Creative Writing, MFA

The ASU MFA in creative writing has always been an unswervingly student-first program. Through small classes, intimate workshops and practicum, or one-to-one mentoring, the centuries-old apprenticeship model thrives within the New American University. Poets and fiction writers work with an outstanding faculty that has published more than 80 books and has garnered national and international attention through awards including:

  • Guggenheim and NEA fellowships
  • Pulitzer Prize
  • two Medals of Achievement from the National Society of Arts and Letters
  • Western States Book Award
  • Walt Whitman Award from the Academy of American Poets

The creative writing program at ASU has been consistently able to offer Master of Fine Arts students among the best funding packages in the nation through teaching and research assistantships, which are renewable for each of the program's three years. Additionally, in concert with the writing program, the Virginia G. Piper Center for Creative Writing offers a variety of graduate assistantships, international writing and teaching scholarships, and thesis fellowships to continuing students.


Jenny Irish
Assistant Director of Creative Writing

Ross Blakley 152
Phone: 480-727-9130
FAX: 480-965-3451

Applicants should have an undergraduate major in English or Creative Writing, with a GPA of 3.00 or above; however, exceptional students who do not have either of these undergraduate majors may be admitted on the basis of writing excellence. Applicants must submit:

  • The application fee online via Graduate Education application ($70 domestic and $90 international)
  • Three (3) hardcopy letters of recommendation sent to the department
  • A personal résumé or curriculum vitae submitted online via Graduate Education application
  • A personal statement including your writing background, intended area of specialization, a brief self-evaluation of recent work, and goals submitted online via Graduate Education application (single-spaced, up to 1000 words)
  • Three (3) hardcopies of a manuscript sample: up to 20 pages of poetry or 30 pages of prose (Note: our program offers tracks in fiction and poetry; we do not have a creative nonfiction track.)
  • Official academic transcripts sent in hardcopy to the Graduate Education (see below).

Plus, to be considered for a Teaching Assistantship, please submit:

We no longer require the Miller Analogies Test (MAT) or the Graduate Record Exam (GRE).

All materials except for three copies of the manuscript and the letters of recommendation should be submitted online to Graduate Education between September 1 and January 1. (No applications will be read before January 1.) Have your official transcripts sent (from each college attended) :

If sending by U.S. Postal Service:

Arizona State University

Graduate Admission Services

PO Box 870112

Tempe, AZ 85287-0112


If sending by FedEx, DHL or UPS:

Graduate Admission Services

Arizona State University

1151 S. Forest Avenue, #SSV112

Tempe, AZ  85287-0112

Graduate Education will not act on applications that do not include complete transcripts and the application fee.

Send three (3) copies of your creative manuscript and three (3) hardcopy letters of recommendation directly to:


MFA Program in Creative Writing

Arizona State University
PO Box 871401
Tempe AZ 85287-1401

Do not send your writing sample or letters of recommendation to Graduate Education.


All application materials must be received by January 1. Selection is based on talent and promise, as demonstrated in the manuscript sample; the academic record; evidence of dedication and potential for growth, from the recommendations and personal statement; and compatibility of the applicant’s goals with the purpose and design of the ASU degree program. In recent years, we have been able to accept the top 3% of applicants.

Transfer of Credits

Subject to the recommendation of the MFA steering committee and the program director, a maximum of nine credit hours taken before admission, not as part of a completed degree at ASU and/or another institution, may be used to fulfill MFA degree requirements. All course work for the ASU Master of Fine Arts in creative writing must be completed within a six-year time limit. Financial aid is not extended beyond the third year.

Sally Ball - poetry, 20th century American poetry

Matthew Bell – fiction

Natalie Diaz - poetry

Norman Dubie - poetry

Cynthia Hogue - creative writing/poetry; modernist and contemporary poetry; ethical poetics, women's poetry

Tara Ison - fiction

T.M. McNally - fiction

Alberto Álvaro Ríos - poetry; fiction; magical realist literature

Degree Offered

Creative Writing, MFA
Liberal Arts & Sciences, College of


Plan of Study

The Plan of Study is the required curriculum to complete the program.

View Plan of Study

Application Deadline

MFA deadline is January 1 (This program admits for fall semester only.)

How to Apply

See the Application Procedures tab above.

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