Creative Writing

Program Type
Master’s Program
Degree
Master of Fine Arts (MFA)
Mode of Study
Low-residency

Tuition

$18,034 per year. See details and other costs

Credit hours

60 required credit hours. Browse course list

Financial aid

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

Admissions

No application fee. 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.
A student sits on a couch at home and works on a laptop.

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.

You may also be interested in…
Next Steps

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


Students walk down the sidewalk by Wishcamper Center on the Portland campus on a sunny day.

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: Waived for all applicants
  • 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.
  • Two letters of recommendation, including at least one from a published writer. Each letter must be accompanied by a recommendation form. Once completed, the online application form will automatically send each of two references you’ve listed a copy of the recommendation form along with instructions regarding how they can submit a letter on your behalf.
  • 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

Applications in progress

Check the status of your application