Stonecoast MFA in Creative Writing

Program Facts


Stonecoast Summer Writers’ Conference founded at the University  of Southern Maine. (1979)

The Stonecoast MFA program is developed and holds its first residency at the Stone House. (2002)

Stonecoast MFA in Ireland is launched. The first residency is held in Dingle. (2005)

Stonecoast Council on Diversity is established. First Writing About Race elective is offered. (2008)

Writing Nature focus is introduced. (2009)

Scriptwriting focus is introduced. (2010)

Poets and Writers names Stonecoast one of the top ten low-residency MFA programs.


The low-residency program consists of four semesters of independent work with a mentor, each starting with a ten-day residency, followed by a final “graduation residency.”


Stonecoast is accredited through the New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC).


The University of Southern Maine’s Stone House in Freeport, Maine, a historic seaside mansion on the Maine coast, is renowned for its heather gardens and breathtakingly beautiful grounds. Ten students each semester spend the residency at the Stonecoast in Ireland program in Dingle (summer) or Howth (winter).

Student Body:

At any one time, approximately 95 students are enrolled in four genres: creative non-fiction, poetry, fiction, and popular fiction. Students range widely in age, ethnicity, and cultural and aesthetic background. Many students are already accomplished and well-published writers. 


Approximately 25 faculty members in the four main genres – creative non-fiction, poetry, fiction, and popular fiction – with additional expertise in many other areas including translation, scriptwriting, journalism, creative collaboration, and performance. Faculty awards include Guggenheim and NEA grants, Astraea, Hugo, and Hurston/Wright Legacy awards, Lila Wallace-Reader’s Digest Award, Los Angeles Times Best Book of the Year, American Book Award, Lifetime Achievement Award from Before Columbus Foundation, and finalists for the National Book Award and National Book Critics’ Circle Award.


Stonecoast alumni have gone on to successful careers as screenwriters, freelance writers, publicists, teachers, editors, and college creative writing professors. They have won awards including PEN New England awards, NEA grants, and the Cave Canem Prize, and seen their work published in Best American Essays, poetry read on National Public Radio’s Writers’ Almanac, and novels published by houses including Coffee House, Graywolf, Northwestern, and Random House.

Academic Philosophy:

Stonecoast is committed to educating writers in the fundamentals of their craft, including both classic and experimental literary traditions, through supportive and intellectually challenging teaching within an aesthetically and culturally diverse community of creative peers.