General Information

Creative Writing (MFA) 
Program Description


* A fully funded two-year program.

* Students have funding opportunities for research and travel via the departmental English Graduate Union, the Graduate and Professional Student Council, Confluence Center and the Institute of the Environment, among other organizations.

* Three genres: Poetry, fiction and nonfiction, with active encouragement to work across genres.

* The opportunity to apply to teach creative writing at the undergraduate level.

* Excellent student-teacher ratio.

* An active series of visiting writers and editors.

* A challenging, supportive and dynamic atmosphere in a culturally vibrant, progressive border city.

* An extremely active and critically acclaimed faculty.

* Optional committee defense that can include outside readers. Past outside readers have included such writers as Jenny Boully, Gary Paul Nabhan and Kim Stanley Robinson.

* The lushest desert in the world with mountains all around.

The M.F.A. in Creative writing

Since 1972, the University of Arizona has offered one of the preeminent MFA programs in the country for the study of creative writing. With workshops and craft seminars in fiction, creative nonfiction, and poetry, we offer intensive instruction in literary craft and the study of literature from a writer’s perspective, as well as opportunities to strengthen professional skills and flourish as a writer. The program requires two years in residence, the completion of 36 academic units, including four workshops in one genre and two craft courses. A student’s studies culminate in the production of an aesthetic statement and a thesis manuscript. The program is fully funded, with assistantships in teaching composition for all incoming MFA students. You have the opportunity to apply to teach creative writing in your second year. Assistantships include salary, health insurance and a complete tuition waiver.

A writer engages in the world. With this in mind, we invite students to develop a course of study parallel to the page, whether it is in the University, the city of Tucson, the Sonoran desert, or beyond. You have the chance to volunteer with and/or have a for-credit internship with such organizations as the UA Poetry Center, Sonora Review, Fairy Tale Review, Diagram, New Michigan Press, The Volta, Letter Machine Editions, Edible Baja Arizona,, Spork Press, Kore Press, Field Studies in Writing, and the poetry collective POG.

The literary community here is strong. Please look into the offerings at the Poetry Center, our partner in many adventures. In addition to the Poetry Center Readings & Lectures Series, the creative writing faculty curates the UA Prose Series, which brings in four writers a year. MFA students run the Works-in-Progress (WIP) Reading Series, the Salon Series (conversations about the writing life between students, faculty, and others) and Infuse, a cooperative reading and art series between creative-writing and visual-arts MFA students. The University of Arizona is the home to the Sonora Review, one of the oldest student-run literary magazines in the country. Every year, the program sends out the Look Book to agents and editors, introducing them to our current graduating class’ work. For more information, please investigate our Student Guide, as well as Alumni News.

And perhaps the best advertisement for the program is the work of our recent graduates. The MFA Look Book, published by the program every two years, is sent to editors, agents, influential literary people, and friends of the program each year. But you can check it out for free here.

For an overview of Tucson literary happenings, see:, or the Poets & Writers overview of our literary city

Check out our Facebook page or the UA MFA twitter for news. 

Application deadline for Fall 2017:  January 1, 2017
Applications are online.

Policy on non-MFA students taking MFA courses

Ander Monson

Sharonne Meyerson
Program Assistant

Contact us!


Department/Academic Unit(s)

English -

Department of English Graduate Studies

The English Department maintains four degree-granting graduate programs:

  • Literature (MA and PhD) 
  • Creative Writing (MFA) 
  • Rhetoric, Composition, and the Teaching of English, known as RCTE (MA and PhD) 
  • English Language/Linguistics, known as EL/L (MA in ESL, with ties to the PhD in SLAT)

Each of these programs is separately administered and has a separate application procedure. In general (some programs may make exceptions or have a different deadline) applications are due in early January (for matriculation the following August). Admissions are highly selective. The department therefore urges prospective applicants to confer, by early autumn at the latest, with the Director of the individual program in which they are interested.

To access the landing page for an individual program, click on its name below. On these pages you will find contact information for each program, as well as information about graduate study in the department.

General MA

The Department also offers a General MA, a flexible program that includes curricula from Literature, RCTE, and EL/L.

Additional Resources

English Graduate Union (EGU), represents all English graduate students 

Financial Opportunities: please email program assistant for information regarding financial support available to graduate students in the Department of English.

Tenney Nathanson
Director of Graduate Studies
Department of English 

College of Social & Behavioral Sciences  
Campus where offered
Main Campus - Tucson  
Admissions Contact
Sharon Meyerson
Graduate Program Coordinator
Sharon Meyerson
Director of Graduate Studies
Ander S Monson
Graduate College Degree Counselor
Jessica N Kniest
Tuition and Fees
Please refer to the UA Bursar's Office Tuition and Fees Calculator for up-to-date information about tuition and fees. 
Please refer to the UA Registrar's's Office Special Course Fees for up-to-date information about special course fees. 

Admissions Information

Admissions Requirements

Application checklist:

For more information please contact program assistant.

Standardized Tests

No GRE required. 

Financial Aid

We are a fully funded program, meaning students receive a full tuition waiver, student health insurance, and a salary for teaching composition courses. 

Admissions Deadlines

January 1 every year for upcoming fall semester. 

International Conditional Admission
International applicants will not be considered for conditional admission by this program.
Other Information
The GRE Institution Code for The University of Arizona is 4832

Degree Specifics

Degree Requirements

The MFA degree requires 36 units (12 classes), four semesters in residence, and the completion of a thesis project.

Course requirements:

  • Four Creative Writing workshops in Fiction (604), Poetry (609), or Creative Nonfiction (501), depending upon genre of admittance.
  • Two Creative Writing Craft Seminars (596H): one in genre of admittance and one in another genre. We offer two to four 596h seminars each semester, in fiction, poetry, and nonfiction. Topics vary every semester.
  • Five Electives: Electives may include coursework in the English Department or in other departments, workshops outside primary genre, additional ENG 596h seminars, internships (up to 6 units), and preceptorship credits (up to 6 units for Writing Program GATs). Courses outside English require CW Program Director approval.

Thesis requirement:

  • One Manuscript Independent Study (ENG 909) taken during student’s final semester.

Please note that if you already have an MFA in creative writing, you cannot get another one at the University of Arizona.

Minor Requirements
The Academic Unit has not provided this information. 
Student Handbook  
Persistent link:
Last revised 20 Sep 2016