Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing

About

Our MFA program, established in 1978, is a two-year, full residency, studio-based program offering fiction, nonfiction, and poetry. We offer a wide range of fully-funded positions in teaching, editing, and arts administration! EWU MFA candidates can gain experience in book and magazine publishing, festival promotion, and teaching both composition and creative writing.

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Why Earn Your MFA at EWU?

Our Program

We provide an intensive, two-year, pre-professional course of study with an emphasis on the practice of literature as a fine art.

Program Overview

Our Internships

We place MFA students in positions throughout the community so that you get valuable hands-on experience.

Internship Opportunities

Our Faculty

Each of our faculty are practicing writers with significant national book publications and are committed, passionate, and accessible teachers of writing.

Our Faculty

Our Funding

Many of our students receive a full tuition waiver plus a monthly stipend for teaching undergraduate composition, literature or creative writing courses.

Our Funding

Get to Know Us

The Master of Fine Arts program at Eastern Washington University is located in the heart of downtown Spokane. Learn more about our community, our campus and the local literary scene.

We are consistently proud of the bright, dedicated, and kind students that make up our MFA cohort each year. There is a strong sense of camaraderie and respect among our students, which creates an atmosphere ideal for writing your best work. Our students range in age from people straight out of college to older, non-traditional students, some of whom have careers in other fields. Every year’s incoming class is different in its makeup.

Our alumni have received such literary awards as the Yale Younger Poets Award; the Irish Prize; publication in Best American Short Stories, O. Henry Award Stories and Best New American Poets; and fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts. Alumni have published books with various presses, including Yale University, University of Texas, St. Martin’s, Copper Canyon, Sierra Club Books, University of Nebraska, Gallery, Daedalus, Simon and Schuster, and Putnam.

Panoramic view of downtown Spokane and the Spokane campus
Students walking across campus talking
Collage of EWU MFA alumni

Curriculum & Requirements

Creative Writing, Master of Fine Arts (MFA)

Our MFA graduate curriculum provides an intensive, two-year, pre-professional course of study with an emphasis on the practice of literature as a fine art. While it follows a studio-based model, the program is also intellectually rigorous, and includes course work in the study of literature from the vantage point of its composition and history. The student’s principal work is done in advanced workshops and in the writing of a book-length thesis of publishable quality in fiction, literary nonfiction, or poetry. Internship programs include Writers In The Community, in which students teach creative writing in schools, retirement communities, children’s hospitals, homeless centers, correctional facilities, etc.; Willow Springs, in which students edit and publish our nationally-acclaimed literary journal; Willow Springs Books, in which students work for our literary press to publish the winning volume of a national fiction competition; and Get Lit!, in which students learn arts administration through work on Eastern Washington University’s annual literary festival. Past festival authors have included Joyce Carol Oates, David Sedaris, and Yusef Komunyakaa.


MFA Workshops

MFA workshops in each genre are small (generally between ten and fifteen students) and are offered every term. The literature requirement consists of three Form & Theory courses (per genre) focusing on historical and contemporary works. These graduate courses are taught by Creative Writing faculty and are designed to make the study of literature of maximum value to the aspiring writer (rather than scholar or critic).

In order for MFA students to broaden their skills and benefit from exposure to a wider variety of perspectives, all are required to take one workshop and one literature class outside their genre. Additional Creative Writing elective courses are offered each year and have recently included Literature of the Northwest, Surrealism in Poetry, Beyond Realism in Fiction, Imagination and Wilderness, and Studies in the Novella. Typically, students complete the MFA degree in two years, working one-on-one with a faulty member in their second year to produce a thesis of publishable quality work.

Required Courses
CRWR 517GRADUATE WRITING WORKSHOP: FICTION, POETRY, LITERARY NONFICTION, DRAMA, SCRIPTWRITING OR TRANSLATION (Note: this course may be repeated for credit; students should take one workshop from outside the major area. )20
Literary Form and Theory Courses
Choose one Literature course from outside the major area5
Choose one series–in student’s major area of study 15
Fiction
FICTION I-THE NOVEL
FICTION II-THE SHORT FORM
SELECTED TOPICS IN CRAFT
Non-Fiction
LITERARY NONFICTION I–THE SHORT FORM
LITERARY NONFICTION II–THE LONG FORM
LITERARY NONFICTION III–SELECTED TOPICS
Poetry
POETRY I-BACKGROUND AND THEORY
POETRY II-THE MODERNS AND MODERNISM
POETRY III-CONTEMPORARY WORLD POETRY AND POETICS
Thesis
CRWR 600THESIS15
Electives in creative writing, literature and/or a secondary emphasis 17
Note: variations are possible following consultation with student’s program advisor.
Total Credits72

Catalog Listing

Newsletters

Our monthly program newsletter has information not only on our MFA program, but regional literary events as well. We also include a collection of calls for submission, contests, and fellowships.

View the March Newsletter for the latest updates, or peruse our archives below for past issues.