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MFA in Creative Writing

The M.F.A. in Creative Writing is a terminal degree for writers, and for many years the University of Montana's program has been ranked highly among the top programs nationwide. Many of the program's graduates have become high-profile and critically acclaimed authors and poets; many teach or work in publishing; an increasing number (including those who have completed both the MFA and the MA in Literature degrees at the University of Montana) proceed to interdisciplinary PhD programs.

In addition to providing students with workshops in which to develop their writing skills, the program requires that its students take classes in the study of literature, valuing as it does the idea that the writer is both an artist and a critical thinker; the cumulative effect of their coursework is to allow students to develop their creative work and expand their understanding of literary technique. The program also offers training appropriate to collegiate-level teaching of creative writing and sponsors the graduate literary magazine CutBank, now in its fourth decade of publishing works of poetry, prose and art.

In a typical year, 300-400 students apply. Following a highly competitive admissions process, 20-30 successful applicants are accepted into Fiction, Nonfiction or Poetry and begin a two-year course of study that culminates in a polished body of work and a public reading. During these years, students work closely with our nationally (and internationally) recognized regular faculty, as well as with the talented and highly-regarded visiting writers who annually fill the program's Hugo and Kittredge fellowships.


To complete the MFA in Creative Writing, students must earn 45 credits of graduate–level course work and write a professional paper/manuscript that will also be the basis of a public reading in the final semester. Course requirements include twelve (12) credits in at least four 500–level workshops; three (3) credits in Techniques of Modern Fiction or Traditional Prosody; up to twelve (12) thesis credits; and twelve (12) credits in English department literature courses, including at least one 500–level seminar. For those students who take Techniques twice, or both Techniques and Prosody, or one of the Special Topics reading courses offered by creative writing faculty (ENCR 516 or ENCR 595), the three credits may count toward the twelve (12) required literature credits; likewise, a maximum of six (6) credits of Graduate Independent Study may count toward those twelve literature credits, provided that a member of the literature faculty supervises the project(s). Students may take up to twelve (12) credits in courses outside the department, and up to nine (9) credits of Graduate Independent Study. The professional paper can be a full–length novel, a collection of short stories, a collection of non–fiction prose essays, or a collection of poems at least 40 pages long; with the permission of your Masters committee and the Director of Creative Writing, a hybrid work of poetry and prose can be submitted.


For application information and deadlines, please visit the Prospective Creative Writing Students web page.

More Information

To learn more about the program, visit the Creative Writing program´s website and/or contact the program´s Director, Judy Blunt, or the Creative Writing Program Coordinator, Karin Schalm, with questions and inquiries.