2020-21 Catalogs

MFA in Creative Writing

Director: Justin Tussing

Associate Director: Robin Talbot

The Stonecoast MFA Program in Creative Writing is a low-residency graduate program that brings together a faculty of nationally known writers from across the United States. The MFA is a two-year program, alternating intensive ten-day residencies with six-month independent writing projects supervised by the faculty mentors. The MFA offers an interdisciplinary curriculum, including creative nonfiction, fiction, poetry, and popular fiction, with possibilities for elective work in such areas as writing about environment, writing for young adults, dramatic writing, performance, and writing for social justice.

Low-residency programs give students significant flexibility in pursuing graduate work as they do not require a day-to-day presence on campus.

Additional Information

The cost of the low-residency graduate writing program is $8,000 per semester plus USM's unified fee and room and board. Tuition is subject to change without notice; however, we will post information about tuition changes as soon as it is available. The fee structure for this long-distance learning program is separate from the usual USM graduate tuition. The MFA does not charge a higher rate for out-of-state students. Some scholarships are available.

For application instructions, go to usm.maine.edu/apply and find the Graduate Application Process.

Questions on the admissions process should be directed to the Office of Admissions at (207) 780-4386 or usmgrad@maine.edu.  For more information on the curriculum or the program, contact the Stonecoast M.F.A. office at (207) 780-5262 or stonecoastmfa@maine.edu.

The master of fine arts requires attendance at two, ten-day residencies per year for two years. These residencies are considered the beginning of each semester. Residencies are held on the Maine coast in Freeport, Maine and taught by faculty and visitors of national reputation. Students attend workshops, faculty seminars, graduating student presentations, conferences with the administration, and daily readings. The winter residency will be held in January and the summer residency in June.

The Stonecoast MFA also requires students to complete four semesters of intensive long-distance work with a faculty mentor/writer. Each semester following the residency, at prearranged intervals, students send packets of creative writing and critical essays to their mentors by mail or e-mail. Faculty respond with extensive, in-depth critiques of the student work.

Students write a third-semester critical essay in one of six emphases (craft, creative collaboration, publishing, social action, teaching, and theory) and write a creative thesis in their third and fourth semesters. Students must also attend a final graduation residency at which they give a reading of their work, teach a graduate presentation, and can participate in workshops. Occasionally, leaves of absence will be approved for a maximum of two semesters.