Funding, Awards & Opportunities

All accepted MFA students receive full funding through a graduate teaching assistantship for 3 years. This package includes tuition remission, health insurance, and a modest stipend (in 2023 it was about $21,750 per academic year).

MFA students are responsible for university fees (around $1600/year).

Graduate Teaching Assistantships

All graduate teaching assistants (GTAs) are selected annually to teach three courses in the Foundations Writing Program. The teaching load is 1-2, 2-1, 2-1. They are appointed by the Head of the English Department on the recommendations of the program faculties. 

You must complete a mandatory 10-day training in August before your first semester teaching. During the first semester, you are required to take preceptorship (Engl 598), held once a week by the Writing Program, for which you'll receive three units of credit. All GTAs are required be enrolled in a minimum of 6 units of graduate credit per semester. It is your responsibility to be familiar with all Graduate College policies.

Creative Writing Teaching Opportunities

MFA students have the opportunity to teach 200-level creative writing courses. This is by application every fall semester.

These selections are made via a competitive application process each fall. Students submit a letter of interest, a CV, and other materials as requested by the genre committee.

Other Opportunities

Summer teaching opportunities are often available, including teaching hybrid or online courses in the Writing Program or in the Creative Writing Program. MFA students also serve as primary instructors for the Young Arizona Writers' Workshop, a weeklong workshop for high school students.

We also offer opportunities to apply for summer research grants and small grants for student research (writing) and travel to conferences if you are presenting your work or otherwise officially representing the University of Arizona.

Supported by the Agnese Nelms Haury Program in Environment and Social Justice, the Southwest Field Studies in Writing program sends three Creative Writing MFA students to research and write on issues unique to Southern Arizona during a two week residency in Patagonia, AZ. In addition, our students offer storytelling workshops for marginalized youth from the region in conjunction with the Borderlands Restoration Network.

Foundation Awards

Awards and monetary prizes are given for the best individual story, essay, and set of poems written by MFA students each year, and are judged—blind—by notable writers in the field. In 2018, the judges were Venita Blackburn (fiction), giovanni singleton (poetry), and Lia Purpura (nonfiction). We also regularly nominate student work for the AWP Intro Awards, as well as other competitions.