2017-2018 Graduate Course Catalog 
    Jul 25, 2024  
2017-2018 Graduate Course Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Creative Writing, MFA

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Sarah Harwell, Associate Director, 420 Hall of Languages, scharwel@syr.edu,

Christopher Kennedy, Director of Creative Writing, 416 Hall of Languages, ckennedy@syr.edu,


Michael Burkard, Jonathan Dee, Arthur Flowers, Brooks Haxton, Mary Karr, Christopher Kennedy, George Saunders, Bruce Smith, Dana Spiotta

The MFA program in Creative Writing at Syracuse has long been regarded as one of the best in the country. Each year six students are admitted in poetry and six in fiction to work closely in small workshops with an accomplished group of writers. Coursework includes a strong emphasis on the study of literature. Six semesters are usually needed to complete the M.F.A.

Applicants must upload a sample of fiction or poetry with their online application through CollegeNet no later than December 15, as well as complete the online graduate application for graduate study.  Admission is based primarily on the writing sample, but also upon the academic record. Thus, letters of recommendation should address not only the student’s creative work, but also his or her general preparedness for advanced graduate study. Likewise, in their personal statements on the application for graduate study, students should state their reasons for pursuing an M.F.A. in creative writing as well as describe their own backgrounds as writers.

Submit online Graduate Application via CollegeNet by DECEMBER 15th. 

  • FICTION APPLICANTS: UPLOAD your 20 page maximum writing sample with your EMBARK application by DECEMBER 15. In addition to uploading your fiction writing sample to your online application through CollegeNet, please mail in one hard copy as well by December 15 to:  to Sarah Harwell, Associate Director of Creative Writing, Department of English, Syracuse University, 401 Hall of Languages, Syracuse NY 13244-1170.
  • POETRY APPLICANTS: UPLOAD your 10-12 POEMS with CollegeNet application by December 15.
    Do NOT mail in your poetry writing sample.

Candidates must complete 48 credits of coursework, which includes 9 credits of workshop, a minimum of 9 credits in forms courses, a 3-credit second-year essay seminar, 12 to 15 credits in other English department courses, 6 to 9 credits of electives outside the department, and 6 credits for the preparation of the thesis (a collection of poems or stories or a novel).

For more information about our graduate programs, visit our department web site at english.syr.edu.

Student Learning Outcomes

1. Writing, editing and revision in student’s primary literary genre, leading to a creative manuscript of publishable quality

2. Reading in ways that contribute to a student’s writing

MFA Graduate Awards

First year MFAs come in on an award which carries no teaching duties.  The award comes with a stipend of $15,125 and a 24 credit hour tuition scholarship.

Second and third year students are funded by teaching assistantships.  Teaching assistantships include a 24 credit hour tuition scholarship and a stipend of $15,125.  Second year TAs will have full responsibility for teaching three sections a year in the Writing Department.  They are expected to attend regular staff meetings and workshops and participate in a mentoring group.  There is a review of each teaching assistant’s performance as a teacher.  Third year students will teach in the English Department, courses to be determined on an as needed basis.

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