Creative Writing MFA

The Arizona MFA:

  • A fully funded three-year program (can be completed in 2 or 2.5 years) in three genres (poetry, fiction, and nonfiction) with active encouragement to work across and between them.
  • Funding via GTA positions in the Writing Program (typical teaching load: 1-2, 2-2, 2-1), with opportunities to teach CW workshops in the second year and beyond.
  • An active prose and poetry series of visiting writers and editors. 
  • Excellent student-teacher ratio (9 faculty for 36 students)
  • A challenging, supportive and dynamic atmosphere in a super-literary, culturally vibrant, progressive border city.
  • An extremely active and critically acclaimed faculty.
  • Funding opportunities for research and travel via the departmental English Graduate Union, the Graduate and Professional Student Council, ConfluenCenter and the Institute of the Environment, among other organizations.
  • MFA thesis defense that may include outside readers. Past outside readers have included such writers as Jenny Boully, Gary Paul Nabhan, Steven Church, Luís Alberto Urrea, and Kim Stanley Robinson. 
  • Opportunities to work on nationally- and internationally-known literary magazines, websites, and presses
  • The lushest desert in the world with mountains all around.

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 three years in residence, the completion of 42 academic units, including four workshops in one genre and four 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 offered to 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,, Spork Press, Kore Press, 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, 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.

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. Check it out here.

For an overview of Tucson literary happenings, see:, or the Poets & Writers overview of our literary city. Also, check out MFA student Eshani Surya's piece entitled 5 Reasons a Writer Should Move to Tucson.

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

Application deadline for Fall 2020: December 15, 2019
Applications are online.

Policy on non-MFA students taking MFA courses

Manuel Muñoz

Sharonne Meyerson
Program Assistant

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College of Social and Behavioral Sciences