life

Whether you’re working for the Stonecoast Review, pursuing an internship or teaching experience, or giving a public reading, we provide venues to share your talents and gain experience in the professional literary world.

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Academic rigor & freedom to experiment

Grow your skills as a writer and deepen your craft through rigorous work and intensive residencies – while working with talented, connected faculty members who help you develop as an artist.

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Writing for Inclusivity and Social Equity (WISE)

Our WISE initiative is more than a list of books or classes: social justice writing, inclusivity, and equity are central to our mission. We empower writers to create social change and publish writing that affirms human dignity, defends civil rights, and fights for social equity and environmental justice.

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Graduate student support

Our Office of Graduate Studies connects you with opportunities for professional development, scholarships, and graduate assistantships. They also foster our graduate student community through Peer Mentorship and the Graduate Student Board.

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Excellence in artistry

Our innovative and widely-published faculty push the boundaries of their craft across all genres. These world-class writers are dedicated to helping you find your voice and further your work.

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Scholarship opportunities

Scholarships offer financial aid that doesn’t need to be repaid. We encourage students in graduate degree programs to apply for scholarship opportunities.

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Connect with us

Our monthly Graduate Information Sessions are an excellent way to learn more about the benefits of our program, as well as our admissions and financial process.

Register today
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Award-winning alumni

Awards and nominations include the Pushcart Prize, Golden Heart Finalist, Missouri Review Award, Cave Canem Award, Rona Jaffe Award, and National Book Award Finalist. Along with being widely published in journals, magazines, and the “Big Five” trade publishers many are teachers, performers, and advocates.

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Next steps

Our graduate admissions counselors are here to answer your questions about the admissions process, our academic programs, and student support services.

Get info
Meet us

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Admission information: MFA in Creative Writing

Application deadlines

We accept applications on a rolling basis and review them continuously.

Summer residency/Fall termWinter residency/Spring term
Application deadlineMarch 1September 1

Admission is highly selective; students will be accepted on the basis of writing samples and past educational experience.

Applicants are required to provide the following materials:

General requirements

  • Application: Online application
  • Application fee:
    • In-state, out-of-state, and Canadian applicants: Free to apply
    • International applicants: Submit US $50 fee to apply
  • Transcripts: Official transcripts from all colleges or universities attended, excluding the seven campuses of the University of Maine System (UMS transcripts are accessible to USM). A transcript is official when sent directly from the institution.
  • Resume: Submit a resume or CV that outlines professional, volunteer, and community experience.
  • Students whose first language is not English may be required to take one of the following: Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) or the Pearson Test of English (PTE) or Duolingo. Applicants must submit official scores as part of the application process. See additional information regarding test scores and requirements.

Additional requirements

  • Essay: Please submit a one to two-page essay describing your writing background, your reasons for attending the M.F.A. program, and your goals following graduation.
  • Personal statement about writing: 500-750 word statement discussing the work of at least three writers in the genre in which you are applying who have influenced your own writing. This statement may involve close readings, critical analysis, and/or a more personal discussion of why and how you value these writers. Ideally, it should convey a sense of the literary heritage in which you situate your own work and of your skill as a reader.
  • Writing Sample: Applicants to the Stonecoast M.F.A. in Creative Writing are required to submit a writing sample of your fiction, poetry, or nonfiction. (Popular Fiction for this program does not include romance or children’s literature.) Submitted material should be clearly marked to indicate the applicant’s name and the specific genre in which a student is applying.
    • Fiction: submit a short story or novel excerpt, a maximum of 20 pages.
    • Poetry: submit a maximum of ten poems.
    • Creative Nonfiction: submit an excerpt from a memoir, a personal essay or a piece of literary journalism, a maximum of 20 pages. (Creative Nonfiction for this program does not include book reviews, letters, feature journalism or job-related documents such as memos, legal briefs, etc.)
    • Popular Fiction: submit a piece of science fiction, fantasy, horror, a mystery, or a thriller, a maximum of 20 pages.
  • Letters of recommendation: One required, two preferred. Letters from people who can speak about your ability to perform in graduate-level academic work and your experiences as a writer.
  • International applicants:

International student instructions

View additional application requirements

English proficiency test scores

View test requirements

Where to send application materials

Get our mailing address and email address